“What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself.” (The Noble Quran 4:79)
Please listen to this short talk before reading the below, Insha’Allah. If you love your children at all, please do this now. This talk is from a teacher at al Huda Islamic School (Toronto, Canada) about what happened when he asked a group of children at a camp program under the age of fifteen to anonymously ask him questions about anything they wanted. I believe the results of this open dialogue will shock you, as they should, Subhan’Allah.
Jazak’Allah Khair for taking the time to listen. A Brother recently shared this with my husband. It was not an easy talk to listen to and we ended up having a very deep and raw discussion about these issues and the reality we cannot seem to digest, let alone accept. This needs to change. It needs to change now.
I have a few thoughts I’d like to share from our conversation. Forgive me for my forward words, but like the brother illustrated, this isn’t something we can stay silent about any longer.
This is heartbreaking and something that we have been blind to for far too long. These children didn’t just discover these feelings or fitnah suddenly, this is something we have helped build and fester in them since their birth and even long before that, Subhan’Allah.
He speaks of parents passing on knowledge, yet are we the ones for this job? Are our mostly disconnected and pretentious scholars the people for this job? Subhan’Allah, he spoke of a Sister who comes and studies at the very place where he teaches who’s daughter is seriously contemplating leaving Islam on account of her confusion. What does that mean? Why? Before we begin dissecting this sister and her daughter’s life and psychology, we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves. We are her, just as our kids are her daughter, Subhan’Allah. This is because we are shells full of knowledge (or what we perceive as knowledge) that doesn’t pass our throats, how could we ever teach our children anything worthwhile or arm them with the armour that they need to fight this coming tide of overwhelming spiritual decay and godlessness?
The problem is in us, not in the ways of this Dunya. The Dunya is as it was designed. The tide may be stronger now, but this weakening of the faith within us and the importance given to the Dunya has been generations in the making and is blatantly responsible for our decline. We should not look to our previous generations through rose coloured glasses. They slowly let go of their faith and joined the run for money, ease, and fortune a long time ago. I mean, honestly, we should ask ourselves what we really learned from them? What did we learn of our Deen? Why are we in the state we are in as an Ummah collectively? Was corruption and dishonesty born out of our generation or were the seeds of this chaos sown long ago?
The Quraysh weren’t born mushrik, they were following their ancestors into the mess they found themselves in when the Prophet Muhammad SAW began preaching the message of Islam. They were living well, educated, secular, tribal, spiritual, and enjoying life. They even believed in Allah as the Creator of all things, yet we see them as failures and criminals in our Deen, because they committed shirk and didn’t submit to the Will of Allah SWT. Why? How are we different? Are we not committing the same crimes, just with different idols? Aren’t all the things we put before Allah the idols we worship? We shouldn’t get it twisted, if we looked at ourselves honestly, we all know who we would be standing with if we lived in that time, Astaghfirullah.
It is not just about speaking to these kids. I mean what do you think you are going to say to a preteen addicted to crystal meth and alcohol or to a sexually obsessed teen? Allahu Akbar. This is about our personal submission, it’s about learning the Deen, understanding it, and applying it on ourselves, and relearning how to communicate and parent. We have ignored our children and their needs, forcing them to look for answers and support in other places and people that don’t have their best interests in mind. We have to rethink our intentions for why we made the decisions we made and what we have done to ourselves and our families. It’s about correcting the wrongs of our forefathers and admitting that they weren’t some “golden-era-living” legends. The sooner we admit this, we can move towards making personal tauba and asking Allah SWT to forgive their transgressions. Perhaps, Allah will change the hearts of our children when we move towards a reality that we fear facing more than the fear of our children destroying themselves, becoming mindless drones, and eventual disbelievers, Subhan’Allah.
We see it everyday and keep chanting, “not me, not my child,” so we don’t do anything about changing ourselves or our situation, because we cannot fathom that anything we do is wrong or against the Deen. We like to believe our children as “good kids”, but where are we getting the definition of “good”? Is it from Deen? Was Abu Talib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhamamd SAW, not “good” by today’s worldly standards? We have to look to ourselves and our children through the lense of Islam and not our desires or western standards. We don’t want to be like the heroin addict, who cannot see the harm in what he does, so he cannot take that first step to just admit he has a problem in the first place. We are addicted to our lifestyles, to our self proclaimed righteousness, and the idea that our kids are okay, because we somehow think we are spared from the affect that all this fitnah and environment has on us and our families. We are wrong and we don’t know what our ignorance is going to cost us, Subhan’Allah.
How many more children will have to be sacrificed at the alter of our egos, ancestors, and personally tailored versions of Islam before we wake up and realize what our own hands have wrought? What will it take? Do we have to actually catch our children in the act of having sex in a handicap stall at their “safe” Islamic school to realize that they are struggling to stay afloat among a sea full of temptation and seduction calling to their very base desires in these bodies that want to betray them everyday? I grew up in the West and it was bad out there, but what this generation is facing globally is unprecedented. To constantly have that much fitnah right at your fingertips, right inside your own room, cannot be easy to navigate, let alone ignore. When the shaytan sees an opening, he will take it. He will become their father, their mother, their brother, their sister, their friend, even their lover. He will be whatever they need and he will make them love it and lose themselves in it. It’s what he does and we are leaving the doors and windows wide open for him by our loose grip on this Deen and our lazy parenting, Subhan’Allah.
This is harsh, I know it, but hearing these stories makes us bleed for these kids and our nonchalant attitude towards their struggles and mental states, especially when I know that we have done this to them. The fight within them is real, it is a fight for their very souls and as it stands we could care less. These kids are depressed, they are struggling to find a balance between Deen and dunya, and they are not satisfied with our answers or attitudes towards their very real concerns. The truth is that many are just pretending and sticking it out at this point and finding ways to cope behind our backs using illicit relationship, intoxicants, and dangerously addictive media and video games until they are old enough to be free of us, Subhan’Allah. Most of these children are wearing masks around us and, because we haven’t bothered to get to know them on a deeper level, we are completely and utterly blind to it. We only see what we want to see and are completely cutoff from reality, passing on our narcissistic tendencies to our children in the process. We expect their complete obedience and respect without even trying as if they don’t have any thoughts, fears, or reservations, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They are human beings with valid concerns and Allah has given them rights. Rights that we will be answerable for, which we conveniently forget in the quest to claim our own, Subhan’Allah.
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (RA), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW), say: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
Well, we are getting what we intended aren’t we? We said, “let’s move to the ‘West’ (or ‘Westernize’ ourselves) for a better life, let’s build some empty masajid, I’ll give my kids all the things that I didn’t have, I’ll do better for them!” This? This is better for them? No Deen, no akhlaq, no original thought, no Salah, no Iman, no Ihsan, no Islam, no Allah…better? Even if your children are the most successful people in the sight of the Dunya, if they have no Deen then they are nothing in the sight of Allah SWT and that is the clear Truth. We make big statements about trusting in Allah’s Mercy and Kindness without lifting a finger to preserve the Deen in our kids and sleep soundly at night knowing full well they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing right in the next room (the Brother mentioned surveying the girls in his class about their favourite TV show and the majority answered the pornographic, violent, and morally corrupt Game of Thrones, again these were children under the age of fifteen). These houses we have worked so hard to build for these children, who don’t want us or Allah, are not homes, they are glorified waiting rooms. How many of us are living like this? How many of us are blissfully ignoring our kids and their spiritual needs? How many of us would rather spend time with our devices than our own flesh and blood? How many of our kids are a statistic of sex, drugs, mental illness, and atheism? I refuse to believe we are that blind, Subhan’Allah.
Then, we have the people who have the audacity to compare themselves to Nuh (AS) and his son or Yaqub (AS) and his sons when their children go astray. I don’t even have words for that. What efforts have we really made to constitute such a comparison? The Brother said in thirty kids, he collectively calculated only two hours of total conversation with their parents? Really? Subhan’Allah, what kind of delusion are we living in and why do we think we are somehow superior to the parents and children illustrated in these heartbreaking stories?
Now, the below Ayah may be a more fitting comparison. Do we want to end up like the people that Nuh (AS) made du’a against? Are we a lost cause and are our children going to suffer the consequences of our actions? Have we actually read these Ayah and understood the crimes of these men and women who provoked the Wrath of Allah SWT?
“And Noah said, ‘My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant. Indeed, if You leave them, they will mislead Your servants and give birth to only wicked sinners and staunch disbeliever.’” (The Noble Quran 71:26-27)
Alhamdulillah, I don’t believe we are a lost cause. I really don’t. These are the things that shaytan tells us to try to stop us from turning to Allah and His Path. Always remember that Allah doesn’t give up on a servant who doesn’t give up on himself, Alhamdulillah. For anyone who has studied this Deen, we know many examples of men and women turning their lives around and striving in the cause of Allah, may Allah be pleased with them all. We don’t need to look to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs to find direction. That’s just the blind leading the blind. They create this fitnah, know how rotten it is in reality, and keep it away from their own children, while selling it wrapped in attractive packaging and promises like common drug peddlers to us and ours, Subhan’Allah. These are not our teachers or good examples and we need to limit our intake of such things. This technology can be a gift or a curse, it all depends on how we navigate it, Insha’Allah. Our Prophet Muhammad SAW and the rightly guided men and women of this Ummah are our guides, Alhamdulillah. We must study the Deen seriously and find direction from Allah SWT and through His Chosen, Insha’Allah.
There is light at the end of this tunnel and a way to turn it all around, but it will take some painful truth-telling, reflection, study, and much work. We tried things our way, now we have to try things Allah’s way and see what He does. Our kids are begging us to make a change and we have to give up our selfish pick and choose ways. Facing our mistakes, taking off these masks and shackles, and, perhaps the most difficult, reconnecting with our kids on a one on one basis will not be easy. It will be the hardest thing that we have ever done, especially since shaytan will be waiting on this path, but to struggle and persevere against our weaknesses and his whispers will have the most reward in Dunya and the Hereafter, Insha’Allah. We are living in the end of times, according to the signs illustrated in the Ahadith of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW. The fitan he discribed are increasing and they are surrounding us on all sides. We have to strengthen ourselves with knowledge and help our children to become stronger, so that they can face the coming tide and challenges that will blanket the earth, Insha’Allah.
So, we must ask ourselves some important questions: Who do we choose as our children’s teachers? Who do we keep as company? What do our eyes and ears consume? How do we use technology in our homes? What boundaries and rules have we set for this technology? Is the earning with which we feed them Halal? Do we treat our children with respect and control our mouths and hands when interacting with them? And, perhaps the most important of all, are we practicing what we preach? The answers to all of these questions have a direct affect on our children and their love for us and Allah or their rebellion against us and the Deen of Allah. In the end, I swear, the worst thing that could happen to our children is not that they commit zina or do drugs, the worst thing that could happen to our children is them losing their Faith and no longer believing in Allah, sentencing themselves to an empty life and a disastrous Hereafter, Subhan’Allah.
Our children are born innocent and beautiful, we are given the responsibility to teach them about Deen and dunya from the very beginning. The Quran, the Ahadith, the stories of the Prophets (AS) and the Sahabah (RA), the Hereafter, the idea of Ihsan (that even though we cannot see Allah, He can always see us no matter where we are) should be a constant for our children from our actions and our speech until it becomes second nature to them, Insha’Allah. It calls to their fitrah, their very nature, and if done right they will accept it and live it, Insha’Allah. If we feel that we weren’t able to do this, believe me it is never too late to develop that bond, no matter how old your children are. With sincerity, gaining knowledge of Islam, a change in attitude, and du’a Allah can make anything possible, Insha’Allah. It is crucial that we spend quality time with our kids as friends and openminded confidants while gaining the knowledge and tools to do so in a manner befitting a true Muslim parent. Kiss them, hug them, tell them you love them, demonstrate that the halal can be fun, have meaningful conversations with them, show them they can come to you with anything and everything without fear, set boundaries and exercise discipline by discussion and calm explaination, and have no shame in getting help for them if you feel you are not equipped for the issues that they are facing, Insha’Allah. We must turn our homes into their sanctuaries in such a way that whenever they feel threatened, hurt, sad, confused, anxious, tempted, or frightened they choose to run home to us for comfort, understanding, and sound Deen-based advice instead of away from us to unknown places where they feel seemingly accepted and safe, Insha’Allah. Our elders moved away from the Deen to strive towards Dunya for us, now we must move away from Dunya and strive towards Deen for our children, Insha’Allah.
A glad tiding that Nuh (AS) gave to those who believe and seek forgiveness is what we want to work and strive for, Insha’Allah.
“I said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (The Noble Quran 71:10-12)
May Allah guide us, have mercy on us, inspire us to build for the Hereafter, and protect us and our coming generations from the deceptive distractions and fitan of this Dunya, Ameen.
If you would like to truly make a change for the better, please listen to the series below. This is how the Prophet Muhammad SAW interacted with the children (RA) around him, Alhamdulillah. This is the Character (SAW) we have to replicate in our daily lives, Insha’Allah.
This talk is a revelation, Alhamdulillah. Please do take the time to listen, Insha’Allah.
This talk from Ust. Bilal Assad from Australia, is similar to the one this blog is based on (the Shaykh honestly describes some of his own experiences with temptation growing up), except that it gives sound advice to us all on how to fight our desires and repel the whispers of shaytan, Insha’Allah.