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Friday, March 30, 2007

For the Love and Support of You

by Gail Fripp (aka Tahira Ali)

I write this with much love to our young people who are in a desperate state. Our children are confused, pressured, misled, and misinformed about many things, including how their bodies should be used and what to do when the world (which in a young person's life is usually their friends and their parents) seems to not understand them and be against them, or is pressuring them to be something they are not ready to be. What can we all do to ease the pressure?

For Our Young People

You will feel pressure to do many things the older you get, but you must know when you should say no and when to say yes. You have to know when to give in to good pressure that leads you to becoming a stronger Muslim, and when to withdraw from pressure that may possibly cause the downfall of your good reputation and your faith.

What are some common pressures that our young face? (Parents you need to pay attention to this and not go into denial)

Uncovering Their Hair *
Wearing Makeup / Perfume *
Having Sex
Sneeking Out Of The House
Going To Parties
Watching Immoral Videos/Movies
Taking Drugs
Wearing Inappropriate Clothing (Too tight, short, revealing,etc.) *
Giving Up Their Religion (What? You didn't know)
Increasing Their Religion (There are good pressures you know)
Listening To Haraam Music
Getting Good Grades
Marrying Someone They Are Not Interested In
AND Other Things I Have Probably Forgotten
* Starred pressures represent things relevant after entering puberty and/or in situations where the opposite sex is present, although it is better to encourage our young men and women to behave appropriately and dress respectably form day one.

We will talk about the pressure of dating and/or being intimate before you are married because this problem is getting worse by the second.

We know in Islam that if you are not able to marry you should fast to suppress your desires, but what if your deen isn't that strong or is basically non-existent? Where does your strength lie? Who helps you to stay on the straight path and work towards being able to marry so that you may satisfy your desires in a halaal manner? Who encourages you to pray and make dua to increase your faith? Friends? Family? The boy or girl who is attempting to deflower you? Probably not on the latter question.

You must rely on Allah when the temptation is so strong that you feel that your only choice is to give in. You must read Quran and ahadith to understand what your rewards are for waiting and what the punishments are for giving in - EVEN when you don't really want to. You must surround yourself with people who will encourage you to stay true to yourself and your religion and want what is best for you in this life and the next. You must distance yourself from all things that will counter your desired goal of pleasing Allah and making it into Jannah, even if it means losing a friend, or angering a family member.

"There is no obedience of the created in disobedience of the creator.”

Physical desires can seem to overtake your every thought, especially when you have a specific person in mind. It can seem unbearable to be in the same room with anyone of the opposite sex and make you confused about even the most basic tasks. It can make you forget appointments and dislike day-to-day functioning if it does not involve coming closer to your "beloved." Hormones, emotions, temptations, shaitan - they are all VERY real and should be taken seriously.

For all of these reasons, it is extremely important that you remember what you are on this Earth for - to serve Allah.

So how do I do that on a daily basis Tahira? I'm just a young person in school and most of my friends or people I come into contact with are not Muslim or are struggling as well. What about that?

Try these things:

1. Change yourself first - set the example. Begin to dress more conservatively and save the flashy outfits for gatherings with your girl friends and at girl-only parties. Refuse gatherings that are inappropriate. If you keep yourself in check, there can be no pressure from others. You know where you stand and that's that.

2. Begin to cover your hair properly and concern yourself with what you know about Islam and what will help your religion, not what boy is checking you out.

3. Encourage friends and family to do 1 and 2

4. Think about the object of your desire? Is he or she clean as it relates to how a Muslim cleans themselves for prayers, after going to the bathroom, after intimacy, etc? Sometimes that can be a great deterrent when you are battling your nafs (desires). Just a trick I heard about once.

5. Talk to your parents about your concerns for your well-being (relating your desires to your faith), or talk to another trusted adult who may be able to help you talk to your parents or give you good, solid, islamically-based advice

6. Contact me at help@mysisterskeeper.com and I will try to assist you with your situation the best that I am able or send you in the right direction.

7. Start NOW! Don't wait! That boy you are looking at doesn't mean a thing when you're burning in the hellfire, doe he?

For Parents

1. Teach your children correct Islamic values from DAY 1, don't wait until they are teens and then say "Hey, did you know we were Muslim?". Just because you were a half-practicing, arrogant, so-and-so Muslim for many years (but not anymore Insha Allah), don't let your children follow the same path. Don't be afraid to make them good, well-informed, proud Muslims.

I thought as parents we were supposed to save ourselves and our families from the hell-fire, not pack their bags for them and wish them a speedy journey there. Encourage them to be better than you were - better than you are now.

2. Improve yourself. You set the first impression for your child, so in many cases, if you are weak, so shall the child be. (I did say in many cases, not all cases so insha Allah you are not one of those cases.) It is already a struggle for our Muslim children to survive the daily onslaught of haraam things happening these days, so to have a parent who is discouraging (openly or otherwise), happily ignorant about the differences between religion and culture, in denial, or uncaring whether you are a believer or not can add major fuel to the "fire". ( Any pun in my last sentence relating to the dangers of helping to send your child to the actual hell-fire is most definitely intended.)

3. Communicate with your children, listen to what they say, and watch for what they don't say. Many times actions can speak volumes more than words. You may be in denial, but they are living the struggle. If they talk to you (which is difficult for many youth), listen. They just may be asking you for crucial advice in their roundabout, this -is-embarrassing-but-I-really-need-help kind of way.

4. Involve them in activities where they will meet other "practicing" Muslim youth. If they should become interested in someone, Insha Allah it will be handled correctly, they will marry and become excellent examples for their own children.

5. Don't discourage their desire to learn more about the correct way to practice Islam. They are not trying to show you up or anger you. They ARE our future and, as such, need to learn what is expected of them and what true Islamic belief is. You may feel intimidated at the fact that they are learning more than you know, but this just may give you the incentive to learn more as well. Please, let them learn. We need knowledgeable young people to carry Islam forward until the day comes when gaining knowledge will no longer help us get into Jannah. That could be tomorrow.

In conclusion...

1. Young People - Be strong, patient, and do what you need to do to be successful in Islam. START SOMETHING GOOD NOW! Don't worry about making mistakes because it's going to happen. Allah forgives all but shirk so ask Allah for forgiveness and guidance often. Seek help and support from others who have your best interest in mind and never give up!

Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allâh in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.

Quran 4:48

2. Parents - PAY ATTENTION to what your child is doing and saying, be a positive role model for them, encourage them to be better than you are, and teach them true Islam and not your preferences. Also, don't worry about making mistakes because it's going to happen. Allah forgives all but shirk so ask Allah for forgiveness and guidance often. (Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, in number 1 above.) Save yourselves AND your families from the hellfire and don't be arrogant. Your last day to guide your children in the right direction could be today.


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