bismillah arRahmaan arRaheem
I remember being at an iftaar and seeing this little baby crawling on the floor and biting his toys until he would be sent to his mother to nurse and take a nap. His name was Zayd (changed) and he was the son of an Arab brother I know and his wife who is a white American convert.
As time passed, we enjoyed many more eid gatherings, iftaars that were more crowded because of more babies being born, and lots of family outings in the park where we played sports, talked politics, ate good Arab food, and had fun.
I was asked parenting questions because my daughters were a tad older than Zayd. Question like what my plan was regarding my daughters education. I informed my brothers that I planned to do things starkly different than how I was raised because I wasn’t raised Muslim and plus I hold a philosophy that schooling is much different than education.
I didn’t have a plan mapped out, but I knew that I wanted my children to be raised as Muslims who practiced and loved Islam and their Muslim identity. As a protector, I wanted to prevent my family from ever going back to kufr. I decided that I’d have my daughters go to a Muslim school and learn Arabic and how to recite Quran from native Arabic speakers schooled in tajweed. Zayd was also enrolled in the same Muslim school.
As the time passed, life got in the way so that my family and Zayd’s family didn’t see each other as much as we used to. Living on opposite sides of town, exploring new businesses, and having more children all attributed to that. My family later decided that we no longer could count on the Muslim school to teach the most important topics that attracted us there in the first place which were Islam and Arabic. We also had other issues that we felt were significant enough to remove our children from the Muslim school and explore other options.
Nevertheless as life goes on I periodically saw Zayd’s father and my wife kept in contact with his mother who had birthed another son giving Zayd a younger brother. We’d see them at ‘eid gatherings and other family events and talk about how the children were growing up so fast and how it reminded us of Surahtul ‘Asr. As both of our families had grown and were moving through the many things life put in front of us by Allah’s permission, our oldest children became teenagers.
Unfortunately Zayd’s father and mother were having marital issues and after trying many ways to salvage things, they eventually divorced. It was a sad situation and left their mother raising two sons, one of which is special needs. We later found that there was a history of mental illness in the father’s family which Islamically, should have been disclosed prior to marriage, but that’s another discussion all together.
Zayd was now growing up in a one parent household and was a teenager whose parents didn’t practice proactive parenting. Zayd’s mother had some experience with the allure and pull of the streets before she accepted Islam, alHamdulillah. Unfortunately as parents it’s impossible to transfer your experiences to your children however it is possible to transfer the lessons you’ve learned and you may share the story of how you learned those lessons if they may be beneficial.
Zayd wasn’t from the streets, he had a comfortable and cushy life and only experienced the adrenaline of glitz and glamour through TV, movies, video games, and internet videos. So like many teenage boys, he was drawn to the glamorous, violent, sexy, inebriated, and fast lifestyle that America shows 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Stay tuned for part 2
Be historic, be OUTSTANDING!
Nazir binNaseeb Al-Mujaahid
Author of Muslims Parenting on Purpose Vol. 1
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