Welcome to the Net Muslims Forums.
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    earth
    Posts
    307

    Thumbs up *Growing up Muslim*

    Growing Up Muslim

    No One Understands Me


    By Altaf Husain



    News flash from the world to the youth: The young Muslim lives in many worlds. News flash from the young Muslims to the world: We already knew that and it’s no walk in the park. While the adults are busy declaring this week, this month, this year, and indeed this century as “the century of the youth,” “our future,” and the “next generation,” you, the young Muslims, are busy trying to get their attention to start a dialogue. You don't want too much, you just want a chance to be heard. You just want a chance to share what you are experiencing as you grow up in majority non-Muslim societies. It is clear that growing up in such an environment poses formidable challenges to you. Whatever reasons, our community has not give much thought to helping you face those challenges and you are left thinking to yourself, “no one understands me.” The last thing you want to do is to feel sorry for yourself and do nothing to help improve that dialogue, that communication with your family and with the community. You potentially face a lot of stress in negotiating the various worlds in which you live. With that in mind, here are some pointers.

    Know Yourself

    No matter what your family situation is like with regard to practicing Islam, remember that you have been blessed by Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala Most High to be a Muslim. If your family is practicing, most likely you were raised in an environment that helped you to understand and learn more about Islam and your obligations to Allah as a Muslim. If your family is not practicing or engages in minimal practice of the religion, and you did not have other relatives or friends who were practicing, there is a possibility that you were not exposed to the beautiful religion that is Islam. In either case, if you have come of age, if you have reached puberty, the responsibility to learn about Islam and to practice the religion rests fully on your shoulders and your shoulders alone. You cannot simply say “practicing Islam is too difficult because I live in a society that is mostly non-Muslim. How am I supposed to pray when I am in school? How can I fast when everyone around me is eating? How can I not date when everyone my age has a girlfriend or a boyfriend?” You cannot say “the pressure is too great and I do not want to look or feel different.” On the other hand, you have to struggle to be a better Muslim in the face of all these challenges to your identity. You have to learn to navigate these challenges because of Islam not in spite of Islam. Once you exert some effort at exploring the religion and becoming comfortable with its teachings, you will begin to enjoy worshiping Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and to develop a relationship with Him. Take precaution as you learn about Islam so that you are traveling the middle path and not being tempted to veer from that middle path.

    Know Your Family

    When you feel like talking to someone, do you turn to your mother or father or neither? Too often, young people write off their parents as people who will never understand what they are going through so they do not even talk to their parents. To some degree, parents might not be able to relate to exactly what you are going through, but the general themes of what young people face while growing up are fairly consistent. Themes such as fitting in; struggling with peer pressure; choosing friends; spending time with friends; engaging in pastimes frowned upon by one’s parents; balancing social, academic, family, and religious responsibilities; and so on might vary with regards to how important each of them is to you in comparison to how important they were to your parents’ generation. But the themes, you will agree, are just as applicable to you today as they were to your parents when they were growing up.

    The critical ingredient to making sure that your parents understand you is not to give up on them and to struggle hard to make sure they do not give up on you. Be fair, frank, and friendly with your parents. You cannot expect them to know everything about what you are feeling nor can you expect them to relate automatically to what you are experiencing. Be fair to them by communicating with them regularly and keeping them updated on what you and your friends talk about, what troubles you at school, and even what troubles you at home. The least effective dialogue is one in which you never speak to your parents and then show up one day with a major problem, expecting them to understand you, empathize with you, and rescue you. Be fair.

    In addition, you should be frank. It is possible to be frank and courteous, respectful and gentle all at the same time. The key is to make sure that you are not using words or phrases to which your parents cannot relate. Just make du`aa’ and tell your parents clearly whatever it is that bothers you or is bothering you. Do not speak in circles or be vague. If you have made a mistake, admit it to your parents so that there can be a level of mutual trust. Admitting mistakes is a sign of maturity and seeking forgiveness is a sign of humility. Be mature and be humble, but remember to be frank.

    As you bridge the gap between you and your family, remember to treat them as your friends. There is no reason for interactions between children and parents to be full of anger, frustration, and exasperation. Over time, you will find that your parents can relate to you and, in fact, your relationship with them will expand such that in addition to having a parent-child relationship, you will also develop a strong friend-friend relationship. You will realize you are friends with your parents the day you can share a joke with them or the day you can laugh together about a mistake that either the parents or you made. So remember to be fair, frank, and friendly!

    Know Your Community, Your Imaam

    Often parents will seek to involve you in the local community and to interact with the local imaam. Rather than treating their efforts as a threat or as a potentially uncomfortable experience, treat their efforts as an opportunity for growth. Throughout your interactions with community members and the imaam, look carefully for the bright side, the learning opportunities. Some community members will be more interested in making sure that you keep up your cultural obligations than practicing Islam. Some members will mistakenly consider their own culture as superior to the American, British, Australian, or whichever country’s culture surrounds you. For them, any sign of your adopting the cultural practices of the “non-Muslim” cultures will be tantamount to turning your back on your origins.

    Again, look at such a situation as an opportunity to grow. Help them to understand first that Islam is the filter through which you view the world. Therefore, with the assistance of this filter, you will accept practices from your culture of origin that are in line with Islamic teachings and you will accept practices from the majority non-Muslim culture that are in line with Islamic teachings. Of course, writing about all this is far easier than the stress associated with you knowing how and when to apply the filter. There is even greater stress associated with you trying to help the community members, and even sometimes the imam, understand that accepting Islamically- allowable practices from the non-Muslim culture does not make you any less appreciative of your culture of origin! Be patient and respectful with the community members and the imaam. Just as we suggested with your parents, you should also be fair, frank, and friendly with the community members and the imaam. Your goal should be to help them understand you better even as you begin to understand their perspectives on various issues.

    Final Thoughts

    Caught between managing the difficulties in living in a majority non-Muslim society and finding your way in the Muslim community, with families, community members and even the imaam who do not understand you or the issues you face, is stressful to say the least. However, you are young, resilient and can overcome the stress with the help of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and through effort that you exert on your own. It is critical to know yourself, to know your family, and to know your community. Your goal is to move the dialogue from a state of “no one understands me” to a state of “with the help of Allaah, I’m going to become understood by my family and community.” After all, when you face stress in your daily life, you should turn to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala for sure, but also to your family and your community for support!
    "He who kneels before Allah (SWT) can stand before anyone."

  2. #2
    Most Original Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Temporary World
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    I think u hit the button 3 times..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    earth
    Posts
    307

    Default

    oh.. whoops.. something was wrong with my computer and it kept signing me off..i guess it got posted more than once.
    "He who kneels before Allah (SWT) can stand before anyone."

  4. #4
    Moderator Array
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    RSA
    Posts
    649

    Default

    I merged the one and deleted the other thread.
    A pirate was captured & brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander asked the pirate: 'How dare you molest the people?' The pirate replied:'And how dare you molest the entire world? I am called a thief because I do it with a little ship only. You do it with a great navy & you are called an Emperor!'
    Under this scenario, powerless people doing trivial acts are the major terrorists of the world whilst major powers perpetrating terrorism in many parts of the world are the civilised barbarians.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    earth
    Posts
    307

    Default

    thanks sis
    "He who kneels before Allah (SWT) can stand before anyone."

  6. #6
    Moderator Array
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    RSA
    Posts
    649

    Default

    Pleasure I didn't get a chance to read the post yesterday. It's a brilliant post - JazakAllahu khair for sharing.

    I particularly liked the part about certain community members wanting you to keep up with cultural obligations more than practising Islam - I can relate to that.
    A pirate was captured & brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander asked the pirate: 'How dare you molest the people?' The pirate replied:'And how dare you molest the entire world? I am called a thief because I do it with a little ship only. You do it with a great navy & you are called an Emperor!'
    Under this scenario, powerless people doing trivial acts are the major terrorists of the world whilst major powers perpetrating terrorism in many parts of the world are the civilised barbarians.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Array
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6

    Default Growing up Muslim

    Hi,Ive moved this into the Growing forum where others will be able to benefit from it in the future.


 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •