[This article was published in the 23rd issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (), April - May 1998]

Sisters' Counseling Section

Also read: Making my parents understand

My brother is on the wrong path
Dear Sister,

I have a 23 year old brother who is following the wrong path. He doesn't pray and stays out until late. He doesn't listen to my parents or anyone else and I don't think it has got to do with the way he was brought up because the rest of the family is very involved in Islam.

I think it's because we live in a Kafir country. But what are we going to do about the young Muslim men who are going astray? How can I help my brother? Jazakum Allah Khairan.

From a young worried sister

Firstly, we need to define what you mean by "family is very involved in Islam." By it do you mean: (1) the family just performs the five pillars of Islam, or (2) the family is actively living Islam?

In the first situation, the parents pray regularly, the father goes to Jumu'ah prayers, the family fasts the whole month of Ramadhan, gives Zakat and maybe has performed Hajj. Apart from all these requirements, every other day or time, the family is busy with worldly matters such as watching TV nonstop, going window shopping, going for outings to break the monotony of life and so forth. Thus, they concentrate only on performing the 5 pillars of Islam.

In the second situation, as the name suggests, they make every moment of their life an act of worship. For instance, wherever they go and whoever they meet, they talk about Islam and they remember Allah in whatever they do. They teach their children the importance of doing everything for Allah.

One can see how, in the first situation, this family can easily be led astray. For these people, Islam is merely ritualistic while the spiritual side was absent. As a consequence, Islam never penetrates the children's hearts. On the other hand, with the second situation, when the parents instill into their children Taqwa (God-consciousness) and to do everything to please Allah (s.w.t), then the children will not be easily tempted to go astray. However, when the children mature and go astray, this means that the children themselves have chosen the wrong path. Allah then seals their hearts and guides them not, no matter how much the parents teach them to be righteous. In such a situation, the parents are no longer accountable for their children's behaviour. Remember the story of Prophet Nuh (a.s), who tried to save his son but his son rejected his message and Allah told Nuh that his son is not from his family. That is why Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) taught parents to always make Du'a for their children to be guided for Allah answers the prayers of parents.

Now going back to your question, which situation would you classify your family as? Once you have done this, you will be able to understand why your brother is the way he is. The only thing is to keep talking to him about Islam and to make Du'a for him. One should also remember that, it is not only the environment or society that influence a person but it is also the way he was brought up and, ultimately, Allah's guidance. Without these, the person can live in a very Islamic country but still be a rotten Muslim or a non-believer.

Making my parents understand
Assalamu Alaykum,

I am a 15 year old Muslim girl. I thought this problem I have may be affecting other young first generation Muslim people. I feel that living in a western society, I am given many opportunities which my parents have never faced and, therefore, don't understand the pressures of them. I understand why I shouldn't be doing sinful things, however at the same time I feel caged and wish I lived in Saudi Arabia or some place where the threat of doing those things wouldn't be so great. It's very hard to see everyone around you doing things and having a great time. Although I understand why my father says not to go to the movies and such places, I wish they'd understand how hard it is to not do those things, and I wish I, and others like me, were more appreciated when we do the right thing.

Thank you for listening,

Sincerely, F.

Assalamu Alaykum sister F.,

You say that living in a western society, you are pressured to do sinful things and wish to live in Saudi Arabia. Correct? The truth is anywhere that you live there are always temptations and pressures to do Haram things, as Shaytaan is everywhere! The only solution to this is to cut yourself off completely from the people and live like a hermit. However, there is a beneficial side to living where there is great temptations and not responding to it! As the rewards for someone who lives surrounded by sin and does not join in are twice or multi-folded, as compared to the person who lives in a place surrounded by less evil and does not join in. For example, if a Muslimah puts on Hijab in a 'Muslim' country, such as Saudi Arabia, then she will get one reward. However, if a Muslimah puts on Hijab in a Kafir country such as America, Australia etc, then she will get the reward equal to the amount of difficulty that she faces.

Umar (r.a.a) was once asked whether a man who never desired evil nor did it was better than one who desired it but did not do it. He replied, "Surely those who desire sin and do not commit it are the ones whom Allah has tested their hearts for Taqwa. Forgiveness and a great reward will be theirs." [Ahmad]

Secondly, you are still young and it is at this stage of your life that there are a lot of temptations and if you resist and practice Islam then the reward due to you is great: Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said that among the seven types of people whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the day when there is no shade except His, is a youth who grew up upon the worship of his Lord (i.e. practice Islam).

Thirdly, what you see others doing as 'fun' is not actually fun. They are bored because there is no contentment in their hearts and so they seek worldly means to attain happiness or 'fun'. And they will never find happiness through these means. They may temporarily experience some form of happiness but it will disappear soon after and they will seek it again. But this is not happiness. True happiness is contentment and contentment is when your heart is with Allah. This is the contentment that Allah promised to those who believe and obey Him.

Fourthly, seek alternative activities that are Islamically acceptable that will bring you closer to Allah. For example, Muslim Youth Camps, Muslim Youth gatherings, lectures, conferences etc., or just get together for a picnic with other Muslim girls and discuss Islam. There are many other alternatives, all it needs is initiative.

Lastly, just say to yoursel, to remind yourself, that this world is a trial and that the things we desire or want to do will not get us to Jannah. Abu Hurairah (r.a.a) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, "When Allah created Heaven and Hell, He sent Jibrail (a.s) to Jannah and said: 'Look at Heaven and what I have created for it's dwellers!' So Jibrail went and looked at it and saw what Allah had created therein for its people. Then he returned to Allah and said, "By Your Might, anyone who have heard of it will surely enter it." And so Allah ordered for Heaven to be surrounded by loathsome things and said to Jibrail: 'Return and see what I have created for it's people.' So Jibrail returned and there he saw that it was surrounded by loathsome things. So he returned to Allah and said, "By Your Might, I am afraid that no one will enter it." Allah said: 'Visit Hell and look at what I have created for it's people.' There he saw it oppressively cramped. He returns to Allah and said, "By Your Might, no one who has heard of it would enter it." So Allah ordered it to be surrounded by attractive things and said to Jibrail: 'Return to Hell.' And Jibrail went back and then said, "By Your Might, I am afraid that no one will escape from entering it." (at-Tirmidhi). So just remember that the things that we want to do, such as going to the movies, parties, loafing around and wasting time, dating, etc., are the 'attractive' things surrounding Hell. And the things which we are lazy to do, such as praying, fasting, obeying parents, helping others, observing the 'awrah, etc., are the 'loathsome' things surrounding Heaven.

As to your father understanding how difficult is to resist 'western' temptations and appreciating it when you do resist it, the only way he will know is if you tell him. Talk to him. Most youngsters do not talk to their parents and as a result misunderstandings and ill-feelings arise. When we say talk, we mean really talk. This includes listening and understanding what each other is saying and not being defensive and blaming each other.

We pray that this has helped you and that Allah will strengthen your Eeman and your will to avoid Haram.

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