Monday 23 May 2016

Annual Ladies Meeting at the Masjid: Simplicity, Environment, Knowledge and Consultation in the Home.

Last week the annual ladies meeting for the masjids in the local area took place. I attended with a group of other ladies from our masjid, they usually ask the men to encourage their wives to go if they have been involved with the masjid for a long time, and as it is a Tablighi- Jamaat focussed masjid, if the ladies have spent time out in jamaat (learning and teaching Islam).

There is a reason that they ask for experienced sisters. Usually the talks for women at the masjid focus on things like building up iman, establishing good deeds etc., they tend to be gentle, motivating and inspirational. The talk for the experienced sister is couched in stronger terms – a reminder of our responsibilities and re-visiting the basics and making sure we are building on them. For instance rather than calling on us to establish salah, the talk would focus on ensuring we are not neglecting our nawafil (non-obligatory) salah and are making the effort to establish prayer in our families, i.e. building on the foundations.

The meeting lasted two hours and included a talk, time to make dua and time for sisters to discuss what the key needs were in terms of husbands and couples spending time in jamaat where there was a demand and how sisters could help or accommodate each other.

The talk was conducted by one of the local imams and he focussed on four key things that I took away from the talk:

1. Adopting Simplicity

The speaker was clear that chasing wealth and material possessions would never lead to happiness. Instead the more we adopted simplicity in our lives: in our dress, in our homes and in our lifestyle, the happier and more contented we would find ourselves. Simplicity in these things would also reflect the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). The alternative; to chase material comfort and wealth would leave us in a position where no matter what we had, it would never be enough

2. Environment 

Our environment matters so much as Muslims. Having the right environment for ourselves and our children means the difference between practising as Muslims and neglecting our faith. Being in an environment where you are surrounded by people who support you, provide good role models for your family and make it easy for you to practise your religion. Also trying to place yourself in the company of the scholars and those with knowledge. This included encouraging the men to spend time at the masjid and engage with the life of the masjid and the women to attend the weekly halaqahs or study circles in their area.

3. Daily Taleem – Providing Knowledge and Motivation 

This is taking time to study Islam with your child every single day, even if for five minutes. There was encouragement for the children to be encouraged to take the lead or for everyone to get the chance to read a little. The speaker emphasised that there are so many routes of fitnah (evil) into our homes and the lives of our children, that there is no way we can stop them. Instead the daily taleem or study is the only way to counteract these. Books like Fazail-e-Amal (the Virtues of Good Deeds) and Fazail-e-Saadaqat (the Virtues of Charity) were given as good examples alongside books that described the sunnah (traditions) of our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). The purpose is to inspire the members of the family and encourage them to learn and act on what they learn, so that rather than telling the children what to do, they are concerned for their own deeds e.g. reading salah on time. In our home examples would be books on knowledge (because Little Lady is studying to become a scholar), books on the virtues of Quran (because Little Man attends hifz, or memorisation class) and books on salah (because we are trying to get Gorgeous to pray and it is an uphill struggle). With Ramadan coming up, books about the virtues of Ramadan were encouraged to help us prepare and get motivated for the scared month.

4. Mutual Consultation (Mushwerah)

The speaker emphasised that the Muslim home should be run by mutual consultation. Everyone in the home should have a say in decision making and the family should work to come to an agreed decision, or everyone should have their say and the head of the household should make a decision which the rest of the family should support. The important thing is not the decision that is made but the unity of the family. Where the family is united, Allah SWT will place barakah (blessing) in what is decided and make it successful.

The speaker mentioned that often people came to him and asked for help when they felt that their children were running off the rails. He was clear that the biggest cause of this was discord in the home and the family not coming together and making decisions through mutual consultation and agreement. The husband and wife did not respect each other and the children saw no reason to treat either with respect or listen to them.

The talk also discussed raising our children in their religion and providing a good upbringing, but these were the four things that were really focussed on as practical things that sisters could do in their homes on a daily basis to establish a good environment in their home and bring up their children as good Muslims.

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