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So What is Love?

So What is Love?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I was reflecting on our outlook on love and how we demonstrate this. For some love is defined by materialistic items such fast cars, shiny items like jewellery and even shinier….. Diamonds! Don’t get me wrong exchanging gifts is Sunnah (meaning – from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH),The Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another”. [Bukhari]

Gifts are a wonderful way to increase love between each other, be it between husband and wife, parents and children or even with neighbours. It’s a priceless moment to be a part of when the giver of a gift observes the expression of the receiver whilst unwrapping his/her gift! My favourite is when I have an unexpected gift for my toddler; the ones she doesn’t expect always give me the greatest pleasure due to the look on her face. Priceless!

It’s beautiful how this Hadith clearly states that exchanging gifts INCREASES love between one another, not that it defines how much you love someone. It’s sad to say that we live in a day and age that apparently the more elaborate the gift and more expensive, the more your loved one loves you. Although for some this is how they feel loved, I believe that this does not prove anything apart from the fact that someone is able to use a credit card or knows how’s to exchange money with a cashier. It does not define love.

The word love itself is defined as,‘A strong feeling of affection’

Expressing your feelings of affection differs from person to person, relationship to relationship but one thing I do know about those people obsessed with buying or receiving expensive gifts is that one day you will feel like it’s just another shiny diamond or another box to open. You will lose interest.

Be honest when you see an old couple sitting together holding hands wherever it may be, can you see the love they have for one another?  The way they look at one another, laugh and smile is real love. I respect the elderly generation who lived in a technology free world and had to really think outside the box in order to express their love for someone. And they are the generation who worked each day at their relationships and fixed something that was broken rather than walking away. Our generation could learn a thing or two. That generation spoke more to each other face to face; hence they had the communication box ticked. Today we lack that in our relationships. Sending a text message is not an act of love, its being lazy.

The way I know I’m loved by my husband is when he remembers the smallest of things and they are the ones that leave an impact. Or when he sits and listens to me in my hour of need, when he cooks my favourite breakfast (NOT BECAUSE HE’S IN THE DOG HOUSE, OR IT’S V DAY OR MY BIRTHDAY). I’m quite simple like that since I’ve always understood it’s not the extravagant gestures that create a page in our book of memories, it’s those everyday small acts of kindness that fill the pages. One of the most romantic gestures I’ve received from my husband is a letter, hand written letter about his feelings towards me. I’m a bit old school, and he knows that. So that one act of chivalry reinstated my faith in how we express love.

Remember it’s the little things that resonate throughout the years, it’s the acts of kindness that are thoughtful and sincere that creates those loving memories. In my opinion throwing a vast amount of money at love is no different to buying an item, a product and we all know you can’t buy love! So the next time you want to show a loved one that he/she is loved then dig deep, really think about that gift….you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to show your love, and it doesn’t have to be expensive…… it just has to mean something! As long as the receiver knows it’s genuine and really thought out then no doubt that moment will be stored in their favourite long term memory box.

Inspiring The Younger Generation To Greatness – Part 1

Inspiring The Younger Generation To Greatness – Part 1

One of the greatest challenges before young people today is bridging the generational gap. There seems to be a gap between the old who are presently at the helms of affairs and the youth who are expected to take over from them. This gap puts the youth at a disadvantaged position since they must ride on the shoulders of the elders- through education and mentorship- on their way to leadership.

This, by extension, is also the case between the youth and their younger counterparts. Naturally, these kids will eventually grow to become the youth of tomorrow. Therefore, they need motivation and inspiration (from the youth) to become great leaders in future. So if you’re wondering how you can inspire the younger generation to greatness in line with the Qur’an and Sunnah, here’s how.

Kids possess a sound learning ability. Their minds and intellects are like fertile lands used for growing seedlings. Whatever is deposited in them today of high moral standards and good characters will produce righteous men; capable of leading the society in future. But if they’re neglected, they will be misled by society’s negative influences. There is no gainsaying that educating the younger generation is the only way to progress for every society. This is an obligation on the older generation, which must never be neglected.

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is a perfect example when it comes to educating the younger generation. One day, Abdullah bn Abbas was riding a mount with Rasulullah (S.A.W) when he (S.A.W) said to him; “Young man, I shall teach you some words…” and he (S.A.W) taught Abdullah bn Abbas that famous hadith No. 19 of An-Nawawy.

Look at how he prepared young Abdullah’s mind for learning, and the avenue through which he taught him. How will the young lad ever forget those golden words? The above scenario indicates that teaching is not all the time formal, and that we must seize every opportunity to educate the younger generation, wherever, whenever, and however.

“He is not one of us; he who is not merciful to the young.” This hadith of Prophet Muhammad explains Islam’s position on the kind of relationship that must exist between the young and the old. It is obvious from the hadith that Islam does not subscribe to unnecessary sternness towards kids, neither does it encourage unwarranted isolation of the kids from gatherings of the older generation.

Inspiring The Younger Generation To Greatness – Part 2

Inspiring The Younger Generation To Greatness – Part 2

There are several instances in the seerah where Rasulullah played with the little kids of Madinah; and it didn’t diminish his status as a Prophet. He paid enough attention to their needs thus making them feel esteemed. The following instances will amaze you: “The Prophet used to line up Abdullah, Ubaidullah and Kuthayyar, the sons of Al Abbas. Then he would say: whoever reaches me first would have so-and-so. They would race towards him and he would kiss them and hang on to them.”

Mahmoud bn Al-Rabi (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “when I was a boy of five, I remember, the prophet took water from the bucket and with his mouth he threw the water on my face.”

Now, imagine the kind of impression such noble acts would have created in the minds of these young chaps. This must however be done without excessiveness, and must be used as a methodology of teaching to avoid being taken for granted. Remember, the goal is to educate them. The younger generation can only understand and appreciate their future responsibilities if they are made to start practising them at an early stage. They must be made to assume certain responsibilities by engaging them with pet projects. This will build in them self-confidence and will position them properly for future challenges.

Ibn Abbas reported that: “I was a child playing with other children. I looked at the back and found the prophet (S.A.W) coming. I said, he must be coming for me especially. I ran to hide myself behind a door. Ibn Abbas said, “I didn’t feel it till he gently caught me from my nape. He just patted me once. He then said, “go and call Muawiyyah,” and he was his scribe. I went to Muawiyyah and said; respond to Allah’s prophet because he is in need.”

What can you glean from this? The Prophet needed young Abdullah’s attention; he found him playing with other kids but he needed him for what was more important than playing. Then he engaged him with a religious duty which he could have delegated to someone older than him. No wonder why ibn Abbas became a scholar at a very young age with an overflowing understanding of the deen. This was how Prophet Muhammad groomed the future generation.

This is, by far, the best way youth can be a source of inspiration to the younger generation. They follow our examples in our everyday affairs, and they get easily inspired by our successes and achievements. They take us as models, following every step we take and then building their personalities after ours. How evil will it then be for a child to get corrupted by our immoral ways?How to go about it

Inspiring the younger generation does not require you to be a scholar, neither does it require you to be a public figure. All it takes is for you to have a good sense of responsibility towards the younger ones. You can live this responsibility by working as a volunteer at an Islamic/Arabic school for children, working at the kiddies section in Islamic camps or forming a kiddies club.

If these kids spend more time with upright youths like you, their self-image will be boosted, and it will help in preparing them to become well-trained and disciplined youths in future. Remember, we need to bridge the generational gaps, and it all starts with you.In what other ways do you think you can inspire the younger generation to greatness? Do share them in the comment box. It will definitely help somebody, somewhere. May Allah reward you as you share beneficial knowledge.