Tue 30 September 2014
5 Dhu al-Hijjah 1435 AH  



LECTURES

Man is in Loss

Parenting

Building Personality

Muslim Personality

Marriage

Muslim Family


Ingredients of a Blessed Family

Journey to Parenthood

A New Arrival in the Family

Infancy and Pre-school Nursing

School Exposure

Adolescence

Issues of Social Ills


new lectures to follow...


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Man is in Loss (Click here for multiple questions on this Lecture)

An American Muslim writer, Jeffrey Lang, mentions the agony of a middle-aged Muslim father, Muhammad, in one of his books, Even Angels Ask. Muhammad 'lost' his son by the time the young man turned sixteen. "Muhammad was a truly devout Algerian Muslim who had done everything to raise a good Algerian Muslim son. But his son was not an Algerian; he was as American as apple pie, and whatever used to work back in Algeria had failed in America, as it did for so many others". When the writer hears the terrible news from the father, he was shocked like many others and contemplates why it happened. Then his thought gradually settles in his mind and says to himself, "I was not convinced that he had lost his son, because I was not sure that he had really found him".

Like Muhammad in America, we come across many people in the West who are joining the ever-increasing list of shattered Muslims or 'Asian' parents of their 'lost' children. The number is multiplying in an alarming rate, not because the parental care of their children has diminished but because of the perilous metamorphosis the Muslim community is undergoing. Often, parents in their old ages open their hearts to some one they trust and express their pain and shock at the 'betrayal' of their grown up sons and daughters. Incidents of bringing 'families into disrepute' by the teen-aged boys and girls spread like wild fires in the community only to frighten the younger parents, some of whom, with fear of losing their own 'sweeties' in future, begin to tighten the 'grips' on the little ones. Does this work? Where does this lead to? Why should Muslim parents worry so much about their children? Why does the Muslim community feel so vulnerable about their future generation in the West, especially at a time when they are the largest religious minority in some countries and Islam is the 'fastest growing' religion? The causes are many some of which are mentioned below.

A Question to think about : Should we encourage our children to get married young to solve the problems of teenage pregnancies and having a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship?


Western Society: Nature and Impact

The western society, especially after the second world war, has undergone through a sexual revolution that has given them uncontrolled freedom in sexual behaviour. The campaign for 'liberating' women from the male domination and empowering them has been hijacked by the proponents of extreme feminism. This has given rise to unparalleled permissive life style and sexual promiscuity in the society. Most western parents have been compelled to accommodate themselves with the reality of life. Marriage, as an institution, is fast losing its significance. 'Living in sin' is no longer treated as sin. The overt animosity towards divinely ordained values and the promotion of moral relativism and permissiveness is having its toll. The proliferation of consumer culture and entertainment industry is eating away the spirit of innocence from the younger people. The display of erotic adverts in public places, the mass circulation of pornographic tabloids and the 'censored' films in television industry are inviting people towards promiscuity. Modelling, glorification of extra-marital sex and homosexuality have become the tools of modernity. The effect is the erosion of morality, the disintegration of family structure, paedophilia and other social ills. Numerous help and chat lines are alluring young people for 'safe' but unlicensed sex and contributing to further social disintegration. The society has changed to such an extent that the sort of behaviour that dumbfounds Muslim parents and devastates the community is treated as over-protectiveness.

In this climate, the first generation of Muslim immigrants have undergone immense psychological complexities in adjusting with the 'alien' environment. On the other hand, the later generation Muslims are struggling hard to cope with the two 'opposing' worlds - the traditional inward-looking Muslim life and the highly materialised, developed and complex western lifestyle. The secularised education system and indulgent social pressure are having colossal influence on the Muslim youth.

It is now widely acknowledged that a significant percentage of children born to Muslim parents in the West are falling into the disastrous pit of social, moral and sexual disorientation. Some of them are even turning to atheism or heathenism. Couple of decades ago it would have been astonishing to believe this. Now, the reality is haunting Muslim parents. The social and religious anchors that kept the Muslim community in an enviable advantage are now slackening. This has its unwanted but natural consequences in Muslim underachievement in all walks of life. At the same time, the crime among the Muslim youths is causing concern to many western countries. The recent "dramatic rise in the number of Muslims in Britain's prisons" has created a shock wave within the Muslim community and also the Prison service.

A Question to think about : How is the separation of Muslims into different countries affecting unity?

Impact of Colonialism

Failing in their attempt to annihilate the spirit of Islam during the colonial era, the colonial Europe left behind a tormented nation, from the shore of Atlantic to the heart of Pacific. Arbitrary division of Muslim lands and transplantation of hostile communities among the Muslim population created insurmountable barrier to Muslim unity. On the other hand, the colonial brain-children, created to carry out their job in the Muslim countries, have proved fatal to Muslim regeneration for the last half a century.

As the entire Muslim world, except a few nominally independent countries, was subjected to European colonialism 'the best community' (al-Qur'an 3:110) has undergone a tremendous metamorphosis. Today, in the West, most Muslims, apart from those in the Balkan hotspot, are 'immigrants' from the ex-colonial lands of Asia and Africa. The effect of colonial hegemony, not only in the form of material dependence and internal disharmony, but intellectual servility and psychological despondency, is haunting the ummah everywhere. On the other hand, many Muslims are leaving behind the trauma of war, violence, poverty, tribal and sectarian intolerance in their own lands. Many in the community are disoriented and uprooted from their anchored past.

A Question to think about : Would our identity problems be solved if the Muslims united together and lived in one state?

Failing to Understand the Objectives of Creation


Ever since the first man and woman stepped on the soil of the earth with an assignment from Allah, their job, as the vicegerent, emissary or representative of Allah, started with a monumental challenge. In order for man to be the best of the creation Allah has given human being His spirit to begin with. Human being possesses divine attributes. The more a man pursues good work, the more enlightened his heart becomes. On the contrary, his heart becomes rusted and polluted if he is involved in unworthy things in life. He has been given the free will, freedom to choose between right and wrong. Two inherent but contrasting nature has been imbedded within him, the inspiration and ability to do good or evil.

Man is assigned to manage the earth in the way Allah has prescribed with the sprit He has bestowed upon. It is a great responsibility, test and trial. Maintaining justice and balance in Allah's creation is a monumental task that leads to accountability in the end. But Allah has not left man bewildered and unattended. As man established himself on earth and started multiplying into races, tribes and nations, the 'worldly' preoccupation kept fooling them and driving their passion to something unworthy of their status. Prophets were sent to them, to every people (al-Qur'an, 13:7), to remind them of their responsibility and warn them of the consequences if they misuse their trust with Allah. According to a tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), 'every child is born in Islam'. As such, human beings are 'groomed' by nature to behave as Muslims. But the family, social pressure and environment lead him or her away from Islam. As declared in the Qur'an, devil is lying in wait in every nook and corner in man's journey on earth. (al-Qur'an 7:17). He is there to take revenge against man for his down fall. As a result, many children of Adam lose out to their whims and desires inspired by the devil.

A Question to think about : What is the purpose of creation? Why was man put on this earth?

Detachment from Religious Values

Many million Muslims now live in the West in the midst of a culture, often alien to Islamic values. For centuries the world view of the two civilisations, Islamic and western, had difficulties in adjusting with each other. With the decline of religious influence in the West and intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world, the gap has widened. Many Muslims coming from disadvantaged positions and settling in affluent western cities, are finding themselves like 'fish out of water'. Revert Muslims have their specific disadvantages and are finding their life not less difficult in their own homeland.

Materialistic Vision

But gradually the Muslims lost their spirit and their attachment to Islam grew thinner. The luxury of worldly life overtook them. (al-Qur'an 3:14) They gave up the practices that made them superior and adopted the habits of those who were ruined in the past. When little good was left with the Muslims, Allah's divine law on earth was enforced in earnest. The ummah suffered a terrible humiliation in all fronts. The house of Islam was wrecked and they were taken over by the superior European economic and military power. The continuous political, military and intellectual onslaught on the Muslim world by the European powers was overwhelming throughout the last centuries. The whole ummah was brought to its knee by the end of 19th century.

A Question to think about : How can Muslims living in the West maintain their religious identity and values?


Racism, Islamophobia and Identity Crisis

The situation is gradually getting dire. With racism and Islamophobia predominant in many of the western countries, young Muslims lack confidence and suffer from identity crisis. I have come across many students of Muslim origin in the campuses who feel nervous when they are greeted with the basic Islamic greeting, assalmualaikum. Some even feel embarrassed to identify themselves as Muslims. It is true that Muslims in the West are a significant minority. Some Muslim bodies are trying hard to disseminate the message of Islam to the non-adherent Muslims and non-Muslims. Many in the younger generation are re-discovering their root in Islam and trying to assert their identity as Muslims. But, what is their percentage? And with the downward social and religious trend how many generations would it take for the Muslims to be assimilated into the melting pot of the western civilisation?

Blind Love and Affection to Children

Children are a trust from Allah. With the joy of parenthood come trial, temptation and test. Excessive and blind love for children lead to unfairness, injustice and tyranny. It also brings ruination to the children themselves. Failure in parental responsibility is the worst betrayal in the eyes of Allah. (al-Qur'an 8:28, 63:9)

A Question to think about : How can we bridge the gap between the Islamic and Western civilisation?

Ignorance and Apathy

With the amount of indifference, ignorance and passivity shown by the Muslim community, in general, it would be surprising if the fate of young Muslims is otherwise. In an environment of overwhelming indulgent social and cultural domination how could they be different from those born to non-Muslim parents? As the western society is equipped to deal with their social ills, they have created security nets for their 'problem kids' to fall on. But, where is the safety net for the Muslim youth? Ignorance about broader aspects of Islam, their own history and the society they are living is widespread.

Disease of Nationalism Tribalism, Sectarianism, etc

Tribalism, sometimes compared to that of pre-Islamic Arab tribalism, is rampant in many parts of the Muslim world. Sectarianism, Madhabism, political division, etc is undermining the ummah. The seed of nationalism created in the colonial era has become entrenched and now flowered in most places.


A Question to think about:
If Muslim parents living in the West restricted their children from socialising with non-Muslims, would they be more confident of their Muslim identity?


Media Image

Look at the world today, in the historic juncture between the two millennium, and see the suffering, trauma, ethnic cleansing, genocide and physical, intellectual and cultural onslaught inflicted upon human beings. Where do the Muslims stand? Without any second thought any conscientious person would admit that Muslims constitute the majority of the dispossessed and brutalised people on earth today. Yet, they are portrayed as fanatics, radicals, terrorists, criminals, barbaric and what not, by the powerful media and others establishments of the West. The oppressed are portrayed as oppressors so that more 'legitimate' oppression can be done to them.

Concluding Remarks
Humanity is in a loss. The world is moving toward a spiritual, moral and even physical ruin. In these days of Jahiliyah a new vigour of Islam can only save the world. A new generation of Muslims worthy of becoming 'best nation' can be the beacon of hope, not only for the Muslim ummah, but for the whole of humanity as well. (al-Qur'an 103:1-4, 3:110).

A Question to think about : How can Muslims living in the West be persuaded to be more religious and develop their piety?