Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It's not easy being a girl in any society despite what the American media would like us to believe. From body issues to drugs to bullying to teen pregnancies, navigating adolescence presents the type of challenges that are monumental. And many decisions that young girls make in the time it takes to type a text message have long lasting negative repercussions even though our young girls haven't even reached fully maturity and understanding. So now let's pour Islam into the mix ......can you feel the tension, the misunderstandings, the tears (of parents), and the never ending questions and fears? I do because I went through it too as a young Muslima! How do we as mothers, sisters, friends, and elders help our daughters move past so many adversities that are apart of the tests and trials of life and develop their Islamic identities to become confident Muslim women?? Sheesh, Umm Juwayriyah, that's a tall order! Rocky Road ahead, any takers? Today we are going to discuss isolation and some tips to alleviate it.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
You never want to see your child hurt. You know, there is that "Super Mom" complex that we mothers step into when ever we sense danger approaching our little ones. Kinda like the fight or flight instinct, it just kicks in and you react to the danger in order to protect your child. As the little ones grow up and into themselves, "Super Mom" goes through many transformations. Your learn (or force) yourself to pace your instincts and let the not so little ones make mistakes, trouble, and even problems that you foresaw miles ahead. The idea is that children must learn to think, process, and make responsible decisions (age appropriately) on their own. You start off slow, easing back, then forward, back again, closer and tighter, and the dance continues until one day, enshallah, you know - you feel it inside of you that they are prepared, ready, and able to think, process, and make responsible decisions without (most of the times, Mamas never stop giving out advice!).
Today wasn't that day. Today, I was by my little (big) ones side the whole time, but allowed her to lead and follow through. It wasn't the best decision. In fact, I'd seen years ago, how this was going to play out, wallahu Yallim, she needed to make this (wrong) decision and I needed to be by her side while she made it. This wasn't an easy day for either of us. My stomach had knots and I had a light headache, slightly throbbing through out the whole day. But we prepared for this evening like it was going to happen. She invited some folks over - but, well, it wasn't the right set of people for her to invite over. "But Mama, I made them all bracelets and I went over to their house, too!" Mashallah, gift giving is great and it is something that we should do with others, but why did you give them those bracelets and go to their homes and sleep overs. I probed trying to rev up her thought process. "Because Mama, we're friends and that's what friends do."
It was simple and clear in her mind and I wished it could have been that simple, but it wasn't. There was history there, deep, dark, hiding the closet history. I seen this before. I knew what it looked like, what it smelled like. I myself am no stranger to being a stranger in a community I was born and raised in. The snickering, whispering, the exclusions, the holier than thou bullying wrapped up in something that many confused with some thing that is noble, loving and compassionate that we call advice, usually, wasn't. It was instead hauntingly eye rolled, lip puckered, and tucked neatly into the silent treatment aimed at an ill-prepared 12 year-old. She stared blankly during the interrogation among other little ones: "why do you wear so many colors? you're supposed to wear black, its in the Qur'an not to draw attention to yourselves, you don't want to cover your face?"- the whole mean girl or cut a girl down script sunnafied - I guess. Nonetheless, the outcomes are the same and the causes are too. We all know what it is about because it's a game that big girls play very well too and Queen Latifa even rapped about in the '90's, U.N.I.T.Y!
But before Latifa, Allah Azza wal Jal, Al Malik, spoke of it. He encouraged it. He demanded it. He honored it too. So much so that he mentioned it plenty of times through out the Qur'an for us to reflect on.
The believers are but brothers
Surah Al Hujurat: 10
We forget. We do. I do and I know you do too some times. And we get caught in our own cliques, groups, posse, ace boon coons and all that jazz. But here's the deal: It is isn't haram or bad to have special friends! In fact this is a great blessing from Allah to have good, close companionship. Friends that you can trust and depend on are a limited treasure. It's not the greatest blessing though because we are always racing against our own selves. When we truly can dig that idea that Allah has placed us on this earth treat every single person that we meet with dignity, kindness, and respect, well that's when the ni'mah from Allah increases and we move from one from just being a good homey, sissy, or rode dog to a couple of select people to just being a grade A upright person to everyone for the sake of Allah alone.