Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Internet and Your Kids

The following is an article by Fatin Khairallah, a licensed social worker who specializes in working with troubled youth, especially Muslims. She is the founder of Muslim Youth Social Services in New Jersey, United States. The MuslimFathers team recently contacted her and discussed some problems that Muslim youth are facing in their online interactions.

A Reality Check:
Our Youth, How Safe Are They on the Internet?

By Fatin Khairallah

So many of you must be thinking, “Drugs, guns, pregnancies, our kids could never do these things.” In fact, these activities don’t even cross our minds when thinking about our MUSLIM youth. We automatically assume that, “these things don’t happen to Muslims.” Unfortunately, we need to undergo a reality check and accept that this is not the case anymore. .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Divorce: The Day After, pt.1

I never imagined I would know so many divorcees. I am fortunate enough not to have gone through a divorce, but many, many of the brothers that I know have had to deal with divorce and its myriad ramifications.

One thing I have yet to see, on TV or the Internet or any other form of media, is what a person should do after a divorce;  what steps should a man or woman take to emotionally recover and get their lives back on track? I am prodding some of my divorcee friends to contribute to this series of articles, In Sha Allah we'll get something rolling. But one thing I can share is a website I found while trying to help out a recently divorced friend: http://www.just4dads.org/legal-custody.html. It outlines what the US courts are going to look for when trying to determine who gets custody of the children when a divorce occurs. According to the article, the courts will try to determine who is the child's primary care giver, using the following criteria:
  • Who puts the child to bed at night?
  • Who is there when the child gets up in the morning?
  • Who helps the child get ready for their day (bathing, clothing, grooming, etc.)?
  • Who takes the child to the doctor?
  • Who plans the child’s activities?
Assuming this is accurate information, Dads and Moms have an equal chance of getting custody of the children, rather than the mother being the default choice for US courts, as is commonly believed. Allah help any of you, brother or sister, that might be going through such trying times.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Making pancakes as worship, pt.1

An astounding characteristic of true sunni Islam is the practicality of its concept of worship. The Creator gave us life to know and worship Him, but that worship is not exclusive to prayer, charity, and thikr.

In Sahih Bukhari we find the following narration: Abu Juhayfa relates "The Prophet made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Darda al-Ansari. Salman paid a visit to Abu Darda' and found Umm Darda' (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes. He asked her why she was in that state. She said, "Your brother Abu Darda' is not interested in the luxuries of this world." In the meantime Abu Darda' came and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu Darda' to eat with him, but Abu Darda' said, "I am fasting." Salman said, "I am not going to eat unless you eat." So Abu Darda' ate with Salman. When it was night and a part of the night has passed, Abu Darda' got up (to offer the night prayer), but Salman told him to sleep and Abu Darda' slept. After some time Abu Darda' again got up but Salman told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. Salman told Abu Darda', "Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you, so give everyone their due rights." Abu Darda' came to the Prophet and narrated the whole story. The Prophet said, "Salman has spoken the truth."

This Hadith is awesome for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is Salman's admirable wisdom being confirmed by the Prophet, alayhis-salam. But relevant to our discussion, the hadith emphasizes that our worship of Allah must be balanced. "Give everyone their due rights" ... let that concept roll around in your brain for a bit and compare it with your concept of Islamic piety. Many of us have been taught that the pious are the ones making tahajjud at 2am everyday for hours, or at the front lines of da'wah, passing out pamphlets on the streets of DC (or whatever your local urban giant might be), or of course the Student of Knowledge, who has travelled far and wide to study the deen and spread Islamic knowledge. All of these are noble pursuits and I have participated in all three to some extent; they are worthy of a man dedicating his energies and abilities towards, but not at the expense of family. "Save yourselves and your families from the Fire" is what the Quran tells us. "Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you shall be asked about his flock" is what the Prophet alayhis-salam tells us (narrated by Muslim). The piety, the taqwa, that our Creator wants from us is the type where we live up to all of our responsibilities, not some of them: "Nothing draws my slave closer to me than that which I have made obligatory upon him" (hadeeth Qudsi reported by Imam Al Bukharee).

In this day and age especially, where even the most basic building blocks of the family, the relationship between husband and wife, commonly collapses, family must become a priority for Muslim men and women. What kind of ummah can we be if we can't even keep our families together?

Getting Started

assalam alaikum

This site was started simply because I needed a resource to teach me how to be a good father. The information is out there, in the books of the ulama, the experience of other fathers, on websites, in research papers, but I want it here, at my fingertips, accumulated, ready for absorption and contemplation, by me and my friends and every other brother who bears the immense responsibility of fatherhood. So please, if you would like to contribute to this growing body of knowledge about being a Muslim Father, email me at contribute@muslimfathers.com.

Abu Abdurrahman