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Adult/Youth Relations

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handsopen.jpgSomething that is extremely important, yet which lacking sorely in our community, seems to be positive adult/youth relations.

Adult/youth relations refers to the bonds between the adults and youth of the community – positive bonds, bonds which strengthen the brotherhood and sisterhood of Islam, bonds that contribute to ‘broadening the horizons’ of those involved, leading to increased knowledge and understanding of Islam.

As I said, such bonds seem to be missing in our Muslim community. When we look to the adults and youth of the Muslim community, we see that they seem estranged from each other, and barely able to comprehend each other. There is little understanding between them. The adults live in their own ‘grown-up’ world, while the youth are practically isolated, on their own, struggling to make sense of their identities and the world around them.

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In my opinion, it is this lack of bond between the adults and the youth that contributes to the abysmal state of the Muslim Ummah today. Because of their separation from the adults, the youth are vulnerable to all sorts of things, such that many youth go to extremes and lose themselves to the world and its temptations.

The adults, meanwhile, are oblivious to what their children are going through. Especially when it comes to teenagers, parents are utterly bewildered to discover that their teen kids are not who they thought they were. These parents have no idea what their kids are actually like, who their friends are, what hobbies they have, etc.. And when they find out what their kids are involved in, some of the parents go ballistic, or break down and wail, “How could this have happened to me?!!!!”

Of course, ‘this’ happened because of many things, not just any one thing. One of the reasons definitely lies in the relationship (or rather, lack thereof) that the kid had with his/her parents and other adults.

Let’s stop for a moment and look back to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahaabah. Let’s look to how they interacted with their youth.

Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas, radiyallahu anhuma, reported: One day I was behind the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and he said to me:

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you (have need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

In this example, we can learn a number of things about how the Prophet (SAW) dealt with youth:

First of all, even though Abdullah ibn Abbas was a young boy at the time, the Prophet (SAW) addressed him as ‘yaa ghulam’ – ‘O young man!’ And we all know how kids like to think of themselves as ‘big people’!

Secondly, the Prophet (SAW) spoke to him in a gentle way, advising him sincerely, and speaking in sort of a ‘man-to-man’ format. This, despite the fact that ibn Abbas was just a kid, while the Prophet (SAW) was Rasool Allah, head of the Islamic State, basically the most important man on the face of the earth! Any other man in a similar position wouldn’t have even bothered to speak with ibn Abbas, rather he would have dismissed him as just another kid, not worthy of the quality time.

The example of the Prophet (SAW) is an example for us all – and on this particular subject, especially to the adults regarding their treatment of the youth, in a parent-child relationship or otherwise. So, I say:

“Please, don’t talk down to youth – especially teenagers. We need to be talked to, not at; we need to know that you understand that we’ve got hearts and brains of our own, so treat us like the young adults we are (or at least, the young adults we’d like to be!). Advise, don’t order.”

Finally, here’s another wonderful example from the Prophet (SAW) on dealing with youth:

Sahl ibn Sa'd (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was brought a cup and he drank from it. There was a boy, the youngest of all the people, on his right and some elders on his left. He said, "O young boy, will you allow me to give this to these elders?" The boy said, "I will not give away my share of your blessings to anyone, O Messenger of Allah," so he gave the cup to him. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2180)

This particular example is remarkable in that we see how the Prophet (SAW) did not ignore the child in deference to the elders – as many adults today might do – instead he actually asked the boy’s permission to pass over him. To this, the boy responded in the negative, and rather than rebuking him or getting angry with him, the Prophet (SAW) accepted his answer.

Something else that ought to be noted is the boy’s actual presence at the gathering: we see that he was the youngest person there, and the others who were also sitting with the Prophet (SAW) were much older. Yet, he wasn’t ordered to go away and to play with kids his own age!

Grown-ups, take note! There are two important lessons to be learned here: help your child mature as well as grow in worldly and religious knowledge by allowing him/her to sit in gatherings of adults. Secondly, ask the youth’s permission before passing over him/her. We do have feelings, you know!

Of course, there’s a flip side to this issue as well: just as adults should be more aware of the youth and their rights, so too should we teenagers realize that we need to be responsible and dutiful to adults, especially of course to our parents.

It’s an unfortunate truth that twelve-year-old ‘children’ in the time of the Prophet (SAW)’s time were a lot more mature than most twenty year olds today! So here’s a note to my fellow teens: if we want to be treated like young adults, we have to act like young adults. We need to straighten our priorities, make Islam the most important thing in our lives, and act upon it. If we want to be treated the way Abdullah ibn Abbas, Anas ibn Malik, and other young sahaabah were treated by their elders, then we need to be worthy of that treatment and strive to imitate the excellent example of those blessed youth.

We need to sit down, shut up, and learn: learn from, and learn with our elders.

JazakAllahu khair to brother Amad for the serious editing help! =) – Mouse

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Suhail

    April 12, 2007 at 6:19 PM

    Assalaammu Alykum,

    There are few things i want to comment on.

    1) In Islam there are rights of the parents and that of the children. Allah SWT is many verses has said the children to obey there parents and respect them. Obeying of parents in what is according to the Quran and Sunnah is obligatory for children and if they dont then they are commiting a major sin. Sometimes kids dont understand this and commit this without even having a notion of it.

    2) Secondly a parent loves his child more then anything and a parent can say that. I didnt realize that before i became a father. Even a small harsh word from your kid is like a thousand volt shot for the parent because of there natural love they have. Kids sometimes dont understand that and i am not blaming this on them. It is just the way these days are. I have a 3 year old son but now i understand this love and am very very cautious about how to speak with my parents. Always look at the example of Syedna Ibrahim Alayhis salaam and how he addressed his father and gave him dawah. Read about Sydena Ismail telling his father Syedna Ibrahim and how he addressed him. Read the story of the sahabah and how they addressed there parents. Those stories bring tears to my eyes and I think that how much we have to improve and perfect our behavior.

    3) If i remember then my parents who are now old used to respect there parents more then i do and i feel this thing is going away with time. Respect for elders is going away.
    When kids have a little bit of knowledge they start getting harsher with elders who may be doing something based on there cultural leanings. They need to have patience and speak kindly with the elders and there parents.

    Brothers and sisters after Allah and His Messanger Sallahu Alyhe wa sallam your parents have the most right upon you. They raised you when you couldnt even walk. They took care of you when you cant even raise a finger. Always keep that in your heart and you will feel that love they have. This is especially for the teenagers who sometimes think that it was there right but Allah said to them in the quran to recall those times when they couldnt do anything but there parents where there for them.

    This is just a advice for me and all my muslim brothers and sisters who still have parents whom we can serve that once they pass this world you will realize that vaccum in life.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  2. AnonyMouse

    April 12, 2007 at 6:42 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    JazakAllahu khair brother Suhail for mentioning these excellent points! :)

    Indeed, the rights of the parents over the children are great… in this post, however, I sort of switched it around because as a Muslim teen I know I’ve been told lots about obeying parents/ elders – but adults sometimes forget to show a tiny bit of respect and courtesy to us teens, which can be frustrating…

    I’m not trying at all to downplay the numerous faults of teens; just trying to show the other side of the story! :)

    Once again, jazakAllahu khair!

    -Mouse

  3. Suhail

    April 12, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Walaikum as salaam ya akhi,

    Yes i understand your point akhi and it is valid. Parents and elders sometimes go overboard in there love and attachement and forget the other side.

    Teens need more attention than anyone atleast in this age and this enviornment. They need to be nurtured and made to feel like adults.

    Actually if we look thru the time of the Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alyhe wa sallam there was no teenagers. A person who has become adult was considerd a adult and treated like one. They were treated on there merits. Look at Abdullah Ibn Abbas and how Umar RA treated him. He knew his knowledge and gave him merit for that. Similarly Usamah Bin Zaid also comes in mind.

    I think and this is my mere opinion that these days teenagers are made to feel like you know small kids. They arent given any responsibility except going to school. There problems are not discussed and sometimes are totally ignored. I think a friendly relationship with your children is the best way to parenthood. Allahu alam

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  4. Amad

    April 12, 2007 at 7:19 PM

    Anonymouse is a sister… just fyi

  5. abu ameerah

    April 12, 2007 at 7:33 PM

    good post.

  6. Abu Bakr

    April 12, 2007 at 7:55 PM

    To be honest, looking back (in great shame and embarrasment) at my teen years, I understand exactly where Suhail is coming from. It’s very easy as a teen to say “I know the parents have great rights, but goshdarnit, i got rights too”

    (i know because sadly i have thought that way)

    i wouldnt ordinarily mention this as it might fall into publicizing one’s sins but i think too often young kids when they hear this sort of talk they think, “yeah, but they dont understand what i’m going thru” or “they dont understand how tough it is for young people today”

    well, i just want to say, i was a teen until not many yrs ago, and my one advice to all our young brothers and sisters, be very patient, otherwise, when you get older (and it wont take that long trust me) you will realize that ur gripes with your parents were really not as significant as they seemed (even if the issues are deathly serious, young people tend to give them that much more importance) and all u will get in the end is regret that you had not been a better son/daughter.

    with that said, i am in no way trying to diminish from the good points made in this article.. its just important to always keep balance

  7. Amad

    April 12, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    Is it only me that thinks that ABCMs have it a lot harder in respecting their parents due to the influence of this society, and what we see is the almost casual disregard for parents? Of course I have seen wonderful exceptions that would put the best FOB to shame… I am hoping some of our ABCMs or CBCMs bros/sis will comment on this….

    btw, for newbies: ABCM=american-born-cultured-muslims, and starting with C it’s canadian :)

  8. AmatulWadood

    April 12, 2007 at 9:16 PM

    mashaAllah great post Mouse! And brother Suhail also had some great points.

    I remember my arabic teacher discussing the tafseer and language behind the ayaat that Allah azza wa jal commands good to the parents, and he mentioned that Allah ta’ala reminds us of what we cannot remember–He says that our mothers bore us hardship upon hardship, weakness upon weakness and that our weaning is in 30 mos. If we could remember the trouble that our mother went through with us, by Allah we would respect them more. And as br. Suhail mentioned, we’ll never really know how hard it is until Allah ta’ala grants us children by His Will.

    Personally, I think that the teenage muslims need to be taught this more, in a COOL way. When my younger brothers heard from the Duaa: Weapon of the Believer set that the duaa of the parents–for or against their child–is never rejected and heard the story of Jurayg, they went up to my parents and begged them to not make duaa against them and to forgive them. If mentors can have that kind of effect on the teens then I think it would make a difference.
    The teens need to hear the stories of the sahaba and the scholars with their parents, when I took Rules of Engagement, shaykh ibn faqih took the whole friday for parents, and even though the class was an older audience–there was a sense of shame in the room. Brothers and sisters were crying. I’m sure everyone went home and hugged their parents, apologized or called them. La ilaha il Allah. Mouse, believe me, if teens respect their parents more–they will in return receive that respect. Parents want you to come to them, they want you to seek them out…but how do you think they feel when their child chooses a friend over them, or is embarassed by them? They’ll block themselves out of the child’s life. Allah knows best, it takes two to make progress.

    br. Amad, imam Anwar mentioned in one of his lectures that parents are slowly losing their rights in the west, and this mentality is having an effect on our youth. The way I look at it, if I see a nonmuslim disrespecting their mom, I want to go home and hug my mom and dad.

    Sorry to make this so long, but one more thing Mouse: I notice what you’ve mentioned in the masajid and islamic schools. The teachers have no idea what is going on with the kids and to counteract that, they just discipline them which does no good…Something is clearly wrong when the boys of the hifdh school are listening to music or talking to girls. I feel like the deen is just being taught to them so they can regurgatate it. For example, a child doesn’t remember the duaa for leaving the masjid or the bathroom so they get yelled at or something. How is that bring the child closer to Allah? How will that make them love saying the adhkar? Kids will still be kids, remember when Anas radiAllahu anhu forgot to do an errand for Rasul Allah salAllahu alayhi wa sallam and instead started to play with the other children–rasul Allah salAllahu alayhi wa sallam didn’t yell at him, or discipline him…he let it go because he is a child. Now i’m not comparing that to learning the deen but it sheds light on some of the issues you mentioned. Another example, a teacher will yell at the kids to pray sunnah. When the teacher is not there, will the teens still pray the sunnah prays because of their love for Allah? or will they be happy because it’s a “break”? Maybe it’s just me, but I guess I have different standards on teaching.

    I think child vs. parent, and child vs. adult are two totally different topics to a certain point. wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam.

  9. inexplicabletimelessness

    April 12, 2007 at 9:28 PM

    Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Jazaki Allahu khairan sister Mouse for such a good article.

    SubhanAllah, the Prophet (saws) worked really hard to develop future leaders of the ummah. Not only was Ibn Abbas (ra) for example, one of THE most knowledgeable of the Qur’an, he also had spent quality time with the Prophet (saws) which made him love the Sunnah more, love the deen more, and actually feel connected to the Message of Allah.

    Similarly, I think if there was a stronger positive bond between parents and their ‘young adults’ ;) then, bi ithnillah, this pro-active way of producing leaders for the future can continue! :)

    Of course, this all sounds good in theory but brothers and sisters, let’s inshaAllah

    APPLY this to our lives and walk the walk, now!

    May Allah make it easy for us all, ameen.

  10. Abu Bakr

    April 12, 2007 at 10:32 PM

    On that note, theres an excellent CD set out from Hisham al-Ewadi (sp?) called Children around the Prophet

    He has some very interesting insights about how the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam used to deal with children

  11. Hassan

    April 13, 2007 at 12:02 AM

    Salaam. I think teenagers sometimes think too much of themselves. No doubt they have brains, and they may have quicker reflexes, but that has no comparison to years of life experience. I felt it myself, I thought I knew all when I was teenager, but more I learned and got experienced, more I realized how little I knew. And good thing is that I was living in Saudi Arabia, I did not have any alternative but to stick to my parents, if I were here, I might have said something to the effect, “hey I am American, I have rights, you can not talk like that to me, let me call 911, blah blah blah”. Now if I were religiously inclined teenager in America, then discussion would be “hey mom, dad, you are backward following madhab, look at me how cool I am, I have taken 2-3 almaghrib classes, and I know so much more than you, I am going to do ijtihad myself from today onwards.” If I were female muslimah, “mom, dad, you do not understand what I want, you are from area where they do unislamic opression, hence I do not trust you to find me husband, so I would do it myself, and would let you know when I need wali”.

  12. Suhail

    April 13, 2007 at 12:57 AM

    Assalaam Alykum

    I mentioned those points because as a teen it is just our life and the bloom that age brings makes us callous about a lot of things. It is natural and thats why it is important to stick to people of knowledge so that we learn from them. You will learn how humble those scholars are when it comes to dealing with people. Thats the point we need to learn. It is for all of us. I have been with some people who were so humble you would really get embarrassed. It is that thing we need to learn.

    Also experience and pondering on things makes a person more humble. I have seen my wife suffering thru troubles when my son was born and it made me respect my mom more because i could see her going thru the same trouble. Just ponder when you see mothers crying our there dead sons in so many parts of muslim ummah. Feel there pain and you will see how easy life we have. If we can imagine those hardships and learn it will make our outlook to life better.

    Just be patient with your elders. Explain them things which you see wrong in a very respectful way with the intention to make things better not to show there mistakes. This is important since it can come offensive sometimes. It will take time but Inshallah they will understand. It is easy said then done. Patience is a virtue not everybody possess but insallah ask allah and he will help you.

    I know a lot of american kids who are very nice and inshallah they will bring a new and better generation of muslims.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  13. Shahzad

    April 13, 2007 at 1:16 AM

    Bismillah. Assalamu ‘alaikum,

    MashaAllah, good posts. I guess I’ll throw in my two cents worth.

    The rapid nature of technology, information and marketing in this world today creates a wider gap between successive generations. Children’s exposure to explicit TV and Internet images is much greater than when I was a kid. Marketing that is directed onto young people through sports, entertainment and the music industry is relentless. And this complaint comes from all cultural and religious groups.

    In more traditional societies, I feel that the adult and child experience is more integrated. Families struggle together. Children are naturally given more responsibility at an earlier age than in today’s industrialized societies. The traditional Islamic learning of the student sitting at the feet of the sheikh to learn both knowledge and adaab has been lost.

    In today’s schools, children are hearded together in classes of the same age group and consequently don’t learn how to communicate as effectively to people older and younger than themselves. In older-style schools (example: the schooling house), children of various age groups were educated together. Our Islamic schools simply mimic the public school approach.

    I could go on, but one important lesson I learn from all this is to promote INTEGRATED experiences in our communities. For instance in one of the halaqas I go to in Toronto, parents often bring their children along. Even though the halaqa is aimed at adults, the children sit there and no doubt, are bored. But gradually, the kids pick up the pen and start taking notes. So the tarbiyyah starts at a young age.

    So the key action point I would take away from this is to include our children in our own experiences as much as possible, to build that relationship and put responsibility on them.

    Any other ideas?

  14. Umm Layth

    April 13, 2007 at 1:24 AM

    Good entry.

    You know what’s scary… when your parents tell you ‘You’ll see one day. What goes around comes around” and then you have your own children and some of it turns out the way your parents told you.

  15. inexplicabletimelessness

    April 13, 2007 at 2:29 AM

    “hey mom, dad, you are backward following madhab, look at me how cool I am, I have taken 2-3 almaghrib classes, and I know so much more than you, I am going to do ijtihad myself from today onwards.” If I were female muslimah, “mom, dad, you do not understand what I want, you are from area where they do unislamic opression, hence I do not trust you to find me husband, so I would do it myself, and would let you know when I need wali”.

    MashaAllah ^^^ although the above are slightly humorous examples, they contain a lot of truth in them, and a lot of us youth actually feel like this!

    Sorry to take this on a tangent, but any advice out there for youth trying to stick to the Qur’an and sunnah while their parents and majority of family are religious but follow a madhab blindly, have certain traditions which conflict with Islam?

    Furthermore, how should the example of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wassalam) and sahabah be applied in this case?

  16. nuqtah

    April 13, 2007 at 4:20 AM

    Two simple reasons:

    a) Accultarization into a culture different from that of the parents.

    b) The notion that one’s parents come from a backward, shirki, jaahili and mubtadi’ culture. Hence, itis asumed by default that they are not worth listening to.

    I think the second reason has been especially prominent among the ”newly enlightened’ youth. It has caused a lot of damage and has contributed towards breakdown of traditional hierarchy of families.

    One of the best ways to overcome this problem is to use some hikmah. And try to balance between religious duties and parents rights.

    (btw this analysis only applies to ‘practicing’ youth).

  17. nuqtah

    April 13, 2007 at 4:28 AM

    “Sorry to take this on a tangent, but any advice out there for youth trying to stick to the Qur’an and sunnah while their parents and majority of family are religious but follow a madhab blindly, have certain traditions which conflict with Islam? ”

    Excuse me? Following madhhahib has always been the established method of imparting and recievigng religious knowledge throughout the centuries.

    And here are some suddenly ‘enlightened’ youth, who discovered following madhhab is ‘blind following’.

    So, all those scholars and muslims, through out the centuries had it wrong? And you are apparently right?

    Absurdity.

    And what conflicting traditions are these, if you don’t mind telling?

    You may learn a thing or two from the following article:

    http://nawawi.org/downloads/article3.pdf

  18. RestingTraveller

    April 13, 2007 at 9:26 AM

    sister timelessness, I think that is an issue with many teens, but I think we have to remember that they are still our parents/elders and we cannot disrespect/yell etc at them. So when your mind is already programmed like that, advise them nicely and softly, privately.

    I know with my parents, I’ll usually just tell them a hadith and they will remember it mashaAllah. It’s important to not come off as a ‘know it all’ or with a degrading tone, because that’s when the ‘oh, you think you’re a shaykh’ comments come along.

    Just take the example of the man who urinated in the Prophet’s mosque. Rasul Allah salAllahu alayhi wa sallam advised him softly and then told the sahaba to pour water on the urine….how would we have reacted if someone came and urinated in a masjid?….That just shows us the level of our adab and akhlaq.
    Take for instance, a relative yawns in prayer and doesn’t cover their mouth. What a person could do is talk to them alone and just mention a hadith to them, instead of saying infront of everyone, astagfirullah! you’re standing infront of Allah and you do that blah blah blah. It makes a big difference.

    Another thing you could do, take your family to halaqaat with you or give them a lecture to listen to. My mom really enjoys anything by the almaghrib shuyookh, and Imam Anwar, because their language is simple.

    And we have to remember that it will take time, don’t forget to make duaa to Allah azza wa jal.

    That’s how I would go about it, wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam.

  19. Suhail

    April 13, 2007 at 10:37 AM

    Assalaam Alykum,

    When you parents are doing something which is not in conjunction with what Islam teaches then you should read how did Syedna Ibrahim made dawah to his father. There are also stories of the sahabah with non muslim parents and there dawah to them.

    They need to be respected and told in a manner which is nice. Dawah needs patience and good manners. Your intention is to solve the problem not cause it. So keeping that in mind deal with them in a kind manner. It is not easy but it is better then causing a fitnah.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  20. tahsinthree

    April 13, 2007 at 2:08 PM

    Aslaam-alaikam and Jazak Allah khair, Anonymouse for this article

    I find that those who come from the old country expect total and complete obedience not only from their children but also their wives. They only have to say: Do it and it is done! No questions allowed and no discussion permitted

    This type of blind obedience is the right of Allah, Subhanah wa Ta’ala only! For we know that Allah, Subhanah wa Ta’ala, is All-Wise, All-Knowing and He Alone knows best what is good for us.

    I agree that parents have to talk to their children in a kind way, just as children have to be kind to their parents.

    Sometimes one (as a parent) has to use reverse psychology; sometimes one has to DO the job – the maxim here is do as I do, rather than do as I say; sometimes one asks the teenager : What would you want your child to do in your situation; etc. Also sometimes one has to remember what one was like as a teenager

    To tell you the truth, I don’t know what my teenagers think or do unless they tell me. I use dinner time for discussion.

  21. Suhail

    April 13, 2007 at 3:26 PM

    Assalaam Alykum

    Brother Tahsinthree it isnt right to paint everybody with the same brush. Secondly the thread is not about how to deal with wives and there rights.

    It is not just to paint all the people from old country in the way you are saying. As i said before obidience is in accodance to Quran and Sunnah. If parents ask you something that is against the quran and sunnah then you should not do it and tell them in a kind way that you cant because of so and so.

    By the way what is this old country and new country? Salaf the early predeccesor were also old country so they were misguided according to you then? Please be mindful when writing things brother. We will be asked about what we speak and it is not an easy matter.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  22. Abu Bakr

    April 13, 2007 at 4:17 PM

    Sister inexplicabletimelessness… i’ve been in the exact situation that you described… and my advice is… be very patient and be very respectful

    your parents may be wrong about some things, but they are not evil, they do not hate Islam, and they do not hate you.

    In fact, most likely, in many ways they are good (in some ways, maybe better than us but you we not realize until we get older), they love Islam (maybe they have some areas they could work on, but we do too, they just may not be all the same areas are parents need to work on which makes it easy to see their faults and miss our own), and they most definitely love us (how much they love you, you will one day truly fathom and you will then look back at things with a very different perspective)

  23. Amad

    April 13, 2007 at 4:26 PM

    One more thing to add to Br. Abu Bakr’s advice… do NOT argue about madhabs and fiqh. If they want to be hanafis, let them be. Regardless of how much anyone claims to be ‘Quran and Sunnah’ follower, we all laymen, by definition, always follow someone or some set of people, and take most of our knowledge from them… It is entirely ok for your parents to be following a madhab they know. And if they don’t like your ‘new madhab’, then accommodate them, and be easy with them.

    So, for instance, if they don’t want you to pray in your shoes, then DON’T pray in your shoes in front of them… especially if you have already made your case once. Don’t argue with them about petty issues in Fiqh otherwise you will miss the opportunity to discuss important issues in Aqeedah. We cannot lose sight of priorities. Hope that makes sense…

    Br. Suhail: Sister/Brother Tahsinthree only mentioned wives in one line… the balance of the post was related to the subject. Furthermore, it is a stretch to think that Tahsinthree implied that old country has anything to do with the pious predecessors… I believe she/he meant old country like our homelands where many of us emigrated from (Arab world, Indo-Pak-Bang, etc.)… and she/he is right that there is a feeling of dictatorship in dealing with family that exists there. A feeling that is perhaps not consistent with American culture (which has its own pros and cons) and may cause more distances between parents/children than communications.

    wasalam

  24. nuqtah

    April 13, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    I think there’s a certain deal of ethocentrism involved in the way the youth deal with this issue. Since they associate everything from ‘back home’ being backward and wrong, they automatically assume everything their parents tell them is wrong.

    This also ties in with the fact that for this very reason, they have not much respect for ulema and scholars from their countries of origin.

    So, undoing ‘blind following’ and so- called ‘cultural corruption’ of islam, for them, necessitates even shunning the ‘backward’ religious authorities.

    But the important question remains; who do they learn from?

  25. Suhail

    April 13, 2007 at 5:45 PM

    Assalaam Alykum,

    Jazakallah Khair brother Amad. I am sorry if i did cause any hurt by my comment. Yes there is some kind of dictatorship style in the east but not everybody is afflicted with that. Thats what i meant. I may have gone overboard and i am sorry about it.

    Jazakallah Khair for correcting me.

    Suhail

  26. Hassan

    April 13, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    There is as much dictatorship in east as there is rebellion in west.

  27. Abu Bakr

    April 13, 2007 at 7:40 PM

    Yeah, Amad’s point is very important… when you are young, it is very easy to be convinced of the correctness of your opinion. Even if it may be true, looking back, after 5-10 yrs, you might realize some of the views that you thought were clearly THE SUNNAH are perhaps just interpretations of certain respected scholars, whereas other respected scholars hold different (and plausible) interpretations of the same texts.

    It is very important, both for youth AND adults, to realize that the Qur’an and Sunnah are not something to which we have some sort of exclusive monopoly.

  28. tahsinthree

    April 14, 2007 at 8:51 AM

    Aslaam-alaikam

    Br Hassan hit the nail on the head!

    Br Suhail: Looking back at my comments, I realise that I need to apologise too. I am sorry if I gave the impression of painting everyone with the same brush. I gave my opinion based on what I see happening in my vicinity. I try to correct them (in private, not publicly) and have been advised not to interfere. What then about “Amr bil ma’ruuf wa nahi ‘anil munkar” and Surah An-Nisa 4:135, translated (Muhsin Khan, Al-Hillali): O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor. Allah is a better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily Allah is Ever Well Aquainted with what you do.

    Br Amad: JazakAllah khair for your arbitration. And do you believe that the ABCMs (apart from Anonymouse) are brave enough to publicise their feelings; if so, it will show a high level of maturity for their age. My children tell me things in confidence, not to be shared.

    Resting Traveller: Using proofs from the Quran and Sunnah is a good way to guide children too. In response to their whys; the answer then is: Because Allah says so! (rather than the dictatorial : Because I say so!)

    Umm Layth: Yes, when you become a parent yourself, then it hits you what your parents went through with you!

    Br Shahzad: Information technology has its pros and cons. One pro is the information readily available in various styles. In my youth, I had access to only English translations of the Quran by Pakistani authors and it was ye olde type, difficult to read and hard to understand.

    Br. Abu Bakr: Thanks for the info. It is on my to-buy list now.

  29. AnonyMouse

    April 14, 2007 at 3:21 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    Wow, 28 comments already! Masha’Allah, I didn’t expect such a response… but I’m glad that it sparked the conversation that it did! :)

    Reading through all the comments, I’m feeling somewhat torn… on one hand, I totally see where the adults are coming from – masha’Allah, many great points were made! – yet as a teen I still feel that you guys are being a *little* too harsh on us (even if you ARE right! :P).
    Yes, we teens have a lot of issues (amongst them being that we think we know it all when we really don’t), but perhaps instead of criticizing us like this you could help us understand our errors.

    Again, you might have some trouble with that (especially with those of us who are a bit hot-headed and stubborn); but to simply make the effort would mean a great deal.

    I think that we just need to keep in mind that both sides have valid points… which is why, although the main body of my post was addressing the adults, the last bit was an admonition to my fellow teens. We would love to be treated the way that the Prophet (SAW) treated his young Companions, but of course we have to earn that kind of respect. Just as we’d like the adults to follow the mannerisms of the Prophet (SAW), so too do we teens need to learn from the example of the young Sahaabah – as some of the commentators mentioned here, we need to have a great deal of patience and good akhlaaq when dealing with our elders.

    Subhan’Allah, I feel that I’ve had a rather unique experience with this whole subject… at my old Islamic centre (we moved to another city this summer), I had a few friends my age, but alllll my other friends were older women. From them, I learnt a great deal… they were amongst the few adults who would let me sit in their circles of talk and listen and actually participate in the conversation. They would listen to what I had to say, yet were never afraid to correct me when I was wrong – and what I loved the most was the gentle way in which they rebuked me, because it made it a lot easier to swallow (I wouldn’t describe myself as sensitive, exactly, but even small criticisms can sting pretty badly). If I was having a fight or an argument with my parents, they showed me how to realize if I was in the wrong, and what to do if I was actually the one who was right.

    I had a very special relationship with these women (may Allah reward them abundantly, ameen!) and wish that my fellow Muslim teens could have similar experienced. Since my family and I moved to this new city, and I’ve been slowly getting to know the Muslim community here, one of the things that struck me the most was how the women and teen girls didn’t really interact that closely. As a result, we have this sort of ‘split’, both within families and the community at large.

    So, this is a big part of the reason why I wrote this post: so that you adults would know how we feel, and so that we teens can pay attention to what you have to say to us, and learn from that.

    I truly believe that both sides can learn a lot from each other (well, we teens can learn a lot from you, and you *might* learn a little something from us! :P)… it’s just a matter of putting aside our prejudices towards each other and trying to be honest and open with our thoughts and feelings.

    JazakAllahu khairan to EVERYONE who posted… I know that I learned a lot from reading your thoughts and opinions! :)

    May Allah help us bridge these gaps and divisions between us; and strengthen the bonds of Islamic brother- and sister-hood between us, ameen!

    Your little sister in Islam,
    Mouse

  30. Umm Reem

    April 14, 2007 at 5:48 PM

    Anonymouse: subhanAllah you have very valid points.
    And as I was going through the comments, I felt like the conversation has turned into advising teens then advising adults (maybe because most readers are adults!).
    I think she is trying to discuss how we, adults, are treating our youth?

    And to be quite honest, it doesn’t even start at youth, what are we doing to upbring our *children* in a manner that they turn ‘responsible’ youth? How much time and effort are we investing in our children, so they turn out to be the kind of youth that we hear of and the kind of youth we wish for?

    Anonymouse, you made a very valuable point about allowing children to sit in adult’s gathering so they can learn from them, the only problem is when a child strarts acting ‘mature’ and ‘older then his/her’ age, people around them are not ready to accept them as mature children.

    I noticed this much in Indo/paki culture where children are expected to be excluded from adult’s conversation, and be with thier own age group, so they all can be immature and never learn from adults’ gatherings!

  31. Umm Layth

    April 14, 2007 at 6:06 PM

    Hey, take into consideration that some of us just left our teens a few months ago and the only difference between us is that some of us are married and parents!

    With that in mind, some of us parents may just be starting to figure things out. We may have just started to leave the ‘i know it all’ stage (where we think we know more than our parents). May Allaah make us good parents, aameen

  32. AmatulWadood

    April 14, 2007 at 8:57 PM

    Mouse, are there any youth groups in your area?

  33. AnonyMouse

    April 14, 2007 at 9:12 PM

    AmatulWadood: Nope… I live on a tiny island with an even tinier Muslim population… but my family’s trying to start things up – we’ve already begun a Madrasah, and weekly halaqas, and regular programs for the women… we’re also planning on a summer camp, insha’Allah…

  34. nuqtah

    April 14, 2007 at 9:12 PM

    The fact that we are expecting the adults to *change*, and somehow think they are the ones not expecting Prophetic adaab, tells a lot about how we have been accultarized (i use this word a lot). Or, have forced ourselves to think in a certain way.

    I believe it is also from Prophetic adaab to discipline children. Authority and heirarchy are there for a Reason. Unless and until, the yoth realize where they stand, we can’t expect our elder to change.

    To blame the Pakistani culture is an extremely absurd arguement. This is due to the simple fact that different cultures have different methods of socializing the members of the society, into the society. Pakistani/sub-continental culture, for instance, has produced generations upon generatins of ulema, scholars etc…To claim that we now know better about this *backward* culture also implies that all of these scholars were also product of a *wrong* culture.

    This is ethno-centricity of thought, not logic.

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