Motherhood in Muharram, A Reflection - by Aseel Machi


“So, while I find myself feeling overwhelmed and disconnected during the majalis, I have found the solution to all those issues through the acts of Imam al-Husayn (as). Mothers must, whether at a very minute or grandiose level, sacrifice like our Imam did. Sacrificing our peace of mind, our physical energy, and at times, even sleep for the child’s benefit. While this sacrifice is not limited to any month or day of the year, it is felt especially strong and perhaps, even burdensome, in Muharram. Our sacrifices are not for vain, it is for our young seedlings to take root and grow. With time’s allowance, their souls will bear the fruits of our hard work. The difference is that despite us not being in the time of Karbala, we are in a time even more necessary for sacrifice: the occultation of Imam Mahdi (aj), the Husayn of our time.”

Read the full article here.

Parenting (8 to 14 years) - Sheikh Vinay Khetia


Continuing on from yesterday, here is the advice for parenting older children…

Parenting in the second stage (8 to 14):

As well as stories mentioned above, introduce ahadith to them so they earn the maxims of the Ahlul Bayt.

Problems with kids:
– Be aware that they are undergoing physical/emotional changes – no longer innocent!
– Problem in today’s society is the sexualisation of children at younger and younger ages.
– Kids feel unloved – parents may be loved but this is not necessarily communicated or perceived
– The way couples talk to each other, argue, even looks/glares – can confuse a child, or they feel guilty/responsible
– They misbehave because they’re missing something at home, not because they want to
– Phones, social media and other influences means greater likelihood of anxiety/depression, body image issues, for girls signs of these start from 11 years and for boys from 15 years
– Materialistic society

Help them by:
– TIME needs to be spent with them, not gifts
-If gifts, make the wait. Give on Eids/wiladats
– Always remind them Allah, Ahlul Bayt and parents love them
– Parents need to protect children from issues between them. They should ideally not even hear this when asleep.
– We are all humans, sinful, make mistakes – but we need to acknowledge and address and amend this
– It may be hard to believe that our children have done wrong, but at some point or the other our child will be the wrong one, and therefore parents have to be just and have adalah when dealing with them.
-Delay devices, and if devices, no data/delay social media. No phones allowed in bedroom.

Positive parenting:
-They should love you and fear displeasing you, not fear your anger.
-Anger shouldn’t be so much they they lose hope in your forgiveness.
-Don’t hit kids – discouraged my ulema, you cannot leave a mark and it doesn’t even work!

Advice from Ulema:
never humiliate in public – a child is honoured by Allah, we should never take their izzah away
 go to Maroof not Munkar – if we need to teach, do it positively (as above). Munkar only if they have gone too far and have displeased Allah and His Messenger (it’s not about pleasing the parents but about pleasing Allah!). Let them feel guilt towards Allah – there are ahadith about when parents are diespleased, Allah is displeased and children cannot enter Jannah.
– go to Allah first (Hadith)
teach them empathy – to feel the pain of others. Devices etc prevent that as you can hide behind the screen. Sidenote: selfie is borderline haram (from an akhlaqi perspective)! Hadith: 3 things shall destroy Insaan, one of them is self-admiration

Teaching Boys:
-Husbands (or other father figure) talking to boys by age 12 about sexuality (Janabah, istibra, ihtilam), haya, respect of women – need for candid conversations.
-Mums/sisters to dress appropriately – they are not our baby anymore!
-Encourage looking their best/clean – again use examples from Prophet’s life (he always used to look in bowl of water, brush his hair/beard, apply fragrance, etc)

Teaching girls:
-Teach haya at 6-7 years for girls positively – Allah has honoured you!
-Teach your older girls B.Fatima (sa)’s Hadith on sexuality. A woman’s sexuality (eyes/voice) is very powerful – can be a tool for incredible change but also own undoing.
– Every good thing comes with a possible negative one
-Oyster shell analogy when explaining hijaab

Parenting (General) - Sheikh Vinay Khetia


We had the pleasure of listening to Sheikh Vinay Khetia talk about parenting… here are the notes on general parenting/early years. Inshallah will share his notes on the second stage of parenting (8 to 14 years) tomorrow!

Sheikh Vinay Khetia – Talk on Parenting

General Parenting:

Sura Tahrim – ayah 6 (66:6): “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.” – Thus this is our main priority when parenting.

Children are a fitna (test) as well as a joy. We parents become an invitation towards Allah (da’aat Allah). We want our children to have pride in our religion – very different to pride in ourselves.

Sayyid Sistani says a mother plays a unique role in imparting stories through love – the relationship is different to a fathers. This connection needs to be capitalised upon and time spent with children:

* Establish a love of Allah in their hearts – talk about miracles and the wonderful creation of Allah
*Use these stories and examples from the Prophets/Aimmah/Ulema – make them the lexicon of your family:

1. Prophets

Suggested resources:
God’s Emissaries (book by Rozwan Arastu)
Many children’s books out there

2. Aimmah

Suggested resources:
Voice of Human Justice (about Imam Ali):…
Baqir Sheriff Qureishi:

3. Ulema

Suggested resources:
Ayatullah Khomeini:…
Allama Tabatabai:…

*Read these stories at bedtime (instead of the other fairytales, etc). Also encourage children to talk to the Imam at bedtime, and end with Dua Faraj. As much as possible, protect them from other influences/examples.
* Bring everything back to Allah and divine principles – for example, go to the library and connect it with Allah’s commandment to Read (Iqra)
*Make it fun and developmentally appropriate – through puppet shows, drawings, skits, etc as when they are young, God is too abstract to understand simply through discussion (best understood after 14/15 years of age)

It is very important to establish foundation of faith, as without it, nothing we do is worth anything. Biggest losers in quran:

Say: Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds?
(These are) they whose labor is lost in this world’s life and they think that they are well versed in skill of the work of hands.
These are they who disbelieve in the communications of their Lord and His meeting, so their deeds become null, and therefore We will not set up a balance for them on the day of resurrection.
Sura Kahf 103-105

Parenting is the first line of teachers. 3 M’s are just icing on the cake: Masjid-Mimbar-Madressa

Parents need to be higher in (religious) education than their kids – if they find a lack in their knowledge and an inability to answer questions, they should go and take classes and learn. This way they will also build up a resource and support structure so that they have somewhere to go and ask if stuck.

Teaching kids Salaah:
3 – La Ilaha Illah
3 years 7 months – Mohd Rasulullah
4 – Sallahu Alayhi Wali Mohd
5 – teach them right and left, Qibla, Sajdah
6 – all stages of Salaah
9- Wudhu & Salaah

Overall our spiritual responsibilities (which is 80% – physical, secular education, etc is only 20%) to our children are:

To impart:
Sound belief
Fulfilment of Religious Obligations
Good character

To protect from:
Bad habits
Bad peers

8 Hadiths on the relationships between parents and children


“The relationship between parents and their children is one that cannot be compared to anything else in the world. In the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) prescribes the following: “And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him, and to your parents, [show] good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age while with you, say not to them [so much as], ‘uff,‘ and do not repel them, and speak to them a noble word.” [17:23]. The Holy Quran exalts the status of parents, and hadiths do too; here are some great ones for everyone to take in, with an insight on how the child plays an important role in the relationship between them.”

Read more:

8 hadiths on the relationship between parents and children

Ta'leem and Tarbiya


Salman al-Odah was asked, “How do you get your kids to love the salah?”

The first thing he said was, “Have them love you.”

Learn this life lesson: tarbiyah is founded upon relationship.

Tarbiyah is the raising up and education of a child such that she can reach her full potential as a human and a Muslim. It is different than ta’leem, which refers to fact-based education.

We often confuse the two, giving our children ta’leem when they need tarbiyah.

Ta’leem is teaching our children the how-to of the prayer. Memorizing the duas, learning the positions.

Tarbiyah is the cuddling after the prayer when we ask each other, “What did you ask for in sajdah?”

Ta’leem is memorizing ahadeeth and verses.

Tarbiyah is the dinner-table banter where we talk current events and other issues on our mind.

Ta’leem is studying fiqh.

Tarbiyah is the loving conversation we have about an incident that happened at school.

Ta’leem is studying seerah by memorizing dates and events or preparing for a quiz bowl.

Tarbiyah is snuggling in bed and telling stories of brave heroes of the past.

When we were at Umrah, Ustadh Abu Eesa stressed this point a great deal and it has caused a seismic shift in my own approach to teaching my children. I had asked him if he had a suggested program of study for school-aged children. He responded by saying that he was no expert on education and he would leave that to the experienced teachers to develop such a program. He directed us instead to focus our efforts on building relationships with our children as our tarbiyah.

“Tarbiyah,” he explained, “is an emotional, not a physical exercise.”

He went on to explain that in the Qur’an, we are taught the dua for the parents as follows: “O Allah, have mercy on them, as they rabbayaani when I was young.” In other words, have mercy on them because they did tarbiyah for me when I was young. It doesn’t say “because they ‘allmaani”–because they taught me.

Long after facts have come and gone, what a child will remember are the memories she has cuddling on the couch, laughing at stories, and warmly basking in the glow of a parent’s attention and love. This relationship is what builds the person up, not the facts and pieces of knowledge imparted.

This does not mean we do not teach facts and knowledge! Those who follow my work know that I do indeed spend time on this ta’leem. You need to discern the difference between the two themes of ta’leem and tarbiyah though, so that you give adequate time to each.

Most importantly, you must understand that you, dear parents, are indispensable. You CANNOT outsource tarbiyah. You can send your child to classes and masjid programs for ta’leem but this can never replace tarbiyah. The cuddling on the couch, the lively discussions around the table, the one-on-one chats before bed….these are the things that only a parent can do. And these are the things that build the foundation of the Islamic akhlaq and adab (morals and manners).


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