Staring out of the window and hearing the continual pleas of his mother to tell her what’s wrong, Zayd finally cracked. Though he was only silent for a few minutes in the car, it seemed like a lifetime. His voice cracked as he told his mother that something bad just happened. He said that he was hanging with his friend Jason, the one she didn’t like, and Jason told him about a situation that was going on with another guy who runs a street gang. Long story short, the leader of the gang was recently robbed and they think they know who did it.
Since Zayd was fascinated by the street life and was not experienced in the game, his friend Jason and the leader of the gang knew he’d be easy to influence because he would want to “prove” himself. Zayd informed his mother that somebody got hurt but he wasn’t the one that did it but he was there and that’s what all of the police were in the area for. His mother was in disbelief and went into a long lecture about bad associations and listening to her because she loves him. Little did she know he had already made decisions that would last longer than that car ride.
Two days later the police showed up and pulled 15 year old Zayd out of his classes to ask questions about an attempted first degree homicide in which he was identified. Zayd went to the station and talked to the police without a lawyer or parent present and admitted to several crimes. When his mother found out, she went in to speak to the police and thought she could just pick her son up but was astonished to find that her little son that was breastfed and she cared for when he was sick was not going to be allowed to touch her. He was behind thick bulletproof glass in a jail with killers, rapists, drug dealers, and other criminals and was being treated like one of them. Her heart felt like it was ripped from her chest and smashed while hemorrhaging all over the floor.
Her 15 year old son was now the subject of an attempted first degree homicide investigation. After police collected all the evidence and the stories told changed several times, they arrested the shooter but since Zayd provided the gun and was at the scene, he was also charged criminally… as an adult. Had he been charged as a juvenile, things would have been simpler and the sentence lighter however that was not an option that he took. His lawyer convinced him to accept the adult waiver so he was now in the adult criminal justice system.
His father was informed and couldn’t really understand the totality of the situation and his mother was heartbroken. His younger brother wailed out in court and wasn’t able to comprehend why his older brother wasn’t allowed to come home. Zayd is now serving a prison term of seven and a half years and will turn seventeen years old this year. His mother is now able to visit him and hug him and touch him but the hole left in her heart still remains every time she prays and sees his little prayer rug.
One day while his mother and brother were visiting Zayd said he thinks that prison is the best place he could be because he is able to practice and learn about Islam. That just may be the case, but what a place to eventually find out about what you had at home the entire time!
I know the streets and the allure that it offers and as a parent I know it can be difficult to steer your children in the right direction but there are ways to influence your children and help them stay on the correct path. There are ways to help your child avoid learning about Islam in prison and there are principles that should be taught early and things we must understand and take seriously as parents.
May Allah t’ala cause us to be Outstanding Muslim parents, our children to be righteous, and cause them to be a means to jannah for us and a coolness for our eyes in this life, ameen.
Be historic, be OUTSTANDING!
Remember don't be AVERAGE! Average is nothing but the TOP of the BOTTOM and the BOTTOM of the TOP!
Nazir binNaseeb Al-Mujaahid
Author of Muslims Parenting on Purpose
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