He Was Mean

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salamz little aunties,

I've never been one to send in a question to a blog, but here goes nothing. Growing up, my parents fought a lot. Let's just say my father was very mean and strict. He was religious but in a way that didn’t make you like religion, if you know what I mean? Well, my parents ended up divorcing and I grew up with my mother. My mother was never that religious but she was a very good person and very kind. When I became a teenager, I met my dad again and he seemed different, a little nicer, actually, but a big part of me still resents him.

I know I’m taking a long time to get to it, but I just feel like I have to explain everything. Basically, my biggest problem now is that I am torn between wanting to be more religious and not being able to forget the bad memories of my father. I really don’t want to be like my dad. Whenever I think about growing more religious, a little voice inside says ‘it would be better to be like my mother…”

So I really don't know what to do.


Dearest Anon,
Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

My sweet sis. One of the most painful things in the world is to ‘be on the sidelines’ and watch your parents argue/ fight. It can be even more painful when you feel that one of your parents is ‘wronging the other’ one. I know that we want to protect our parents from hurt, as well, so I can imagine that you must have felt extremely bad for your mother….

But as for your particular question, my sweets, I really think you need to ask yourself a major question,

Why do you think you need to make a choice here between being like your mother and being like your father?

What I really mean by that though is: why do you think you need to decide to either
a. Be more religious [‘like your father’]
b. Or be kind and gentle [like your mother]

The way I see it is that you absolutely do NOT need to make a decision such a decision. You only need to redefine what being religious means….

Being religious is acknowledging that you have One Lord, and that He has rights over you. It is admitting that you have a Master and that He alone is worthy of your worship….not your job, not your friends, not your computer, even.

It means dedicating your life to your Sustainer, the Most Merciful: deciding that He has a say in the way you dress, what you eat, what you watch, etc. It means keeping the covenant with Him and praying the prescribed prayers, fasting as He has ordained, and avoiding all that He has forbidden (as much as you can), and returning to Him whenever you make a mistake.

It absolutely has nothing to do with being ‘harsh’ or ‘mean.’

In fact:

In a hadith, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam was reported to have said:
“None of you believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”.

Can you imagine then how important it is to be polite to others? To care about others? To be kind?

Let’s take a look at a very important hadith:

Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, 'Messenger of Allah! A certain woman prays in the night, fasts in the day, acts and gives sadaqa, but injures her neighbours with her tongue.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'There is no good in her. She is one of the people of the Fire.' They said, 'Another woman prays the prescribed prayers and gives bits of curd as sadaqa and does not injure anyone.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'She is one of the people of the Garden.'"

Do you see what this hadith is saying? Part of being religious IS being kind to others. It is not "only dividing religion between you and Allah” (as in praying extra prayers but being mean to His creatures), but realizing that religion encompasses the relationship you have with OTHERS! The way you treat others is a reflection of your piety.

In fact, we have an entire surah in the Qura’n that revolves around this:
Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? (1)For that is the one who drives away the orphan (2) And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. (3) So woe to those who pray (4) [But] who are heedless of their prayer - (5) Those who make show [of their deeds] (6) But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs. (7) [Chapter Al Ma’un]

Let’s also take a look at this hadith qudsi:

Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala says:

O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink whin You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.

It was related by Muslim.

So being religious means helping your Muslim brothers and sisters. It also means having a good character.
Abu Darda (Radiya Allah Anhoo) narrated that the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo Alyhee wa salam.) said, “There is nothing heavier than good character put in the scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud, 4781)

Do you see what we’re saying? Nowhere does it say that in order to be religious one has to be very ‘strict’ and ‘mean’. In fact, Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala also says:
"It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you dealt gently with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you" [ 3:159]

This verse is referring to the Prophet. Our prophet was kind and gentle. He was also our role-model, the example that Allah told us to follow. When we imitate his merciful nature/ his sunnah (the way he would always smile, etc.), we are ‘being religious’.

In fact,

Being religious means giving charity; caressing the head of an orphan, forgiving people, and not accusing people of things they have not committed. It is not lying, it is saying the truth, it is not being racist. A white is not better than a black, and a Arab is not better than a foreigner and a foreigner is not better than an Arab except in taqwa (piety).

Being religious means visiting the sick, respecting the elderly, being gentle to your parents, treating your neighbors good. It means being peaceful, it means honoring your promises, it means treating people like brothers and sisters, it means not harming yourself or harming others, it means calling your friends with names that they like, not talking about people behind their back.

So what do you think, sis, of this (really long, lol) definition, sis? Will you decide to be more religious? Will you aim to be a person of the Garden?

Lots of love,
P.S. Even though I am pretty sure I do not have to say this, I just want to let you know that becoming more religious does not mean that you are siding with your father- it in no way reflects negatively on your mother.

3 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Rukhpar Mor November 30, 2010 at 7:51 AM  

I can understand what this sister is talking about, and your answer was helpful Alhumdolillah. I think it is also an important part of our faith to not turn others from Islam, by being "mean", rude, etc. I think there was a hadith on that but I can't think of it right now. Allahu 'Alam.

Anonymous,  December 20, 2010 at 5:16 AM  

Salam Alaikum, Little Auntie..
I know that your site is focusing on teenagers but I'm still visiting even though i'm old :D
Well, i guess that's the teenager inside me *lol*

Very nice answer Auntie. By trying to be religious, that means trying to be everything good, mashaAllah

I'm still struggling for that "look at her shirt, doesnt match her pants". Eventhough i didnt say it, i think it, astaghfirullah

pray for me Auntie..

Fatimah,  April 14, 2011 at 12:18 AM  

Wonderful advice sister=)as always.

I heard about a girl who didnt liked Islam because of her musliam fatehr. She asked many questions to one of my sister from Saudi. Actually it was to show her dislike toward the religion rather than to ask questions'-'

If her fater was truely good muslim she might had a good attitude toward islam.

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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