When Ideologies Clash!!!
Written on : 21st Nov, 2009
QUESTION: Assalamu Alaikum. I am a revert and my parents are non-muslims. We live on our own and I have one baby and I don’t know how to approach them about certain things (in a nice way) regarding our baby. It always turns into an argument, particularly when we talk about my baby’s birthday. For example:
1) We don’t celebrate birthdays
2) Would not be present in any vicinity that has music, alcohol, etc, anything that is haraam.
But how am I going to tell them about it? I don’t know…how would you deal with this sister? Any advice? Barakillahu feek!
[Hopeful Mummy, Trinidad (Friday, 20 November 2009 1:09 AM)]
Masha Allah, you seem to already have an understanding of why birthdays and music have no basis in Islam, so I won’t bother to address these matters in this article. I will say however that the scholars have continuously spoken on this matter and while I cannot address the belief system and bring your parents over to Islam in one e-mail, I CAN offer you some ideas and even some ‘pre-written lines’ to approach them with, that they may be able to understand on their level. Remember to be patient with them, as this is what they have known their whole lives, thus it will not change in one day or in one conversation.
Now, for example, if you baby’s birthday is coming up in the near future it is crucial that you are able to explain your beliefs, stand firm about them and still be able to path ways without cutting ties and leaving ‘angry’, or ‘hot-headed’ as they say. I recommend the following steps:
1) PITY THEM- Make up your mind to ‘feel sorry for them’ and the ignorant state that they are in, as opposed to being angry or holding a grudge against them. This will help you to get through conversations without raising your voice…When you have pity for someone, it is much easier to keep your calm when speaking to them about difficult topics. As they are still elder than you, and they will always be your parents, you are required to have respect for your elders as a Muslim. I have experience with how quickly things can get out of control when two ideologies clash, between two strong-minded individuals…particularly that of the young & older generations. So try your best to stick to these basic principles as a simple ‘birthday party’ can easily turn into a ‘rift in the family’ and accusations of you being ‘fanatical’.
2) Keep reminding yourself of why you are doing this. Keep these very strong words of our beloved Prophet(sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) in mind when preparing to finally facing your parents:
“The Best of mankind is my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them…” (Saheeh Muslim)
“…every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hell-Fire…”
3) Your parents are not Muslim, so they are not going to understand statements like “But the Prophet(sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said so and so and I have to do it because so and so, etc”. If you have already told them about these things and that you do not indulge in them and they still don’t take you seriously, it may mean one of two things; they either have not fully accepted your reversion to Islam and do not respect your new beliefs OR they simple don’t understand how important it is to you and your religion. You need to make it clear to them in a very blunt but soft-tone:
“Mom you need to try and understand, it’s not that I have anything against you all, or that I have no respect for you and appreciation for what you are trying to do. Yes, I know you want your grandchild to be showered with gifts and for him to enjoy their childhood, but while non-Muslims may do this annually on birthdays, I would really appreciate if you all would do this for them on Eid. With regards to birthdays, it is considered an innovation in Islam, and in Islam innovations into this religion grants you straight path to the hell-fire. I would like to be reunited with my child in heaven, so I must follow the teaching of my new faith to ensure that this happens.”
You can also add:
“I know many Muslims celebrate birthdays and you may not understand why I don’t. But remember that many Christians practice fornication and eat pork, many Hindus eat beef and dress provocatively and they aren’t supposed to do these things in their original scriptures. Thus I am a Muslim trying to stick to my scripture and hypocrisy is one of the biggest sins in Islam. Thus I am trying to avoid being a hypocrite both as a human and as a Muslim by sticking to my beliefs & preaching what I practice.”
4) Assure them that you do not intend to deprive your children of happiness. But also make it clear to them that when we all die, it is our deeds and not our fun memories that we take with us. Tell them that you are not depriving your children…rather you are paving a way for them and for yourselves that is free of doubt Insha Allah and while we are permitted to enjoy the pleasures of this dunya(this world) that God has made lawful for us Muslims, in the end it’s our adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah (explain to them what Sunnah means as this is Daw’ah to them) that gives life its meaning & guides us Muslims towards finally meeting our Lord and residing in Paradise, where we would be eternally be deprived of nothing….When you say this, ask them:-
“Which is more important? A birthday party with cake or ice -cream or struggling to stay on a path, free of doubt, which will eventually lead us to heaven?!? Which one would you choose mom?”
5) If they decided to buy your kid birthday presents anyway, they may try to guilt you by saying that they already spent so much money and you are so in-considerate! But make another suggestion. Make sure to speak as if it has already been decided between you all. Say something like:
“Well you know what!?! As we are not celebrating the birthday, Eid is just around the corner! How about you save his presents and give him as Eid presents instead!:) As for the cake, if you already bought it, save it for this weekend and we can cut it up as a surprise treat. You can even give him on Friday as Muslims consider every Friday the Eid of the week. On Eid day however, we can buy some ice-cream, put up pretty balloons and decorate the house, etc..! The kids will love it! What do you think?”
Now if all of this seems impossible to you and this is not ideal for the way you address your parents, you can always write them a letter, with all the points above. It’s an easy way to escape the unnecessary awkwardness, heated debates and will give them a chance to calm down and think about it before they call you. When you give them by hand, tell them, “Just remember before you read this that I love you all both and I want you to be a big part of our children’s lives. So please read it with an open mind and try to understand why this is hard for me…” Give your mother and father a kiss and leave immediately before they read it. Write in the letter for them to give you a call after they read it.
If all else fails, and your parents won’t budge an inch, just tell them “I’m really really sorry if you all are upset about this, but my duty is to God first and we really will not be throwing or attending any birthday parties as this is not from Islam.” After which you can feel fortunate to be one of the few couples who have a place of their own… You parents are your parents, so keep visiting them and eventually they will come around insha Allah…
Sisters, tell me how it all works out Insha Allah!!!
…Comments from My Readers…
“Thank you so much for your advice, I really love your website. I would tell you how it went insha Allah. May Allah reward you!”
[Hopeful Mummy, (Saturday, 21 September, 2009 2:00pm)]