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“Truly, those feelings are a blessing (rahmah) from Allah, if it were not for these feelings, a mother would not be willing to breast-feed her child, nor would a farmer be willing to work in the fields (under the scorching heat of the sun)”.
“Those whom Allah (in His plan) willeth to guide, He openens their breast to Islam; those whom He wills to leave straying, He makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus do Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.”
(Qur'aan Surah Al-An'aam : 6: 125)
The good household is a blessing, a place for love, comfort and hasaanat (a way to add good deeds). A bad household is a place of trials and punishments.
As a revert to Islam, I have known both houses and it was like leaving an open market full of noise and restlessness to a place of chanting rivers and cool breezes where the soul can rest. Now, I open my chest like the angels did to Muhammad (swas) and see my heart taken out and washed. This happens every time I renounce a sin from the past and every time I forgive what happened in my life as a non-Muslim.
My education was not particularly conservative, but it was rooted on severe stereotypes of the roles of men and women and parents with children. My education was not a mercy, but my encounter with Islam was one and I took it inside me like the gardener takes his tools and cuts and prunes his trees, collects his flowers and gets rid of weeds. I took Islam as my abode and as my house and I was there received with honor. Allaah is kareem and rahmaan.
Photo courtesy www.arttoday.com �2002 Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "No child is born except on Al-Fitra (Islam) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated?" (Bukhari).
Education is an important part of a person’s future. Education shapes a person’s character for life, and the most interesting thing about it is that it takes the first fifteen years or so of one’s life, the tender age, the age of total openness. I would qualify this age in my life as a neglected garden where its owners came from time to time to cut trees instead of pruning them and destroyed the main mansion instead of repairing it.
Without Islam, we lose our balance. This is why Prophet Muhammad (swas) and the Noble Qur’aan are called Haadi, The Guide. A child is born pure without defect, but his environment amputates him from his blessing: his Islam. Islam is what brings him a universal wisdom for all humankind; it brings him his equilibrium. To be a kaafeer (an unbeliever), for me, was like walking up on the ledge of a mountain, trying my footholds as on a catwalk. When I lost control, I did not know why I fell, but when I fell, it was accepted as normal, a part of life; there was no meaning to it. Nobody was there to save us; to hurt is expected. To hurt form temper! As I bruised, I did not notice that wounds were left on my body, wounds that would take many years to heal, wounds that hurt me in the middle of my highest joys and hurt the ones who loved me even further. But, not anymore. Sub’analaah!
Family life was for me the place of trials, a place where one was better off being silent, immobile, and obedient. It was a place where to express
oneself happened as a burst of a volcano because it was all contained from within. Showing feelings was the moment that made other uncomfortable, a moment of incomprehension. Nobody was ready to see my burst; they did not expect it! I had withdrawn inside my shell until the moment I could break out of it and really become the person I wanted to be. AlHamdulillaah, Islam broke this shell and reconstituted the frame by putting the pieces back together at the right place. And it may take again the length of a lifetime to finish rebuilding. But at least, it is inhabitable!
Family life has always been for Muslims the place of ultimate mercy. My family life was the place where every mistake was paid a high price, a place where everything had a price tag on it. My family life was dead, not a place where Muslim parents like to recite this du’aa:
“O our Sustainer (Allah - the Creator)! Grant that our spouse and our offsprings be a joy to our eyes, and cause us to be foremost (ranking above all others) among those who are conscious of you!”
(Qur’an; Al-Furqan: 25: 74)
My household was a place of trials and a place of tribulations. It was where I almost lost my soul but managed not to by my prayers. The Prophet (swas) said: "The likeness of a house in which Allaah is remembered and the house in which Allaah is not remembered is that of the living and the dead, respectively."
'Aa'ishah (RA) reports: 'When Allaah (may He be glorified) wills some good towards the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them.'"
(Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/71; Saheeh al-Jaami', 303 / 1704. Reported by Ibn Abi al-Dunya and others).
Abu Hurayrah (RA) once said: "The Messenger of Allaah (swas) kissed al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, and al-Aqra' ibn Haabis al-Tameemi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra' said: 'I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.' The Messenger of Allaah (swas) looked at him and said: 'The one who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.'" "Whenever he (Muhammad, swas) came back from a journey, the children of his household would be taken out to meet him."
He (swas) used to hug them close to him, as 'Abd-Allaah ibn Ja;far said:
"Whenever the Prophet (swas) came back from a journey, we would be taken out to meet him. One day we met him, Hasan, Husayn and I. He carried one of us in front of him, and another on his back, until we entered Madeenah." (Saheeh Muslim, 4/1885-2772; see the commentary in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 8/56).
Often, non-Muslims families do the contrary and it sounds to them as the best education. It is not that they are worse parents. They try their best. But, they just do not know any better. Our Prophet (swas) taught Muslim parents the best way to treat their children and spouse. What follows should explain its basic principles and how they contradict the education I have witnessed.
My father once saw me pocking one finger into my nose. He slapped my hand and I began to cry in protest, very surprised. He looked at me with angry eyes, slapped me on the head and exclaimed, “Now, you will know why you are crying!” My mother rushed and said softly “Now, now, hush, my baby. If you continue crying, I will slap you on the face myself.” I stopped. “Medicine!” my mom exclaimed. That was the education of the third generation after the wold wars.
When we were young, we were told “mind your manners!”, “do not eat with your left hand!”, “sit straight!”, “put your hands on the table!”, “cast down your eyes when you are talking to your elders!”. We stood stiff, not knowing what to do, not wanting to anger our father or mother further. When we did a mistake, it was like having the breath of the Hellfire coming at us. Our cheeks went red, our lips began to