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Mufti Menk: Parenting Tips (Audio)

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Being a Father: A Blessing that Boosts Productivity

Father and son playing and bonding on Bogey-Board on Morro Stran

As Muslims, we often hear about the virtues, blessings and rewards of motherhood in Islam. And while it seems Muslim men can never quite reach such lofty heights, fatherhood still comes with a plethora of goodness. In this article, we will briefly examine a few areas that can help Muslim fathers appreciate the immense blessings and opportunities for personal growth that come with fatherhood.

For all the new fathers, the fathers-to-be and those who have been on the job for a long time and need some motivation, here are a few of the many tremendous blessings and opportunities for increased productivity that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has granted you through your role of being a father:

1. A Personal Sign and Trust

To start, the simple act of observation can bring one closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Intellectually, we know that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the Creator, Cherisher, Nourisher and Sustainer of everything. But this knowledge is brought to life in a very personal way when you see your child grow from a little ‘bean’ in the womb, to a foetus, then an infant, a toddler and beyond — thereby increasing you in submission to Him subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Beyond observation, the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given you a child means He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) trusts you and deems you worthy enough to raise another human being. By accepting this responsibility and proceeding with the right intentions, every moment spent in fulfilling this trust can become an act of worship.

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Respect your parents. You should appreciate them, there are some people that don’t even have them.

gb copy Respect your parents. You should appreciate them, there are some people that don’t even have them.
es copy Respeta a tus padres. Usted debe apreciarlos, hay algunas personas que ni siquiera tienen.
nl copy Respecteer je ouders. Je moet ze te waarderen, zijn er een aantal mensen die ze niet eens hebben.
fr copy Respectez vos parents. Vous devriez les apprécier, il ya des gens qui n’ont même pas eux.
de copy Respektieren Sie Ihre Eltern. Sie sollten sie schätzen, es gibt einige Leute, die nicht einmal haben sie.
CN67867 Zūnzhòng nǐ de fùmǔ. Nǐ yīnggāi gǎnjī tāmen, yěyǒu yīxiē rén, shènzhì méiyǒu tāmen.
Sweden Respektera dina föräldrar. Du bör uppskatta dem, det finns vissa människor som inte ens har dem.
rus7897 Uvazhayte svoikh roditeley. Vy dolzhny tsenit’ ikh , yest’ nekotoryye lyudi, kotoryye dazhe ne imeyut ikh.
4523turkey Aileni saygı. Sen onları takdir etmelidir, hatta onları yok bazı insanlar var.
images Rispettate i vostri genitori. Dovreste apprezzare, ci sono alcune persone che non hanno nemmeno li hanno.
indonesiaID Menghormati orang tua Anda. Anda harus menghargai mereka, ada beberapa orang yang bahkan tidak memiliki mereka.

Children follow more what parents do than what parents say. So be wise role models for your children and be careful.

gb copy Children follow more what parents do than what parents say. So be wise role models for your children and be careful.
es copy Los niños siguen más lo que los padres hacen que lo que dicen los padres. Así que ser modelos sabias para sus niños y tener cuidado.
nl copy Kinderen volgen meer wat ouders doen dan wat ouders zeggen. Dus wees verstandig rolmodel voor je kinderen en wees voorzichtig.
fr copy Les enfants suivent plus ce que les parents font que ce que les parents disent. Donc, être des modèles sages pour vos enfants et être prudent.
de copy Kinder folgen mehr, was Eltern tun, als das, was die Eltern sagen. Weise Vorbilder für Ihre Kinder so zu sein und vorsichtig sein.
CN67867 Értóng gèng zūnxún shénme fùmǔ zuò de bǐ fùmǔ de yánxíng. Suǒyǐ míngzhì de bǎngyàng, nǐ de háizi hé xiǎoxīn.
Sweden Barnen följer mer vad föräldrar gör än vad föräldrarna säger. Så var kloka förebilder för era barn och var försiktig.
rus7897 Deti sleduyut boleye , chto roditeli delayut , chem govoryat roditeli . Tak chto bud’te mudrymi dlya podrazhaniya dlya svoikh detey i byt’ ostorozhnymi.
4523turkey Çocuklar anne söylediklerini daha ne anne daha izleyin. Bu yüzden çocuklar için akıllıca rol modelleri ve dikkatli olun.
images I bambini seguono più ciò che i genitori fanno quello che dicono i genitori. Quindi, essere modelli di ruolo sagge per i vostri bambini e stare attenti.
indonesiaID Anak-anak mengikuti apa yang orang tua lakukan lebih dari apa yang orang tua katakan. Jadi menjadi panutan yang bijaksana untuk anak-anak Anda dan berhati-hati.

KIDS LISTEN TO OUR EVERY DEED

How many times have you told your kids to change their clothes/brush their teeth/do their homework/or anything else for that matter? There is really no right answer because there is really no limit to the number of times we have to ask our kids to do something.

muslim_children_in_south_africa

For most of us, this is a normal part of our daily lives. We ask, and ask, and ask, and if we are lucky, our kids cooperate after the fourth request or after a loud but otherwise harmless scolding. We complain that our kids never listen to us; we ask other moms how they get their kids to behave, eat their vegetables, or go to sleep. We consult books and Internet sites at all hours on better childrearing and discipline and other parenting techniques. And still, our kids just don’t listen.

But, they do observe. While we are yelling at them, they are watching us; while we argue with our husbands, they are watching; while we mutter curses under our breath at raging drivers, they are watching; and while we chat with our friends on the phone, they are watching us. If you have toddlers, you are beginning to see this already. You see them carrying on animated conversations on their battery operated toy cell phones. They pace around the house with their heads cocked, their little shoulders straining to hold up the fake phone with the blinking lights. Yup, our kids are watching our every move, even when they don’t listen to one word.

The lessons they learn

The truth is that we shouldn’t worry that our children never listen to us. Instead we should worry that they are always watching us. It is true. When we tell our kids to pick up their toys, they don’t listen. We raise our voices, and they still ignore us. Then, we become irate and yell, and they have a temper tantrum or break down into a fit of tears. But not before they have taken careful note of our actions. In fact, every time we “tell” our kids to do something, we are teaching them a lesson. We are telling them to do one thing, but we are really showing them how to do something else. When we yell at them in anger, we are showing them how to get someone to listen to us. When we throw toys into the toy box or kick toys out of the way as we point our fingers, we are showing them how to display their anger.

And think about when you are driving your kids to school in the morning. A hurried driver cuts you off and you swerve to avoid getting side swiped. “Moron!” you yell, as you correct the wheel. You shrug it off and silently thank Allaah that nothing happened. Your kids in the back saw what happened. In these situations, we rarely explain to our kids that the other driver made a mistake by changing lanes without signaling or by turning right just as we crossed a green light. Instead, we show them how to handle such situations: curse and complain.

The lessons we want to teach

It is almost impossible to handle every situation of every day in a manner befitting for teaching our kids lessons. But if we are aware of the opportunities (and the impending dangers) of such situations, we can at least make the most out of as many situations as possible. For example, we know that disciplining our kids is one of the most challenging aspects of each day. And, during the course of a day’s worth of disciplining, we find ourselves yelling, getting angry, scolding, and then usually seeking some sort of repentance for angry words or sentiments. If we could only see ourselves the way our kids probably do, we might learn a thing or two.

Well, obviously, we can’t see ourselves and we can rarely stop ourselves in the midst of heat and anger, but we can prepare ourselves for these moments. If we can decide ahead of time what we want to teach our kids, we can create a sort of game plan for situations. For example, we want our kids to learn that they don’t have to yell to be heard. So, the next time you ask your son to pick up his puzzle pieces and get ready for dinner, brace yourself. If you want him to understand that he needs to listen to you and comply, then figure out a way to get him to hear you. Ask him to look at you or get down on your hands and knees and start showing him how to pick up the pieces and put them in the box. Do anything but don’t yell or scream.

The lessons we learn

If we make a conscious effort to remember that our children are watching us, it will keep us in check. We will mind our manners, we will speak more soothingly, we will control our emotions, and ultimately we will see that, by our kids watching us, we are beginning to behave the way we want them to behave. In other words, it is a cycle that eventually trains parents and their children towards better behavior and emotional restraint. If we know that our kids are watching our every move, we will be mindful of our behavior and set an example with that behavior. Then, our kids will model that good behavior and essentially everyone wins.

Making promises is one of the issues that cause sticky situations for parents trying to model good behavior. Parents, from all parts of the world, have their own way of making, keeping and breaking promises. It is easy to make promises, and it is even easier to break them. Many times parents make promises on a whim and later find out that they didn’t or couldn’t keep to their word. Sometimes, they even forget altogether that they ever made the promise. How many times have you told your child, “Yes, yes, Inshaa’allaah (Allaah willing), I’ll get you that­­____­_[fill in your own word] soon,” just to keep your child quiet? The moment the words leave your lips, you should consider that promise cast in stone. A child promised a coveted prize/toy/trip will never forget that promise and will never let you forget it. Actually, quite sadly, many children roll their eyes when they hear their parents say “Inshaa’allaah” for fear that Inshaa’allaah really means “maybe” or “yeah, right” or a plain “no.”

Much of our behavior depends on our intentions. If you really mean to get that toy for your son, then assure him that you will. If you don’t plan on buying it, then be honest. A dishonest promise might grant you a few minutes of quiet shopping time, but in the end it will lead you further into the depths of your child’s distrust. Leading children on with false promises is a guaranteed way to display behavior that your children will never forget and will probably mimic in their own adulthood.

In essence, we are designing our children’s futures by our own behavior. Why perpetuate behavior in our children that we ourselves should not be harboring? Keeping in mind that our children are not only watching us but learning from us should be reason enough for us to change our behavior before it is cast in the stone of generations to come.

Al-Jumu’ah magazine