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Nurturing Insightful Kids | Sh Yahya Ibrahim

Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim

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Indonesian children

Teachers face a unique challenge.

On the one hand, they need to get through a comprehensive curriculum that requires a deliberate, if not stubborn, outlook on their students keeping the pace necessary to complete it. On the other hand, they also see the outliers amongst their cohort as not receiving what they need to spread their wings and sore, or more likely, catch-up to the rest of the group.

Parents.

The answer, after nearly two decades of teaching, are parents. I here aim to share, as a parent and an educator, some maxims, that in my professional and personal experience will promote your child’s natural abilities and push them to achieve their very best.

These laws are not tasks for your children to accomplish. These principles, founded from the Sunnah, are practices YOU must implement.

Be positive about learning

Show your children, through your active practice that knowledge is a life-long pursuit. This can be done by taking on hobbies, attending weekend courses, being attached to a regular Quran halaqah and by consistently demonstrating a positive attitude towards learning. This, subtly, encourages your children to foster an interest in learning. It is important for our children to see that learning is something that adults do too.

One of the Dua enjoined upon our Nabi Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to make is recorded in Surat Taha:

وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

Say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge.

Surah TaHa 20:114

The knowledgeable agree that the request for increase begins with the desire and then taking the means to pursue it.

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ

Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, Allah makes easy for him a path to Paradise. Sahih Muslim 2699

Experience + Reflection = Learning

Reading is nice, but doing is better. The experiences we have in our lives are not simply memories, they build our brains and alter our world view. When we involve our children in new and interesting, positive experiences, we stimulate their brain development and give them a larger library of information to draw from.

Our children may not listen to everything we say, but they absorb everything we do. From the youngest of ages, our children are engrossed in our lifestyle. The more contact time you have, the richer their experience, especially if that contact is consistent. Take note of the Prophet r attitude to youngsters attending to the masjid or other formal events.

It is clear as well that his r audience was not limited to the faithful elders amongst the sahabah, radiya Allahu anhum ajma’een, but also to the young. Most of the noteable scholars from the Sahaaba were those who grew up mixing and traveling with the Messenger of Allah r from a young age. The likes of Usama ibn Zayd, Abdullah ibn Omar, Anas ibn Malik, Abdullah ibn Amr, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Zaid ibn Thaabit and countless others.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them both) said: ‘One day, I was riding behind the Prophet r when he said: “Young man! I am teaching you (some) words: Follow Allah’s orders and He will protect you; fulfill His rights and you will find Him with you. If you need something, ask Allah; and if you ask for help, ask Allah (alone).”

What an honour to sit next to the best of humanity and travel while being taught to reflect on the true nature of life.

Know that mistakes are opportunities

If you can’t make a mistake, you’ll never do anything new. Help your children to realise that we all make mistakes. No one gets everything right the first time. In fact, making mistakes is the way we learn.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah,  ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Sahih in Sunan Ibn Majah 4251

At first glance, it seems like this hadith is just a general statement. However, when you come to know that Anas, radiyaAllahu anhu was 9 years old during the life of the Prophet r and that he was given the honour of serving the Prophet r, the hadith becomes more precise. When you couple it with Anas describing his relationship with the Prophet r as being:

Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: “I never felt any piece of velvet or silk softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah r, nor did I smell any fragrance more pleasant than the smell of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). I served him for ten years, and he never said ‘Uff’ (an expression of disgust) to me. He never said ‘Why did you do that?’ for something I had done, nor did he ever say ‘why did you not do such and such’ for something I had not done. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

We come to see that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had a reformative, rather than punitive, attitude with young people. His ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) aim was always about improvement, rather than censure and punishment. Mistakes, in that framework transform into successes.

Push Past the Obvious 

The Googlation of education encourages people to seek AN answer, then stop thinking. Be the antidote to this. Help your child to take ideas and stretch them out.

You will need a good sense of humour and patience. Let your child absorb information from a plethora of sources, recombine them in new and crazy ways and allow them the opportunity to apply them in unusual settings.

It is for this reason that the Prophet r would regularly ask young people questions about life and death, success and failure, good and evil, rather than simply stating a fact.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) asked his companions, ‘What would be the situation of someone who has a river at his door and everyday, five times a day he comes out and he takes a bath in that river? At the end of the day would he have any dirt on himself?’

They responded, ‘There would be no dirt on him, O RasulAllah.’

Then the Prophet said, ‘Similarly there are the five ṣalawāt, cleansing the person in this way.’

An example from the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the ḥadīth of the woman who came and asked him about her mother who made an oath to do Ḥajj but then died. She asked the Prophet, ‘Should I do Ḥajj on her behalf?’

The Prophet said: ‘If your mother had any debts, would you pay them on her behalf?’

The woman replied, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

‘The debt owed to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more worthy of being fulfilled and paid off’ (al-Bukhari)

Construct plans and use them to make Decisions  

Being able to anticipate what is likely to happen as a consequence of our actions is an essential life skill. Many adults fail at developing foresight and understanding the ramifications of their words and actions. In part, it is due to how they were raised.

It is easy to make demands and force all to adhere to your decision as the parent. However, your children miss understanding that their own decisions also have consequence. Getting our children to plan and be part of the decision can be as simple as asking, “What do you think will happen if we did this or that?”

An issue would come up and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would occasionally have the question answered by one of the companions in order to train them to answer the questions.

A man came to the Prophet and said that he had a dream and he wanted its interpretation. Before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) answered, Abū Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, ‘Ya RasulAllah! Allow me to interpret it,’ and the Prophet allowed him to do so.

There are numerous cases where a person would come to the Prophet with a legal issue and he r would tell a certain companion to get up and make a judgement between them. That companion would say, ‘Ya RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), shall I judge between them while you are here, in our midst?’

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would respond in the affirmative.

These young companions would later became Muslim judges, and they were the governors that went out to Yemen, Egypt, and other places. The Prophet had trained them in his midst.

Ya Allah bless our children with Your Love and the love of those who love You.
My Lord strengthen their bodies, tune their hearing, sharpen their sight, clear their congestion, mend their wounds and make them whole.
My Lord with Your Mercy protect them from Illness, sin, mistakes, errors and misguidance as consequence of their devotion to You.
O Allah cause them to obey in love their parents, without rebellion, persistent error or disrespect.
Ya Allah help us raise them well with high morals and firm ethics of righteousness that blesses them and society.
My Lord I entrust You with our progeny, for no trust is lost with You. I entrust You with clearing them of impediments, ailments and immorality.
I trust in You to guard them from the evil that spreads by night, or envious eyes sharpened by the light of day and from the jealousy of hateful friends
My Lord protect my children from all sides, above and beneath, right and left, front and back.
Ya Allah let our children be reason for our honour and a source of our pride.

Imam Yahya Ibrahim is Head of Islamic Studies & Asst. Principal at Langford Islamic College, Senior Imam at Thornlie Mosque, Islamic Chaplain at Curtin University & the University of Western Australia and lecturer for the internationally acclaimed alMaghrib Institute. Imam Yahya is a Minister of Religion, empowered to officiate marriages for the Australian Islamic community.  He is Canadian by birth, Egyptian through ancestry, Turkish via marriage, and Australian by choice of residence and migration.

His religious training began in Toronto wherein he committed the Quran to memory & studied Fiqh/Jurisprudence upon the principles of Imam Shafi’ee’s Madh-haab. Over the years, beginning 1993, Imam Yahya has continued to further his study of Islam by meeting, translating and traveling to scholars in Egypt & Hijaz & South East Asia. Throughout that time he has received Tazkiyah and Ijazah to instruct in a variety of Islamic disciplines – Hadith, Fiqh and Quranic sciences, Alhamdulillah. Follow him on Facebook.

 

Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim is Canadian by birth & education, Egyptian through a rich ancestry, Turkish via the blessing of marriage to Songul and Australian by Choice of residence and migration. Since his early teens, in the 90's, Ustadh Yahya has been talking about Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. He was blessed with numerous opportunities to meet, translate, study and teach alongside some of the Islamic worlds top scholars. Ustadh Yahya is blessed now to be living in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three wonderful children – Shireen, Omar and Adam. He is a regular lecturer to Muslim and non-Muslim audiences their and around the world. Recently, Ustadh Yahya was awarded by the West Australian State Government the "Individual Excellence in Community Service Award." Ustadh Yahya is a passionate educator with a decades experience in school leadership as an Asst. Principal & registered Teacher. He, also, serves the Muslim community at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia as the Islamic Chaplain and teaches Islamic Ethics & Theology,internationally, with al-Kauthar Institute www.alkauthar.org .

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    tajudeen

    November 17, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    Alhamdulilahi. May reward you

  2. Avatar

    Islam Hashtag

    November 20, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    Masha Allah,Very nice article .I would like to contribute few reading strategies and duas that may benefit the readers .Here they are- http://islamhashtag.com/dua-for-studying-and-tips-to-get-good-marks-in-exam/

  3. Avatar

    Me

    November 30, 2016 at 6:28 AM

    You cannot raise insightful children if you indoctrinate them with religious ideas. They must lose all sense of critical thinking and circumvent their natural moral code in order to accept a ridiculous and morally reprehensible system of belief. You can raise religious robots or zombies, but not insightful children.

    • Avatar

      Sameehah

      January 2, 2017 at 7:34 AM

      Your argument rests on religion being fiction which is why you believe it to be indoctrination.
      In other words, there is no God, so to teach children about a God is unjust.

      From the perspective of those who believe in religion as fact, it is viewed as enlightenment.
      In other words, there is a God, so to not teach children about God is unjust.

  4. Avatar

    Naomi Macklin-Carr

    December 4, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    JazakAllha khair for the article. Precise points and great examples from the sunnah.

  5. Avatar

    Halima

    December 10, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    Mashaa’Allah, this is indeed a powerful piece. Very useful and practical parenting tips from The Prophet ( SAW) which most likely would remain unaware of. Jazak Allah kheiran. Here’s a link to a free ebook on Kobo that may also help.
    https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/live-the-qur-aan

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#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski

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As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

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Raising A Child Between Ages 2-7 | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D

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children drawing crayons

This is called a pre-operational period by Jean Piaget who was focused on cognitive development.

Children this age have difficulty reconciling between different dimensions or seemingly contradictory concepts. One dimension will dominate and the other will be ignored. This applies in the physical and abstract realms. For example, the water in the longer cup must be more than that in the shorter one, no matter how wide each cup is. Length dominates over width in his/her mind.

Throughout most of this stage, a child’s thinking is self-centered (egocentric). This is why preschool children have a problem with sharing.

In this stage, language develops very quickly, and by two years of age, kids should be combining words, and by three years, they should be speaking in sentences.

Erik Erikson, who looked at development from a social perspective, felt that the child finishes the period of autonomy vs. shame by 3 years of age and moves on to the period of initiative vs. guilt which will dominate the psycho-social development until age 6. In this period, children assert themselves as leaders and initiative takers. They plan and initiate activities with others. If encouraged, they will become leaders and initiative takers.

Based on the above, here are some recommendations:

In this stage, faith would be more caught than taught and felt than understood. The serene, compassionate home environment and the warm and welcoming masjid environment are vital.

Recognition through association: The best way of raising your kid’s love of Allah and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is by association. If you buy him ice cream, take the opportunity to tell them it is Allah who provided for you; the same applies to seeing a beautiful rose that s/he likes, tell them it is Allah who made it. Tell them stories about Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Statements like: “Prophet Muhammad was kinder to kids than all of us”; “Prophet Muhammad was kind to animals”; ” Prophet Muhammad loved sweets”; ” Prophet Muhammad helped the weak and old,” etc. will increase your child’s love for our most beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Faith through affiliation: The child will think, “This is what WE do, and how WE pray, and where WE go for worship.” In other words, it is a time of connecting with a religious fraternity, which is why the more positive the child’s interactions with that fraternity are, the more attached to it and its faith he/she will become.

Teach these 2-7 kids in simple terms. You may be able to firmly insert in them non-controversial concepts of right and wrong (categorical imperatives) in simple one-dimensional language. Smoking is ḥarâm. No opinions. NO NUANCES. No “even though.” They ate not ready yet for “in them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people.”

Promote their language development by speaking to them a lot and reading them books, particularly such books that provoke curiosity and open discussions to enhance their expressive language. Encourage them to be bilingual as learning two languages at once does not harm a child’s cognitive abilities, rather it enhances them.

This is despite an initial stage of confusion and mixing that will resolve by 24 to 30 months of age. By 36 months of age, they will be fluent bilingual speakers. Introduce Islamic vocabulary, such as Allah, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), masjid, Muslim, brothers, salaat, in-sha’a-Allah, al-Hamdulillah, subhana-Allah, etc. (Don’t underestimate the effect of language; it does a lot more than simply denoting and identifying things.)

In this pre-operational period, their ability of understanding problem solving and analysis is limited. They can memorize though. However, the focus on memorization should still be moderate. The better age for finishing the memorization of the Quran is 10-15.

Use illustrated books and field trips.

Encourage creativity and initiative-taking but set reasonable limits for their safety. They should also realize that their freedom is not without limits.

Between 3-6 years, kids have a focus on their private parts, according to Freud. Don’t get frustrated; tell them gently it is not appropriate to touch them in public.

Don’t get frustrated with their selfishness; help them gently to overcome this tendency, which is part of this stage.

Parenting: Raising a Child from Age 0 to 2 | Dr. Hatem Al Haj

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Reflection On The Legacy of Mufti Umer Esmail | Imam Azhar Subedar

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“An ocean of knowledge which once resided on the seabed of humbleness has now submerged below it, forever.”

“Why didn’t you tell me!! You call me your younger brother, but you couldn’t even tell me you were ailing?!”

I could’ve called you or visited you so I could apologize for all the pain I caused you; thank you for all the good you did for me throughout my life despite all that pain. if nothing else, just so I could say goodbye to you.”

(My selfish mind continued to cry out as I stood in front of his grave— praying.)

As I sat down to compile my thoughts, upon returning home, I put my feelings of loss aside and tried to analyze your decision of not informing me about your illness from a different perspective.

Possibly, your own.

Why would you tell me?

This was just like you. You never wanted to hurt a soul; forget about making them worry about you, augmenting their own worries. For you were the sponge for our worries, the shock absorber of our concerns, and the solid wall that shouldered the pain of those around him.

You weren’t just a big brother, my big brother, you were a true human. A lesson on humanity.

You were always there for me.

“I GOT A QUESTION” sent at 2 AM.

“Sure” was your response.

We spoke for over 40 min.

That night.

Your strength reflected my weakness- always urging me to do better, be more like you.

I was told you were in hospital by a close family member early Friday morning before Jummah prayers. I was supposed to call you. That was my responsibility. However, the preparation of the Friday Sermon was my excuse not to do so.

As I exited from delivering the Friday services, I received a message from you, the one who was spending the last days of his life in a hospital, never to be seen outside of the confines of those walls ever again.

That message you wrote- you knew me so well.

“As-salaam alaikum, I thought you were already American?”

(You were catching up with me as I had become an American citizen the day before. You wanted to congratulate me, without complaining to me.)

“I heard you are in the hospital?! How are you? What’s going on?” I asked immediately.

“Getting some treatment done. Mubarak on your American citizenship” was your response.

Diversion. A stubborn man with a heart of gold. You wanted to celebrate people even at the cost of your own life.

Your last words to me were digital, even though your connection with me spans a lifetime. As much as I wish I had heard your voice one last time, I try to find the beauty in that communication too as I can save and cherish those last words.

We grew up together in Canada in the ’80s- Mufti Umer and I. Our fathers were tight- childhood buddies. He ended up becoming the inspiration for my family to trek towards a path devoted to Islam, beginning with my brother and then myself.

He was my support from the time when I came to England to study at the Dar Al Uloom and wanted to call it quits and go home, to when he hosted me when I visited him in Austin in 2002, all the way till 2019, after I was married and settled with kids he loved like his own.

He visited us here in Dallas and had met them in his unique way of showering them with love. And why wouldn’t he? My wife and I are here under one roof all because of his earnest desire to help people.

He introduced us to each other.

“I want you to marry my younger brother.” A message he sent to my wife over 17 years ago.

She was his student. He was her mentor, support beam, confidante, and best friend. (Well, we all feel like he was our best friend, only because he truly was.)

I am sharing my life story not only because he was an integral part of it, but throughout (he was also a major part of my wife’s life when she really needed him) but because that final text message wrapped it all up- the gift that he was to me and my family. It showed how much he was invested in us as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.

That message wrote:

“I thought you’ve been a citizen since marriage.”

(FRIDAY, AUGUST 30TH @ 3: 07 PM)

This is just my story featuring Mufti Umer Ismail.

I am confident that there are thousands more out there without exaggeration.

I’ll conclude with a word he corrected for me as I misspelled it on my Facebook page a few months ago when Molana Haaris Mirza, a dear colleague, passed away in New York. He didn’t do it publicly, he did it through that same Facebook text messenger that kept us in touch- with love and sincere care for me in his heart.

“As-salaam alaikum the word is Godspeed. Sorry for being [a] grammar freak.”

(MARCH 28TH, 2019 @6: 04 PM)

Godspeed, my dear brother. Godspeed.

Azhar Subedar

imamAzhar.com

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