>> Saturday, July 17, 2010
Dear Little Auntie,
My parents are the best. They’re really good and kind people. Masha'Allah, everyone in the community looks up to them. There's only one tiny thing…They’re not really practicing. I don't know what to do. I’m really worried about them!
I'm scared they won’t go to heaven.
Just a little girl
Dear Just a Little Girl,
I can feel your pain from here. Let me give you a big o’le hug. I know we all get scared when our parents look a little sick. Let alone, when they’re a bit away from Allah’s path. The truth is, just as parents are over protective of us, so are we. In fact, your letter reminded me of Prophet Abrham and his father...remember?
When he (Ibrahim) said to his father: "O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything? O my father! Verily, there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you. So follow me; I will guide you to a straight path. O my father! Worship not Satan. Verily, Satan has been a rebel against the Most Beneficent (Allah). O my father! Verily, I fear lest a torment from the Most Beneficent (Allaah) overtake you, so that you become a companion of Satan ( in Hell-Fire)." (surat Maryam)
But you know what?
Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala bestowed them with a great gift….YOU! Maybe your purpose here is to help bring them back to the right path Because, yes, Allah is the one who guides people, but He is the One who said:
And admonish thy nearest kinsmen 26: 214
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. 16:125
The question is….how?
The verse above tells us the first and most important rule-- invite to Allah by 'wisdom', 'and in a way that is better'. Be gentle and kind.
Be. Show. Do.
Actions are a lot louder than words. Telling them about Islam might not generate much interest- especially if they come from a country where Islamic rules were mixed with ‘strange’ customs. So instead of ‘telling them’ about it, you have to be the best example out there.
The first thing you gotta do is make sure is that you are praying your 5 prayers. The second thing is to let them see you pray them. Involve them, even! You can one day, for example, say that you want to sleep a bit and ask them to wake you up to pray asr- show them how cautious you are about it. Tell them, “Even if it looks like I am really sleepy, wake me up, just like you’d wake me up if I had an airplane flight that I needed to catch. The salah is my flight to paradise, inshaAllah. [FYI: this simile came from Dr. Mohammed Nuh Qudhaa]”
What else? Well, little girl, I’m not sure if you are ‘really a little little girl’ or a little girl the same way I am a little auntie (hehe)…If you really are a little little girl, it’s safe to assume that you don’t drive, and you ask your parents to drive you to places, right? (I hope! Little auntie frowns on underaged children driving…) If that’s the case, ask them every once in a while to stop by at a masjid when you’re coming back from some place (e.g. a friend’s house/ the mall/etc.). You can say “oh, I’m late, we don’t have time to go all the way home—of course, you pick a place that is near the masjid, hehe…or you can also just be frank and say “It’s been a while since I prayed in the mosque. Can we stop a few moments?” They may look at you strangely, maybe make excuses, etc. but if you stay positive, inshaAllah, they may just enter one day and pray with you…
Another thing you can do is read Qu’ran, whether in the living room or some other room that they are bound to ‘enter’. Listen to a beautiful recitation and let the volume be loud enough for them to catch ‘some of it’, inshaAllah. It might pique their curiosity. The best thing also is to have a ‘scheduled’ time- every day at this particular time you read Qur’an…soon, they will get used to that and might even start joining in. If you’re memorizing surahs (and we all should be, hehe), ask them to test you on parts.
On the other hand, if you’re a ‘big little’ girl, and you do drive a car, leave a Qur’an tape/c.d. in the car- so that when they’re driving, they might actually listen to it, themselves! You can also leave ones about Allah’s Beautiful Names, the importance of salah, etc. Nasheeds are another thing you can leave or have playing when they ride with you. (Oh, btw, if you do drive and you sometimes pick them up, we can still use the tactic we said earlier! Only this time, you tell them that you’re going to stop for a few minutes in the mosque…)
Slowly, inshaAllha, you’ll start to get to them…If you’ve got siblings, work with them on this together. If all of you are reading the Qur’an together, memorizing, etc. they are more likely to want to get involved, as well.
You can also leave’ notes and books conveniently around the house for them to find them. Have parts underlined. Put question marks around things that you actually want them to read more up on. Go to the library with them (if they are library people/if they drive you around) and let them see all the books you check out about Islam. If you have Islamic t.v. channels (whether on the t.v. or online), turn them on and leave them running even when you’re not there (they might sit down and listen!)…of course, we do have to consider the environment, though, so little auntie doesn’t mean to ‘waste electricity’ the entire day :P
You can also invite your friends over and ‘discuss’ things within your parent’s earshot. Discuss Allah’s Mercy, discuss hijab, discuss salah, etc.
Actually, it would be really awesome if you could get your parents to make new friends themselves or meet some practicing people their age. If there is any halaqah going on in your community, try and encourage your parents to join. I know that might be easier said than done, lol…what I’m thinking is that maybe, if there’s an event going on in your community, you can tell your mom that you really want to ‘bake some goodies’- could she help you? And then, invite her to come along or maybe tell her everyone loved it and wants to meet her. Another way is if you have friends whose parents are practicing, talk to your friends about ‘introducing your parents’ and getting them to know each other.
Anything else you can do? Well, get even better grades at school. Don’t come home late. That kinda thing…If they ask you ‘what’s happened to you’- always connect this [good] change to Islam. Let them know that this is also part of practicing Islam. You should also do things at home. Clean the house. If you have younger siblings, offer to babysit them and give your parents a break.
Go visit a hospital or an elderly people’s home/ an orphanage, volunteer in a soup kitchen, start a food drive. Let them know that you’re doing this stuff and that you are doing it because Islam teaches us to do that.
Show them that Islam can be fun, too! Go on a picnic with your parents and reflect on the beauty of nature. Let them watch a ‘funny’ video on Islam such as Baba Ali’s renowned Reminder videos. Again, they might have come from an area where they were taught that Islam prohibited everything fun—show them that’s not the case.
You can even try asking your parents a few [simple] questions! You can pretend you are answering some trivia about the Prophets’ lives for example and ask them “which Prophet could talk to the animals”, again? The point is to again, arouse their interest without ‘patronizing them’. You give them a chance to explain something- you might just get them interested in it and they might research it a bit.
Appeal to their emotional side. Give your parents a good night kiss and say something like- “I want to be with you in jannah”…
The most important thing though is to make dua for them. Make lots and lots of dua, especially during the last third of the night.
These are just some suggestions—I hope the readers can provide us with some more! Whatever you do though, do not withdraw from them. This is a big mistake that many practicing people do- that only ends up making them feel that Islam even took their kids away. You should, instead, show a greater interest in their lives….
And inshaAllah, inshaAllah, soon you’ll be racing to keep up with them on your journey to Paradise,
Keep us updated,
p.s. sorry for the long post, my readers :P I know, I know...long, again ;)