The true influencer
I would like to start this article with a little experiment. I would like you to face your child and ask them to touch their nose while you, yourself touch your chin. You will find that they will imitate your actions rather than hear your words. This is the impact we have on our young. Does this then not call for some inner reflections? The reality of the era our youth are living in and facing is confusing and conflicting with the ethics of Islam, following both Muslim and non-Muslim influencers alike dictating the trend, behaviour and dress code of the moment. A life where they are exposed to mainstream hijabis, with hundreds of thousands impressionable young followers, removing their hijabs. A life where ideals such as “you only live once” are being toted thus encouraging them to live and do as they please in order to live their best lives. A life where from a young age they are being exposed to same sex relationships via cartoons. A life where we are labeled as fanatics if we adhere to the principles of our faith, drawing ridicule even from amongst our own Muslims. How are we as the women -be it mothers, older sisters, aunts and teachers – in these youths lives assisting them in these most impressionable years of their lives? Are we sending our children to madrassa only to have them come back to a home conflicting with the lessons and etiquettes taught there.
A home where hijab is not worn, salaah is not performed and Quran is not read, thus further imbedding the impression that religion is fickle and that hijab and salaah is a choice when in fact it is not. These are commandments of Allah explicitly mentioned in Quran. However it is the obedience of these commandments that is the choice and that both obedience and disobedience to the laws of Allah have consequences. This is the mantra we need to instill in their lives, a mantra of “you only live once so let it count towards your Hereafter “ since we will not get another chance to come back to this life and rectify our mistakes. Let us not be amongst those women who are trending the #blacklivesmatter yet talking down to the domestic worker or referring to our black brethren in derogatory terms, imposing such behaviour onto our children thus continuing this cycle of racism. Let us do more than post a black and white portrait in solidarity with recognizing the gender based violence movement by teaching our children to respect and honour both men and women by us, ourselves, not resorting to violence and vocal outbursts in their upbringing. Communicate with them in a good manner and speak to them from a young age drawing lessons from the Quran and Sunnah as to what is right and wrong and as much as possible try not to contradict these values. To those who are about to become mothers for the first time, take this time to reflect about what values you would like to instill in them and how you can achieve that despite all these outside and social media influences. Find out what parenting programs are being offered to provide you the skill to do so. Let us expose our young girls to young ,strong and intellectual role models by reading stories about the lives of our ladies Fatima and Aisha (May Allah have mercy on them) amongst others and our boys to the honorable Sahaba and Prophet Muhammad ( May peace be upon him) and how he treated his wives, daughters and people in general regardless of their gender and race. Find out what Muslim cartoons are available rather than exposing them to the default channels readily available on tv. We have been given this opportunity during the lockdown due to the current pandemic we are facing, breaking away from the rat race of life, to better ourselves and our connection with our Creator, granting us an opportunity to understand, ponder and learn who this ultimate Being is that we are worshipping and why, for it is behind the realisation of this very important concept that the will to obey Him lays, thus providing a better role model for our children to imitate in this constant close parameter. Never underestimate the power and influence that we as women have and remember that despite sending our children to schools and madrassas, the home is where the real learning happens. The way we think and express ourselves, the way we treat people, the way we revere our Lord and obey His commandments all leaves a huge impact on our children. As the beginning of this article mentioned, children are likely to imitate our actions rather than our words. So let us influence them by way of example to the values we would like them to carry forth and facilitate them as much as possible during this conflicting and confusing era. If we find these values lacking in our lives, then let us make the intention for change. Further more, you do not have to be a mother to be a positive influence in peoples lives as shown to us by Aisha and Aasiya ( wife of Fir’oun) – May Allah have mercy on them. Neither had children yet both contributed so much towards our Deen. So if you see these values lacking in close family members, then take up the reigns to subtly sway the children in your family without being offensive to the parents, so that the children may be exposed to some sort of Islamic values to hold onto and someone to turn to for advice. May Allah accept our efforts, guide us and have mercy on us all.
Mualima Ruwayda Ariefdien studied at the FatimaTuz Zahra Institute under Mln Dawood Sampson and completed my degree at Dar Al Arqam. She then went on to receive her Honours in Arabic at the University of the Western Cape. She studied at Madina Institute in 2017. She is currently lecturing at Madina Institute South Africa in the subjects of Arabic, Hanafi fiqh, Tafseer and Hanafi usul fiqh.