Steps towards better Islamic Parenting

 Amr Khaled

In the name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Ever-Merciful. All prayers and peace of Allah be upon our master, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)[1] .

Today’s episode is about a family with a goal. I wonder, does your family have a goal? I am sorry to begin the episode with such strong words. However, I am going to ask each family watching us today to define a goal for its memebers and to work on acheicveing it. If 10 per cent of the Arab world families put a goal and worked on achieving it, this would be a great accomplishment.

Actions are but by intentions

I would like to ask everybody watching us, whether husbands, wives, couples about to get married, as well as youth, would you be families with goals? Some people may think that these words are not suitable for the last ten nights of Ramadan. I would like to tell them, though, that in Islam, there is a concept called neyah (intention). It also menas: goal. Therefore, todayI am talking about the core of Islam; every deed should be preceded by neyah.

I wonder, what is the neyah of spouses who have been married for decades now? The Prophet (SAWA) told us that actions are but by intentions. Everyone gets but what he intended. Whoever emigrated for the sake of Allah, so his emigration would be for the sake of Allah [he will be rewarded for it]. Whoever emigrated for the sake of worldly benefits or a woman to marry, so his emigration would be for what he emigrated for.” Marriage is a great thing in our religion. However, there is a great difference between a goaless couple, and a couple married to achieve a pre-set goal.

I am realistic, so I would ask only 10 per cent of our viewres to set themselves a goal. To explain it, let me give you some examples:

1. Imagine that you see a group of workers constructing a building. You go and ask them about how this building would look like and they answer you, “We do not know exactly! We are exerting effort, and surely this would produce a wonderful thing!”

You know what… this is exactly what you are doing to your family [if you do not have a pre-set goal] !!

2. Imagine that a group of people boarded a plane. One of them went to the pilot and asked him about their distenation. “We will see where the wind would take us to”!! The pilot answered him!!

Now, imagine a child asking his father this very question: where are we [as a family] going?!

Due to the fact that by the time the family relations becomes lukewarm unlike the days of betrothal and first days of marriage. Therefore, you need to agree with your wife/husband on the goal you want to achieve within the next five years. This goal would serve you as the magnet, around which the whole family would gather.

The Family of ‘Imran and the goal of Jerusalem

They had a family goal, that is Jerusalem. Therefore such a family would never go astray. The wife of ‘Imran, who is the grandmother of Isa (AS) (Jesus) was called Hannah. Her name is not mentioned in the Qur’an, for names are not important as actions are. However, the Qur’an focused on her description as ‘Imran’s wife. This is good news for every wife, who participates in setting and achieving the goal of her family.

‘Imran’s Family Tree:

It is a highborn family, who is deep-rooted in history. The parents are the offspring of Dawud (AS)[2] (David) and Solaiman (AS) (Solomon). The father is called ‘Imran, the mother is called Hannah. They had girl who was married to prophet Zakariya (AS) (Zechariah). He was yet to be a prophet when he got married. Many years passed on without them having any children.

‘Imran’s wife had a wish related to the family’s goal. She wished to have a male child. However, she gave birth to female and called her Maryam (AS) (Mary), who later on gave birth to Isa (AS). Allah (SWT)[3] says what can be translated as, “An offspring of one another…” (TMQ[4], 3:34). Grandchildren were as full of good as their grandparents were.

Here, I would like to send a message to the families of noble origin, especially the youth members:

1. Do not damage your family’s good reputation through corruption, abandonment of worship, or unlawful relationships. Preserve it, though, so the good would extend to your grandchildren.

2. As for youth, when you approach marriage, you should consider the family of the one you are to marry. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) even told us to choose our spouises carefully.

Here comes the gravity of the problem of boyfriends and girlfriends. When they think of getting married, they do not consider the compatability of their families. They forget that marriage is a union between two families, as seen in ‘Imran’s family. They are mentioned in the Qur’an. There is a whole sura[5] in the Qur’an named after them.

This family was not rich. Rather, it was a simple one. Nevertheless, families are not wight by their wealth, but by their values. For example, the family of Yasser that consists of Yasser, Sumaiyah, and Ammar was a poor family, yet they were promised paradise by the Prophet (SAWA).

The value of ‘Imran’s family to Allah (SWT)

At the beginning of surat Al-‘Imran, Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Surely Allah has elected Adam and Noah and the house of Ibrahim and the house of ‘Imran over the worlds.” (TMQ, 3:33). The ayah[6] mentions two persons and two families.

One may ask, why the ayah did not mention the family of Adam and the family of Noah like it mentioned the family of ‘Imran and the family of Ibrahim?! this is because of latter preserved their commitment and their relegion is well as their parents have done. The family of Ibrahima are Ishaq (AS) (Isaac), Ya’qub (AS) (Jacob), and Isma’il (AS) (Ishmael). The family of ‘Imran are: Maryam, Zakariya, Yahya (AS) (John) ,and Isa. On other hand, Noah (AS) is montioned individualy because of his son’s sin, as well as Adam.

Do you understand now the value of the family and preserving its values and reputation?

Reasons of the revelation of this surah and its name

This surah was revealed during the Battle of Badr, before, and after the Battle of Uhud. During the Battle of Uhud, Allah (SWT) revealed what can be translated as, “Surely Allah has elected Adam and Noah…” what is the relation between this ayah and the timing of its revelation? The reason is that the goals of some of the companions have changed when they saw the booty.

This surah came to remind them of those who kept their goals ahead and never altered it.

Other parts of surat Al-‘Imran were revealed during the period in which the Prophet (SAWA) was receiving many delegations from allover the peninsula, first of which was Najran’s. They were Christians. They discussed with the Prophet (SAWA), who received them in the mosque, the issue of Isa (AS). The revelation came down telling them about a family whom they love, as a way to create a common ground between them and Muslims. Therefore, the ayah that can be translated as, “O population of the Book, (Or: Family of the Book, i.e., the Jews and Christians) come to a level word between us and you, that we worship none except Allah, …” (TMQ, 3:64) was revealed to them to tell them that we all worship but One Lord.

This family was a role model. Is yours a role model as well? Is your family a role model of the Muslims living in Europe? Is it a role model in your neighborhood? You can do it. It just needs to set your goal, no matter how simple it is. Start with the neighborhood. You can even establish a small project for the poor families. Help those who left schools to precede their education. Teach your neighbors the Qur’an recitation. Do it with your wife/husband and you will see how Allah (SWT) would bless you.

It is worth mentioning that ‘Imran’s family is mentioned twice in the noble Qur’an. Once in surat Al-‘Imran and the other in surat Maryam.

 

The Objective of Imran’s Wife

Imran’s wife lived in Palestine, which was occupied by the Romans after Dawud (AS) and Solaiman (AS). The Romans came with their paganism and discriminated against all those who did not believe in their creed. The people were forced to join their creed and those who refused were thrown in a yard where they were left to be eaten by lions and tigers. This place still exists as it is in Rome, and yet, we, Muslims are accused of forcing people to join Islam! Allah (SWT) says, what can be translated as, “There is no compulsion in the religion” (TMQ, 2:256). I will quote one of the orientalists who once said, “I wish Europe had known these words, which would have saved them all the wars led in the name of religion.” Today, we are required to refute these accusations although Islam never called for forcing people into the religion; rather, it was the Romans who took this course of action both before and after Christianity.

Imran’s wife saw the situation as it was, and how people were forced to change their creed and the extreme injustice Palestine was suffering at the time. Moreover, the Romans levied very high taxes and harshly discriminated against them. As for the majority of believers, they did nothing. What, on the other hand, did Imran’s wife do?

Imran’s wife had only one daughter who was married to Zakariya (AS). Zakariya, however, was growing old, as described by the ayah, which can be translated as, “He said, “Lord! Surely the bone (s) within me have become feeble, and my head is turned white with hoary (hair) (Literally: is aflame with hoary “hair”)” (TMQ, 19:4). Therefore, Imran’s wife was an old lady herself. Nevertheless, she decided that she needed to have another child; a new generation to be born out of her womb and reform the situation. She discussed the issue with Imran, who was one of the respectable scholars of Jerusalem, and was an old man himself. He reminded his wife that their own daughter has grown old and has difficulty herself in bearing children. Nevertheless, Imran’s wife’s point of view was that there must be an extension of them in this world to carry on the message.

The evidence that Imran’s wife was thinking in this manner is that Zakariya himself was also following the same line of thought. Zakariya once said, what is mentioned in the Qur’an and can be translated as, “And surely I fear my patronized (relatives) beyond me, (i.e., after I am gone) and my wife is barren. So bestow upon me, from very close to You, a constant patron (Some take it to mean a nephew or kinsman). Who will inherit of me and inherit (also) of the house of Yaaqû‍b; (Jacob) and make him, Lord, well satisfied” (TMQ, 19:5-6). Hence, Zakariya had the same worries. What Zakariya meant here by “inheritance” is the inheritance of the message of Allah and not money.

Nonetheless, Imrans’ wife was the first to stir the issue with her intentions. Where are you from Imran’s wife? Is your role in life limited to food, drink and child-bearing only? Where are those who seek to raise their sons to be like Salahuldin (Saladin)? Where are those who seek to raise their daughters to be like Maryam?

The Female’s Role in the Family and Society

The surah[7] is named after the whole family: Al-Imran. However, the role of the woman is very evident, as can be induced from the ayah which can be translated as, “As the wife of Imran said, “Lord! Surely I have vowed to you what is in my belly in dedication; so (graciously) accept (it) from me”” (TMQ, 3:35). Imran was not mentioned in the story but his wife was what the story focused on. This implies that the woman is the one who initiates change and reform.

I would like at this point to address our women: If you cherish Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), you must raise your children to support and honor Islam and Muslims. You have to always keep in mind that the surah was named after the whole family because they all insisted on achieving their goal and joined their efforts. This is a message to all of the family members: You must live for your mission and never give up.

Imran’s wife performed dua’a (supplication) to Allah to grant her a child, and miraculously, her dua’a was answered. She became pregnant. Although she was an old woman she became pregnant. Allah is the One who grants, and He (SWT) has in his grasp all matters. Notice that this all started with her intention. Moreover, Allah says, what can be translated as, “As the wife of Imran said, “Lord! Surely I have vowed to you what is in my belly in dedication; so (graciously) accept (it) from me”” (TMQ, 3:35). Usually people make vows for worldly matters, but rarely do we see people making vows for matters related to religion. Imran’s wife vowed that she will raise her child such that he will spend his whole life serving Allah. Keep in mind that she did not ask for a child for her own pleasure but for the mission.

A Small Action Could Be Greatened With an Intention

Another issue also worried Imran’s wife, and that was acceptance. She worried that Allah did not accept her vow, and she was a woman living for a mission. Allah (SWT) is aware of the honesty of intentions, and if the intention is an honest one, Allah will accept it and bless it. There are tiny actions that could be greatened with an intention, and there are great actions that could be diminished with an intention. There are many great actions taken, but are diminished because there was no accompanying intention. On the other hand, there are many small deeds that Allah greatens and blesses because of the accompanying intention. For example, a person could start by trying to reform and call to Islam two individuals, but does so with a sincere intention. In ten years, Allah could turn his audience into millions, just like what happened with myself and others.

Try for yourself. Fill your heart with enthusiasm towards your nation and religion, call people to the path of Allah, and observe how Allah will grant you success. This is similar to the case of Ibrahim (AS) (Abraham). Allah had ordered him with what can be translated as, “And announce to mankind the Pilgrimage; they shall come up (hurriedly) to you on foot and upon every slender (conveyance)” (TMQ, 22:27). Ibrahim (AS) did not understand how could his voice reach anyone in the empty desert, so Allah taught him that all he had to do was call out and announce, and He, Allah (SWT), would be in charge of carrying his call to people. Ibrahim, therefore, summoned his intention and announced that Allah ordered that they should perform hajj[8]. As a result, Allah assisted Ibrahim and granted him success, and until our day, we perform hajj. As for Imran’s wife’s pure intention, Allah will return Isa (AS) at the end of times to set up truth and justice.

Utmost Freedom Lies Within Sincerity to Allah

Imran’s wife was sincere in her intention that her child would be raised to serve Allah, and she did not mix it with any other worldly need to have a child. Allah says what can be translated as, “As the wife of Imran said, “Lord! Surely I have vowed to you what is in my belly in dedication; so (graciously) accept (it) from me. Surely You, (Ever) You, are The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Knowing”” (TMQ, 3:35). Utmost freedom accompanies things that are intended sincerely for Allah alone. When you are after fame or a certain position, for example, you become a prisoner of what you are after, and you lose your freedom. On the other hand, when you become a sincere worshipper of Allah, you experience utmost freedom. Freedom is that you are under the control of no worldly matter, but under the control of Allah.

This is what Imran’s wife intended. She intended that she would raise her child to be under control of no one but Allah. Imagine how much you would gain as a mother if you intend to do the same thing. Everything you do in terms of raising and educating your children, spending on them, and exercising patience with them, would be added to your balance of good deeds.

When Imran’s wife vowed that she will raise her child to serve Allah, and asked Allah to accept her vow, she got the answer, as mentioned in the Qur’an and can be translated as, “Then, her Lord graciously accepted her with fair acceptance” (TMQ, 3:37). As the months of pregnancy passed, she kept asking Allah acceptance, and thinking she would deliver a boy who would raise the word of truth and justice. However, she delivered a girl. Allah says what can be translated as, “So, as soon as she brought her forth, (i.e. gave birth to her) she said, “Lord! Surely I have brought her forth, a female.” And Allah knows best what she brought forth, and the male is not as the female” (TMQ, 3:36).

What Imran’s wife had in mind for her child was not suitable for a girl. This is a message from Allah to us: men are not the only ones capable of supporting and honoring their cause. Here is Maryam who would become one day an indicator of Allah’s name “The Creator” when she gives birth to Isa (AS) who will strongly influence the rest of humanity. This is what led Rome to embrace Christianity 300 years after Isa’s death. All these blessings and expansions initiated from the grandmother’s sincere intention.

Even though Imran’s wife delivered a girl, she kept her word and raised her daughter the way she intended. The ayah says what can be translated as, “… “And surely I have named her Maryam (Mary). And surely I take refuge with You for her and her offspring from the outcast Ash- shaytan” (The all vicious, i.e., the Devil)” (TMQ, 3:36). The name “Maryam” means the worshipper or the servant of worshippers. Imran’s wife insisted on achieving her goal, even if it would be of her daughter’s offspring. Right after she gave birth to her baby, she asked Allah that he would protect her and her offspring of Satan.

Sincerity in Dua’a Results in its Answering

Although it was impossible for Imran’s wife to have a child because of her old age, she was granted the child. She asked Allah to protect her child and her offspring from Satan, and Allah answered her. She wanted her child to reform the people, and Isa came to reform the Earth, and his influence will be felt until the Day of Judgment. Do we have among our women those who have the passion, strength and persistence to raise her children and achieve her objective?

Keep in Touch with Allah

It is obvious that Imran’s wife had a good relationship with Allah (SWT). There are two ways to communicate with Allah:

1- Dua’a

2- Confidential talk. You can speak to Allah confidentially any time.

3- You can ask Allah whether He is satisfied with you, or you can ask him never to leave you to yourself. You can complain to him and tell him your worries. This is what Imran’s wife did. Note how she spoke to Allah in the following ayahs as if it was a regular habit, “As the wife of Imran said, “Lord! Surely I have vowed to you what is in my belly in dedication; so (graciously) accept (it) from me. Surely You, (Ever) You, are The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Knowing.” So, as soon as she brought her forth, (i.e. gave birth to her) she said, “Lord! Surely I have brought her forth, a female.” And Allah knows best what she brought forth, and the male is not as the female. “And surely I have named her Maryam. And surely I take refuge with You for her and her offspring from the outcast Ash- shaytan” (The all vicious, i.e., the Devil)” (TMQ, 3:35-36).

Allah answered her by what can be translated as, “Then, her Lord graciously accepted her with fair acceptance, and caused her to grow a fair growth, and He made Zakariya her sponsor” (TMQ, 3:37). Can you have this sort of relationship with Allah? When you do, you will experience a lovely comforting feeling in your heart; you will feel the grandeur of Allah’s names “The Ever-Wise” and “The Ever-Affectionate”. Isa and Maryam are the product of a mother’s sincere intention, of a mother’s dedication to Allah, of a mother’s dua’a to Allah, and of a family’s objective.

Dua’a will Definitely be Answered

Imran’s wife was upset when she delivered a girl because she thought that her dua’a was not accepted. However, her dua’a had been accepted and Isa came from her offspring. It is not necessary that the dua’a be answered at once. This is another lesson to be learnt. The dua’a will definitely be answered, but Allah has his own rules in this world, and there is a timing for everything. It was not time for Isa yet, and it was not time for change yet. But renewal was underway, and the dua’a was not wasted, but postponed. She gave birth to Isa’s mother. Renewal and reform need time. It might be the case that the generation present at the time was not the one that deserved victory; it could have been a weak and lazy generation. It could have been an active generation, but it was not time for change yet.

Are we a generation of revival? Are we working on reforming the Earth? Is there anyone among us who has a sincere intention as Imran’s wife? Is there any parent among us who has an intention similar to Imran’s wife’s? Allah once said to Musa (AS) (Moses), what can be translated as, “… make your homes a Qiblah, (A direction for prayer, i.e., make your houses places of worship)” (TMQ, 10:87). This could be an objective for a family: it could meet for worshipping Allah, for production, for revival, etc. Is your family as such?

A Mother’s Intention Honors a Nation

I hope that after this episode, women will set an objective and sincere intention, ask Allah His support and performs dua’a, and become persistent towards their objective. It is possible that what you set as on objective would one day become a revival project that would revive the nation. A mother’s intention could revive a nation!

Translated by: The English Convoy – Dar al-Tarjama

AmrKhaled.net © جميع حقوق النشر محفوظة
This Article may be published and duplicated freely for private purposes, as long as the original source is mentioned. For all other purposes you need to obtain the prior written approval of the website administration. For info: management@daraltarjama.com

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[1] Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him]

[2] Alayhe as-Salam [All Peace of Allah be upon him]

[3] SWT = Subhanahu wa Ta’ala [Glorified and Exalted Be He].

[4]TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur’an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur’an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

[5] A chapter; the Qur’an is comprised of 114 surahs

[6] A verse in the Qur’an

[7] A chapter; the Qur’an is comprised of 114 surahs

[8] The pilgrimage to Makkah during the first half of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, and is the fifth pillar of Islam

 

Amr Khaled

Who is Thul-Qarnayn?

He is a man who traveled all over the globe with his team of scientists. The key to his personality lies in two things: the first is related to the worldly life and the second is related to faith. The worldly life part is about his passion to discover the unknown and the faith part is about being good to people and helping them to improve. Thul-Qarnayn used his passion of discovering the unknown to reform the earth.

His story came in Surat[1] Al-Kahf immediately after the story of Musa (AS)[2] (Moses) and Al-Khedr. Allah[3] (SWT)[4] says what can be translated as, “Say, “I will soon recite to you a mention of him.” (TMQ, 18:83).[5]

Allah (SWT) did not say anything about Thul-Qarnayn’s birth nor any details about his personal life. HE only told us about his universal power which he directed to do good. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Surely We established him in the earth, and We brought him means to (accomplish) everything.” (TMQ, 18:84).

Thul-Qarnayn and Ambition:

Something strange is noticed: Why was he mentioned in the holy Qur’an by the name of “Thul-Qarnayn”? Is it because he reached the two furthest sides of the sun (the sunset and sunrise)? Or is it because he controlled the two aspects of civilization (the materialistic and the spiritual) which is a deeper meaning?. Only a rare few control both aspects of civilization and Thul-Qarnayn had them both; the knowledge and the ability to direct it for the good of earth. He controlled the earth through using the means he had (hard work, engineering, geography, medicine, history, sciences, languages, architecture and military equipment), not by being lazy and relying on others.

Thul-Qarnayn’s Up-bringing:

Thul-Qarnayn had worked on his ambition day and night, but the question is how did he become such a hero? We can find the answer in the following three points:

1. Thul-Qarnayn is the product of a possible 300 years of an entire generation’s work. A work that has started with learning, such as the story of Musa and Al-Khidr, and a nation with a mission, that had determination, power and knowledge and finally it produced Thul-Qarnayn. He, therefore, did not become so great all by himself. Hence, we should start planting the seeds that could produce the next Thul-Qarnayn in our ummah (Muslim nation).

2. Thul-Qarnayn started with a dream, his dream involved the whole earth. His ambition was not restricted by places. Allah (SWT) did not describe where Thul-Qarnayn had traveled geographically; HE told us that he has reached the furthest point on earth, both to the east and to the west. Why not start dreaming ourselves?

3. Thul-Qarnayn had a set of values and ethics with which he was able to achieve all of his glory. This set of values includes (the value of work; the value of knowledge; the value of clean-hands; the value of ambition; the value of giving; the value of making others happy; the value of professionalism as shown in building the dam and finally the value of justice and hating injustice and passiveness. Thul-Qarnayn was qualified enough to reign.

Trust in Allah and Using Means:

Thul-Qarnayn is mentioned in more than 20 ayahs[6] in the Noble Qur’an. Does Allah (SWT) love him that much? Moreover, the companions of the Prophet (SAWS)[7] have heard those ayahs in Makkah and they were able to do what Thul-Qarnayn had done, within 25 years, generation after generation. They understood the whole concept and the values therein. In addition, this story came immediately after the story of Al-khidr who was talking about the supernatural and the spiritual, because a balancing story of using means must follow.

The Journeys of Thul-Qarnayn:

Today’s episode is a message for the whole world. It is a message for Muslims that their position now is unacceptable, and a message to the powerful all around the world to direct their power to do good and to reform.

We will talk about the first journey of Thul-Qarnayn. It is said that he went to Yemen towards the place where the sun sets. Imagine the huge military forces that traveled with him, together with engineers, doctors, geography scientists and linguists.

Sunset, to anyone, is the place where the sun sets whether he was in front of a sea or a mountain, but Thul-Qarnayn has actually reached the furtherst point on earth to the west guided by his geography scientists. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, (The western part of the then known world) he found it setting in a muddy spring” (TMQ: 18:86). There he has found a civilized people who had money but, unfortunately, were unjust. Thul-Qarnayn found in that land, as well, many oppressed farmers who had no rights, as the rich and the powerful took everything away. At first when he arrived, the farmers thought he came to take away their bounties. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “We said, “O Thulqarnayn, either you will torment (them) or you will take to yourself towards them a fair (way).” (tmq, 18:86). This was a test for Thul-Qarnayn after becoming a global power. What would he do? Thul-Qarnayn established a new constitution and did not punish who has previously committed a sin. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “He said, “As for him who did injustice, we will eventually torment him; thereafter he will be turned back to his Lord; then He will torment him with a highly maleficent torment.” (TMQ, 18:87). He enacted deterrent punishments, and there was no chaos or favors. He encouraged self-restrain among the people. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “And as for him who believes and does righteousness, then he will have as recompense the fairest (reward), and we soon will say to him, of our command, Ease.” (TMQ, 18:88).

Thus, Thul-Qarnayn had spread justice in that land. He did not leave until the new constitution was firmly established, after which he walked millions of kilometers towards sunrise.

Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Until, when be reached the rising of the sun, he found it rising upon a people for whom We had not made a screen there from.” (TMQ, 18:90).

Those people lived in a natural disaster without even clothes to protect them from the sun. They suffered from draught and had no water, just like some poor countries in Africa nowadays where there are no trees, plants or water. Their problem was that they have succumbed to this disaster and accepted it as their fate. They have forgotten that digging well and rivers and land reclamation can be their fate as well.

In the first journey, justice was needed while in the second developmental reform was needed. Thul-Qarnayn had undertaken the best achievement which has benefited even us until today; building the dam to protect us from Gog and Magog.

Thul-Qarnayn has then reached a vast land situated between two mountains in the northern part of the world. Maybe it was in the Soviet Union, Georgia or China, nobody knows. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Until, when he reached between the two barriers, he found close to them a people who almost did not comprehend speech.” (TMQ, 18:93). There he found people of new nationalities, people who could hardly speak out of fear, for when he arrived, they were in a calamity, where their children were killed and their crops were burnt and stolen. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “They said, “O Thulqarnayn! Surely YaÉj‍ûj and MÉajû‍j (God and Magog) are corruptors in the earth; so shall we make for you a tribute on condition that you make a barrier between us and them?” (Literally: between us and between them)” (TMQ, 18: 94). It was clear that they know him very well and that his fame has become global at that time. They were believers but Gog and Magog are two tribes whose aim is to steal these people’s bounties and to massacre them. They repeated that annually then would go back to their land.

These people were rich as they offered Thul-Qarnayn money to build a dam in order to protect them. They knew very well that building the dam was the solution. They had many natural resources as well, for Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Bring me ingots of iron.” (TMQ. 18:96). In addition, they had workers and manpower. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “”Blow!” Until, when he made it a fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour out molten brass on it.” (TMQ, 18:96). What was missing with these people? Their land was full of oil, they had youth, they had ideas and wealth but the willpower was missing. The first story was about justice, the second about despair and the third was about willpower. They did not want to make a move despite the fact that some of them die every day. They just wanted to sit and wait for the savior.

Thul-Qarnayn rejected taking money for building the dam. Allah says what can be translated as, “so help me with (your) power” (TMQ, 18:95). If he had built that dam without their help, hundreds of other people would come to attack them. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “so help me with (your) power, so that I will make up a rampart between you and between them.” (TMQ, 18:95). He then started to gather straight blocks of iron. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Bring me ingots of iron.” (TMQ, 18:96). Thousands of workers had participated in that national project and built something greater than the pyramid itself. They have lifted and adjusted the iron in place, as he had an unusual scientific power. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Until, when he had leveled up between the two cliffs, he said, “Blow!” Until, when he made it a fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour out molten brass on it.” (TMQ. 18:96). Thul-Qarnayn had ordered them to heat the iron, and to bring it to him when it became red as he would then pour the melted copper over the iron. When the melted copper would spread through the iron, it would solidify and become so smooth that nobody can climb on it.

This is the definition of teamwork. Thul-Qarnayn has undertaken three tasks while they have undertaken three tasks. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Bring me ingots of iron.” Until, when he had leveled up between the two cliffs, he said, “Blow!” Until, when he made it a fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour out molten brass on it.” (TMQ, 18:96). Gog and Magog came after building the dam shouting and yelling while Thul-Qarnayn was waiting on the other side with his army. This means that he had stayed with these people for almost a year. Why did he not fight them then? It is because it is better to protect the people without war if possible. Heroism is not always about war.

Gog and Magog were not able neither to climb the dam nor to destroy it. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “So, in no way were they able to surmount it, and in no way were they able to bore it.” (TMQ, 18:97). Thul-Qarnayn then made his last speech and attributed all the glory to Allah. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord. Then when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it pounded (into dust); and the promise of my Lord has (always) been true.” (TMQ, 18:98).

Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) told us that each day Gog and Magog would try to dig into this dam but they would not be able to until the Day of Judgment, where the dam would be opened for them to destroy the human race. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Till, when YaÉjû‍j and MaÉjû‍j (Gog and Magog) are opened up, and they press down from every slope, (i.e., broken themselves into sects)” (TMQ, 21:96).

I don not know where they are on earth nor why the satellites could not see them, but I do believe in our Noble Qur’an and this would be one of the signs of the Day of Judgment. I suggest telling the story of Thul-Qarnayn to our 7-8 years old children, may be someone in this generation would be like him.

Translated by: The English Convoy – Dar al-Tarjama

AmrKhaled.net © جميع حقوق النشر محفوظة
This Article may be published and duplicated freely for private purposes, as long as the original source is mentioned. For all other purposes you need to obtain the prior written approval of the website administration. For info: management@daraltarjama.com

——————————————————————————–

[1] Surat= A chapter; the Qur’an is comprised of 114 surahs.

[2] AS= Alayhe as-Salam [All Peace of Allah be upon him].

[3] Allah = The word Allah is the Arabic term for God. Although the use of the word “Allah” is most often associated with Islam, it is not used exclusively by Muslims; Arab Christians and Arabic-speaking Jews also use it to refer to the One God. The Arabic word expresses the unique characteristics of the One God more precisely than the English term. Whereas the word “Allah” has no plural form in Arabic, the English form does. Allah is the God worshipped by all Prophets, from Adam to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

[4]SWT= Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and exalted Be He)

[5]TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur’an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur’an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

[6] Ayah= A verse in the Qur’an.

[7] SAWS= Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him].

Amr Khaled

In the past 50 years, there has been a serious change in the role of the father, not only in the Arab countries, but in the whole world. Before this change, the father used to be the breeder, the advisor, and the source of values and ethics. He provided a balance to the mother’s emotional approach with his reasonable handling of matters. Then a serious change occurred during the past 50 years. Today, and through this program, we are asking you all to help us reverse this trend which prevailed during the past 50 years and caused many catastrophes.Now, let us come closer to this change which occurred to the role of the father. The change was that the father authorized the mother to bring up the children on his behalf; as if he literally made her a power of attorney to handle this matter. On the other hand, he settled for the role of financing the family. Frankly speaking, life is not easy; I know fathers who are working day and night to provide for and secure family needs. However, this authorization to the mother was a serious mistake. Why should fathers have children then if they did not take part in their upbringing?!

The aim of today’s episode is to do away with this power of attorney. This is because mothers are not able to bring up children alone without fathers. Bringing up children is simply like a boat with two oars, each of the parents needs to row with one oar so that the boat moves. What happened in the past 50 years to the role of the father is wrong because Allah (SWT) created fathers and mothers; each with a role in bringing up children. This does not mean that I am telling fathers to leave their jobs; on the contrary, I am just pointing out to them that they have another role to play. Since fathers are the ones who chose to have children who will carry their names, then they have to take part in their upbringing.

Fathers can give children two things: material things and time. Which of these two things is more precious, more important and more beneficial to them? No doubt it is your time which constitutes your presence; the presence of values and the presence of the value of manhood for your children. The concept of the withdrawal of fathers, leaving their role in bringing up children to mothers is wrong by all means. They must immediately tear this power of attorney and reassume their role in their children’s upbringing.

Believe me you will taste the sweetness that Allah (SWT) bestows in being close to your children and passing time with them. Needless to say that, your presence must be through real interaction and not just an artificial presence with your only body and without your soul. To be present means to interact and love.

I would like to ask fathers to observe the life history of all the prophets and their roles as fathers. They were very successful fathers while at the same time delivering Allah’s message and reforming nations. Obviously, no one was as busy as they were. See the relation between Dawud (AS)[4] (David) and his son Solaiman (AS) (Solomon) and how Dawud (AS) taught his son and was close to him. As a result, the kingdom of Solaiman (AS) was more powerful than that of Dawud (AS). Look at Ibrahim (AS) (Abraham) and his son Isma’il (AS) (Ishmael) and notice how they were close to each other. Allah says what can be translated as, “Then when he (His son) reached the age of endeavoring with him” (TMQ, 37:102)[5]. Also, in another ayah[6], He spoke about their foundation of al-Ka’ba together, “And as Ibrahîm raised up the foundations of the Home and Isma’il (with him), (saying), ‘Our Lord, (graciously) accept (this) from us…'” (TMQ, 2:127). Whenever you circumambulate the Ka’ba, remember your role as a father; remember that it was built by a father, Ibrahim (AS) and his son Isma’il (AS).

Fathers must restore their role in bringing up their children for three reasons. The first one is that your sons and your daughters are in need of you. The second reason is that you really deprived yourself from the sweetness of this relation by staying away, and you are the loser by all means. The third reason is that Allah (SWT) will hold you accountable for them on the Day of Judgment.

I will begin with the first reason that your sons and daughters are in need of you. This is mostly during two periods. The first one is when your child has turned four. This is because in the first four years the mother is the pivotal person in his/her life and the father has a limited role.

Starting from the age of four to seven, your children are in need of you, especially your son. Psychiatrists say that, by natural disposition, sons try to form their personality as men during this period. They try to discover the world of men and gradually get rid of the girlish way of behaving. In this period, the son wants to imitate and be closer to his father than his mother. Moreover, he wants to attract the attention of his father by any means; but unfortunately fathers deprive their sons from this innate disposition which makes them suffer.

Your sons are in need of you and your important role in their upbringing. Notice the important role of Abdul-Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (SAWS). He used to accompany him to his sessions with Quraysh’s leaders beside the Ka’ba. This closeness helped the Prophet (SAWS) experience the presence of a great man in his life which is an essential thing in childhood. Later, his uncle took over this position.

The second stage during which children, especially daughters, need their fathers is the teenage years. During this period, children encounter many psychological and physiological problems that make them seek out security. Fathers are the source of this security. Your hug and kiss to your daughter are so valuable. Notice how the Prophet (SAWS), the father, treated his daughters. He used to kiss Fatimah (RA)[7] on her forehead whenever he met her to the extent that on his final day she knew that he was going to die because he did not hurry to kiss her. Fathers should give all tenderness and love to their daughters because they need it and are looking for it.

Notice the attitude of the Prophet (SAWS) when Ali (RA) proposed to marry Fatimah (RA) and how he (SAWS) facilitated the matter for Ali (RA), especially that he did not have any money. The Prophet (SAWS) accepted his old armor as a dowry and did not ask him for anything except that he treat her well. The Prophet (SAWS) knew that Ali (RA) was the right person who would take care of his daughter whether he was poor or rich. On their wedding day, the Prophet (SAWS) went with them to their home, gathered their hands and prayed for them to live in peace and serenity; a gesture that was meant to help his daughter overcome her shyness on such an occasion.

Everyone knew how much the Prophet (SAWS) loved Fatimah (RA) which made one of the Prophet’s companions grant him a piece of land near to his home to build Fatimah (RA) a house because hers was far away. He (SAWS) was always the shelter for both Ali and Fatimah (RA), instructing them, reconciling them and simply solving their problems. This is the true role of the father. Your children are in need of you. Some children do not feel or know their fathers whom they carry their names till they die.

We reach the end of today’s episode where we explored the essentiality of the role of the father. Your children need your time more than your money. This was today’s principle in our mission to regain the family’s unity. We are not belittling the value of work, but we are looking for balance and moderation. Your effort to financially secure your children is in itself for the sake of Allah. We are trying to change a wrong notion that prevailed for many years.

AmrKhaled.net © جميع حقوق النشر محفوظة

Dr Ahmed Adam 

Introduction

The topic of sex has universal appeal. Sex is portrayed daily in various forms-directly or indirectly-in newspapers, magazines, cinemas, and in conversations between people. The topic of sex conjures images of sexuality, promiscuity, lewdness, adultery, fornication, pornography, rape, teenage pregnancies, pedophilia, gays, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives, abortions, and HIV/AIDS.

Yet somehow, despite the fact that “everyone” is influenced by this topic, it seems that most parents find this topic somewhat “delicate” to discuss with their children. Children of today seem to be maturing at a faster rate than a generation ago and often ask intelligent questions of their parents. Some parents do their level best to satisfy their children’s natural curiosity. Other parents simply don’t know how to handle their fast-growing kids and often assume that the less said about the subject of sex, the better. In some homes the word “sex” is taboo, and children are often reprimanded for asking innocent questions. Parents assume that children will grow up and “they will learn,” or that the school or friends are “responsible” for sharing this knowledge. The reality is that parents who have this view are overlooking a major and significant source of correct information regarding this topic-themselves! Our children have the right to be given an unbiased view of sex, based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Western media is very powerful, and often the main driver is money rather than values based on sound moral principles and with their roots in religion. This essay deals with this topic in an objective manner to throw some light on this issue and thereby, perhaps, give some confused teenagers a clearer perspective of the choices that they can make. I am not a moralist or a mawlana. I do not intend to be judgmental of any individual, group, or society, but simply give my opinion on this topic from an Islamic point of view. Any errors are my own and I seek the forgiveness of Allah Most High for any errors contained in this article.

  • Sex Education
  • The Islamic View of These Problems
  • Sex and Hygiene
  • Prostitution
  • Willpower and Discipline
  • Prevalence of Illegal Sex
  • Role of Parents
  • Conclusion

Sex Education

Studies have shown that the average teenager and preteen receive their sex education from the following sources in order of priority:

1- Friends, who may then share pornographic magazines, books, and Internet

2- TV and movies, which then lead to magazines and newspapers, or school (video or discussions of video), parents (through discussion of TV and movies)

Parents fail to realize that everyone is teaching their children about sex except them. Everyone is telling your children about sex, so how sure are you that this information is based on the guidelines laid down in Islam?

Sex is a fashionable industry that changes like the flavor of the month. Sex is a topic that advertisers and marketers use very effectively to sell their products. Unfortunately, the sources of information available to the preteen are often biased. Illusions are created that everyone is having sex … in these modern times, anything goes … you only live once, so make the most of it, and it is “cool” to chew a particular brand of chewing gum or smoke a particular brand of cigarette because that will make you rich and successful and ensure that you can attract the perfect partner. In fact, the reality is far removed from the illusion that is fed to the senses of our unsuspecting youth.

With aggressive and sustained marketing, society comes to accept abnormal activities as normal. Ten years ago, what was considered abnormal, unthinkable, abhorrent, immoral, and shameful, is today considered fashionable, normal, and modern. A typical example is that after watching a few episodes of any prime-time soap opera on TV, one gets the impression that adultery is acceptable and normal; premarital sex fashionable, and that deceit, trickery, lying, and manipulation are essential to get your man or woman, no matter what the cost or the hurt that others suffer in the process. Furthermore, the printed and visual media create the impression that marriage is old fashioned, live-in relationships and cohabitation are in vogue, and being gay is fashionable. Homosexuality, bestiality, and escort clubs (prostitution) are all normal. We have reached a stage (through effective marketing) where certain individuals in society justify everything by their right to freedom of expression. If this is really freedom, then why do we see so many examples of the following scenarios:

1- Young adults are being infected with the HIV virus at an alarming rate. South Africa has one of the fastest growing number of infected people in the world; HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in this country. The age group that is mainly targeted is teenagers and young adults.

2- A devout mother, loyal to her husband, suddenly develops a sexually transmitted disease (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, or even HIV/AIDS); how did this happen? STDs have reached epidemic proportions in America, where 40 million people are infected with some form of STD.

3- Teenage pregnancy is on the increase; girls as young as 11 are getting pregnant-a child is pregnant with a child. Many teenagers are having abortions, which leads to emotional, physical, and mental side effects.

4- Girls as young as 10-12 are having unprotected sex, with devastating consequences. When questioned, these young children say, “No one told me that it is wrong.”

5- Wonderful homes break up and end in divorce because the husband (or wife) was having an adulterous relationship; the main victims in this scenario are the children.

6- Females as young as 2 and as old as 80 are being raped.

7- Homosexuality is on the increase; acts of sodomy that were once considered an abomination against humanity, are now considered normal to the extent that gay marriages are being allowed in some parts of the world.

8- More and more relationships end up in hurt, depression, unhappiness, conflict, and regret.

The above examples show that the issue of sexual liberation has in fact enslaved the very people that it attempts to free. The sexual liberators are being enslaved in the chains of disease, depression, divorce, dissatisfaction, double standards, deceit, and discontent. Individuals, organizations, and governments are actively searching for solutions to halt this tide of immorality and its associated truckload of problems.

Recent research has shown that two-thirds of the schools in America are now promoting the idea of “no sex before marriage” and that “safe sex” is not the use of condoms, but safe sex is “no sex before marriage,” and only one sex partner for life (no adultery). Furthermore, many states in the US are promoting the idea of having pride in remaining a virgin until marriage, and many students are signing certificates vowing their commitment to this new “fashion” of abstinence.

How long will this last? Will we once again undergo a new sexual revolution? The answer to this dilemma and to all dilemmas facing any society where the fabric of society is under threat from immorality, alcoholism, drugs, gambling, crime, dishonesty, and materialism can be found in the Qur’an, which has been sent for all humanity. Its principles have a universal application for all times. It was the task of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to give a practical implementation of the universal message of the Qur’an so that anyone who follows the perfect example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) will be on the straight path.

The Islamic View of These Problems

Adultery

Adultery means to have sex with a person who is not your legally married partner; there are two types of adultery:

1- A married person who has sex with an unmarried person

2- A married person who has sex with another married person

Would you like adultery for your mother, wife, sister, or daughter? If not, then why perpetuate it or condone it? There are several verses in the Qur’an and many authentic hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), which give clear guidance on the choices that we can make.

[Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret;….] (Al-A`raf 7:33)

[Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).] (Al-Israa’ 17:32)

1- Marriage is a sacred relationship between a husband and wife. When either spouse has a sexual relationship outside this relationship, this is usually done secretly; thus there is breakdown of trust in the relationship.

2- The guilty party may contract a sexually transmitted disease, which can then be transmitted to the innocent victim.

3- The victim is usually the female. She has two options, either stay and ignore what the father of her children is doing, or ask for a divorce. If the woman does not have a source of income, she either has to return to her parents and thus be a burden on them, or eke out a living and thus raise her children in poverty.

4- Children are the innocent victims in divorce. They bear the brunt of the constant fights between their parents and grow up with emotional and psychological scars.

Fornication

Fornication (zina) means to have sex with anyone while not yet married; there are two types of fornication:

1- An unmarried person who has sex with another unmarried person

2- An unmarried person who has sex with a married person; in this case, it is fornication for the unmarried person but adultery for the married person

[Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication; and any that does this (not only) meets punishment (but) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy.] (Al-Furqan 25:68-69)

In this verse, the sin of fornication is given its seriousness by being ranked as follows:

  • The first major sin is associating partners with Allah Most High
  • The second major sin is murder
  • The third major sin is fornication

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a man commits fornication, faith departs from him and there is something like a canvas roof over his head; and when he quits that action, faith returns to him” (Abu Dawud #4673).

The Prophet said, “The one who commits illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer at the time of committing illegal sexual intercourse, and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft, and a drinker of alcoholic drink is not a believer at the time of drinking. Yet, (the gate of) repentance is open thereafter” (Al-Bukhari 8, 801).

Furthermore, the punishment is described in the following verse: [The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication-flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day] (An-Nur 24:2).

Furthermore, if the girl becomes pregnant as a consequence of this premarital or extramarital act, then the child is not considered a legal heir according to the following hadith:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a man commits fornication with a free woman or a slave woman, the child is the product of fornication, and neither does he inherit nor may anyone inherit from him” (At-Tirmidhi #3054).

Marriage

Marriage is the public proclamation that gives legal, physical, and spiritual license to have sex with your partner.

[Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste until Allah gives them means out of His Grace.] (An-Nur 24:33)

[For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s Praise-for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward.] (Al-Ahzab 33:35)

Muslim males and females are enjoined to marry. There are various guidelines pertaining to selecting a suitable partner in life. This choice cannot be left to chance. However, if anyone does not have the means to marry, this dilemma does not entitle anyone to fornicate; rather he or she is enjoined to remain chaste and to patiently persevere and seek help from Allah Most High. To guard your chastity is a test from Allah Most High and requires a lot of discipline and willpower. However, those individuals who succeed in avoiding fornication and adultery, [for them has Allah Most High prepared forgiveness and a great reward.] Furthermore, according to the following verses, there are clear instructions for those people who commit fornication and then decide to marry:

[Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an unbeliever marry such a woman: to the believers such a thing is forbidden.] (An-Nur 24:3)

[(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, when you give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:5)

These verses emphasize the need and pursuit of sexual purity both before marriage and within marriage, and give guidelines as to the selection of a partner. Sex counselors and psychologists now confirm the wisdom behind these verses. A person who has multiple partners is always comparing the spouse’s performance to that of other partners. If an “experienced” boy marries a virgin wife, he may be unhappy with her inexperience and may expect (and sometimes demand) more. This can lead to a very fragile relationship, which is bound to flounder. Unfortunately, some men have a double standard wherein they feel free to have sex with multiple partners before marriage, but insist that their wife must be a virgin.

Sex and Hygiene

Islam places a very high emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. This requirement, together with sexual purity both before marriage and during marriage, tremendously minimizes the risks of diseases associated with the sexual organs. The need and emphasis on cleanliness is highlighted in the following:

[O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When anyone sits between the four parts of her body and exerts himself (has intercourse), bathing becomes obligatory (for both).” (Muslim)

Sa`id ibn Al-Musayab (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) said to ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), “I would like to ask you something, but I am embarrassed.” She said, “Ask and don’t be shy, for I am your mother.” He asked about a man who had intercourse but did not ejaculate. She said, on the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “If the two circumcised parts encountered each other, ghusl is obligatory” (Ahmad and Malik).

Prostitution

Prostitution is forbidden in Islam as indicated in the following hadith:

A slave girl of some Ansari came and said, “My master forces me to commit fornication.” Thereupon, the following verse was revealed: [But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity)] (Abu Dawud #2304).

It is a very sad reflection on our society that some people are forced into prostitution due to circumstances that may be beyond their control. The most wicked and severe form of prostitution is that of child prostitution, enforced either by their parents (very rarely, but most abhorrently), caregivers, or swindlers. Furthermore, studies have shown that there is a very high correlation between prostitution and drugs. Drug dealers usually prey on unsuspecting teenagers at shopping malls, cinemas, and schools, by offering them free drugs. The unsuspecting teenagers become addicted and involuntarily become “customers for life” to these drug dealers. The teenagers then resort to begging, stealing, and prostituting to service this habit. Teenagers should be on the alert for pimps and drug dealers-nothing in life comes for free, there is always a catch. Be alert. Furthermore, be very alert to the dangers presented by pedophiles who derive a perverted sense of pleasure in abusing young children.

Willpower and Discipline

Adultery and fornication do not happen automatically. The mind plays an important role in the whole scenario. Everyone is constantly bombarded with visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli that are processed in the mind. These messages can either be controlled or uncontrolled. If teenagers have low self-esteem and want to be accepted, they will give in to temptation. On the other hand, teenagers who are firm in their faith in Allah Most High and who have positive self-esteem, use their willpower to control temptation and channel it into another form of energy.

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah Most High has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery, whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the inner-self wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation” (Al-Bukhari 8, 609).

Prevalence of Illegal Sex

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “From among the portents of the hour is that (open) illegal sexual intercourse will prevail, and men will decrease in number while women will increase” (Al-Bukhari 8, 800A).

This hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) very accurately describes our current state of affairs. San Francisco and Sydney are famous for their “gay liberation” celebrations. Nudist colonies, escort agencies, pornography, teenage pregnancies, and adultery are so common that people seem to be fighting a losing battle against this tidal wave of immorality and have come to accept all of these activities as the “modern generation.”

Furthermore, with each generation, the level and availability of lewdness is increasing; for example, pornography is available in our homes on TV and the Internet, thus affecting the mindset of our children from an early age. Homosexuality is gaining support throughout many parts of the world. Some advocates of the gay movement are claiming that they are born gay. This is a ruse to cover their shameful behavior. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Allah Most High created everything in pairs, male and female. Anyone who goes against this plan will be answerable to Allah Most High.

The above verses from the Qur’an and various hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly indicate that both fornication and adultery are forbidden in Islam; furthermore, the long-term harm of these acts far outweigh and short-term momentary gratification.

In simple terms, the Islamic requirement is as follows:

1- Boys and girls should not have sex before they are married

2- Sex is only permissible between legally married partners

3- Within the arena of the marriage contract, sex is a sacred, private, and personal act between the married couple only; this means that the husband and wife should guard their “bedroom secrets” from all prying ears and eyes.

4- Neither of the partners is allowed to have sex with anyone else. This means that neither the husband nor the wife can indulge in the un-Islamic practices of wife swapping parties, visiting prostitutes, or having sex with another married or single person.

5- If the husband is legally married to more than one wife (up to a maximum of four) then he is legally allowed to have sex with all four wives provided that he treats all of them equally.

6- When in doubt about anything, use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to give clarity on any matter.

Role of Parents

Our children are faced daily with images from TV, movies, videos, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, and friends about the “sexual revolution.” Their young minds are being brainwashed with ideas that morals, modesty, and values are old-fashioned. If we do not tell our children about the facts of life and what is acceptable moral behavior from a cultural, and, more importantly, from an Islamic viewpoint, then we should share the blame with our children if they become ensnared in the vices of sex, drugs, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, alcohol, and gambling. The methodology should be as follows:

Advice to a Preteen Daughter

Your body is now undergoing various changes that will prepare you to be a woman. With these changes comes the responsibility that you will one day be a mother. Your body will undergo various changes in the size of your breasts, face, height, weight, as well as the onset of a flow of menstrual blood on a regular basis every month-this is nothing to be scared of, it is Allah Most High’s miracle, where your womb is made ready every month to receive an egg for fertilization.

These changes are coming much earlier in this generation compared to a few decades ago. Children are maturing much faster than we can ever imagine. In previous generations, young girls started menstruating from the age of 13 years; today, girls as young as 9 years are beginning to menstruate. This means that if you have sex at this age, you can become pregnant. If you become pregnant at this age, your life will be shattered and the whole course of your life will be changed. Your dreams, goals, and wishes to pursue a career may have to be postponed or abandoned forever.

You must be happy with your own body. Your body will undergo various hormonal changes, which will lead to emotional changes and mood fluctuations as well as pimples. This is a time for conflict with everyone, and parents have to restrain themselves and discuss issues with love and understanding. The main word of caution for you is to avoid peer pressure from your friends, who will encourage you to start experimenting with kissing and sex. Some teenagers can make very hurtful remarks and may make you feel very isolated if you do not participate. Don’t listen to them. You must have enough confidence in yourself that you are following the commands laid down by Allah Most High and you should simply say “No, I am not interested.” It will be a decision that you will never regret. Particularly avoid the older boys and men. They will shower you with gifts, flowers, and false proclamations of love, but they are simply throwing out a net to get you into bed so that you lose your virginity. They will then dump you and go to the next unsuspecting girl. You will have lost various personal things in the process:

You will have lost your virginity.

You will have contravened the Qur’anic injunction not to commit fornication (zina).

You may well have gained an unwanted pregnancy (many girls still have the mistaken myth that they cannot fall pregnant after their first sexual encounter.)

You may have gained a sexually transmitted disease (including HIV/AIDS). There are no cures for some sexual diseases: herpes and genital warts, for example. Some diseases, if not properly treated, can lead to infertility and you will not be able to have children. Or they lead to an increased incidence of cancer of the cervix (entrance to the womb).

Advice to a Preteen Son

Your body is undergoing various changes that will prepare you to enter adulthood so that one day you can be a father. You will notice changes in your voice; you may develop acne and hair on various parts of your body. Nocturnal emission is common at this age, as well as mood swings. Your natural body odors will increase, so it is important for you to bathe regularly and pay special attention to personal hygiene. Your body will be growing rapidly and you will need to eat a lot, exercise a lot, and sleep a lot to allow your body to gain maximum physical benefits.

You will be encouraged or ridiculed by some of your friends to have sex with a girl. You should be confident in your abilities as a freethinking individual to make your own choices based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). You should treat all girls and women with respect, kindness, and courtesy-not as a commodity that can be used, abused, and thrown aside. You will see advertisements on TV and in newspapers and magazines that in order to avoid HIV/AIDS, you should use a condom. Remember that this is not what Islam teaches us. Islam says safe sex is “no sex before marriage.” Indulge in all activities that will develop your mind, body, and spirit within the framework of Islam. These are wonderful years that you are going through, free of responsibility (except the homework!). Try to be the best “you” you can be.

Conclusion

Allah Most High has given mankind free will. We all have to make choices in life. However, life offers us a whole banquet of choices and delicacies that sometimes lead to a state of utter confusion or paralysis. What is the right decision?

  • Whom should I please?
  • What is fashionable?
  • Will my decision open me to ridicule?

An undecided person is always a victim of circumstance, a pawn in the hands of the fashion trendsetters. The ones at peace are those individuals who use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as the compass to set the right course and to differentiate right from wrong.

There is much good in this wonderful world; however, there are many temptations. Temptations are present as a test for all of us. Ultimately, we are the decision-makers. We can only make informed decisions based on knowledge. Many governments are now firmly advocating the policies of virginity, no sex before marriage, no adultery, and so on, in a desperate attempt to re-kindle the value systems of prior generations.

The beauty of Islam is that the instructions and guidelines contained in the Qur’an are valid forever and are immune to the vicissitudes of the latest trend. Allah Most High created us. It therefore follows that He knows what is best for us. I do hope that this brief discussion has thrown some light on this very vast topic. I also hope that the current generation of teens and preteens who are often faced with difficult choices will have a clearer foundation on which to base their decisions.

Finally, a new generation of preteens is developing. It is our collective responsibility, as a community and a nation, to give clear guidelines to our youth. Our youth is our future and our destiny. May Allah Most High, Most Gracious, worthy of all praise, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, guide us, and our youth to a path that is straight.

Melonie Saleh

When I decided to pull my four children from the public school system a few years ago, I was subjected to ridicule, criticism, and endless questions. The comments and queries of others only added to my pre-existing anxiety, and I spent a few nights mulling over it and asking Allah the Almighty to guide me. I felt that I was making such a big decision, and it was me that had to make it. What if this wasn’t the right thing to do? What if my children ended up not learning, or not socializing, or worse yet, what if they resented me for making this decision for them? (This decision, in truth was made with their consent.)

I don’t know how I mustered up the courage to make the decision, but by the guidance and mercy of Allah, I did. The day that I went to pick up the texts from the charter school that supplies them, I cried. The back of my huge van was filled with no less than 60 textbooks, all sliding back and forth, mixing in with one another. I had no idea that first time that I would need at least two large boxes for each child’s textbooks, because each subject usually comes with a student text, teacher’s edition, various lesson-planning idea books, workbooks, practice books, and many other unnecessary items.

Getting the books in the house, trying to organize them and make sense of them was overwhelming, and I can truly say that I feared that I had taken on a task that I could not bear. But somewhere deep in my heart I knew that it was the right thing to do, and if my intentions were right and if I worked hard, I could depend on aid from the One Who sent a thousand angels to the mujahideen in the Battle of Badr.

While I am in no way attempting to compare myself with the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), I do know that we as Muslims are to strive to emulate them and struggle in the sake of Allah in the way that they did. Therefore, I believe that raising children in today’s world is a form of jihad.

Our Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) were faced with persecution, humiliation, loss of wealth, and threats to their lives and livelihoods. Representative of the struggles of this ephemeral life, our children must endure difficulties of their own. They are faced with rapidly declining morals among their peers and society in general, a bombardment of distorted images of what Muslims represent through various media outlets, and increasingly busy parents who many times aren’t sure themselves how to talk to their children about issues from sex to drugs to what defines being a Muslim.

Muslim children in the West today are confused. They are usually straddling the culture of their parents and the culture of the society in which they live, and find it difficult to find who they are and what they stand for. I understand what it means to be a straddler of cultures, as my mother was an American Christian of European descent and my father is a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent. It was in this light that I pulled my children out of school in hopes that I could give them a balanced environment that would promote understanding, tolerance, and help them discover the beauty of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim.

Taking your children out of school to “protect” them from the outside world is one thing (that I don’t recommend), and teaching your children at home in order to give them the tools they will need to navigate in the real world is another. The latter is a difficult and harrowing task that, if achieved, amounts to a set of skills that will benefit a person as long as he or she walks the face of the earth.

When most people hear of home schooling, they have a preconceived list of ideas that they believe applies to all home-schoolers, which I will label as misconceptions:

Misconception #1: Home-schooled children lack social skills and are not provided with an opportunity to socialize with children of diverse backgrounds or children of their own age.

Truth: With proper planning and much effort, home-schooled children can participate in a myriad of activities including but not limited to sports, literature groups, science competitions, art classes, play groups, and the list goes on and on. What ever happened to playing outside? My son has no less than 10 friends of diverse backgrounds right here in our own neighborhood, and they play right in front of our house on a daily basis. My children all attend classes with children their ages that meet their needs and interests, and my 15- and 17-year-olds have both accumulated college credits by attending the local community college for math, English, art, and other classes. My 11-year-old son will be taking a robotics course for children at the community college this spring, by the will of Allah the Almighty. It should be mentioned that it is our duty to allow for situations that allow our children to meet and socialize with Muslims of their own age and gender, as this helps them build confidence, and helps them realize who they are.

Misconception #2: There is no possible way that a home-schooled child is learning at the same level as those in traditional classrooms.

Truth: Having a teacher sit down with him or her for 45 minutes of continuous learning on a one-on-one basis is a situation that most public-schooled children will never experience. Additionally, in a classroom of 20 to 30 students, there are those who lag behind and the others must wait for them, and those who finish quickly and spend most of their days waiting for the rest of the class to complete their assignments. The issue of a home-schooled child learning is in many ways contingent on how much time the parent is willing or able to instill in a child’s education, and if he or she is willing to find outside help when needed. Additionally, there is nothing like hands-on learning. When my fourth grader and ninth grader were learning about different kinds of rock, my whole family hopped in the car and drove 15 minutes to a nearby town where there is a river and my children benefited from collecting different kinds of rock, discussing the layers of rock on the mountains, and even discussing eco-systems, the history of this historical town, and the bounty of Allah the Almighty. That trip is still talked about by our family, and there are dozens of others that we will cherish for a long time.

Misconception #3: If my children are home-schooled, they will not be qualified to attend a college or university.

Truth: Check the laws and regulations pertaining to your area of residence, but in the United States this is not true. There are many home-schooled children who have gone on to such highly regarded universities as Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkley, and so on. Additionally, the home-schooled child (in the United States ) is able to apply for a multitude of scholarships, and many have applied and won substantial amounts toward their educations.

Misconception #4: If I pull my children out of school, they will instantly become ideal Muslims and I won’t have to worry about them any more.

Truth: Pulling your children out of school doesn’t relinquish the duties instilled upon you by Allah the Almighty the moment you became a parent. Without proper and rigorous examples and parental counsel, children and adolescents will not develop into good citizens or good Muslims. Look at the awesome examples we have in the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). If we take time daily to talk to our children about the stories of the Prophets and the Companions, they will have ideal images to emulate. There are uncountable texts that have been published for the very purpose of teaching children Islamic studies, and the quality of many of them is high. In addition to teaching from books, one must teach by example. Why not encourage a child to volunteer time at a food shelter, helping a neighbor, at the library, or at a school? My children participate in such activities, but children need parents who perform such deeds and talk about the good feeling achieved by helping others. We have also started an Islamic study circle for teenage girls where we (as mothers) meet with the girls at the Islamic Center and discuss a topic, ranging from the principles of Islam to issues that one must face and find answers to, such as the plucking of eyebrows. Very recently a study group has been started for the boys.

If I were asked to pinpoint the thing that my family has achieved by home-schooling, I wouldn’t be able to because there are so many benefits, such as the sight of them helping each other on assignments and projects, cooperating in ways that would not have been possible if they were at a public institution for six to seven hours a day. Even as I sit writing this article, all five of them, ages 4 through 17, and a couple of small neighbor friends, are participating in an impromptu play, either as actors, directors, narrators, or the audience. The most wonderful thing to me about this situation is that my children, despite their age differences, are each others’ friends, and they treat each other and others in general with compassion and respect.

I cannot say that home-schooling is for everyone, nor can I say that public or even private schooling is. I also cannot say that I definitely have the perfect situation, but I am doing what feels right to my children and to myself. Every time that my confidence is low, I start doubting myself and my decisions; but all I need to do is look at my children to know that this is the right situation for us. I admit that I occasionally ask them if they would prefer to return to public school, and each time I ask they answer in the negative, that they are perfectly content with their learning environments. Each situation and individual commands a different approach, but ideally the end result will be that we are raising our children to be intelligent, thoughtful, tolerant people who know who they are and know what they stand for, and who, in sha’ Allah, will some day be productive, unique individuals who strive to stand up for what’s right and prohibit what’s wrong, as did the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them).

I don’t know how I mustered up the courage to make the decision, but by the guidance and mercy of Allah, I did. The day that I went to pick up the texts from the charter school that supplies them, I cried. The back of my huge van was filled with no less than 60 textbooks, all sliding back and forth, mixing in with one another. I had no idea that first time that I would need at least two large boxes for each child’s textbooks, because each subject usually comes with a student text, teacher’s edition, various lesson-planning idea books, workbooks, practice books, and many other unnecessary items.

Getting the books in the house, trying to organize them and make sense of them was overwhelming, and I can truly say that I feared that I had taken on a task that I could not bear. But somewhere deep in my heart I knew that it was the right thing to do, and if my intentions were right and if I worked hard, I could depend on aid from the One Who sent a thousand angels to the mujahideen in the Battle of Badr.

While I am in no way attempting to compare myself with the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), I do know that we as Muslims are to strive to emulate them and struggle in the sake of Allah in the way that they did. Therefore, I believe that raising children in today’s world is a form of jihad.

Our Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) were faced with persecution, humiliation, loss of wealth, and threats to their lives and livelihoods. Representative of the struggles of this ephemeral life, our children must endure difficulties of their own. They are faced with rapidly declining morals among their peers and society in general, a bombardment of distorted images of what Muslims represent through various media outlets, and increasingly busy parents who many times aren’t sure themselves how to talk to their children about issues from sex to drugs to what defines being a Muslim.

Muslim children in the West today are confused. They are usually straddling the culture of their parents and the culture of the society in which they live, and find it difficult to find who they are and what they stand for. I understand what it means to be a straddler of cultures, as my mother was an American Christian of European descent and my father is a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent. It was in this light that I pulled my children out of school in hopes that I could give them a balanced environment that would promote understanding, tolerance, and help them discover the beauty of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim.

Taking your children out of school to “protect” them from the outside world is one thing (that I don’t recommend), and teaching your children at home in order to give them the tools they will need to navigate in the real world is another. The latter is a difficult and harrowing task that, if achieved, amounts to a set of skills that will benefit a person as long as he or she walks the face of the earth.

When most people hear of home schooling, they have a preconceived list of ideas that they believe applies to all home-schoolers, which I will label as misconceptions:

Misconception #1: Home-schooled children lack social skills and are not provided with an opportunity to socialize with children of diverse backgrounds or children of their own age.

Truth: With proper planning and much effort, home-schooled children can participate in a myriad of activities including but not limited to sports, literature groups, science competitions, art classes, play groups, and the list goes on and on. What ever happened to playing outside? My son has no less than 10 friends of diverse backgrounds right here in our own neighborhood, and they play right in front of our house on a daily basis. My children all attend classes with children their ages that meet their needs and interests, and my 15- and 17-year-olds have both accumulated college credits by attending the local community college for math, English, art, and other classes. My 11-year-old son will be taking a robotics course for children at the community college this spring, by the will of Allah the Almighty. It should be mentioned that it is our duty to allow for situations that allow our children to meet and socialize with Muslims of their own age and gender, as this helps them build confidence, and helps them realize who they are.

Misconception #2: There is no possible way that a home-schooled child is learning at the same level as those in traditional classrooms.

Truth: Having a teacher sit down with him or her for 45 minutes of continuous learning on a one-on-one basis is a situation that most public-schooled children will never experience. Additionally, in a classroom of 20 to 30 students, there are those who lag behind and the others must wait for them, and those who finish quickly and spend most of their days waiting for the rest of the class to complete their assignments. The issue of a home-schooled child learning is in many ways contingent on how much time the parent is willing or able to instill in a child’s education, and if he or she is willing to find outside help when needed. Additionally, there is nothing like hands-on learning. When my fourth grader and ninth grader were learning about different kinds of rock, my whole family hopped in the car and drove 15 minutes to a nearby town where there is a river and my children benefited from collecting different kinds of rock, discussing the layers of rock on the mountains, and even discussing eco-systems, the history of this historical town, and the bounty of Allah the Almighty. That trip is still talked about by our family, and there are dozens of others that we will cherish for a long time.

Misconception #3: If my children are home-schooled, they will not be qualified to attend a college or university.

Truth: Check the laws and regulations pertaining to your area of residence, but in the United States this is not true. There are many home-schooled children who have gone on to such highly regarded universities as Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkley, and so on. Additionally, the home-schooled child (in the United States ) is able to apply for a multitude of scholarships, and many have applied and won substantial amounts toward their educations.

Misconception #4: If I pull my children out of school, they will instantly become ideal Muslims and I won’t have to worry about them any more.

Truth: Pulling your children out of school doesn’t relinquish the duties instilled upon you by Allah the Almighty the moment you became a parent. Without proper and rigorous examples and parental counsel, children and adolescents will not develop into good citizens or good Muslims. Look at the awesome examples we have in the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). If we take time daily to talk to our children about the stories of the Prophets and the Companions, they will have ideal images to emulate. There are uncountable texts that have been published for the very purpose of teaching children Islamic studies, and the quality of many of them is high. In addition to teaching from books, one must teach by example. Why not encourage a child to volunteer time at a food shelter, helping a neighbor, at the library, or at a school? My children participate in such activities, but children need parents who perform such deeds and talk about the good feeling achieved by helping others. We have also started an Islamic study circle for teenage girls where we (as mothers) meet with the girls at the Islamic Center and discuss a topic, ranging from the principles of Islam to issues that one must face and find answers to, such as the plucking of eyebrows. Very recently a study group has been started for the boys.

If I were asked to pinpoint the thing that my family has achieved by home-schooling, I wouldn’t be able to because there are so many benefits, such as the sight of them helping each other on assignments and projects, cooperating in ways that would not have been possible if they were at a public institution for six to seven hours a day. Even as I sit writing this article, all five of them, ages 4 through 17, and a couple of small neighbor friends, are participating in an impromptu play, either as actors, directors, narrators, or the audience. The most wonderful thing to me about this situation is that my children, despite their age differences, are each others’ friends, and they treat each other and others in general with compassion and respect.

I cannot say that home-schooling is for everyone, nor can I say that public or even private schooling is. I also cannot say that I definitely have the perfect situation, but I am doing what feels right to my children and to myself. Every time that my confidence is low, I start doubting myself and my decisions; but all I need to do is look at my children to know that this is the right situation for us. I admit that I occasionally ask them if they would prefer to return to public school, and each time I ask they answer in the negative, that they are perfectly content with their learning environments. Each situation and individual commands a different approach, but ideally the end result will be that we are raising our children to be intelligent, thoughtful, tolerant people who know who they are and know what they stand for, and who, in sha’ Allah, will some day be productive, unique individuals who strive to stand up for what’s right and prohibit what’s wrong, as did the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them).

Hwaa Irfan

Homeschooling is not a philosophy with a set curriculum. It differs from region to region, and home to home. It is parents who determine the type of education, the child’s role in the learning process, how the topics are taught, what resources are employed or whether it is book learning or education for life. In general, homeschooling is dependent on the parent or parents commitment of time, love, energy and resources towards providing the education of their children at home. Homeschooling can take on any philosophy and curriclum you embue it with.

What is important is that the parents thoroughly thinks about what it means to homeschool, and for the child to beneift, the parents must enjoy teaching, must not assume that they know everything, is willing to find out and explore with the child, and that the child is a part of the learning process (i.e. they are not empty vessels whose heads are to be opened and filled with information). How much the environment is a part of the teaching-learning process is also a factor, as this can help to make homeschooling interesting and stimulating for the child.

 

Different systems of support exist depending on where one lives. For instance, if one lives in an area where many parents homeschool, the parents can arrange to come together at an arranged time to share their experiences, information and resources. In the country in which you live, there are many online resources for parents wishing to homeschool. These resources include:

 

Islamic Homeschooling:

•    Arabesq

•    Islamic Home-schooling Academy

•    Taqwa Gayong Academyholistic Islamic home schooling, U.S.

•    Talibiddeen Home-schooling Resources

Procedures:


•    Education Resources Information Center

 

 

Resources:

It is best to explore all the options, because in this way, you will beconme familiar with what is involved in terms of your time, commitment, resources, cost of materials, where to go for help and guidance, and most importantly, what type of education you want for your child and why. The last point is extremely crucial, as this will determine what, where and how your child will be taught, and whether you want an all round education that is Islamically in terms of ethics, social responsibility, self development etc. In terms of commitment, it is important that you are able to sustain a healthy and balanced form of education that involves other children as socializing with ones peers is also a part of a child’s development. If there comes a junction in your son’s development, whereby it shows that he needs more than you can give him, how you teach him might be better for him, but may create an obstacle if you should find that he has to go to school where classrooms contained over twenty children and each child recieves less attention. The other obstacle is if one has taught their child in a manner that they are a part of the learning process, and then they have to attend a school where children in general are not a part of the learning process, the child will find ti difficult to settle in. 

 

Prophet Muhammad said: “He who does not respect our elder, or is not merciful to the young, or does not feel indebted to the scholars, is not of my Nation” (Abu Dawud, No.4921, and Al-Tirmidhi, No.1925)

This article is based on answers by prominent scholars like, Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen (Majmoo Fataawa wa Rasa’il Fadeelat), Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (Mu’jam al-Manaahi al-Lafziyyah), Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Baaz (Kitaab Majmoo Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat), Shaikh Muhammad S. Al-Munajjad and others.

Do names effect the child’s character?

Names do not have any effect on the child’s character or personality, except that the meaning of the name would inspire him, when he grows old enough to understand its meaning and indication. A good and pleasant name would motivate the person to do good acts and inspire him strength and honor, since he is repeatedly called by it.

For example, if the child is named ‘Abdullah’ meaning ‘a slave of Allah’; his name will make him realize and keep him aware of his servitude to Allah. He will understand his true role and the purpose of life. Likewise, if he is named after the Khalifah Uthmaan Ibn Affan; the character, qualities and actions of Uthmaan Ibn Affan (radhiyallahu anhu) would influence him. It might even lead him to perform actions, which befit his name and prevent those, which conflict its character. Similar is the case with unpleasant names, which denote bad qualities and actions. A bad name might even provoke the person to do evil!!

Before you decide a name for your child, it is good to consider some important details. Know that the name, which you decide for your child will stay with him all through his life, therefore the name you choose should not embarrass or humiliate his personality.

You should bear in mind the different stages of life and give him a name which would sound good as a child, a youth, an adult, a father, etc. and how it would suit the father to be called as, ‘Abu foolan’ meaning, ‘Father of so and so.’ Because a name which causes embarrassment or discomfort might be a cause of bad feelings of the child towards his parents.

When should the child be named?

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Every child is held in pledge for his Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for him on his seventh day, and he is named on it and his head is shaved.” [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee (1165) Abu Dawood (vol: 2, no: 2831) and others]

Another narration in this aspect is related by Anas (radhiallahu anhu), who said: ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “A boy was born to me this night and I have given him the name of my forefather Ibraheem.” [Saheeh Muslim (4/ 5733)]

In light of these Ahaadeeth we understand that the child can be named on the first day of his birth or it can be delayed until the seventh day. However, what is recommended is to name the child on the seventh day, as such is related in the saying of Allah’s Messenger r. Regarding the Hadeeth which mentions the Prophet’s practice is taken as an evidence to prove that the child can be named before the seventh day.

Who should name the child?

It is the right of the father to choose and name the child because the child will be ascribed and attributed to him (so and so, son/daughter of so and so). But it is Mustahabb (recommended) for the father to consult and involve his wife in the decision. It is also permissible to allow the grandparents or someone else to name the child, since this is also confirmed in the Sunnah.

Anas Ibn Malik (radhiallahu anhu) narrates in a long Hadeeth that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) named the son of Abu Talha, he said: “…The Prophet took a date, chewed it, took some of it out of his mouth, put it into the child’s mouth and did Tahnik for him with that, and named him Abdullah.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (7/379)]

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) also named his grandchildren; the children of Fatimah. [Reported by Imaam al-Bukharee in Adaab al-Mufrad. Saheeh according to al-Haafidh al-Isaabah (4/450)]

RECOMMENDED NAMES (MUSTAHABB)

1. Names that indicate servitude to Allah

A name with the first word Abd (slave) followed by any Name of Allah (which is established in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah) This indicates servitude to Allah, for e.g. Abd al-Ilaah means ‘slave of the One True Lord’ Abd al-Ghafoor, Abd al-Lateef, Abd al-Azeez, Abd al-Raheem, Abd al-Malik, etc. However, the best names in this category is ‘Abd-Allaah’ (the slave of Allah) and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan’ (the slave of the Rahmaan) as it was reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “The most beloved of names to Allaa are ‘Abd-Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.” [Saheeh Muslim (1398)]

It is forbidden to use a name which is not known to be from the Perfect Names of Allah , like Abd al-Mawjood (the slave of the Present One), Abd al-Sattar, etc. This is because Allah’s Names cannot be confirmed without an authentic text from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah. By doing so, we would end up giving Names to Allah, which are not affirmed for Him.

Note: It is Makrooh to use any word with the name of Allah except ‘Abd’, like ‘Rahmat Allah’ (the Blessings of Allah).

2. Names of Prophets and Messengers

The second priority is given to the names of the Prophets and Messenger. Amongst them, first comes the name of our Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). (Ahmad is also one of his names).

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “You may name with my name.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (8/206) and Saheeh Muslim (3/53254)]

Then next are the ‘Messengers of strong will’ [Soorah al-Ahqaaf (46): 35] namely, Ibraheem, Moosa, Eesa and Nooh, then the rest of the Prophets (alaihim as-salaam).

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) himself followed this principle and named his son after Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam), he said: “A son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather, Ibraheem.” [Saheeh Muslim (4/5733)]

3. Names of righteous slaves of Allah

The Sahabah (the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)), the Shuhadah (Martyrs) and the Ulama (Scholars). Above all are the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhu); it is Mustahabb (preferable) to name after them, hoping to follow their example, attaining righteousness and high status.

4. Any good name

The last category suggests those good names, which have a good and pleasant meaning, and are easily pronounced. Examples of such names are Khalid, Usaamah and for girls are Sarah, Su’ad, etc.

FORBIDDEN NAMES (HARAAM)

This category includes Haraam names; therefore anyone who has any of these names is obliged to change it

1. Names indicating servitude to other than Allah.

Islam forbids worshiping anyone or anything other than Allah, therefore any name, which shows any servitude to anybody except Him must be avoided, whether it be Prophets, Angels or a leader, like Abd al-Rasool (slave of the Messenger), Abd an-Nabi (slave of the Prophet), or Abd Al-Ameer (slave of the prince).

The great Sahabee (Companion of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)), Abd al-Rahmaan Ibn Awf (radhiallahu anhu) said: “My name was Abd Amr – or according to one report, Abd al-Ka’bah and when I became Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) called me ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.” [Narrated by al-Haakim (3/306)]

Also, Haani’ Ibn Yazeed (radhiallahu anhu) said: “A delegation came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and he heard them calling someone ‘Abd al-Hajar (slave of the stone). He asked him: ‘What is your name?” and he said, ‘Abd al-Hajar.’ He said, “No, you are Abd-Allaah (the slave of Allah).'” [See Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (11/335)]

It is mentioned in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’: “They (the scholars) agreed that every name which implies enslavement to anything other than Allaah is forbidden (Haraam), such as ‘Abd al-‘Uzza, ‘Abd ‘Amr, ‘Abd ‘Ali, ‘Abd al-Ka’bah, and any other similar names, such as ‘Abd al-Nabi (slave of the Prophet), ‘Abd al-Husayn, ‘Abd al-Maseeh (slave of the Messiah).” [Haashiyat Ibn Aabideen 5/268; Mughni al-Muhtaaj, 4/295; Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, 10/373; Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, 3/27]

2. Names befitting Allah Alone

According to the consensus of the scholars names which are particular to Allah alone are Haraam to be used, like al-Quddoos (the Most Holy), al-Khaliq (the Creator), al-Raaziq (the Provider), al-Rabb (the Lord), al-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful), etc.,

Also names, which are Attributes of Allah alone, like Malik al-Mulook (King of kings), al-Qaahir (the Subduer), etc. because Allah says: “Do you know of any who is similar to Him?” [Soorah Maryam (19): 65]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: ‘The most despised name with Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be a man called Malik al-Mulook.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

According to a report in Saheeh Muslim, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “The man who will be most deserving of Allah’s anger and most evil on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who was called Malik al-Amlaak. There is no King except Allah.”

It is also forbidden to use names, which befit no one except the Prophet, such as Rahmat lil-Alameen (Mercy for the world), Sayyid Walad Adam (master of the sons of Adam), Sayyid al-Naas (master of mankind), Sayyid al-Kull (master of all)etc. because these names befit no one except him.

3 . Names, which exclusively belong to the Kuffar

Foreign names, which have no basis in the Arabic and are particular to the Kuffar and other names, which denote religions of Kufr are all forbidden. Such is because these names cause imitating the Kuffar and might sooner or later create a feeling of closeness and love for them.

The temptation to use such names is very strong in our time, but this is a big sin and a sign of humiliation and defeat – It is imitating the Kuffar. If taking their names is due to whims and desires, then no doubt, it is a major sin.

And the person should be reminded the Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “He who imitates a people is one of them.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee] and if using such names is because one actually believes that these names are better than the Muslim names, then this will take him away from Islam!

In either case, the person who has done this must hasten to repent. (changing the name is a condition of repentance)

4. Names of Idols and false gods are all Haraam.

UNDESIRED NAMES (MAKROOH)

The following types of names are Makrooh meaning undesired, if somebody has one of them, he should change it. But if it is difficult for him to do so, then he is not obliged.

(a) Names, which are too soft, charming or have provocative meaning, especially for the girls, like Ghaadah (delicate young woman), Huyaam (one passionately in love), Shaadiyah (female singer), etc.

(b) Names of immoral people, such as singers and actors. This is a sign of foolishness and lack of pride in one’s faith, which is often seen when a particular show or a movie becomes famous, people compete with one another to name their newborns after these women and actors.

If these people have names carrying good meanings, then it is permissible to use them, but not in their imitation but for the good meaning!

(c) Names, which convey any kind of sin or refer to sinners and tyrants, like ‘Saariq’ (thief) or ‘Zaalim’ (wrongdoer), Fir’awn, Haamaan, Qaroon, etc. It is also forbidden to use names of devils (shayaateen), such as Khanzab, al-Walhaan, al-A’war and al-Ajda’

(d) Names of animals, which are well known for their undesirable characteristics, such as al-Himaar (donkey), al-Kalb (dog), al-Qird (monkey), etc.

In the previous times, the Arabs would call their children by names of animals but it was only because of the good qualities found in those animals, and this was the desired meaning. So, when they used the name Kalb (dog), it was because of the dog’s alertness and ability to work hard; when they used the name Himaar (donkey), it was because of the donkey’s patience and forbearance, and so on…

(e) Names with ugly and undesirable meaning, which might sound odd and provoke others to make fun of the person and cause him embarrassment, like ‘Harb’ (war), Sahaam (summer heat). Using such names is against the teachings of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), who taught us to use beautiful names,

he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “On the day of Resurrection you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good.” [Musnad Ahmad (5/194).

It’s isnaad is declared ‘Hasan’ (good) by Imaam an-Nawawi and Ibn al-Qayyim. However, it was declared weak by Shaikh al-Albanee and others]

(f) Any name, which is added to the word ‘Deen’ or ‘Islam’ (i.e., names which appear in idaafah genitive construction with these words) such as Noor al-Deen (light of the religion), Shams al-Deen (sun of the religion), Sayf al-Islam (Sword of Islam), Imaam ad-Deen (Imaam of the Religion), etc. because of the great status attached to these two words and also because such names give a person more than what he deserves. Therefore, some scholars ruled it Haraam, while majority say it is Makrooh.

This practice of using the words ‘Deen’ and ‘Islam’ along with one’s name was started with giving such titles to learned men. Later people started using them as first names.

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) was known as ‘Taqiy al-Deen’ (piety of the religion), he disliked it and he would say: “But my family gave me this nickname and it became well-known.” Similarly, Imaam an-Nawawi (rahimahullah) disliked his nickname ‘Muhiy al-Deen’ (reviver of the religion).

(g) Names of Angels – It is disliked to use the names of Angels, particularly for girls because it implies imitation of the Mushrikeen, who considered Angels as daughters of Allaah. (Na’aodhu billah).

(h) Names of Qur’aanic Soorahs, such as Ta-Ha and Yaa-Seen because these words are al-Huroof al-Muqatta’ah (letters which appear at the beginning of some Soorahs and their meaning is known to Allaah Alone)

[See Tuhfat al-Mawdood by Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah), p 109] (The notion that Ya-Seen and Ta-Ha are names of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) is false.)