Life Survival Guide- PARENTS

Assalamu’alaikum everyone 🙂

Here are some tips for us kids to make it through those tear-out-your-hair situations with our tormentors…ahem, I mean our parents 😛 (I apologise for the small Arabic font, wasn’t able to make it bigger. Maybe you guys can zoom in on the page)

 

Many a times we come across countless books, articles and the like for parents, advising them on how to deal with their rebellious, uncontrollable, monster of a teenager; kind of annoying how they present a rather one-sided picture, right? I mean, sometimes we weren’t the ones to cause the spark. Most of the times, the last thing we want is actually to get into a rut with our mums and dads.

Even though some of us may actually take pride in the fact that we have the ability to cause psychologists to go through the pains of writing an entire book about us, we can’t deny that the sticky situations we get stuck in with our parents takes a toll on us and our parents, mentally and even physically.

So here are a couple of tips that inshaa’Allah will help us keep our cool when World War III appears imminent…

 

#1 Remember whats in it for you:

When we are caught in an argument with our parents, many of us tend to just keep quiet and listen to whatever our parents have to say to us. Don’t ever think that we are biting tongues and stopping ourselves from snapping at our parents simply because they are our caregivers and they are older than us…we are keeping our words of anger and frustration under ­extremely tight wraps because Allah told us to, and it’s really interesting to see His choice of words in the Qur’an regarding this matter.

“…وَبِٱلْوَٲلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًا…”

Surah Al-Isra’ Ayah 23

Many of us may be very familiar with this part of the ayah, especially if our parents quote it often. It is often translated as “…And that you be dutiful to your parents…” Yes, no doubt, we are to have the best possible conduct with regards to our parents (which we will discuss in the next tip inshaa’Allah), but it is also helpful to know what actually comes right before this part of the ayah.

“وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ…”

“And your Lord declared that you will not be enslaved to anyone except Him alone…”

By starting out the ayah by declaring that we, as creations of Allah , will not be enslaved to anyone except Him assures us that He comes first in our lives. Everything that He taught us, instructed us and commanded us takes priority, and everything else is secondary. We are to obey our parents at all times, unless something that they told us to do goes against the Command of Allah . At that point, we are to graciously explain to them that we fear Allah and that we do not feel that we should be doing such and such.

Another cool thing about this ayah is that Allah used the word “وَٲلِدَيْنِ” (pronounced: waalidayn) in the ayah. Hang in there, this may sound like an Arabic lesson, but trust me, you’re going to want to know this. This word means two parents, and comes from the singular word “وَالِد”(pronounced: waalid) and the verb “وَلَدَ” (pronounced: walada). Those of us who know a little bit of Arabic will know that this word means “father”, and the feminine version of the word used for mother is “وَالِدَة” (pronounced: waalidah). We also know that there is another pair of words in Arabic used for father and mother: “أَب” (pronounced: ab) and “أم” (pronounced: oom)respectively. These two words are more respectable, are sort of a higher status. An “أَب” issomeone who not only fathered you, but also cared for you and contributed to your upbringing. However, a “وَالِد” is someone who only fathered you; that is he is your biological father and had nothing to do with your upbringing. The same goes for the words “أم” and “وَالِدَة”. So every “أَب” is a“وَالِد” but every“وَالِد” is not necessarily an “أَب”. Since Allah used the word “وَٲلِدَيْنِ” in the ayah, it goes to show that we are to have the best conduct towards our parents even if they did not show us any kind of care or concern. So we can’t tell our parents “you were never there for me” and thus be granted the license to shut them out of our lives and treat them unkindly. Another nugget of wisdom we can extract from this is that Allah Knows that we have the potential to be merciful, kind, patient and charitable! And He wants us to give our best in these characteristics to our parents.

Many of us feel that our own parents are different, they are really unlike any other set of parents; completely psychotic and unreasonable perhaps and therefore these guidelines in the Qur’an don’t really apply to us. Don’t we know that Allah Knows exactly what kind of parents he had given us to? That it’s all part of the Master Plan that we would get difficult parents? He Knows, man, He Knows, and He purposely gave us the parents we have right now, all to see if we are willing to obey Him and strive to get the ultimate reward of Paradise, where not a single hardship will remain.

“Do you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” [1]

Having patience with our parents is definitely worth it…

“…Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.”[2]

 

#2 Dont forget their status with Allah (swt):

After obedience to Allah , obedience to our parents comes next; they really do hold a pretty high rank with Him.

Allah is our Rabb; our Sustainer. He takes care of our needs and takes charge of us. In this world, He gave the momentary responsibility to our parents. Whether we remember it or not, our parents took care of us when we were in the most helpless and embarrassing states. They cleaned us, fed us, dressed us, protected us and taught us. When we were just out of the womb, our mothers especially didn’t get an MC for a week, or even a day so that she could recover from delivery. She had to get to work immediately! Carrying a baby is truly a difficult task, so painful and challenging that Allah says in the Qur’an:

”وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٲلِدَيْهِ إِحْسَـٰنًا‌ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ ۥ كُرْهً۬ا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهً۬ا‌ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ ۥ وَفِصَـٰلُهُ ۥ ثَلَـٰثُونَ شَہْرًا‌… “

Surah Al-Ahqaf Ayah 15

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty months…”

It’s also good to note that the word “أم” was used in this ayahto refer to the mother. This goes to show that all our mothers actually graduate from “وَالِدَة” immediately as bearing, delivering and weaning us already count as contributing to our upbringing and caring for us. That is why great emphasis is placed on giving our mums the best company and treating her with great respect and kindness. Child bearing and delivery is not cheap, if a woman dies while having a child in her, she attains martyrdom![3]

When we were little, our parents didn’t ask us for any pay nor did they ask for anything in return for those sleepless nights with us, but they do feel that they are entitled to some respect and some authority over us, and rightfully so.

Allah continues in Surah Al-Israa’:

…”إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْڪِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ۬ وَلَا تَنْہَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً۬ ڪَرِيمً۬ا (٢٣) وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرً۬ا (٢٤) رَّبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا فِى نُفُوسِكُمْ‌ۚ إِن تَكُونُواْ صَـٰلِحِينَ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ ڪَانَ لِلْأَوَّٲبِينَ غَفُورً۬ا (٢٥) “

Surah Al-Isra’ Ayaat 23-25

“…If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them “Uff” , nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower to them the wings of shade through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.’ Your Lord knows best what is in your inner-selves. If you are righteous, then, verily, He is Ever Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again in obedience, and in repentance.”

As people get older, it’s natural for them to get more dependent on others. When it comes to our parents, they will be asking more of us as they get older and older, and it’s normal that we would get increasingly frustrated as well. This is a particular challenge as people get harder to deal with because they can become unreasonable, but at this time Allah tells us not to even say “Uff!” to our parents. The word “أُفٍّ۬” in Arabic is used as a show of frustration. We can’t even show them we are frustrated even if they are yelling at us or not! I know it’s easier said than done, but hey, if Allah tells us to do it, it must certainly be possible because He says:

“And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship…”[4]

Besides, Allah is also giving us the opportunity to say that we did not say uff! to our parents, and thus have fulfilled His Words.

When He tells us to lower the wings of mercy to our parents, it means to lower our ego and to cover our parents out of mercy. No matter what they do to us, the motivation to be good to them is out of mercy. In Surah Al-Isra’ we learnt about a little prayer we should make for our parents in private, where we ask Allah to Bestow His Mercy on them. Allah did not tell us to ask Him to forgive them as that would imply that they are doing something wrong. Instead, we ask Him to Bestow on them His Mercy because we are unable to show them all the mercy that they had shown us when we were little. Only Allah can pay them back in full.

He also says that He knows exactly what is in our inner-selves. Kind of creepy because on our tongues many of us say that we are being good to our parents, but deep down we know that we are not doing enough and that there is room for improvement. But even then, if we are really righteous with regards to this matter, and if we come clean with Allah and acknowledge our mistakes and ask Him for forgiveness, He has always been exceedingly forgiving.

It’s really amazing to see what a high status our parents hold with Allah …

 

#3 Develop selective hearing:

Selective hearing is the art of listening to only that which is important or beneficial to you. Our parents are human beings just like us, and they have their fair share of bad days. We should be empathetic and let them be a little emo every now and then because come on, sometimes everyone needs to vent their frustration. At times, we are often hit by some of the waves of negative energy radiating out from our parents (even though we try our best to avoid them on such days) when they say really hurtful things to us, or accuse us of doing something when we had nothing to do with it in the first place. Do bear in mind that they actually do not mean what they are saying as they are only overcome with heavy feelings at that point that they are unable to filter the words that are coming out of their mouths.

It’s also good to know that our parents know exactly what to say to get right under our skins…and make it burn really bad, and I mean worse than salt on an open wound. Sometimes we just wonder how they can get our blood to boil so quickly, and it can get so bad that we feel like our heads are going to explode! Do remember that they say those “corrosive” words merely just to see our reaction; to see how much patience we really have. One way you can end such blood-pressure-raising conversations is by playing along with them. They’ll be totally stumped by your response to their taunts. Give it a shot, at least you’ll be able to buy some argument-free time before they come up with something else that would make you tick, and trust me, they will 🙂

Nevertheless, when similar situations come about, it is time to switch on the selective hearing, and hear only the words that have some value to it and let all the harsh words bounce right off our ears. Be forgiving, then verily Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[5]

Selective hearing is to be used with the utmost CAUTION! We are creatures of intellect, as our Creator has fashioned us, so we are able to discern during one of our disagreements with our parents who it is that had slipped and messed up. When that little voice inside you tells you that maybe something you had done resulted in this admonition from your parents, resist the temptation to flick on the selective hearing switch! Take this as an opportunity to rectify your mistake and look on the bright side, after experiencing the consequences of your misdeed, you know you will not be repeating it in the future inshaa’Allah 😛

 

#4 Find a good punching bag:

Not literally…unless you enjoy boxing as a sport! We all need some way to relieve the pent-up stress and frustration in one way or another. Search for a healthy outlet that will calm your nerves and lighten up your mood. I do not advise the television or music, but try to find an activity that won’t cause you any harm in any way, and is productive at the same time. Maybe some of us are good at a particular sport, or would like to put our culinary skills to the test, or perhaps would like to write some stories or compose poems. Drain out the pain in a fun way, but do try talking to Allah too about your feelings and problems. You don’t necessarily have to stand on the prayer mat to do so; you can talk to Him any time in your heart, because you know,

“…Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”[6]

There is no flaw in the Deen, and any mistakes in this article are my own. This article is intended as a reminder for me, and my fellow brothers and sisters in Islam. Allah Knows the Best, and may He Grant us the ability to obey Him in all respects, and may He Grant us and our parents patience, put love between us, and may He reunite us in Paradise, Ameen.

 

Jazakallahu khayran to Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan for his talk on Being the Best to our Parents, much of the material in this article was adapted from it Alhamdulillah 🙂

 

[1]Surah Al-Mu’minun Ayah 115

[2]Surah Az-Zumar Ayah 10

[3]Abu Dawood (3111)

[4]Surah Al-Hajj Ayah 78

[5]Surah Al-Taghaabun Ayah 14

[6]Surah Ar-Rad Ayah 28

 

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