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Nothing But Pure Ignorance of Self-Flagellation on Ashoorah (Ashura)

Amad Abu Reem

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Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction [Quran 2-195]

ashura-baby.jpg

There is such things as differences of opinions, fundamental theological differences, different fiqh, etc. between Muslim sects. But nothing excuses for pure ignorance and despicable behavior of self-flagellation by the Shias that engage in it on Ashoora (Ashura). Now let me preface this by saying that my grand-father lived and died as a Shia, may Allah forgive him, and my father tells me that his father (my grand-father) never engaged in such activities, so I am assuming that not all Shias agree with this.

What is even more shameful is when children are inducted into this practice, to the point of making cuts on babies’ heads! How can these little creatures even understand the purpose of this act, let alone be forced to engage in it by their ignorant parents?

ashoura-child-2.jpgOn another note, can we blame the Islamophobes for using these images to further propagandize about Islam?In fact, out of the 4 photos, I found 1 on an Israeli “facts” website and another on “religious freaks” website. The final 2 were from Yahoo News.

So, let me state it clearly to any non-Muslim readers that such practices of self-flagellation are prohibited in our religion (see first line of this post, a verse from the Quran). kids-ashoora.jpgMuslims are prohibited from even wailing over their dead. And certainly Islam forbids harming oneself or worse, harming one’s children. People who do such activities are driven by a false sense of love over Islam’s great martyr, Imam Hussein (RD). If Imam Hussein (RD) were alive today, I am certain he would distance himself from such “followers”. There is nothing in our Islamic history from the times of the golden caliphate that any of the Sahaba or the proceeding first generations engaged in such self-destruction.

adults-ashoora.jpgP.S. I am still in Pakistan on this 9th and 10th Muharram and it is amazing what happens in this first 10 days of Muharram. Perhaps I’ll write more about this one day (I have so many things to talk about!), but I’ll give one quick example: Even the red-light district in Lahore shuts down in “deference” to Muharram. I am told by the natives that this is also because the prostitutes (or mutah-practitioners??) are Shia’ and they actually take part in the commemorative events!

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Niqaabis

    January 19, 2008 at 8:25 PM

    Authoobillaah

    how can they do this to children

    this is child abuse

    may Allaah give them what they deseve aameen

  2. Avatar

    Sabir

    January 19, 2008 at 8:31 PM

    In fairness to the Shia, this practice is condemned by many prominent Shia scholars and banned in Iran, the only overwhelmingly Shia country. All of the pictures you see of this bloody practice are from Pakistan, Lebanon, or Iraq.

    • Avatar

      Nuha

      December 6, 2010 at 6:39 AM

      It is not true that it is banned in Iran. It still takes place.

  3. Avatar

    reader

    January 19, 2008 at 8:42 PM

    i was thinking (hoping) that maybe some liquid substance dyed red would be used to “simulate” blood on the children. am i being naive?

  4. Avatar

    to Shia

    January 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

    stop with the bla bla bla…

    “Do not cast yourselves, with your own hands, into destruction” [Quran 2-195]

    need he say more?

  5. Avatar

    SaqibSaab

    January 19, 2008 at 8:48 PM

    Good point Sabir. Amad also said in the post:

    Now let me preface this by saying that my grand-father lived and died as a Shia, may Allah forgive him, and my father tells me that his father (my grand-father) never engaged in such activities, so I am assuming that not all Shias agree with this.

    We just don’t want the non-Muslims to believe the Islamophobes who use these type of images to further promote the association of Islam and mindless violence. Like, “not only do Mozlems inflict violence on others, they also do so on themselves and their own infants.” It happens, and performing a simple search for Ashura will help you find that.

    So to any non-Muslim reading this, know that Islam has nothing to do with self-mutilation or beating or cutting ones’ self (or one’s children, I seek God’s help that he rids the world of such a terrible practice). I know the images seem to be very confusing, but know that these acts come from an extreme and unorthodox group that claims its thoughts and practices to be from the beautiful religion of Islam.

    These images always have, still do, and always will disgust me, and I’m sure everyone, Muslims and others alike, feel the same way.

    May God almighty guide us to the truth and keep us away from extremity in our faith of Him.

  6. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    January 19, 2008 at 10:28 PM

    I had a feeling Amad would post something like this…

    I’ve seen some extremely pious Shias. One uncle who comes to pray on campus when few people are around takes half an hour for Dhuhr and often from his voice you can tell he really feels it, masha Allah la quwatta illah billah.

  7. Avatar

    Sunni

    January 19, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    “I’ve seen some extremely pious Shias.” The same could be said about Christians, Jews, etc… with the end result still being the same.

    One uncle who comes to pray on campus when few people are around takes half an hour for Dhuhr and often from his voice you can tell he really feels it

    If he curses the sahabaa and feels that the Qur’an is incomplete and that the mehdi is hiding in a cave, then he can pray for days and it will never be accepted.

  8. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    January 19, 2008 at 11:00 PM

    ^There are different types of Shias out there man…don’t generalize.

    I would like to paraphrase Sh. Yasir Qadhi on what he once said, “The Shias are not necessarily incurring sin for their acts. This is because they follow their Ayatollahs and it is those Ayatollahs that are incurring all the sin for giving misguidance.” (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Amad: A post regarding the little known story of Karbala and what happened to Imam Husayn (ra) and all the big events that happened to the Anbiya would’ve been more beneficial. At least, our Shia friends would’ve seen our love for Ahlul Bayt.

  9. Avatar

    sincethestorm

    January 19, 2008 at 11:39 PM

    Red light district in Lahore…unbelievable that it exists!

    • Avatar

      B

      April 26, 2011 at 9:31 PM

      Why are you shocked there is a red light district in Lahore???
      Men the world over are hipocrites and will use and abuse women, why should the so called religious muslim community be any different??

  10. Avatar

    brnaeem

    January 20, 2008 at 12:41 AM

    AA-

    I agree with Dawud. A post reminding us of the events at Karbala would indeed have been beneficial. Let us not allow that great Muslim tragedy to become known solely as a Shia’ tradition.

    Imam Husayn (ra) and his family belong to every Muslim.

  11. Avatar

    Abu Maryam

    January 20, 2008 at 2:31 AM

    “I would like to paraphrase Sh. Yasir Qadhi on what he once said, “The Shias are not necessarily incurring sin for their acts. This is because they follow their Ayatollahs and it is those Ayatollahs that are incurring all the sin for giving misguidance.” (correct me if I’m wrong). “……………….

    Are you sure Yasir said this? Could that argument not be applied to all the kuffar also in that case?

  12. Avatar

    inexplicabletimelessness

    January 20, 2008 at 4:10 AM

    As salamu alaikum

    Though I don’t agree 100% with everything in this article, I think it still does a decent overall job of summarizing the events at Karbala.

    http://sunninews.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/karbala-%E2%80%93-a-lesson-for-mankind/

    For more detailed analysis/historical perspective, please see “The History of Islam” by brother Akbar Shah Najeebabadi:
    http://islamicbookstore.com/b6673.html

    wassalam

    PS Should we call Hussein (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) IMAM Hussein? I am never sure about this.

  13. Amad

    Amad

    January 20, 2008 at 4:20 AM

    I hope the intent of the article was very clear, i.e. my condemnation was of the specific practice of self-flagellation, not of the commemoration or other events during this time (though I vehemently disagree with those as well). I did not intend or desire for this post to become a sunni-shia flame-out. That is why I did not even discuss the issues around Imam Husayn’s martyrdom, and delve into who’s right and who’s wrong, primarily because my knowledge of those issues are limited.

    Interestingly, did folks know that the third greatest man who ever walked the earth (after the Prophet (S) and Abu Bakr (RD)), Umar (RD)’s shahadat (martyrdom) occured on the first of Muharram (i.e. when he actually passed away)? And if we start commemorating days for births and deaths, everyday will be special for something. wallahualam.

  14. Avatar

    Abunurah

    January 20, 2008 at 9:26 AM

    Salaam Alaykum, Brothers and Sisters.

    I appreciate that the intent of the post was not to encourage further Sunni-Shia animus, but rather to clarify that these practices are not Islamic, to counter Islamophobic propaganda. However, our enemies will attack us no matter what. Those among the Jews and Christians who are inclined to hate, will do just that. While I do not agree with the practices of some Shia, I see them as my brothers and sisters. I will let Allah judge us in the end. Those that fan the flames for attacks against Muslims cherish the Sunni-Shia divide. That’s part of the reason the US invaded Iraq. If there were more trust between us, we would be able to put up a united front. Instead, many Shia initially supported the invasion and collaborated with the US and Britain. Now with a looming attack on Iran, it’s possible many Sunni desire the same fate for Iran. Unity does not mean we all have to think and act the same.

  15. Avatar

    Organic Muslimah

    January 20, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    In high school, I used the above images–naively not understanding what they meant–for a presentation on Palestine. The students questioned me, “why does that lady have a knife near the baby’s head?” I had no answer, but I was sure that there was some good Islamic reason for it. Soon after, I learned that there wasn’t. It was bogus and it isn’t only them, it happens in every sect.

    May Allah protect us from such practices.

  16. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    January 20, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    I wonder really how widespread this is. The photos really are sensationalist and it’s not surprising they come from Islamophobic web sites. I did a google search and guess who wrote the AP story – the famous Scheherazade Faramarzi.

    Br. Amad, I have one other comment about the photos – given their source, how certain are you that they’re authentic? It took a while before the Dutch film still was distinguished from an allegedly real execution.

  17. Avatar

    ex shia

    January 20, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    sorry but i find it really silly that so many of you find so much excuses for the shias.

    ive lived with/known shias that are from iraq, iran etc. and these are the ones that follow the top ayatullahs. YES, THEY DO PRACTICE HITTING/LATMIYAHS in muharram and other occasions.pls stop this where sunnis always think that this may be from islamophobes and its a minority…when will u ever learn?

  18. Avatar

    ibnabeeomar

    January 20, 2008 at 6:38 PM

    I asked shaykh yasir and he did not say that perhaps he made another statement which was misunderstood

  19. Avatar

    ex shia

    January 20, 2008 at 9:36 PM

    jk ibnabeeomar, because ive heard his lecture which the bro is referring to and that is not what he said, walhamdulilah.

  20. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    January 20, 2008 at 11:42 PM

    Funny…I remember Sh. YQ saying that during LightuponLight Toronto in regards to their Aqeedah…apologies for the mistake and may Allah forgive me. Ameen.

    I don’t really know much about Shias and I need to ask, “Do I really need to know about Shias? Is this the most important issue for me? Is this truly worth my time?”

    Much of the discussion about how one group is not Muslim or not, no matter how true it is, makes young Muslims focus on THAT rather than activism and improving things. So the brother who could’ve been following the examples of the Sahabas (ra) by helping the elderly and disadvantaged in their community becomes the super-Salafi who wants to be Ibn Taymiya (rahimullah)…and fails (or succeeds depending on your view) by being concerned with a tiny “bid’ah” which isn’t a bid’ah at all, he simply hasn’t learned enough.

    In my community, Sunnis have worked with Qadianis on Islamic television programmes, simply because the Sunnis were too busy with their bid’aah-bash and not interested. It’s as if too much education has defeated the goals of educations. OK Enough outta me…

    :)

  21. Avatar

    Islam Blog

    January 21, 2008 at 12:50 AM

    For anyone interested in doing some reading on what Shi’ism is from a Sunni standpoint, here’s a nice website:

    http://ahlelbayt.com/

  22. Amad

    Amad

    January 21, 2008 at 1:50 AM

    Sr. Ruth, 2 of the pics were from unfavorable sites, the other 2 were right off yahoo pics. I have zero doubt that this occurs because my own family has seen it done here in Pakistan.

    This is AP photo from Iraq

    This is an AP photo from Lebanon

    Use this search to see more photos on Yahoo news

    w/s

  23. Avatar

    Suhail

    January 21, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    Yes Shia do flogging and doing that is a part of there religion.

    Shias come in different sects. The closest to the sunnis are the Zaidi Shias and still the scholars have categorized them with Ahlul Bidah.

    Dawud when you are talking about cooperation then it is based on a diferent concept. We can cooperate with anybody even Qadianis on something that is right and haqq. Same with any other sect or group.

    But when we cooperate we also acknowledge there mistakes and point that out. Even if we work with Qadianis and Shias on different projects that are for Haqq and righteousness we dont stop refuting there wrong beliefs.

    Most of the Shia are Ithna Asharriya and they curse sahaba, ummehatul Momineen. They have filthy tongues when it comes to sahaba and you cant even stand it.

    I guess most of you have not met some staunch shia to taste there venom against shia otherwise you wont be here defending shias. Just ask any shia what he thinks about Muawiya (RA) and then the truth will come out of his mouth.

    • Avatar

      Naqvi

      December 15, 2010 at 12:52 AM

      agreed !! you cant change anybody with your words !! they have to change themselves !! so why dont you do a favour … ! try more to stay away from complaining … i hope shias will stop blaming and cursing in return !! and if you wont !! i will say you are doing right and they are doing right too !! so do what you like is the best !! and dont peep in your neighborhood !!

  24. Avatar

    Suhail

    January 21, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    I meant venom against sahaba.

  25. Avatar

    awake

    January 22, 2008 at 11:10 AM

    Sabir wrote:

    In fairness to the Shia, this practice is condemned by many prominent Shia scholars and banned in Iran, the only overwhelmingly Shia country. All of the pictures you see of this bloody practice are from Pakistan, Lebanon, or Iraq.

    And also, Queens, NY.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/galleries/festival_of_ashura/festival_of_ashura.html?c=0

  26. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    January 22, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    the pictures were the best part of this post! OUSTANDING work as always! Amad gets an “A” for effort.

    Theological issues aside, the Shia remind me of Orcs…only slightly less attractive though.

  27. Avatar

    MR

    January 23, 2008 at 1:02 PM

    Shia need to brighten up their days with some Sunni days instead of their Shia days.

  28. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    January 23, 2008 at 1:31 PM

    mr – that line is classic!!

  29. Avatar

    bookworm

    January 26, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    why are these muslims so ignorant? what do they gain from these activities using children? can we call them muslims? why can’t sheyks and speakers like Dr. Naik educate these ignorant muslims . In a world where Islam is the fast- spreading religion it is possible. I pray that in years to come this act would be minimized and forgotten.

    May Allah guide them in the right path and may Allah enhance them with true knowledge. Aameen.

    • Avatar

      Naqvi

      December 15, 2010 at 12:46 AM

      May Allah guide you to be become a better human and may you help human kind in field of science and technology rather than pointing out others !! if you dont like them then why cant you stop talking about them .. let them do what they want !! stay away from it !!

  30. Avatar

    abbas

    January 6, 2009 at 2:49 AM

    first of all i would like to say that alhamdollilah i am a shia muslim, according to a HAdees from all shia and sunni hadees books ” Hussain o minni wa ana minal Hussain ” , matam is not the practice of this era, i think most of my brothers and sisters forgot HAzrat OWais Qirni (r.a), for the harmony among shais and sunni muslims these type of contoversal material will not be pubilished, there is a good saying of Ayatullah Khomaini ” one how discriminate b/w shias and sunnis is not a shia or a sunni he is an agent of Jew” may allah give us knowledge to understand this conspiracy. Ameen

  31. Avatar

    Haider

    November 20, 2009 at 2:14 AM

    Huzoor assalam alaikum

    This is for your kind information
    1) Islam never prohibited wailing/crying on teh death of any one. Do have any authentic sura from holy quran or hadith of hazrat paigambar(saaw). I would like to refresh your islamic knowledge that Rasool(saaw) cried on the death of Hazrat Abu Hamza.

    2) This shows your baised approach towards Shiaism. Infact Imam hussain a.s followers try to feel same pain and injury what Hazrat a.s and their family members & true friends got from Yezid(lanat) army.

    3. Do you think that day people should enjoy.

  32. Avatar

    Zaidi

    September 1, 2010 at 3:44 AM

    With all due respect to all participants of this discussion, i would want to add that using the term self flagellation for Maatem will not be correct. While sefl flagelation is an act of Self Punishment, the act of Maatem is not only a way of showing grief for the injustice that took place in Karbala (and with all of Aal-e-Rusool) but also a way of showing that if we were there at the time the events of karbala took place, we would have given our life in the way of Islam and to save aal-e-Rusool. Also, the people from the tribe Banoo Asad who came for the rescue of Hazrat imam too late still runs from their place to Karbobala on 10th of mohurram just to show their spirit that they would give their life for Rusool Allah and Aal-e- Rusool if it is required of them today. I have been to Saudia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to lear more about my religion and our practices and every where Muslims have their own way of exxpressing their love for Allah and Rusool.

    Having said that i will also add that even i do not indulge in Maatem and rather donate blood on the Aashura and i do not believe in inflicting wounds on infants but if an adult does it, then it is their belief and we must respect that. If we cannot practice religious pluralism as many do not believe in it, we should atleast have religious tolerance and respect for ever belief.

    Regard, Rida Zaidi

    • Amad

      Amad

      September 1, 2010 at 4:53 AM

      Thanks Rida.
      I am all for respecting others’ beliefs, but I have a hard time accepting any activity that involves injury to one’s body. What kind of love permits you to go against the Quranic injunction itself of not harming your own self?

      Also, we need to be stronger about inflicting wounds on children, not just “I dont believe in it”. We should never accept injury to a child in the name of any religious perspective. We don’t need to understand such behavior, where the target is a minor, rather we need to condemn it outright.

      • Avatar

        Naqvi

        December 15, 2010 at 12:40 AM

        Thank you Rida, Haider And Zaidi for your explanations;
        Dear Amad,
        Brother to be very staright forward, if you got problems in accepting some thing in your brain, at least dont bring it out to other people, do what you are doing in your daily life and we will see each other on the judgment day that who is right or who is wrong. You got no rights on blaming some one that he/she is doing wrong or right. correct yourselves. If you would have searched for the islam you would have known some better things. I respect what ever you said but please don’t bring your non-acceptance state of mind to the public, it would cause more trouble than it would be without it.. You dont believe its your problem, publishing some thing you dont believe is just crap. You want to condemn some thing, condemn in yourself, and if you got so much time for condemning better spend that time in blooming love among people, i am not talking about love or unity between shia or sunnis … i hate this sect things…. try to love everybody and help everybody in the world …. you were born as a human before even you converted to islam, so atleast respect for being a human and help others rather than wasting time in this hypocrisy … I have read this whole forum … i saw no point and no result of some thing … May God bless us all … and makes us more like a human than rather being a muslim or a christian or a jew !! Let every one do what they are doing !! and you do the best what you are doing !!
        for the guys who posted that may Allah the Almighty protects them from such blasphemy and practices !!! Please then why the hell you are talking about it when you want to stay away from it !! just cut of your self … we need no talking on this .. we need act of being a better muslim who loves other, no hate and point out the next one !!
        Well any how we deserve to be punished by super powers cox of our such acts as we are not united … spend your time in science and technology rather than spending time on pointing out who is wrong and who is right !!
        God bless every body who participated in this conversation ! Amen

        • Amad

          Amad

          December 15, 2010 at 3:43 AM

          i hate this sect things…. try to love everybody and help everybody in the world

          If you move past sectarianism then, you’ll clearly condemn these practices as well, like I hear many Shia scholars have done too… esp. those that hurt children, who have no say in what happens to them.

          • Avatar

            Naqvi

            December 15, 2010 at 6:36 AM

            you are no one stop anybody …please let them do what they are doing !! trust me !! you are just accusing or blaming what ever at a wrong time to wrong people !! some pictures cant show the reality of any ones faith !!

    • Avatar

      muffassir

      September 1, 2010 at 8:28 AM

      Lol how can even justify these acts, let alone respecting them. These are uncivilized barbaric actions and I pray to Allah(swt) that he shows these deviated people the truth. Sometimes I am thankful to Allah(swt) about these divisions in Islam seeing these UnIslamic practices, since we can at lease say that true muslims have nothing to do with these practices of the deviated shias or the weird rituals of the sufis.

      • Avatar

        Naqvi

        December 15, 2010 at 12:44 AM

        how about barbarian acts by the 1st three caliphs ??? you want me to open the history and make you feel shame of what you said ?? stop complaining and pointing out others … make your self to be proud by going a head in science and technology rather than wasting time in balming others … this is what is the problems with muslim i dont know how to make them understand that we have so little time to fight against the evil .. we got a commom enemy shadow and we need to fight back with our power of knowledge … no angels are gonna come from heaven to help you when your kids are being raped or killed in front of you !! be a better human than a better muslim first !!

        • Amad

          Amad

          December 15, 2010 at 3:38 AM

          how about barbarian acts by the 1st three caliphs ???

          Assuming your mischaracterization and blasphemous line is correct, should this be a justification for you to engage in barbarism too? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

          But I am glad that in light of your justification, you are essentially admitting that the self-flagellation act is barbaric.

          • Avatar

            Naqvi

            December 15, 2010 at 6:31 AM

            @ Amad,

            You know what brother … you need some special help !! I AM NOT A SHIA neither a MUSLIM !! i am trying to be a muslim !! luckily i was born in family of muslims but i am not gonna be a muslim cox my parents are or what parents put in your mind since beginning of your childhood !! God Al Mighty has given enough thinking power to everybody to think on their own what is right and what is wrong !! right now you are blaming some people who do what they think is right … So you are completely wrong !! from your talks nothing is gonna change … so what i was saying before as well instead of blaming others try to find Allah and His peace that He spread all over and try to love His man instead of accusing !! I am just so young now !! nether i have learnt so many things … but what ever you said is just completely a non sense to a neutral party !! If you are so brave then stop talking and go stop this thing in person !! you want me to find out where these things happen these teaching kids wrong or right !! i will give you the addresses go and stop their hands … they will chop your head off !! COX you are no one to stop anyone from doing what they are doing !! everyone is born completely independent and will die independently !! you are not the the who is gonna pay for the sins others are doing !! and if you are so humanitarian why dont you go to africa and help people fight alot of other things that they are facing !! i believe this shia thing can wait !! you are complaining so much about shia … why dont you complain about hindus or sikhs or jews or Christians !! i dont know to me it feels like personal fight among two stupid minds shia and sunis !! its not about religions or believes there is some thing else !! you see how neutral people think !! JUST A COMPLETE NON – SENSE !! LET THE PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY ARE DOING !! trust me you will not have to pay at the end of the day anything to ALLAH !! and if you say you have to … then you have to pay for the bomb blasts killings … babies dying with HIV AIDS …. innocent killings in kashmir bosnia lebanon … i believe they are your muslim fellows around the world !! so go stop other things if you are so muslim and then come back and talk when every one is in peace and only problem is left with SHIAs !!
            Good day … Fiamanillah

      • Avatar

        mirza

        January 7, 2013 at 2:31 AM

        these are minority extremists among the Shias, about 80 years ago extremist christains who practiced self flaggeration for christ in spain converted to Sufi’sm, then converted to Shia’sm. Its a sufi shia practice. Its not Shia. This migrated to other parts as India and Pakistan. Still its a minority of youngsters who are ignorant. infact, Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei banned this 30 years ago. This practice does not happen in Iran. (the official Islamic Republic of Allah, in which Sharya law of Jafaria fiqh is practiced). Its purely a true Shia version of Islam there.

        judge people by their actions, not by the false misleading propaganda. stop generalizing that all do this.. you said it yourself, your grandpa was Shia, and he never did it. not everyone does this. I am Shia, I never practice this nor my friends. so its not fair to generalize.

        *Comment edited to comply to MM Comments policy – DM*

  33. Avatar

    Ali

    December 4, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Salam,

    I would like to start of with something about me. I am a shia muslim and proud Syed. I think Amad dude has some problems in his brain. remembering someone like that isnt haram, people like you who dont care and have no feelings for him is not my fault, but its just ur faulty up bringing. Your article just makes annoyed and offended. I think you should really go to rehab. Sorry but im serious.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 15, 2010 at 3:45 AM

      Don’t be annoyed and offended at me. Rather be annoyed and offended at fellow Shias who are practicing these ignorant rituals. I think most of us agree that there are a lot of shias who don’t do this, and shia scholars who don’t condone this. Join that bandwagon.

      • Avatar

        Naqvi

        December 15, 2010 at 6:45 AM

        OMG !! Amad … you are so much in this !! trust me you gonna end up in a very deep mess !! back off man … its gonna be a good thing for your state of mind !! and if still your mind doesnt accept, please go and see a psychiatrist !! this is all i can say ! cox from top to bottom not a single word of yours seems to be your problem at all !! i dont know why people want to mess up with other’s believes !! you think you are a big hero or some teacher or some monk of the mosque ?? you and me were not there at the time of our last Prophet !! so just please focus on your believe and let others focus on theirs !! you are no one … just a common good fish in a dirty pond and i dont want a good fish to destroy the pond more or make itself dirty !! this was the only reason i spent my 30 mins on writing comments here !!
        Best of Luck …
        Raza Naqvi

  34. Avatar

    sister

    December 15, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    Salamualaikum Wr Wb

    JazakAllah Khair brother amad…may AllahSWT remove misconceptions from the minds of non muslims and guide the muslims who are doing this disgusting act in the name of Islam!

    @ naqvi : why dont you analyze urself and the topic addressed properly instead of throwing some immature words all over the place?

    • Avatar

      Naqvi

      December 15, 2010 at 7:21 AM

      you think its immature ??? yea probably cox you are a muslim … its more than a funny thing to see from angle of a non-muslim !! STOP COMPLAINING you MUSLIMS >> STOP HAUNTING >>> DO SOME ACT >>> YOU HAVE SPOKEN AND SPEAK ALOT !!! God knows when you people will learn !! I AM NOT GONNA REPLY HERE ANYMORE !! BETTER I WOULD HAVE GONE ON FIELD WORK TO HELP SOME POOR KIDS suffering from hunger and HIV !! a complete waste of time to talk with such stupid muslims !!
      BYE !! MAY MOLA A.S teach you some thing so you can use it practically not with words !! LOOOOSERS

      • Avatar

        sister

        December 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM

        LOL!
        Dont know whatz up with you…May Allah help you.
        Salam!

        • Avatar

          shima

          December 16, 2010 at 11:02 AM

          salam.
          islam is very kindly.real muslims are very kind.do not beleive something wich is said by enemies.

  35. Avatar

    shima

    December 15, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    . ofcoure these photos do not tell us truth obout islam.these people are from small group of muslims that do not know real islam.it is forbidden in islam to hurt anyone and yourself.in fact this poeple are not muslim but called muslim

  36. Avatar

    Tahmid

    December 15, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Salam, I lived in Bangladesh for many years and I never saw this act of ignorance but I heard of the people who do this in the villages and the uncivilized places and almost all the people that do this are uneducated but it’s disgusting that any person with even a little bit of knowledge of Islam would do this… May Allah(swt) guide us all, Ameen.

  37. Avatar

    shima

    December 16, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    I am iranian and i know it is banned in iran.thank god.it is forbidden in islam.

    best regards

  38. Avatar

    Ali

    December 17, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Crying for IMAM Hussain is SUNAT_E_NABI (PBUH)
    ( Sunan al Tirmidhi Volume 5 page 657:) (sunni Book)
    Salma narrated: ‘I witnessed Umm Salma in a weeping state. I asked her as to what made her weep. Salma replied: ‘I have seen the prophet in such a state in a dream- that his head and his beard were stained with dust. I said, ‘Oh Apostle of God, what made you like this?’. He replied: ‘I witnessed the killing of Husayn”’.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 17, 2010 at 3:37 PM

      The Prophet (S) also cried at the death of his son Ibrahim. Is that a sunnah we should follow too?

  39. Avatar

    Bilal Khan

    December 19, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    First of all I am a Sunni and I think that despite all the differences everyone may want to point out about the practices during the Ashura, we are all followers of the same faith and must remember that. We only promote external condemnation of our religion as a whole if we fail to support our own brothers and sisters of the faith..

    Peace be upon you.

  40. amad

    amad

    December 19, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    The ignorance continues to this day…
    live proof caught on TV of children being subjected to barbaric rituals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2-AvfppB88

    • Avatar

      AsimG

      December 19, 2010 at 7:49 PM

      blocked in the US

      • Amad

        Amad

        December 19, 2010 at 11:33 PM

        strange

  41. Avatar

    Brother

    December 19, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I have a shia friend that when i asked him why shias beat their heads with knives and do that kind of stuff. He told me that showing sorrow by hitting your self with an open palm was ok, the stuff that the shias do with the knives is extreme and not allowed. So if my friend is “mainstream” shia, then obviously the people in these pics are not.

  42. Avatar

    Brother

    December 19, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Also, FYI, no one called themselves Shia or Sunni during the prophets time as far as I know. I also know that there are Sunnis that do graveworshipping. So personally, calling Shia’s non-Muslim is unfair unless it is obvious, i.e. make it known, that they commit shirk. I am not a scholar, but if someone on this message board is, please enlighten me if I think wrong.

  43. Avatar

    A Pakistani Brother

    December 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Rafidis – note: not all Shias are Rafidis – are without a shadow of a doubt non-Muslims. The practice of “matam” or self flagellation is fairly common in their communities with varying levels. Some just beat themselves – which is pretty gay if you ask me – or some bruise and cut themselves, which is quite simply barbaric. While the episode of Karbala was certainly unfortunate and truly a sad event in the history of this ummah, it in no way means you should beat yourself up and engage in fake crying. Yes fake crying. Fake crying is an art that the Rafidis of today have mastered. It’s pretty comical if you’re looking for some entertainment. Anyways …

  44. Avatar

    seyed hosein

    February 15, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    im an iranian and shia
    this practice(beating head by poniard) in both religion shia and low of iran is forbidden. this is a Traditional and blockheading practice but unfortunately somewhen (less than 1% in ashoora) done. whole effort of leaders of shia and government is to naught of this practice. the propaganda for magnify this practice vs concept of ashoora is islamophobia . invited all of you t study about imam hossein and ashoora and reasons of his rising without any zealotry . and again emphasis that shia opponent with this practice.

  45. Avatar

    elireeya

    November 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    this isnt real islam and real ashoora,they just acting.what are u doing???plz remove your photos,search real islam you dont know any thing about real islam of course no body cant undersand we dont like hurt my body.think more…

  46. Avatar

    ali rj

    February 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    hi there.i am a muslim.in my country and in islam kiling and blood and harm is not islam.

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza

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On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.

 

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#Life

Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam

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High School is that time which is ideal for preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is so much excitement and opportunity. Youth is a time of energy, growth, health, beauty, and adventure. Along with the thrill of being one of the best times of life, there is a definite lack of life experience. In your youth, you end up depending on your own judgments as well as the advice of others who are further along the path. Your own judgments usually come from your own knowledge, assumptions, likes, and dislikes. No matter how wise, mature, or well-intended a youth is compared to his or her peers, the inherent lack of life experience can also mislead that person to go down a path which is not serving them or their loved ones best. A youth may walk into mistakes without knowing, or get themselves into trouble resulting from naivety.

Salma and Yousef: 

Salma and Yousef had grown up in the same community for many years. They had gone to the same masjid and attended youth group together during high school. After going off to college for a few years, both were back in town and found that they would make good prospects for marriage for each other. Yousef was moving along his career path, and Salma looked forward to her new relationship. Yousef was happy to settle down. The first few months after marriage were hectic: getting a new place, organizing, managing new jobs and extended family. After a few months, they began to wonder when things would settle down and be like the vision they had about married life.

Later with valuable life experience, we come to realize that the ideas we had in our youth about marriage and family are far from what are they are in reality. The things that we thought mattered in high school, may not matter as much, and the things that we took for granted really matter a lot more than we realized. In retrospect, we learn that marriage is not simply a door that we walk through which changes our life, but something that each young Muslim and Muslima should be preparing for individually through observation, introspection, and reflection. In order to prepare for marriage, each person must intend to want to be the best person he or she can be in that role. There is a conscious process that they must put themselves through.

This conscious process should begin in youth. Waiting until marriage to start this process is all too late. We must really start preparing for marriage as a conscious part of our growth, self-development, and character building from a young age. The more prepared we are internally, the better off we will be in the process of marriage. The best analogy would be the stronger the structure and foundation of a building, the better that building will be able to serve its purpose and withstand the environment. Another way to think of this process is like planting a seed. We plant a seed long before the harvest, but the more time, care, and attention, the more beautiful and beneficial the fruits will be.

 

Sarah and Hasan:

Hasan grew up on the East Coast. He had gone to boarding school all through high school, especially since his parents had died in an unfortunate accident. His next of kin was his aunt and uncle, who managed his finances, and cared for him when school was not in session. Hasan was safe and comfortable with his aunt and uncle, but he always felt there was something missing in his life. During his college years, Hasan was introduced to Sarah and eventually they decided to get married.

The first week of his new job, Hasan caught a really bad case of the flu that made it hard for him to get his projects done. Groggy in bed, he sees Sarah appear with a tray of soup and medicine every day until he felt better. Nobody had ever done that for him before. He remembered the “mawaddah and rahmah” that the Quran spoke of.

Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding:

The process of growing into that person who is ready to start a family is that we need to first to be aware of ourselves and be aware of others around us. We have to have knowledge of ourselves and our environment. With time, reflection and life experience, that knowledge activates into understanding and wisdom. This activity the ability to make choices between right and wrong, and predict how our actions will affect others related to us.

Preview:

This series is made up of several parts which make up a unit about preparation for family life. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Family Unit In Islam
  • Characteristics of an Individual Needed for Family Life
  • The Nuclear Family
  • The Extended Family

Hamza and Tamika

Tamika and Hamza got married six months ago. Tamika was getting her teacher certification in night school and started her first daytime teaching job at the local elementary school. She was shocked at the amount of energy it took to manage second graders. She thought teaching was about writing on a board and reading books to kids, but found out it had a lot more to do with discipline, speaking loudly, and chasing them around. This week she had state testing for the students and her finals at night school. She was not sure how to balance all this with her new home duties. One day feeling despair, she walked in her kitchen and found a surprise. Hamza had prepared a beautiful delicious dinner for them that would last a few days, and the home looked extra clean too. Tamika was pleasantly surprised and remembered the example of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Family Unit in Islam

We always have to start with the beginning. We have to ask, “What is the family unit in Islam?” To answer this we take a step further back, asking, “What is the world-wide definition of family? Is it the same for all people? Of course not. “Family” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people across the world. As Muslims, what family means to us, is affected by culture and values, as well as our own understanding of Islam.

The world-wide definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other through blood or marriage. Beyond this point, is where there are many differences in views. Some people vary on how distantly related to consider a family. In some cultures, family is assumed to be only the nuclear family, consisting of mom dad and kids only. Other cultures assume family includes an extended family. Another large discrepancy lies in defining family roles and responsibilities. Various cultures promote different behavioral norms for different genders or roles in the family. For example, some cultures promote women staying at home in a life of luxury, while others esteem women joining the workforce while raising their kids on the side. Living styles vary too, where some cultures prefer individual family homes, while in other parts of the world extended families live together in large buildings always interacting with each other.

 

Layla and Ibrahim   

Layla and Ibrahim met at summer retreat where spirituality was the focus, and scholars were teaching them all day. Neither of them was seriously considering getting married, but one of the retreat teachers thought they might make a good match. It seemed like a fairytale, and the retreat gave them an extra spiritual high. Layla could not imagine anything going wrong. She was half Italian and half Egyptian, and Ibrahim came from a desi family. Soon after the nikah, Layla moved across the country into Ibrahim’s family home, where his parents, three siblings, and grandmother lived.  Come Ramadan, Layla’s mother-in-law, Ruqayya, was buying her new clothes to wear to the masjid. It was out of love, but Sarah had never worn a shalwar kameez in all her life! Ruqayya Aunty started getting upset when Layla was not as excited about the clothes as she was.

As Eid approached, Layla had just picked a cute dress from the department store that she was looking forward to wearing. Yet again, her mother-in-law had other plans for her.

Layla was getting upset inside. It was the night before Eid and the last thing she wanted to do was fight with her new husband. She did not want that stress, especially because they all lived together. At this point, Layla started looking through her Islamic lecture notes. She wanted to know, was this request from her mother-in-law a part of the culture, or was it part of the religion?

Marriage

The basis of all families, undoubtedly, is the institution of marriage. In the Islamic model, the marriage consists of a husband and a wife. In broad terms, marriage is the commitment of two individuals towards each other and their children to live and work together to meet and support each other’s needs in the way that they see fit. What needs they meet vary as well, from person to person, and family to family. The marriage bond must sustain the weight of fulfilling first their own obligations toward each other. This is the priority. The marriage must also be strong enough to hold the responsibility of raising the kids, and then the extended family.

How are we as Muslims unique and what makes us different from other family models? We are responsible to Allah. The end goals are what makes us different, and the method in which we work. In other family systems, beliefs are different, goals are different, and the motives are different. Methods can especially be different. In the end, it is quite a different system. What makes us better? Not because we say we are better or because we automatically feel better about ourselves due to a misplaced feeling of superiority. But instead it is because we are adhering to the system put in place by the most perfect God, Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds, the One Who knows best what it is we need.

Family Roles:

Each person in the family has a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has meant for them to have, and which ethics and common sense tell us to follow. However, our nafs and ego can easily misguide us to live our family life in the wrong way, which is harmful and keeps us suffering. Suffering can take place in many ways. It can take place in the form of neglect or abuse. In the spectrum of right and wrong, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that we are a nation meant for the middle path. So we should not go to any extreme in neglect or abuse.

What are the consequences of mishandling our family roles? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls this type of wrongdoing “transgression” or “oppression”. There are definitely consequences of oppression, abuse, and neglect. There are worldly consequences which we feel in this life, and there are long term consequences in the Akhirah.

Razan and Farhaan

Razan and Farhan had gotten married two years ago. Since they were from different towns, Razan would have to move to Farhaan’s hometown. On top of the change of married life, Razan felt pangs of homesickness and did not know many people in the new town. However, Farhaan did not realize what she was going through. He still had the same friends he grew up with for years. They had a die-hard routine to go to football games on Friday night and play basketball on Saturday at the rec center.

Razan was losing her patience. How could he think it was okay to go out with his friends twice on the weekend? Yet he expected her to keep the home together? Her blood started to boil. What does Islam say about this?

Mawaddah and Rahma

The starting point of a family is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife. Allah SWT prescribed in Surah 25: verse 74, that the marriage relationship is supposed to be built on Mawaddah (compassion) and Rahma (mercy). A loving family environment responds to both the needs of the children and the needs of parents. Good parenting prepares children to become responsible adults.

Aliyaah and Irwan

Aliyaah and Irwan had homeschooled their twin children, Jannah and Omar, for four years. They were cautious about where to admit their children for the next school year. Aliyaah felt that she wanted to homeschool her children for another few years. There were no Islamic Schools in their town. Irwan wanted to let his kids go to public schools. He felt that was nothing wrong with knowing how things in the real world are. However, every conversation they started about this issue ended up into a conflict or fight. This was beginning to affect their relationship.

Parenting

Two significant roles that adults in a family play are that they are married and they are parents. It is important that parents work to preserve and protect their marital relationship since it is really the pillar which supports the parenting role. Parenting is a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly addresses in our religion. We will be asked very thoroughly about this most important role which we will all play in our lives.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us,

“All of you are shepherds and responsible for your wards under you care. The imam is the shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is a shepherd of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them. A man is the shepherd of his father’s property and is responsible for them”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam has placed a lot of importance on the family unit. A family is the basic building block of Islam. A strong family can facilitate positive social change within itself and the society as a whole. The Quran asserts that human beings are entrusted by their Creator to be his trustees on Earth, thus they need to be trained and prepared for the task of trusteeship (isthiklaf).

Asa youth, it is important to make a concerted effort to develop our family skills so that we grow into that role smoothly. Proper development will prepare a person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically for marriage and family life.

Mona Islam is a youth worker, community builder, motivational speaker, writer, and author. For the past 25 years, Sr. Mona has been on the forefront of her passion both locally and nationally, which is inculcating character development in youth (tarbiyah).  Sr. Mona has extensive knowledge of Islamic sciences through the privilege of studying under many scholars and traveling worldwide.  An educator by profession, she is a published author, completed her masters in Educational Admin and currently doing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Sr. Mona is married with five children and lives in Houston, TX.

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