June 7, 2002
Saving Your Family
For a believer one of the most hurtful feelings is when he or she watches
their own family going astray from the path of Islam. Most of the time, we
do not know how to react. Here are some points to keep in mind when we are
in such situations:
1. Do Not Give Up on Your Family
This should never be an option. The Prophets (‘alayhim
salaatu was-salaam) never gave up on their families because of the latter’s
disobedience to Allah. They did not consider the task of inviting
one’s family to Allah as an ‘extra duty’ performed by them, but as part of
their own salvation. They kept reminding their families of dedication and
obedience to One God, Allah till their natural death came or the punishment
of Allah overtoke them. And we ask Allah’s protection from that.
2. Show them Your Love and Care
Your family needs to realize that you care for them deeply and it hurts you
seeing them going astray. They need to see that your
concern for them stems from your genuine love and not a sense of superiority
or self-righteousness. They don’t need emotional black-mail or
repeated nagging, but sincere advice in everyday matters and guidance in any
doubts and questions they may have. Give gifts, help
them in their day-to-day tasks, and be there in their times of distress and
need, whether they be practising or not.
3. Take it One Step at a Time
Do not expect your family to completely change overnight,
just because you did! Some, in fact most, people take time to change.
Think about the fact that the majority of the Makkan people during the time
of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) became Muslim after having been
with him, the Prophet of God, for 13 years!
color=#0066cc>Do not jump into telling them what they have to do or
what not. Tell them why it is good or bad, your own reasoning process,
and prepare their mind before mentioning what Allah wants them to do. For
example, instead of lecturing or ordering them to wear Hijab, explain
why it is such an important part of Islam and Muslim identity, its benefits
and rewards. Whenever you say such-and-such is Halal or Haram,
prepare to answer why!
And be careful about what you lay emphasis on. There
is a wisdom in priorities. For example, it does little good to speak about
watching too much TV when the person does not even pray. For every Haram,
you must provide a better Halal alternative or it will be replaced
with more Haram or idleness.
4. Have regular Family Gatherings
How about one weeknight after dinner? Or spending a weekend morning together?
You can use these opportunities to talk about your family issues, discuss
Islamic teachings, and where you as a family should be headed, etc. color=#669933>This gathering will bring your family members close to each
other, allow them to express their thoughts and feelings openly
and realize that they are one mutually-supporting entity.
5. Do Not Coerce but Pray for them
We should know that guidance comes from Allah alone,
no matter how hard we try. Our duty is to present Allah’s message
in a loving and wise manner so they can help themselves make up their mind.
But throughout all this, we turn to Allah alone for guidance, for ourselves
and our loved ones, and put our trust in Him alone, lest we lost heart in
our own efforts.
6. Be True to Yourself
They know you too well and love you, so be yourself! Your
greatest duty is to be a shining example of a sincere, trying, albeit naturally
imperfect, Muslim not to give the impression of a ‘super-Momin’
who is never wrong. That natural and simple way of living and thinking will
insha-Allah be an irresistable attraction that will draw you and your
family closer to Allah.