Connect with us

Homeschooling

Why Robert Davila is the Most Famous Muslim in America This Week

Hena Zuberi

Published

on

Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Assalam ‘alaykum wa rahmatulah,

Sometimes we land in a spiritual slump and want to stop doing what we are doing, and then Allah sends us inspiration when we need it most.  I watched this last night and had to share this with our readers. Although it has probably been shared all over the world, on forums, Facebook pages, and websites (yes, even soap opera sites), it deserves to be shared even more, mashaAllah!

What a story, what an inspiration! JazakAllah Khayr to Ustadh Nouman for sharing the story of Robert Davila.

I relayed this story to three different people today, and each of them felt rejuvenated on his/her journey to Allah, including my daughter, who was struggling with her Quran lessons. To encourage her, we were reading Khuram Murad’s Way to the Quran together and at the part where he writes about making sure that we are “constantly alert with intense praise and gratitude to [our] Master for having blessed [us] with His greatest gift- the Quran and for having guided [us] to its reading and study,” Brother Robert was the most perfect example that I could give to her, having seen this video.

It really, truly reminded me that Allah’s work doesn’t stop–we need Him–he doesn’t need us. May Allah guide all of us with the light of His Guidance in whatever position we may be in and give us the taufiq of dua (supplication), shukr (thankfulness), sabr (patience), and ridha bil qadha (satisfaction with Divine Decree). Ameen.

Update: Here is a photo of Robert for those who were doubting his existence. Ustadh Nouman plans on airing an interview with him soon. Yusuf made some great points in comments. It is not enough for us to celebrate and be inspired by conversion stories, we have to realize that disabled and New Muslim support is severely lacking in many of our communities. If you were moved by this story, use the inspiration to start a support group in your masjid or community center. One immediate thing you can do is teach people how to talk about disability with respect. People with disabilities live in a world designed primarily for the able-bodied. We can only really start to empathize when we think of how inconvenient or unkind circumstances are getting to the places where people worship and socialize; things that many of us take for granted.

Robert speaking at a masjid in Texas. Photo Courtesy Ustadh Nouman's homepage

Robert speaking at a masjid in Texas. Photo Courtesy Ustadh Nouman’s Facebook page

Muslimmatters had our own dawah cheer to share this week. Yesterday, Br. Sebastian took his shahadah and shared this tweet with us, and another brother who cannot drive to the masjid due to a disability asked if he could take shahadah online with one of us. Allahumma taqabbal ya Rabb.

Muslimmatters

 

How were you inspired by these stories?

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mahmud

    February 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    wa alayk

    Definitely the(whole video) was the best video I’ve watched in my life. All two something hours of it was worth it and this was definitely the best part..

  2. Avatar

    NAS

    February 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Such an inspiration, mashAllah.

  3. Avatar

    Mww-m

    February 27, 2014 at 10:45 PM

  4. Avatar

    Reality

    February 27, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Seriously, this guy is a fake.. paralysis means lost of sensory. There is no way the guy could have felt anything below his neck! The confirmation came., when he realized his story was flawed., his body language turned into lost of confidence ( hands in pocket) and 2nd his voice turned louder and more assertive., and his speech has become a loose thought of mind..as opposed in the beginning when it was more structured like a memorized plot.. I always believed that we should always be thankful to the messengers..that is the way everything works.. if God does it, then it becomes a miracle..

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      February 28, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      Exactly what on earth are you talking about? I get the sense you are calling Robert a liar, but your post is incoherent. Extremely incoherent. It’s one thing to slander a person on the internet, it’s another to make sense while doing it.

    • Avatar

      Robert Davila

      March 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Seriously, I’m not a fake.

      • Amad

        Amad

        March 3, 2014 at 1:02 AM

        wow mashallah, the celebrity brother himself is here. Robert, only trolls believe you are fake. If you are fake, then no one is real!

        Brother Robert, it is an honor to see you here… seriously your story is inspiring adults and kids alike… i told your story to my 7 year old last night and she was so excited to meet you one day! inshallah i will try to see you when i come to dallas in summer

        P.S. Folks, this is the real Robert commenting– i have checked the IP address as well to confirm location :)

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        March 3, 2014 at 1:50 AM

        ma sha Allah great to see you respond directly brother.

        • Avatar

          Mahmud

          March 3, 2014 at 2:17 AM

          I feel so honored….my comment is in close proximity to Roberts……Robert don’t forget us in your prayers.

      • Hena Zuberi

        Hena Zuberi

        March 3, 2014 at 2:15 AM

        Assalamalaykum wa rahmatulah,

        I would love to hear more from you Br. Robert.. Any suggestions for us on what else we can do on Muslimmatters to serve our new Muslim brothers and sisters?
        Keep us in your duas.

      • Avatar

        Shakirin AlIkram

        March 5, 2014 at 5:29 AM

        Assalamualaikum, may Allah Bless you for giving me a `sock in the gut’ for the inspiration that is You! Allahu Akbar. Now I feel that I have been missing out on His Great Ikhsan where I should have seen them, Bless you my son. I am a sorry example of a Muslim granny at 65 years old now I am uplifted by you to make amends and repent for my past Ingratitude to Allah for the Bounty He has given me.
        I pray for the day that YOU and Ustadh will come to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia because there are many (able-bodied) lost Muslims here too.
        DEfinitely,for me, better approach than Dr. Zakir Naik. Wassalam

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Aarif

      July 1, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      Neurons (“wires” that relay messages to and fro central nervous system) can be generally divided into two types, motor and sensory. There are auto-immune diseases that can selectively affecting one type or both. Clearly, if only motor neurons is involved, the affected person can still feels awfully lot of pain even though he is paralyzed. I do feel sorry for your lack of knowledge, and may Allah gives you guidance.

    • Avatar

      yep

      July 6, 2016 at 1:47 PM

      Reality? Just what are you talking about? Are you saying he’s not really paralyzed?… I think you have a disease in your heart. You will see REALITY on Judgement Day.

  5. Avatar

    Riz

    February 28, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Jazakallah Khair for sharing your view point sister.. It was truly inspiring to learn that allah will definetly guide whomsoever he wishes no matter which part of the world dey are… And Robert’s dedication to follow through,, amazing man mashallah.. May Allah bless his efforts and for him inspiring many of us who needed it…

    Sister hena in your profile it also mentions you support whole food and organic life, can you please explain about that.. Jazakallah Khair :)

  6. Avatar

    Hansel

    February 28, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    Paralysed people can and do feel pain, smartass!

    • Avatar

      Yusuf Smith

      March 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

      There are different forms of paralysis; some forms (such as when someone has a complete spinal cord injury) mean the person cannot feel anything below the level of injury. So, if someone has a complete injury at C6 (the lower neck), they will have full function down to the shoulders, some arm function but nothing below that. There are also incomplete spinal cord injuries, where someone has some feeling and movement below that level.

      However, if he has muscular dystrophy, he will lose muscle function but not feeling, so he will be able to feel pain. I used to know a brother in the UK who had a form of that (there are several), and his mother looked after him until his 20s and then he got married. (And no, muscular dystrophy doesn’t affect that.)

      • Avatar

        Ariadne la Fae

        March 7, 2014 at 6:58 AM

        This kind of paralysis kinda reminds me of David Wong’s story in his self-healing book “Transcendental Connection”, is that similar? (btw I’m no medical person)

        Robert Davila is the best convert story it’s really a wake-up call for us the heedless ones. We often take simple things like health for granted. If such a disabled one like him can have a big heart to accept Divine call, we all should be ashamed of our heedlessness and reflect. May Allah bless him in this world and hereafter. You rock, Robert!

  7. Avatar

    Mark McDonald

    February 28, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Muslims want what White Christians have made off this country and they have failed in their own country , but they hate whites and Christians

    • Avatar

      Mww-m

      February 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      Plenty of white Muslims here…

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        March 1, 2014 at 7:54 AM

        Dear Mww-m

        Our Comments Policy requires a valid name or Kunyah to be used when commenting. You may also use a blog handle provided your blog is linked, the email address is a valid one, and it is not advertising a product.

        Best Regards
        Comments Team

    • Avatar

      Yusuf Smith

      March 1, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      Why is junk like this allowed on here? Pointless insults like these should just be deleted.

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        March 3, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        Dear Yusuf

        I left it up there as Mww-m had already answered to him very appropriately. Needless to say the concerned person is now on moderation. :)

        Best Regards
        Aly

        • Avatar

          O H

          March 6, 2014 at 8:28 PM

          Could you please elaborate on the point of moderation. Is that the reason why my posts, which are not abnormal, take ages before it appears on the site.

          • Avatar

            Aly Balagamwala

            March 6, 2014 at 11:50 PM

            Dear OH

            At some point in your commenting history, possibly on request of a particular author or certain comments on a particular post, you may have been put on the moderation list. Usually we keep such moderation on a temp basis. Let me go through some recent history and review the said moderation.

            Also “OH” is in violation with our Comments Policy. We prefer you use your name or Kunyah.

            Best Regards
            Aly

  8. Avatar

    Research of Bismillah

    March 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    This news is very important for every Muslim.

  9. Avatar

    farzana begum

    March 1, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I am not able to open d link on Research on Bismillah :( y?

  10. Avatar

    Yusuf Smith

    March 1, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    We should remember that there are a lot of converts who are disabled and who live in isolated areas. Some of them are physically disabled like Robert, others have learning difficulties like a friend of mine in the UK.

    Incidentally, it’s very surprising that he was happy in that nursing home. That is the lot of quite a number of poorer disabled people in the USA even if they have family, because they are unable to afford to care for their relatives in the home — the state is supposed to pay, but often won’t find the money (though the courts often force them to, but this is quite a recent development). Many people who are forced to live in these places say they are miserable, and not just because of loneliness but also because of the restrictions on their liberty and sometimes downright abuse. And of course, they won’t be serving halal food. We may find some of these people inspiring, but some of them need our help also.

  11. Avatar

    Abez

    March 2, 2014 at 4:15 AM

    MashaAllah, very inspiring.

  12. Pingback: Robert Davila’s Inspirational Story « YasSarNal QuR'aN

  13. Avatar

    O H

    March 3, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    May Allaah forgive our shortcomings despite all the ability he has given us to worship Him with ease, Ameen

    Learn this dua, taken from Surah Al Ahqaaf Verse 15, so that we may be grateful to Allaah for the blessings we have been bestowed with.

    رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ

    “Rabbi awzi’ni an ashkura ni’mata-ka-llati an’amta ‘alayaa wa ‘ala walidayya

    My Rabb! permit me to give thanks for Your blessing which You have bestowed on me and on my parents

    Jazaki Allaahu Khair ukhti Hena for sharing this. For people who are inactive on social media like Facebook, twitter etc we can miss out on a lot of stuff.

  14. Avatar

    shamsa omar

    March 3, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    Inspiration beyond words

  15. Pingback: Why Robert Davila is the Most Famous Muslim in America This Week | Follow the quran

  16. Avatar

    Faiza

    March 7, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    salaam to all
    If we are inspired by the story of Robert then we must make dua for his complete recovery as well. HasbonAllah wa naimal wakeel. If he can guide him, he can sure cure him too. There are thousands of people who are inspired, imagine if each one of us make dua for his recovery, there will be vibrations in the air and Allah may accept it. O Allah give Robert complete Shifa as you have guided him. Ameen.

  17. Avatar

    Nida

    March 9, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    I feel like crying. Brother Robert I would love to meet you someday if Allah permits. May you enter Jannah Insha Allah

  18. Pingback: Raja Bomoh Turut Mengesan MH370 - KOPI LEKAT

  19. Avatar

    zaynadu

    April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    As’salamu alaikum, brothers and sisters,

    I took Shahada on March 23, 2014, just a few short weeks after seeing this video. It wasn’t the only thing that finally brought me to submit to Allah, but it played a role. I wholeheartedly believe Robert was given a sign and meant to be a beacon to us all. American converts don’t always have it easy, but seeing Robert’s strength can give us the strength we need to take a huge leap or maybe just the last baby step. Alhumdullilah for the signs and guides that Allah gives us!

    • Avatar

      Nida

      April 15, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      @zaynadu may Allah grant you the highest level of Jannah Ameen :’)
      Alhamdulillah!

  20. Avatar

    tarequl islam

    May 30, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    mr mark mcdonald… i wanna say something to ya.it is i myself am a Muslim, as well as a native citizen of the USA. i feel proud of myself to be chosen to pray to ALLAH, and thank Him that i was born as a Muslim, BUT I also feel pity and sorry for the people like you who are still non-Muslims.. hope that ALLAH shows you the RIGHT path.

  21. Avatar

    M.S.

    June 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    SubhanalAllah, what a story!

  22. Pingback: রবার্ট ডেভিলা কেন সবচেয়ে আলোচিত একজন আমেরিকার নব্য মুসলিম? » স দা লা প

  23. Avatar

    ABDIKANI AHMED

    March 12, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Our Brother Robert Davila
    a revert who became Muslim while fully paralysed and he says he is grateful to Allah-Alhamdoulillah

    May our brother who can’t walk in the dunya, run in jannatul Firdous with our beloved Prophet Mohammed, sallAllaho ‘alayhi wassalaam – Ameen!
    CLICK HERE TO LIKE HIS PAGE Robert Davila​
    WATCH THIS VIDEO OF HIM 1000000% YOU WILL CRY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VrYugm1RPQ
    HOW IS SRONG FAITH ALLAH GAVE HIM BROTHER #ROBERTDAVILLA

  24. Avatar

    shah

    December 28, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Assalam Alaikum Brothers and Sisters,

    After reading some negative points in this blog, I was compelled to respond here. I live in Irving and Br Robert Davila visited our Islamic Center. Ustad Nouman Ali Khan give khatira every Monday after Isha at ICI. I came across the blog while searching Br Robert to give reference to my friend about this amazing story I witnessed myself. If anybody has doubts, contact Bayyinah Institute.

    Beyond that nobody can convince except Allah.

    May Allah guide us all. Aameen.

  25. Avatar

    Mohsen

    January 5, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Salam. What a beautiful story. Very inspiring. Sobhanallah! May Allah keep him happier and satisfied by the day and grant his health back. I bet he is MUCH happier than a healthy, wealthy Muslim kid that doesn’t even know a word of Qur’an.
    Thank You for sharing Robert’s story.

  26. Avatar

    Haadiya

    May 20, 2016 at 4:36 AM

    Inspirational stories are always soul lifting. Read a truly heart turning story Sarah, it will surely inspire you

  27. Avatar

    Mirza

    September 20, 2016 at 2:01 AM

    Masha Allah, deeply moved, May Allah SWT guide us all . Can anyone share facebook page of brother robert devila?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Life

Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam

Published

on

Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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.

Continue Reading

#Life

Highly Educated, Willingly Domesticated

Laura El Alam

Published

on

Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Doctor.  Engineer.  Certified Nurse-Midwife. Writer and Literary Critic.  Lab Technician. Parliamentary Assistant. These highly-trained, respected careers are the culmination of years of intense study, training, and self-discipline.  Most people, upon achieving these esteemed positions, would happily dedicate the rest of their working years to putting their knowledge and expertise to use. They would gradually gain more experience, earn greater pay, and amass professional perks.  Most likely they would also, over time, assume leadership roles, earn awards, or become sought-after experts in their field.

What kind of person has all this at her fingertips, but decides to give it up?  Who would trade in years of grueling study and professional striving for an undervalued position that requires no degree whatsoever What type of professional would be willing to forgo a significant salary to instead work for free, indefinitely, with no chance whatsoever of a paycheck, recognition, benefits, or promotion?

Who else, but a mother?

While certainly not all mothers choose to give up their careers in order to raise their children, there is a subset of women who do. Stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) may spend the majority of their days performing unglamorous tasks like washing dishes, changing diapers, and reading storybooks to squirming toddlers, but behind the humble job title are dynamic, educated, and capable women. They may currently have a burp cloth in one hand and a sippy cup in the other, but chances are, SAHMs have a mind and capabilities that reach far beyond the apparent scope of their household duties.

What motivates a capable and ambitious woman to give up her career and stay home to raise children? Is she coerced into it, or does she choose it willingly? What is her driving force, if not money, status, or respect?  I had many questions for these women -my sisters in Islam and my stay-at-home “colleagues”- and some of their answers surprised me.

For this article I interviewed seven highly-educated Muslim moms who chose to put successful careers on hold, at least temporarily, to raise their children. Between them, they hold PhDs, MDs, and Masters degrees. While the pervasive stereotype about Muslim women is that they are oppressed and backward, these high-achieving females are no anomaly. In fact, according to her article in USA Today, Dalia Mogahed points out that, “Muslim American women are among the most educated faith group in the country and outpace their male counterparts in higher education.” Across the pond, The Guardian reports that more young Muslim women have been gaining degrees at British universities than Muslim men, even though they have been underrepresented for decades.”    

 

Ambitions and dreams

Every single one of the women I interviewed grew up in a household with parents who highly emphasized their daughters’ education. In fact, all of them were encouraged -either gently or more insistently- to pursue “top” careers in medicine, engineering, or science. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the women I interviewed were at the head of their classes at university.

In their school years, before marriage, all of the women I spoke with considered their career to be their main priority; motherhood seemed far-off and undefined. “When in uni,” explains Neveen, an endodontist who eventually put her career on hold to be a SAHM and homeschooler, “I never, ever thought I’d homeschool (nor did I believe in it), nor did I ever think I’d be a SAHM. I was very career-oriented. I was top of my class in dental school and in residency.”

“I absolutely thought I would be a career woman,” agrees Nicole, a mom of three in California who holds a Masters degree in Middle East Studies. “I never considered staying at home with the kids, because they were totally out of my mind frame at the time.”

“I expected that after graduation I would follow a research-based career,” adds Layla*, another SAHM in California who holds a PhD in Computer Engineering. “I never thought I’d stay at home because I believed it was fine for kids to be in daycare. I also thought SAHMs were losing their potential and missing out on so much they could otherwise accomplish in their lives.”

As young women, many assumed that if they ever chose to start a family, they would have assistants, nannies, or domestic helpers to lighten their load. Several of them believed they would put their future children, if any, in daycare. However, the reality of motherhood made each of these women change her mind.

“My child was highly attached to me,” explains Sazida, an Assistant to a Member of Parliament in England, “and I could not envision him being looked after by anyone else despite generous offers from relatives.”

“After I had my first child all I wanted to do was be able to care for her myself,” concurs Melissa, a Certified Nurse Midwife from New York.

 

Other Motivations

It turns out that maternal instincts were not the only factor that made women choose to drop out of the workforce. Dedication to Islam played an enormous part in their decision-making.

“After having my first child,” explains Layla, “I decided that he was far more precious than working. He is a gift that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gave me to protect and care for.”

“After I became Muslim,” shares Nicole, “My goals changed, and I hoped to marry and have children. I do think it was beneficial for my children to have a parent always there to depend on,” she adds. “I feel like I was the anchor in the family for them, and I hope to continue that role.”

“What’s important to me,” asserts Neveen, “Is to raise my kids as good Muslims who love -and are proud of- their life and deen.”

Another reason many highly educated women choose to stay at home is because they have the opportunity to homeschool some or all of their children.  Remarkably, out of the seven women who answered questions for this article, five reported that they chose to homeschool at least one child for a few or more years.

“I really enjoy my homeschooling journey with my kids and I get to know them better, alhamdullilah,” states Layla.

The opportunity to nurture, educate, and raise their children with love and Islamic values is the primary reason why these talented women were willing to put their successful careers on hold. “Hopefully Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will reward us in Jannah,” muses Layla.

 

Challenges

Although none of the women I interviewed regrets her choice to be a SAHM, they all agree that it is a challenging job that is actually harder than their former career.

One obstacle they must overcome is the negative perception others have about successful women who make the choice to put their career on hold. “I soon learnt that casual clothes, a toddler, and a buggy don’t give you the same respect as suits and heels,” says Sazida.

One would expect, given their faith’s emphasis on the dignity of mothers, that Muslim SAHMs would enjoy the support of their family and friends.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

One mom explains, “My in-laws offered to look after my child, and my father-in-law couldn’t understand why I wanted to stay at home when there was perfectly good childcare that they were offering. After two and three years passed, he got more and more disheartened that I was not earning and complained about the lost potential income.”

“My non-Muslim mother told me that I wasting my education,” confides Nicole. “She did not support me staying home, though I think she appreciated that I was there for my children and have a good relationship with them.  She was a SAHM as well, so I am not sure where that was coming from, actually.”

Melissa’s mom was similarly skeptical of her daughter’s decision. “My mother didn’t love me being fully dependent on my husband,” she admits.

“I was not at all supported by my family or friends,” laments Radhia, a Lab Technician with a BS in Microbiology with a Chemistry minor.

Other than being doubted and blamed for their choice, there are other challenges that SAHMs face. Accustomed to mental stimulation, exciting challenges, professional accomplishments, and adult interaction, many former career women find staying at home to raise youngsters to be monotonous and lonely. The nannies, assistants, cleaners, and other workers they had envisioned often never materialized, since hiring these helpers was usually too expensive. Husbands who spent the day working as the family’s sole breadwinner, were usually too tired to help with household duties.  A few women admitted that they felt guilty asking for help in the home when their husband was already exhausted from work. To exacerbate the problem, most of the women I interviewed lived far from family, so they could not rely on the help one normally gets from parents and siblings. That means the bulk of the childcare and housework fell onto their laps alone.

“The main challenges for me,” states Nicole, “were boredom, and finding good friends to spend time with who had similar interests. I was also very stressed because the raising of the children, the housework, the food, and overall upkeep of our lives were my responsibility, and I found that to be a heavy burden.”

“I think the feelings of vulnerability and insecurity about whether I was a good enough mother and housewife was difficult,” shares Melissa. “All my sense of worth was wrapped up in the kids and home, and if something went wrong I felt like a failure.”

“It was not as easy as I thought it would be,” confesses Radhia. “It was overwhelming at times, and I did miss working. Emotionally and physically, it was very draining.”

“Staying home has been harder than I expected,” adds Summer*, a Writer and Literary Critic from Boston. “I didn’t realize how willful children could be. I thought they’d just do what I said. I’m still trying to get used to the individuality! It’s harder than my job was, only because of the emotional load, and the fact that the effort you put in doesn’t guarantee the results you hope for.”

 

Money Matters

Giving up their salary also put women in a state of financial dependency, which can be a bitter pill to swallow for women who are used to having their own resources.

“I felt very dependent on my husband, financially,” says Radhia.

“Alhamdulillah, my husband does not refuse if I ask him to buy anything,” explains Layla. “However, I felt like I was losing my power of deciding to buy something for someone else. For example, if I want to buy a gift for my mother or my sister, he never refuses when I ask him, but still I feel internally it is harder for me.”

“Alhamdulillah my husband’s personality is not one that would control my financial decisions/spending,” shares Neveen. “Otherwise I would never have chosen to be a SAHM.”

“Giving up my career limited my power to make financial decisions,” asserts Summer. “I could still spend what I wanted, but I had to ask permission, because my husband knew when ‘we’ were getting paid, and how much. He paid the bills, which I didn’t even look at.”

“Asking permission,” Summer adds, “is very annoying.”

Re-entering the workforce was difficult for some women, while not for others.  The total time spent at home generally affected whether women could easily jump back into their profession, or not.  Some of the moms felt their skills had not gotten rusty at all during their hiatus at home, while others felt it was nearly impossible to make up, professionally, for missed time.

 

Words of Wisdom

Although all of the women I interviewed firmly believe that their time at home with their children is well-spent, they do have advice for their sisters who are currently SAHMs, or considering the position.

“If I could go back and speak to myself as a new mum, I would tell myself to chill the heck out and just enjoy being a new mum,” says Sazida.

Melissa offers, “I wish people understood how talented you have to be to run a home successfully. It’s a ton of work and it requires you to be able to do everything from snuggle and nurture, to manage the money, budget, plan precisely, be a good hostess, handle problems around the home, manage time, and meet goals all while trying to look cute.

“I would always recommend that women have their own bank account and money on the side,” advises Nicole. “You never know when you are going to need it.”

“Once their kids are in school,” adds Radhia, “I would suggest SAHMs start something from home, or take on part time work, or courses, if necessary.”

“For moms choosing to stay at home,” Layla suggests, “I would say try to work part-time if your time permits, and if you have a passion for working. Trust that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will protect you, no matter what. Remember, you are investing in your kids, and that is far more important than thinking ‘I need to keep money in my pocket.’”

 

Support, don’t judge

As a Muslim ummah, our job is to support one another as brothers and sisters.  It seems people forget this oftentimes, and erroneously believe that we are entitled to gossip, speculate, and sit in judgement of each other, instead.  In our lives we will all undoubtedly encounter women who choose to continue their careers, and those who put them on hold, and those who decide to give them up completely. Before we dare draw conclusions about anyone, we must keep in mind that only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows a person’s entire story, her motivations, and her intentions. Only He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is allowed to judge.

We must also remember that some women, for a variety of reasons, do not have the luxury of choosing to stay at home. They must work to the pay the bills. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows their intentions and will reward their sacrifices as well.

 

It is my hope that this article will not cause more division amongst us, but rather raise awareness of the beautiful sacrifices that many talented and intelligent women willingly make for the sake of their children, and even more so, for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).  They are the unsung heroes of our ummah, performing an undervalued job that is actually of utmost importance to the future of the world.

 

*Name has been changed

 

 

For the past decade, writer Laura El Alam has been a regular contributor to SISTERS Magazine, Al Jumuah, and About Islam. Her articles frequently tackle issues like Muslim American identity, women’s rights in Islam, support of converts/reverts, and racism. A graduate of Grinnell College, she currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband and five children. Laura recently started a Facebook page, The Common Sense Convert, to support Muslim women, particularly those who are new to the deen.

Continue Reading

#Culture

Read Books, Build Character, Inspire Generations

Avatar

Published

on

Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

By Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari

Believers would recognise that God has made knowledge the foundation for the superiority of human beings over other creatures on Earth. The first word revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was ‘Iqra’, meaning ‘read’ or ‘recite’. The Prophet said “the seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim” (Al-Tirmidhi). Knowledge thus goes hand in hand with the Islamic creed.

Muslims are asked to seek knowledge by reading, learning and reflecting to live their lives as stewards in our planet. They are asked to supplicate “O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge” (Al-Qur’an 20:114). To emphasise the message of the superiority of learned people in Islam, the Prophet said, “The superiority of the learned man over the worshipper is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars …” (Abu Dawud).

One can observe exemplary practices amongst those who are often labelled as enlightened. A trait that typically stands out prominently is their craving for knowledge and emphasis on reading. Many would own bookshelves or even a private library in their homes; public libraries would abound across the country. Through knowledge, scholarship, good character and hard work they endeavour to create long-lasting civilisations; whether it be Greek, Indian or Chinese examples.

During the Islamic Golden Age which began in the 8th century and lasted over 600 years, Muslims flourished in intellectual pursuits because of their thirst for learning. They became the ardent lovers of books and became synonymous with knowledge. They made momentous progress in all areas of life. At a time when books were written and copied by hand, affluent Muslims spent their wealth to establish libraries, mostly adjacent to schools or mosques, so that everyone could use them. Books and libraries became the Muslims’ umbilical cord in connecting their material progress and spiritual quest together.

During their peak cultural and intellectual period, Muslim scientific and technological innovations, as well as their translations of ancient Greek knowledge into Latin, inspired Europe in its intellectual resurgence. This Muslim-led knowledge revolution with the flowering of science, art, medicine, and philosophy spread across the Muslim world. It was the infusion of this knowledge into Western Europe that fuelled the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. The invention of the printing machine in 1451 further helped to transform Europe, as knowledge rapidly reached beyond the elite class.

While Europe was brimming with energy and started its new journey with astounding vigour, political weaknesses and collective inertia meant the Islamic world fell into stagnation. One calamity that befell Muslims, considered by many historians to be a hammer blow to their intellectual backbone, was the Mongol invasion of Muslim lands. The occupation of Baghdad in 1258 witnessed an unparalleled barbarity; killing scholars, burning books and destroying libraries. In spite of the successful military fightbacks against the Crusading armies, the conversion of many Mongol invaders to Islam and the victories of the Ottomans over the next few centuries, the Muslim world gradually succumbed to intellectual passivity and socio-political fracture. The rest – the colonisation of lands and minds, eventual independence but subsequent failures of leadership to this day – is history.

Today, the overall condition of Muslims – in terms of their education level, economic performance and intellectual standard – is less than satisfactory. Their political and religious leadership has imploded in many places; their ineffective governance and lack of institutional capacity to harness human and material resources are still hindering progress. Post-9/11 disorder in the form of imposed or proxy wars in historic lands and failed or repressive politics in some countries have displaced millions of people from their homelands.

There are however signs of genuine awareness and reappraisal as well as positive changes in many places. It is time Muslims sharpen their reading habits, build character and find practical ways to join the dots of good works with a ‘glass half full’ attitude. The regeneration of their grass-roots leadership across the world of Islam – from parents at home, teachers in school and Imams in mosques – has become a necessity. Muslims must learn to excel in what they do in their family, community, workplace and wider society with inclusive social activism. Only then, can they create an effective civil society everywhere.

Their reading, as in their heydays, should start from core religious texts for moral guidance and spiritual peace to all areas of modern knowledge which has made astounding progress in recent decades largely without Muslim input. Reading activates the human brain and provides food for thought and is vital for developing curiosity and enhancing critical autonomy. Ultimately it is knowledge that empowers a people.

In a world of information overload, one has to pick and choose what to read and what not to. With our short and limited lifespan, we cannot afford to waste time by only reading junk and indulging in vanity. Good books are the sources of silent power; they are the pillars of success. Like a balanced diet for a human body, good books are vital sources for mental agility and spiritual peace. Reading should be for a purpose that injects the attitude of reflection and action, build character to act for the good of all. Good reading nourishes from within, fills hearts and souls with gratefulness to God for all the bounties around and catapults people to serve others with the best of human character, Adab.

Let us read books, inspire children, and help create a better world for our future.

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari is an educationalist, parenting consultant, and author. His memoir A Long Jihad: My Quest for the Middle Way was published in summer 2018. Dr. Abdul Bari is the former Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Here is Dr Bari’s concise recommended reading list:

Children Related

1)  Islam for Children Series

2)  Children’s books on various topics – Khurram Murad

3)  Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim book of Colors – Hena Khan

4)  Crescent Moons and Painted Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes – Hena Khan

5)  A Guide to Parenting in Islam: Cherishing Childhood – Muhammad Abdul Bari

Al-Qur’an/Qur’an Related

1)  To choose 2-3 from classical and modern Tafsirs

2)  Understanding the Quran Themes and styles – Mohammad Abdel Haleem

3)  The Majestic Quran: A Plain English Translation – Musharraf Hussain

4)  Way to the Qur’an – Khurram Murad

Hadith/Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

1)  The Complete Forty Hadith – Imam an-Nawawi

2)  Stories of the Prophets – Ibn Kathir

3)  Muhammad – Martin Lings

4)  Companions of the Prophets 1 and 2 – Abdul Wahid Hamid

5)  The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet – Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri

6)  In The Footsteps of the Prophet – Tariq Ramadan

Islam/Islam Related

1)  Ihya Ulum Id Din: Book of Religious Learning Hardcover – Imam Ghazali

2)  In The Early Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self Development – Khurram Murad

 

1)  The Road to Mecca – Muhammad Asad

2)  Islam Between East and West – Alija Izetbegović

3)  Islam and the Destiny of Man – Gai Eaton

4)  Autobiography of Malcolm X

5)  Inescapable Questions: Autobiographical Notes – Alija Izetbegović

6)  To Be a European Muslim – Tariq Ramadan

7)  A Long Jihad: My Quest for the Middle Way – Muhammad Abdul Bari

8)  1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in our World – Chief Editor, Salim TS Al-Hasani

 

1)  Amusing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman

2)  Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

3)  The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament – Wael Hallaq

 

Continue Reading

Trending