Continued from last week
By Haroon Balogun
Family members should also use the learning opportunities at home to learn and advise each other on matters of halal and haram. Let’s remind ourselves that once we cross those lines and start characterizing the bad as acceptable, Satan further raises those limits and does not stop until he completely pushes us into the darkness of evil and shirk (polytheism).
Another way to foster a learning environment at home is for each family to instill the love of Islamic literature and books. So, beyond keeping a Quran and a book on hadith, the family should look to maintain literature on Quran interpretation and books of renowned Islamic scholars that can help family members get a deeper insight into the wisdom of the Quran and the Sunnah.
Make family decisions through mutual consultation
Involving the family in important matters before making a decision ensures closeness among the members. Allah says in the Quran 42 verse38. “… and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation…”
Mutual consultation allows for each member to have a sense of importance and responsibility. Besides, when trying to solve a problem, the more brains that are involved, the better the chances for a solution. Problems can be resolved with one-on-one conversations between parents and children, and other family members. Rather than venting frustrations and focusing on the problems, family members should find ways to engage in conversations where solutions are sought in an amicable manner.
Venting frustrations, blaming each other, harsh tones, and demeaning each other not only does not solve problems but also sours relationships and closes all doors for future consultations and trust. Let’s remember the hadith of the Prophet where he compared harshness with good behavior. He (s.a.w) said, “Allah loves kindness and rewards it in such a way that He does not reward for harshness or for anything else.”
Understand and fulfill responsibilities toward other family members
Living with other family members also necessitates that each of us learns the rights of others. As Muslims, we should know the rights of our parents, children, spouses, siblings, and others. For example, Allah provides us clear instructions about kindness to parents. He (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) Has instructed us:
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor reprimand them but address them in terms of honor.
“And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (Quran 17: 24)
The Quran is clear with regard to our duties to our parents. By fulfilling our responsibilities towards them we can also serve as a good example to our children in the practice of patience and kindness. Similarly, we should learn our responsibilities in dealing with our children. When parents recognize the child as an individual, address him and include him / her in discussions on general topics, a proper rapport is formed and the child finds it easier to obey them.
Reminders could be given and situations that parents themselves were in could be discussed to help each other get and stay on the track of Islam. When parents make the mistake of considering themselves perfect (and their imperfections are quite obvious!) they lose their own credibility and the respect of their children as well.
This applies to other family members as well. Knowing the rights of other individual including the child within the family can help us fulfill our responsibilities as prescribed to us by Islam and can help us live Islam within our families. You can also read Suratul Muminun, (23: 1-11); Surah Luqman (31:13-19) and others. May Allah strengthen our faith and continue to guide us to the right path.