Ali Hasni's Blog

Cultural Chameleons

Posted in Personal by Ali on March 21, 2010

courtesy: Islamic Occasions

Praying at home or the Masjid and then sneaking out to party. Wearing Hijaab around family and then turning into a fashion diva at school. One person, two worlds and a desperate struggle to juggle them both.

This is the reality which many Muslims living in. We can call them “cultural chameleons” or describe them as having “split personalities.” Whatever the label, the situation is the same… with often tragic consequences. We are not just referring to your community brother or sister’s devastating death, but rather we refer to the many grievous examples of teens running away from home, getting into drugs and much more – the worst of which is turning away totally from Islam, rejecting it completely. We are not exaggerating. It’s a reality and those who deny it are either willfully blind or pitifully naive.

It is time that we addressed the situation seriously. First there must be awareness of the reality and knowledge of its causes. The next step is to know what to do when faced with it directly. And finally, we need to know how to nip the problem in the bud – because an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Causes

Although each situation is different, there is a general list of what can cause this worst nightmare of any Muslim parent.

  • Lack of strong Islamic foundation in the home: As with most things, it begins in your own backyard. If you aren’t raising your children as Muslims with a strong understanding of what it means to be a Muslim, then you can’t expect them to be happy about having to follow strict rules all the time. It’s also important to note the difference between Islamand culture. If you don’t pray five times a day or encourage your kids to pray, yet freak out if a female family member walks out with her head uncovered, then you really need to straighten out your priorities.
  • Double standards: Related to the first point, here we’re talking about when parents are setting a double standard for themselves and their children: in public they seek to ingratiate themselves within Western society, to achieve the Western societies dream of big house, fancy car and being best friends with the Joneses next door; yet at home they are obsessed with their children following cultural practices that aren’t even necessarily Islamic. It should be no surprise, then, when the children follow in their parents’ footsteps and start living a double life themselves.
  • Lack of personal understanding/ conviction of Islam: This is another major factor in youth straying from Islam. Again related to the first point – if you don’t have a strong Islamic foundation in the home, then there will be most likely a lack of understanding of what exactly it means to be a Muslim. If you don’t know the reason behind something, how likely are you to do something if you view it as restrictive and interfering? If you tell your children to pray because if they don’t they will burn in Hell, then trust me, they won’t be doing it out of love for Allah (SWT) – they will be doing it out fear and not even fear of Allah (SWT), but fear of you. Similarly, if you tell a girl she has to wear Hijaab because otherwise she will “stain the family’s honour” or some-such rubbish like that, then once she’s exposed to the Western mentality of freedom (and total lack of anything resembling honour) she won’t give two hoots about the Hijaab or your notions of honour. On the other hand, if your child has a personal relationship with Allah (SWT) and knows exactly why we do some things and stay away from others, they will be far more willing to tough it out and continue to obey Allah (SWT).
  • General teen rebellion: Sometimes, teens can just be idiots. Common sense is a rare thing amongst youth these days and it shows… sadly, some take it too far – beyond the streaked hair, Tattoos and pierced bellybutton (hey, as long as it’s covered up by Hijaab, be cool with it!) – and make some really bad choices. Being intoxicated by the passions of youth we never ponder for a moment that we shall we questioned by Allah (SWT).
  • Insecurity: This is something which affects people everywhere, regardless of their race, religion or even age. The desire to want to “fit in” and become an accepted member of the crowd is human nature – sometimes it can be a good thing; other times it can be so harmful and detrimental. For girls, the issue is often about body image and beauty, which is why Hijaab becomes such a struggle. For guys, it can be about proving their “manliness” (by pursuing other girls or getting involved in ‘tough guy’ activities like drinking alcohol, drugs etc). Build your child’s self-esteem at home and let them know that they don’t need to seek approval from anyone except Allah (SWT). Compliment your children, praise them, let them be confident in their faith and in themselves. Tell your son that he’s cool. Tell your daughter that she’s beautiful. Don’t demean them or belittle them; honour them as the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam) honoured his daughter Hazrat Fatimah (sa) by giving her his sitting place.
  • Bad companions: The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “The example of a good companion and a bad one is the bearer of musk and the worker on the bellows. A bearer of musk would give you some, you might buy some from him, or you might enjoy the fragrance of his musk. The worker on the bellows, on the other hand, might spoil your clothes with sparks from his bellows, or you get a bad smell from him.”(Hadith Al-Bukhari and Muslim).Undoubtedly, the kind of people your kids hang out with will have a huge influence on them – especially at school, which is what a teen’s life pretty much revolves around. Non-Muslims (and even so-called “Muslims”) who have totally different standards morality-wise will definitely make life difficult for your kid: challenging Islam and belittling all that it stands for. While we know that many will say it’s a great Da’wah opportunity or that it builds character and can be a way to strengthen emaan, the reality is that not all youth are strong enough to emerge the company of such people unscathed. Sadly, we have lost too many of the younger generations to Shaytaan’s misguided lifestyle and we can’t use a minority of successful young Muslims to deny that reality. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) informed us that : “A man follows his friends religion, you should be careful whom you make friends with.”(Hadith Abu Dawud/Tirmidhi)
  • The “Adolescent” Myth: This mentality is one of “I’m young, let me have fun and then I’ll be religious when I’m older!” It’s an attitude of irresponsibility, immaturity and misunderstanding of Islam and the purpose of our lives. By absolving oneself of responsibility, it’s easier for teens to indulge in the Haraam without feeling so guilty about it. Thus, it’s obviously very important to instill a sense of responsibility and dutifulness to Allah (SWT) in our youth – basically, to abolish this kind of mentality. The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said : “An intelligent person is the one who calls himself to account and and does deeds to benefit him after death and a foolish person is he who follows his desires and hopes from Allah (SWT).” (Hadith Tirmidhi)

Symptoms

How do you know if your child, your sibling or your friend is a “cultural chameleon”? It can be difficult to spot it, but however much a kid can try to sneak around, those closest to them can usually figure out what’s going on. Here are some of the symptoms of the double-life syndrome.

  • Change of attitude – Increased rebellion, aggression and disrespect are major red flags. If they’re behaving like that towards you, do you think they won’t behave like that towards Allah (SWT)? In fact, if they are acting like that with you, then already they’re showing their defiance of Allah! Taqwa and good behaviour to parents go hand-in-hand:“And your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents.” (Quran – Surah al-Israa 17, verse 23)
  • Shows dislike of Islamic practices (“Yuck, Hijaab is so old-fashioned,” “What’s the point of praying? It’s stupid!” etc.) This is particularly obvious in a household that is generally religious or has more than just a tentative connection to the religion.
  • Secretive, sneaky. It’s important for parents to keep an eye on their kids and know where they are and what they’re doing. If you notice that your child is being secretive, sneaky and generally deceptive about their activities, then it’s a major red flag that your son or daughter isn’t doing the right thing. This goes for pretty much all families, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, but for us Muslims it means more than just that your kid is with bad company or doing bad things: it means that they’re losing their connection to Allah (SWT) and to Islam, and this in itself is far worse than whatever sinful activities they’re engaged in.

Solutions

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Educate your child from a young age, build a strong (but loving) Islamic environment within the home. Make them aware of their identity as Muslims, emphasize pride in their Muslim identity. However, we can’t say that prevention is the only thing that we can do – the reality is that even children who were raised in a strong Islamic environment can be “lost” in the materialistic world… and this is the reality we have to deal with, not deny.

Having said that, here are some practical solutions on dealing with such situations.

  • Do not react angrily or violently. If you find out your kid is lying to you and is leading a double life, do NOT freak out at them, scream at them, hit them, etc. This will :
    1) scare them,
    2) reinforce their belief that “Islam/ Muslims are evil/ violent”, and
    3) not be productive in any way, shape, or form.
  • Take some time to cool off after you find out. Pray a Naafilah (voluntary salaah), and make lots of dua i.e. ask Allah (SWT) to grant you the patience and strength to deal with the situation.
  • Talk to them. Ask them what has led them to do the things they’ve done, what their state of belief is (cases differ drastically: some teens still have emaan and are just confused; others go to the point where they deny Islam completely), and how they feel about their situation in general. Try not to judge them; the key is to listen to them and know where they’re coming from. This will give you information on how to best approach them when the time comes to try and “fix” things.
  • Serious counselling may be needed. If you feel as though you are unable to deal with the situation correctly yourself, contact a trustworthy, knowledgeable, and understanding person, Moulana or Shaykh in your area. It’s best to have someone involved who not only knows the Islamic perspective of things, but can also relate to and understand your child. There must be someone whom your child can feel comfortable enough to work with/ talk to if they don’t feel they can open up to you (the parents).

In this stage, there has to be a lot of give-and-take, questions-and-answers. If you already had a long talk with your child previously and asked them all those questions, then now is the time to bring forth your feelings. If you haven’t had the talk, then now is the time to initiate it.

Counselling is a long and sometimes painful process, and only one step forward towards healing. One cannot expect things to change overnight and it will be very difficult – all I can say is, trust in Allah (SWT) and look to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Ahlul Bayt (as) for help. Have emaantaqwa and lots of patience and forbearance. Constantly turn to Allah (SWT) in Du’a (prayer). Indeed, this is something that should be done at all times… it is a means of prevention, as well as part of the path to the cure.

Allah (SWT) Most Wise and Most Merciful says:

“No one despairs of Soothing Mercy from Allah except for those who are unbelievers”(Quran – 12:87)

Positive Parenting …

Posted in Personal, Public, Random by Ali on March 18, 2010

Coutesy: Madrasah Al Zahra—DSM

Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you may feel the least prepared.  Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help you feel more fulfilled as a parent — and enjoy your kids more, too.

1. Nurture Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents’ eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else. Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless.

Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!” cause damage just as physical blows do. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don’t love their behavior.

2. Catch Kids Being Good

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find that yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well-intentioned?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: “You made your bed without being asked — that’s terrific!” or “I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient.” These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scolding.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are “growing” more of the behavior you would like to see.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) has said “ Kiss your children often, for every display of affection will raise your status in heaven.”

3. Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline

Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed.

You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. You can’t discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

4. Make Time for Your Kids

It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child, or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they’re sure to be noticed that way.

Don’t feel guilty if you’re a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing games, window shopping — that kids will remember.

5. Be a Good Role Model

Young kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be constantly aware that you’re being observed by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.

Model the traits you wish to cultivate in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Fulfill your wajibats without fail. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.

>>>>> Interesting,,, Seems that, I just have the perfect parents!

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313s Launched

Posted in 1 by Ali on March 4, 2010

staying here in MPSTME we get a lot of crazy ideas!
one of them is 313s….

we launched our website today….
it is going to be big >> i can see it.

log on to 313s.com for more details.

The True Democracy and Islam!

Posted in Public, Random by Ali on March 1, 2010

Ayatollah Sistani declares vote-buying ‘Haraam’

Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a Fatwa (religious ruling), declaring vote-buying as Haraam (forbidden) ahead of the country’s parliament elections.

Speaking on behalf of the Ayatollah, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalaei, called on candidates and political parties to respect election laws and avoid trying to influence voter decision through dishonest means.

“Candidates and political entities must adopt a realistic and feasible program to encourage people to vote for them,” Sheikh Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai told worshippers during the Friday prayers sermon in Karbala’s Imam Hussein mosque.

“They should avoid making unrealistic promises… [They should] also refrain from slandering one another, because it is unacceptable and immoral,” he added.

Karbalai, who is a representative of the leading Shia spiritual leader, also noted that the religious leadership did not favor any particular group or candidate.

He said, however, that showing up at the ballot box on March 7 was not enough, stressing that everyone had a moral responsibility to choose the candidate that they believed would best secure Iraq’s present and future interests.

The cleric also explicitly stated that distributing money, gifts and promises of future handouts to impact election results are an impermissible act based on all religious and ethical principles.

“Accepting these sums is Haraam. Even if you disregard that fact, it would be degrading to Iraq’s national dignity if people start being drawn to a special candidate or group [for these reasons],” he explained.

Vote-buying is not an unheard of phenomenon in the Middle East, but Lebanon is considered on top of the list of regional countries where it is practiced.

According to a New York Times article, foreign money played a major role in determining the result of the country’s latest parliamentary elections, which ended in favor of the pro-West and Saudi-backed March 14 coalition.

Based on the American daily’s report, one adviser to the Saudi government has even confessed that Riyadh had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the elections in Lebanon, a country that only has a population of four million.

“We’re supporting candidates running against Hezbollah,” the Saudi advisor had told the New York Times.

The paper also said that Saad Hariri, the billionaire leader of the parliamentary majority and a Saudi ally, was alleged to be the biggest election spender.

source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=119692&sectionid=351020201