#74 – IlmFeed with Suma Din – Youth Struggles, Honouring the Elderly, Turning The Tide
Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
File Size: 75.61MB
Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah dear brothers and sisters Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and welcome to this NP podcast episode. I'm your host Fatima Baraka Tila and today I have a special guest with me. It is sister Summa Dean.
Summa Dean is an offer teacher and freelance researcher based in Buckinghamshire, England. She writes on social justice, faith and women. Summa is married with three children and lives with her pet fascination. It says here for bodies of water, and recreational painting.
Sister Suma. Also, in terms of research, she writes on social justice, faith and women. Her research focuses particularly on bringing Muslim mothers experiences to the fore with her publication on Muslim mothers and their children's schooling. She has also written a number of resources on Islam used in mainstream schools. So I'm really pleased to say and hamdulillah she's with us, salaam aleikum, sister Summa likoma, Salama matelasse, that it's a real pleasure, honor to get the opportunity to speak to you. Thank
you. Yes, you know, your book, I've got it here with me turning the tide reawakening the woman's heart and soul. It's a book that I actually grew up seeing around the house and seeing in bookshops because you know, it was really one of the
one of the only Islamic books for women, written in the English language in such a, you know, by somebody who was obviously a native speaker.
I just remember meeting some sisters, and they told me they growing up, you'd been quite an important influence in their lives in their coming to Islam, you know, as young people growing up in the UK, and when they mentioned your name, I remember that I seen your book, but I never actually got a chance to properly meet you. So I'm really glad that we're having this opportunity today. And Hamdulillah, it's, it's a real honor to talk to you again, you know, I've seen your name, seen your publications, but not had the opportunity to speak to you. So I'm really looking forward to have hamdulillah. So tell us
sumava? Like, what was the context in which you wrote the book?
And to you, what is the book, book significance? Why did you want to write this book?
Yeah, so we're going back quite a long way. I started a long way, around
2000. And it was around that time that I came across life brings people your way. So whether that's family, whether that's strangers, or people, friends, people I'd grown up with, and there was quietly people who were
finding it very difficult to engage with anything Islamic, and actually sort of turning their back quietly saying, you know, I don't want anything to do with this space. It's, it's too difficult. It's too harsh. And unfortunately, they had baggage from experiences, which, you know, very complex, as you know, working in the community. And these are voices that I came across from many different places. And it got me thinking a lot, as in why it got me thinking about sort of why they were turning away when there were resources, and there were things. But I realized, actually, that sometimes, people need different ways in to approaching the faith, not everybody's at the same
stage, everyone's on a journey. And so turning the tide really started the first impetus really to gather translations of is of Quran and relevant Hadith was to say, particularly to women, although people have given me feedback that it was useful for men as well, but particularly I had women in mind to say, you know, just take one more look, give it a chance. And because what you've maybe got as bad experiences, or in justices or baggage, is not the real picture. And that's unfortunate that it's happened to you through a whole range of
whether it's cultural or educational, you know, lots of things mixed together circumstantial problems. But it was really a way of trying to invite
sisters to have a look and to say, it's, it's different. There's a lot of love, mercy, compassion in our face. And yes, of course, there's limitations. There's limitations and everything in life. But these are divine limitations. They're not there to
hold harmless or impede our lives, they're there to make our lives easier. And so that was one of the starting points, okay? Why I started collecting and writing simultaneously and then it grew, it evolved very slowly, because I had very young children at the time. So bear with me.
What kind of year was it was around the year 2000. And the only way I can remember that was I was expecting my third child. But I didn't connect his birth to these tiny little homemade booklets where I just write bits and put them in my handbag belt, wherever I was going, extremely busy time, I already had two girls, Mashallah, who were about five and two or three, something like that. So it was nonstop, as you know, if you're a mom, at that stage, but I did feel this real urge to put something down. And I've always been writing, you know, writing wasn't new, that was my way of living thinking is to write. So I've been a diary writer, journal writer, I'd been writing articles,
through my teens,
putting things down on paper wasn't a new thing. But the purpose was very much to invite people who were at a particular different, difficult place, and to connect with them, which is why I have things like the Marian voices that I wrote, just try and connect with what might be going through their mind. before presenting, I translated I as of
that was one reason. And I think the second reason was, I wasn't finding inspiring books for women in English. And you know, we lived near an Islamic bookshop in London at the time. And I'd keep going, hopefully, and looking for something I could buy to give this person or that person. And they were quite
didactic, almost quite fearful, and generated a lot of rules, regulations, but what about sort of the heart and the essence of, of our faith, which is so beautiful, and so life giving? I was finding publications, which were a bit the opposite. So that those are two big reasons. And when I look back, just to finish answering that question, I think myself personally, I didn't realize it at the time. But now when I look back,
it was a time where we were my life was changing quite a bit, being a very busy mom. And I think we're in a process where we've got to keep reevaluating our lives and seeing what's our purpose, resetting our own compass, and following, you know, what we know, in text and theory, but actually
following it through as our stages of life change. So I think it was a mixture of all those things.
Just like our parents,
and so, just to so that we understand your background, like, were you born in the UK? And like, was it your parents who came to the UK? Yeah, so I did, I was born here. My parents came from Bangladesh in the 60s. And so I was born in the 70s. And Mashallah always lived here, gone to school here went to Church of England schools and Catholic schools, actually, which I think had an effect on me a good effect, actually, because they keep a level of spirituality alive through your school day. So I was very grateful to have gone to those schools.
And yeah, so I grew up here and went through the conventional schooling, university and everything, and Islamic education wise, and I didn't have the benefit of a very organized Islamic education, like there is around now. But Alhamdulillah I'm very fortunate that from about 16 onwards, there were many good role models and some opportunities to join youth organizations like young Muslims.
I don't know if that was before your time. But we had organizations with some really excellent teachers who were role models and we didn't have that much access as people do. Now. Remember, this was a time of no internet. Okay, so no YouTube books, none of that existed. It was all paper magazines, or you actually showing up in person at a talk. Regent's Park mosque is quite an important place to gather Yo, twice, three times a year for a big conference and then in between Alhamdulillah is able to get some high lockers but very organic very much about just finding books reading, sharing them in our locality with a small group of sisters.
And growing slowly, maybe a bit haphazardly, but growing in that way, so Alhamdulillah, for what we had at that time, I'm grateful for it. There was such a blessing wasn't there tomorrow, but in those times, because, you know, the people who used to organize these kinds of youth events, and I did go to some white m events, I remember and, like, my parents used to take me to anything, everything and anything, you know, that
was Islamic was to go to the UK Islamic mission was to go to y m, I don't even know the names of all the different, you know, projects and things. But there was a real purity and sincerity in those projects, because
the resources were for you. But you know, the passion was there. And, and these were people always who really, they really cared because they really didn't have to do what they did. But they had the foresight to set up those little those youth programs, to keep us kind of, you know, on sides to keep us informed. And
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you summed it up really well, actually, this is exactly how it was. So when I think back, there were some people who set things up. And I won't go into mentioning names, because there's too many. So if I mentioned one, I'll be missing, like 2030 other names. But there were people whose things up and I still, to this day, don't know what they look like, but we benefited from their project, we've benefited from the institutions that they set up, and the sincerity, as you're saying, so there was nothing in it for them. There was no popularity in it. For them, there was no awards that we're gonna get or recognition or accolades, it was so purely to
continue the message of, you know, of knowledge and, and living by the and having a real positivity, I think that's what attracted me a lot around the age of 16. And 17, when you are looking naturally for your identity, and you are looking to fit in, and you want a peer group that you can identify with. So there were some wonderful people based in the Islamic Foundation, in particular, when we would go for sort of three, four day what we'd call youth camps, and really lovely talks. And that was men and women who were delivering very compassionate message to us, I would say, because that was the feeling I come away with even now, so many decades later, that there is meaning and
compassion in everything that they taught. And at the same time, there was one organization, which I'm sure it's before your time, it was a union of Muslim organizations that you Mo. I don't think it exists now. But that was something that was more into sort of lobbying and law and policies. But there was a youth wing as well. And a few of us not knowing anything much about it went to a youth conference. And that was led by actually I will mentioned Dr. Sade, Crusher, may Allah have mercy on him and grab him gentleman he passed away a few years ago.
the US as well as a youth committee. And some of us joined that committee having just gone to one conference, I don't quite think we knew what we're doing. But you know, it sounded good. It sounded interesting. It sounded organized, that we were going to have another youth conference every year. And I joined that committee. And I think that was probably one of the most pivotal things I could have done to help myself then. And I'm thankful for it. Because we really learned from the way he trusted the youth. And the way he taught us about how to run a meeting official things, and how he just propelled us into contact that MP invited them to a conference, ring, Oxford University higher
place, you know, all of these functional things. At that age, you just go along and do it. It's only looking back you realize, well, he really did. And it train you in, in in very useful skills. And at the same time,
there was this implicit trust, and I look back now I think I didn't have a clue what I was doing. But he trusted us, and he treated me
And I still remember those meetings and I remember his example with a lot of gratitude. Actually.
It really makes me think every generation has to pass something forward to the next rate.
It makes you realize that it's the little things that you might be doing you
The different points of which you're having some kind of contact with a young person
that might have such a big impact on their outlook and the way they practice Islam. So many sisters who I met,
who actually moved away from Islam and then rediscovered it later on, told me that one of the reasons was, you know, going to a madrasa where somebody treated them harshly, right?
Or Islam being presented to them in such a kind of folkloric way, right, like, as if it's something unsophisticated, and not really relevant to the modern day. So
to have any kind of mentors who, who had the foresight to kind of understand what we needed as young people,
rather than just importing a cultural version of Islam, you know, it
was a real blessing, I think, absolutely real blessing. And, yeah, there's lots of funny memories I have as well with that time, partly because we as very young, I'm talking 1718 in a very volatile age, it could be and also very powerful age, that we just didn't understand a lot of things, but we were trusted.
And I think that works wonders when you start to trust young people. And that responsibility. I remember just as a small anecdote, and in one of those UFO youth meetings, that what probably the very first one when Dr. Bhatia said, okay, we need to take minutes, and we were sort of looking at the clock, we didn't know what taking minutes was, you know, we didn't know so many things. And having that patience with us that no, we're going to do things properly. And we're going to learn to do things properly, right up to people I look at now who are famous judges who are, you know, well known magistrates, and we were actually put in front of them at that time to talk to them, you know,
to present to them, what's our year's activities been? Again, we didn't realize the enormity of the opportunities we've been given. But we just enjoyed it and learned and went along. So yeah, I agree entirely. You do need people with that foresight.
Hunger, love? Yeah. Because when, what if, if Islam has not been presented to you in the right way, a lot of damage can be done, and then people find it really hard to then
come back, you know, to regain that. Yeah, that the right understanding, you know, once as a young person, it's been presented to you in in the wrong way. Yeah. So Jazakallah, Heron, for sharing that with us. I'm going to turn to your book now. It's really beautifully presented. I don't know if you can see this brothers and sisters, but there are so many beautiful sections. And what I love about it is it's almost like you're taking the reader gently by the hand and saying,
Let me tell you, let me show you what Islam is. Let me show you what your Creator has said about you what he has for you. And it's in such a gentle way. The reason why that kind of stands out is that, you know, in our times we've kind of gotten into quite a combative approach to discussing Islam, you know, sometimes because I think Muslims always feel under attack. So, so some of the books and some of the things that we we see writings about, they're often very kind of defensive, or, you know, like as if they're a reaction to something rather than saying, Well, let me show you another way. And I love the title, you know, reawakening the woman's heart and soul. One of the sections that
I'm just going to
highlight is the youth section. You know, what was the importance of this section to you, you know, you have to use a myriad voices. Fortunate Am I to receive the treasures of youth time delivers the gifts of strength, health and opportunity to cultivate mind and soul. Almost bounteous lead me to use these gifts to please you, the source of all goodness, the protecting friend. It's very poetic, Mashallah.
Yeah, tell me about this section.
Yeah, okay. So, just in case.
Listeners don't realize that it actually starts from the inception of the soul through childhood and then youth is I think, third or fourth chapter. And then it goes on through the stages right till the end.
of life. So your youth is a spirit, I think every stage of life is special. But it's a particularly interesting stage. And I suppose, because I've always worked with young girls,
I've just about all my life, I've worked with young girls in the supplementary sector especially. And so I have a connection and a bond with the more because it's such a time of opportunity. And islamically, you become accountable, you know, when you
reach a certain age, mid teens a bit earlier a bit later for some, but you become accountable. So that's a huge weight. On the one hand, you know, your speech, what you're doing, the choices you're making, you can't any longer be treated as a child islamically. But you're still growing and your hormones all over the place. And there's still so much to learn that it's this very delicate mix, but a very powerful mix. And with this age group, I just think there's so much potential and Mashallah they do impress me all the time with the initiatives, they come out with young people, the things they lead the charity work they do, for example, but at the same time, it's a very tough and
difficult phase, especially now. I think we all went through our own personal little hardships or struggles, when you're 13 1415, you start to figure things out a bit around 1617. But I think particularly now, I feel that mixture of ideas, the speed at which things change the whole online web life, as well as life and how they overlap how they contradict, sometimes sometimes they help one another, there's two areas of life. But it makes it really difficult phase, particularly now to navigate. Unless, as I say, in the book, you get your compass, straight. And by compass, I mean, you get your direction, clear with Allah subhanaw taala. And you really take the time in your youth to
build that bond, and to build that love of Allah Subhana Allah is very simple aside, nothing, nothing complicated, but to build a love for Him and His messengers, and his profits, and the last message is solemn. And with that bond, then this kind of suddenly stormy, phase of life can be a lot more
fulfilling, and a lot less painful. There will be tests, there's there's no taking that away from this phase of life or from any phase of life. But my emphasis really, in this chapter is Think for yourself, you know, be a critical thinker. Think about who you are, think about the influences upon you think about who you're influencing. And think about what the purpose of your life is. Not that you can plan everything, but really take the beautiful direction we've been given, we're not left without a map. Okay, we've been given the map. And it's really, for youth to try and with the help of so many people around them, so many resources to try and navigate their way. Because I think the
you know, they are super intelligent at this age as well. They've got everything buzzing. And that can go in two directions, as you know, your mum as well. So, having raised young people as well, we can see the challenges firsthand. It's not easy.
Yeah, I think it's really easy for our generation to think that this generation growing up, I have it's so much easier than us, you know, cuz I think it's very tempting to think like that, because, you know, I don't think on the one side, I don't think they have the
blatant Islamophobia or racism to deal with, but that there was, you know, with us growing up, also the kind of being the only girl wearing Hijab type thing. And, you know, they don't have that to deal with most most of the time now, because the job has become quite normal.
Being a Muslim has become quite normal now, you know, in the UK and in the West.
But on the one hand, you know, they've got it easier, it seems, because they don't have to face those challenges. On the other hand, I feel like
some of those challenges we face, they're actually what made us you know, do you know what I mean? those challenges are what made us value Islam in the first place. Because when somebody's racist towards you, when somebody
be, you know, makes you feel different. It kind of makes you ask yourself, Well, actually, yeah, who am I? You know, what is my identity? What? What do I stand for? And I think a lot of our generation, that's what kind of drove us to then look into Islam properly and be interested in Islam. For this generation,
I don't want to say Islam has been handed to them on a plate, but
it does feel like that sometimes, you know, because our generation is so kind of eager for them to have amazing EADS and amazing, an amazing experience of Ramadan. And, you know, the learning curve, and from a young age learning Arabic, you know, a lot of kids now and yeah, everything is being given to them, you would think that, you know, they have the optimal kind of
situation in a way right, living in the West, in an affluent country, but at the same time, with a lot of Islamic resources. Now, a lot of Islamic books, a lot of Islamic media even right.
I still feel very fearful for this generation. I don't know, like, yeah,
yeah, I can identify with what you're saying, and start there. And I think I would put it in two ways. I think I just recently wrote about this as well, that in, but from a mother's perspective, that on the one hand, the functional things are easier. So if you take just school, for example, the Hello meals, or dress, or these functional things, or having a day off on E, or having some better understanding about Ramadan, those things are definitely easier. And actually, you've summed them up really well as in, there's a lot more resources. But what's harder, I find, and I face this with my children as well, is this psychological struggle. And the internal struggle is a lot harder, which
we didn't face. We didn't face the events in the world. And while we were growing up, it was a relatively relatively more peaceful time. And I'm being a bit myopic here and saying, you know, for where we are in England, it was relatively more peaceful. I know, there was a lot of people around the world. And so that's just a sort of disclaimer about that. But they are facing and I've seen this with all my children, Mashallah. And method 20s. Now, the youngest just turned 20, as well. And the amount of time as a mother, I'm spending and I have done dealing with the internal dealing with how they digest the next, you know, atrocity that happens in the world that's
portrayed as being a product of their faith. And this is really quite difficult, damaging, troublesome. It's a lot of baggage they've carried, and they hear it in much more nuanced ways now. So whereas before, 70s 80s, there may have been straight up racism, right? So it's, if I was working with Hindu Sikh friends, were all Asian, we get the same abuse, right? Yeah, it was not the same name calling, like big deal done. And that was damaging in its own way. But that was it. Now, what I get from the young girls that I teach as well, because they're always teenagers, is that it's a lot more nuanced,
subtle, and more damaging messages. They're getting even sometimes through school, to teachers through society through the news.
And it's insidious, and much harder to put your finger on as a parent as well, unless you've got kids who are going to open up and say, and then give you an opportunity to almost heal and correct and undo the damage. So I think, you know, when I think what have I been doing for years, a lot of my hours, months, and time has gone on undoing
messages that are out there, and they're not they're not on billboards. They're not headlight you know, it's it's quite subtle stuff
around your, your whole faith. And
as parents discuss this, as well as teachers as well, you know, you could be driving your child to school teenager, and you've got radio, the radio on, and I had this particular experience, which I've just written about in the next book in Sharla, where I heard radio for on and it was the moral maze and there was a representative from our community, discussing Islamic topics and you know, he was very good Mashallah.
But the tone as a presenter, it was so difficult to listen to, because every single thing that this military representative said, was just put down, or, you know, really, on the verge of ridiculed. And I was looking at my daughter in the backseat, and she was probably about, I think about 1718, something like that, at that age. And I could see the effect it was having on her.
And I'm just looking in the rearview mirror. And I'm not putting it off either, because I wanted to hear it and she was listening to. And she just said, you know, they're not listening to a word he's saying.
And then when she and I didn't exchange much about it, I was dropping her it was Ramadan, I was dropping her to her friends Iftar. And, you know, I dropped her off, and she was really happy, excited, he's going to stay the night there. And they hadn't seen each other these four friends. So I don't want to open this conversation up, then when she was quite happy about where she was going. When I came back as an adult, as the parent, it had such a net negative effect on me, I can't pretend it was easy, or that I could cope. And I felt you know, if I can't cope with this, how's my daughter feeling? And we did discuss it later.
And, and this is just one tiny drop, but they they keep hearing these things. And so the young people have a lot to deal with.
Yeah, so there's this like, drip, drip, right? There's a drip drip effect of subliminal messages being given that, you know, it's not a really okay to be a Muslim, it's not really okay to believe strongly in certain things or, you know, yeah, I can see that.
That sense, and then they've got on the other side, their own age group, and the messages that are out there on the internet, and all of that to deal with, which we didn't have. So I feel so the distractions, wouldn't you say the, the, just the immense amount of distraction that there is because, you know,
just, even if you're somebody who's quite careful, and doesn't just hand over devices to your kids, um, at some point, they do get those devices, because, you know, they're getting older, and they, they need them, etc. And they have to kind of learn to become responsible with those devices, right? Like, you can't just eat,
but just reflecting on how addictive those devices are, and how distracting
Subhanallah you just kind of sometimes worry, you know, like, do we really understand the effect, the mental health effect that these the constant images, the dopamine hits, you know, constant need for entertainment and new thing, novelty, you know, we don't really know, the long term effects of that gonna be so much pressure on again, I keep talking about girls, because that's who I might find changes with a lot. And there's a huge amount of pressure on girls how to look. And on their physical, emotional mental health is huge. And that's not just, it's almost becoming a cliche to say that, but I can say it from, you know, firsthand experience of 20 more than 25 years with in the
community with young girls, like literally every weekend.
And it's changed. Our conversations have completely changed from 1020 years ago, to now. And the things that they what kinds of conversations would you say
they have? The biggest issue maybe 20 years ago now, Islamic class would be or, you know, can you explain why, why why we don't have boyfriends or something like that, you know, be quite straightforward.
That's, like the least of the issues. Now. It's things about self harm. Eating Disorders. Really? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Without me inviting these questions, and I'm very happy that they will bring them up, have them have their own free will, we will start we could be studying Syrah, we could be doing meaning of a surah. We could be doing actual acts of ibadah. Right. But we always used to in the classes I was running with other systems have a space for about 1015 minutes where they could bring anything up. And so these are the things that they are in contact with Bailey and they want to talk
you know, and we've had to then really like stretch ourselves and get in contact with mental
Help charities, to educate ourselves to bring them in sometimes to talk to parents. But the landscape is what I'm saying is so much harder now. So I do feel people, Mashallah, there's some amazing energy out there. And I have a lot of respect for them too. Because I see, you know, I see their, their abilities coming out in so many beautiful ways. But at the same time, I also see the challenges that they face. So yes, coming back to the youth chapter, it's, it's a subtle,
trying to be a subtle friend to them really, in that chapter and saying, you know,
have your own storm set out in terms of your relationship with Allah subhanaw taala, to help you navigate through all of this, which is not easy.
Yeah, so panelo really goes to show that I think the spaces are needed, aren't they like the space for young people to speak about these things and not feel embarrassed? Or, you know, I think, when we were younger, there were certain topics that you wouldn't really ever bring up in front of your elders, you know.
But now, with this generation, we've just got to really be open, we've got to, we've got to allow them to talk about everything.
There is no choice, there is no choice, because the World Wide Web is what it is, right?
That's there, that's not going anywhere. And there's a lot of benefits that come with that, too. Of course, we mustn't forget, you know, we're doing this on.
We will gained a lot from technology as well.
It's keeping that balance and keeping
the space open. Because our Dean doesn't exclude anything. So why should we, you know,
moving on to the section in your book about
I think you've called it the age of wisdom,
treasures in the sea. And I think this is the section about,
you know, coming into old age and
the value of
being an older person Subhanallah, like, We're living in a time, aren't we, when
youth being youthful is worshipped, right? Like, and anything, anything that kind of shows that you're getting older, or that you've left youth behind now, is, is like seen as something negative, you know, people literally spend millions of pounds and, you know, 1000s of pounds on
treatments and things to just to make themselves look younger, to dress younger, to act younger, and that have reverence for youth for sorry, that reverence for old age that used to be there
is slowly being lost, or it's maybe it's already been lost, you know,
actually, maybe during the pandemic, a lot more people are kind of starting to realize the value of the older generation, you know, because people have been distancing themselves and try to keep elderly relative safe. I think they've really it's really like awaken people to how important
older people are in our lives.
Why was this section important to you? And have? Have you had elder people? You've already mentioned some mentors.
Have you had people in your life who you were thinking of when you wrote this? Yeah. And yes, a very special section, a special stage of life, very much for the reasons of study that you've mentioned already, in that it's how we, as a society, view, the elders. Now, socially, the pandemic has shown, it's taken a while to actually send to the elders as being a priority. It wasn't the first thing and we saw, you know, tragically the amount of loss of life that happened through care homes and through
places where elders are most vulnerable. And that's a reflection sadly, that in society even before well before the pandemic, that there's this move towards elder people not really being seen as valuable assets in our communities. I'm talking itchiness across the board. And, you know, hamdulillah there was still level of respect and reverence. I think within a lot of
minority communities for the elders as well as the indigenous community, but it's certainly not the norm. And it is something that we need to be concerned about. Because when I, any of us look islamically, it's very clear, there's no confusion about interpretation, where the standard of the elderly is from the Quran and Hadith, and it is they are the most respected that at the code, like the Merapi, they're called the honored teachers. And it is a hard stage for them, because they themselves are weakening physically.
We hear about dementia now much more on the news.
And there's a lot more awareness. But there's so many challenges to them. Yet at the same time, they are complete wells and treasure houses of knowledge, experience, wisdom, that we need to really value and to give that position to again, in society because it's very, not just England, I talk to friends and relatives around the world. You know, a very good friend and Islam have been said to me, Well, there's a lot of care homes here too.
old people's homes here, their children are in America or Canada, and they're overseas, there's no one to look after them. And so it's not something I'm saying it's a Western society problem. It's a problem globally, that we need to talk about. I'm glad we're talking about it, they gave that honor. And that centering of the elderly, as the most of valuable part of our community, just like we do to young children, who are also in parallels between very little children who need a lot of physical support, who need hair protection, the elderly need exactly the same. And, but they also have a lot of wisdom, and knowledge to impart to us. And the second thing that I try to emphasize in that
chapter as well, is that the, it's quite a clear call on what we're meant to do. And that's give company
very beautifully. And it's only as we age ourselves that you realize, I didn't understand that probably 20 years ago, I would have just glossed over it. Oh, yeah, you know, respect elders, and look after them serve them. But the word company, I don't think it's sunk in to my brain until I see aging, and elders around so friends, parents, friends in laws, and really what they crave is company. And they're so beautiful in the Quran, the way that we're told in a lower the wing of humility to them. And, and because we are strong, and you really see it when you're in the company of the elderly, that
we have the strength, physical, mental agility and everything, and they don't. And so the need for that humility then needs to be called out as it is in the Quran upon Allah, he said, and again, I just, each year that goes by I understand it a bit more. I can't say I've understood it completely. But giving company is so important. And again, when I come back, for the youth, I think is this a struggle that we have to make them realize this as well.
It's that part of their lives should include the importance to the elders around them, whether that's grandparents or elderly, neighbors, ugly family, friends, whoever is in our lives. And it's so important to bring that up. And, and it's not always easy. As a parent, you have to have some difficult conversations. Sometimes you have to call your own kids out and say, hang on, if you're doing a lot of this, this, this and this, which are all good. Two might be charity might be friends, but whatever, you know, time and space for the elderly.
And that doesn't always make
a popular conversation starter with your kids as they're growing up. But we have to do that, you know, if we want to make sure that we're
protecting that their their position.
Yeah, and especially the elderly, within within their own families. Right, like so. Pamela that's so true. Like, one of the things that I did in order to because when when the kids were younger, they were boys at my parents house and you know, they're always with the grandparents, they love their grandparents they it's almost like when they're younger then they have an even stronger connection with the grandparents because I think they know that they can get away with so much. I think it's because they they feel that you know, they they really drawn to those who really love them, right?
And as they get older, as with everybody, you know, you you, you join the rat race, you know, you're busy, you just there's so many things you could be doing any one time,
it takes a level of slowing down, mostly mindful. And we're not used to that anymore, right?
To kind of meet older people with the level or the level of energy, I would say that they're at, you know,
but I think it's such a valuable thing to learn. So one of the things that I did was when my son was looking for a job, and he wanted to, like, well just wanted some money, right? And I said to him, why don't you find Nana, you know, and ask him, like,
if he's got any jobs, because I'm sure he's got a lot of office work in his own home office. And he did. And then, you know, my dad took one of my sons on
with, you know, what he did, he got them to sort out all of the family photos, scan them all and arrange them.
So you know, all those kinds of jobs that you probably wish he could do, but he didn't have the time to do he started getting my son's to do those were in, I've seen such an amazing relationship developed between them. Absolutely. Because of that working together, my dad doesn't mind paying him, you know,
money anyway, you know, this way, he gets to get some work as well. And you know, it's mutually beneficial. But that mentorship relationship, you know, it's almost like a quiet, mutually respectful relationship that sometimes they don't have with their parents, you know, because they're going to be the ones telling them off and pointing out all their faults and telling them what needs fixing up and, but with grandparents, it's like, a certain level of acceptance. Absolutely. Half of the young people and
I've just found that so valuable. And I would really encourage our brothers and sisters out there, definitely, to think of ways of connecting the younger generation with the older generation because
so Pamela, you know, my animals have passed away and
I just from when they passed away, I really realized that, you know, you miss the stories, you miss the risk, you missed the kind of, there's so much, you know, like, I encourage my kids to just ask me about her childhood.
What what it was like in India, blah, blah, blah, you know, anything, just have those conversations and just absorb Absolutely. And and it does so much good is exactly the same. My father's passed away, Allah have mercy on him, grant him, gentlemen. I mean, it so he was very close as well to my children and and handle I have in laws, but they're very far away, they're in the Caribbean, some children Alhamdulillah still have a good, very good relationship with them. But it's a bit harder, because they're so far away. And doing this is just so valuable for your parents as well. So when we're saying, do the hard work is that we're the sandwich generation.
responsibilities for those younger than us, we've got the responsibilities for those older than us. And it's hard. I would never for a moment say this is easy. It's a struggle. I struggle every single day with keeping up with the elderly relatives of my, my own family, my, my parents, friends, who they care about a lot. And I know I haven't contacted, it's a struggle. It's not easy. But it's worth it. To have any, you know, take some cajoling the young lot. It's not always easy with them either. Because their lives, as you said, are fast. Everything's fast. Everything's, you know, there's excitement, and there's quick things and this technology to connect them up with friends and
all of this. And it does take it takes a lot of diplomacy. It takes so many skills to get the grandparent grandchild thing going and also on a community level, Mashallah. We've got very, very blessed to have an excellent mosque near us. And they started an elderly lunch club, some brothers and sisters, men who are very good at this type of thing. And it was open to the whole community. So you had people from all different walks of life coming along this was before the pandemic for about a year I think it was going on maybe less and then it had to shut naturally with the lockdown. But it was such a beautiful initiative and inshallah we'll carry on were different neighbors just saw
that. There was this lunch club, they'd seen that
poster in the GPS, or they've got a flyer through their door. And they came along. And you know, they really enjoyed the meal, they enjoy talking to each other. And bit by bit young people from the mosque in ages started volunteering and helping out there. And that was just the most beautiful thing to see. Because both sides were just loving. Yeah, both age groups, not sides, sorry, both age groups were loving each other's interaction. And I'd have so much to gain from each other. So there's a lot we can do. And there's a lot of good things going on. But it's just, I think, focusing on them and being intentional to make things like that happen, or to join on board with a small
initiative that's local, it doesn't have to be massive grand things. But I certainly value the elderly in my life, Mashallah, who, whoever's there, some friends, parents, you know, I love talking to them. Because of their stories. Mostly. I don't have any of my own grandparents. But when my nanny was alive, and she would come and stay with us on in between Bangladesh in America, and the trips that should do, I had a little bit of her time towards my late teens, and it was probably the most valuable time. And I've written some of those mariadb voices are definitely coming from things my grandmother said to me, my nanny said to me,
and the stories, you know, I would share a bedroom with her and she would spend at least about an hour doing Isha, and then reading. And then after that, she would start with her stories. And they were all really, art. When I look back, they were all really instructive. I don't know if they were true or not. But she'd say, Oh, this
neighborhood. And for stories about marriage, there were stories about who did get along. And he didn't get along and why they did get along and why they didn't get along. And, you know, I just taking it up as a sort of 19 year old bed. But then later, I realized she is actually teaching me a lot of absolutely golden nuggets of life experience, which I'm so grateful for now. And I've used Marshall Levin married for ages, like a boatyard third decade, this year. So my nanny stories were ways of teaching me about relationships, and married life. And as is wonderful, and it's always stuck.
So enriching, isn't it. One of the things that I think I'd really encourage everyone to do out there if you're paired, especially if your parents are still with us, is to actually go out of your way to interview them, and record yourself interviewing them, like even just on your phone or whatever. And especially with the older men in our lives, because what I found is that my mom told me a lot of stories growing up, you know, I think I know everything about my mom, pretty much, you know, because mom's we are like that, aren't we like, we tend to tell our kids about our childhoods. And
what happened in when we were at school and this and that, you know, they know all the little things about us, and they learn a lot from that. But I don't think they always get that opportunity with the dads and with the granddad's you know.
And it occurred to me at one point, but
I think I know a lot about my dad, but I don't really I've never actually heard him, tell me about himself, you know. So one day, I just got my tape, iPhone, iPhone, as a dad, I'm going to interview I want to ask you things about your life. Maybe I'll write a memoir one day, you know, or something. And it took a lot of effort, because I remember one of the first questions I asked him was,
so What do you remember about your childhood? Like, when you were really young, when you were like, a kid? What's your earliest memory?
You know, the first thing he said to me was?
Why? Why do you need to know that?
Why don't you say, you know, there's some things it's better to forget about. And so
I thought, Oh, you know, like, and, and over time, you know, he did start talking and he started. And one of the things I realized is, sometimes, especially in the very early part of their childhoods, there might be some very difficult things. Yeah, there might have been some really challenging times and some really, and then that generation tended not to talk about those things, you know, and really share you know, their feelings and all that kind of stuff. So it can be a bit hard to talk about, but
Just knowing like, the origins of your parents and the that generation, what it was like for them growing up? How did they end up in the UK? You know, what was that journey? Really important? Start and knowing all those little things, it's like, you actually get to know about yourself, right? You get to know like, where you came from, and
how Allah subhanaw taala. Cause the what I like to say is, you know, Allah cause the universe to conspire to, to put you where you are today, you know,
unless you speak to those people of that generation, and as far back as you can, and they feel useful. So something that I come across a lot with the elderly is they feel useless. If they're not included.
in different ways, you know, everybody's different, some are more hands on, they want to be included with doing things. Some were talking some with
being bystanders and just observing, but they want to be included. And so whatever the means is to center them in our communities, then Alhamdulillah not only are we doing them a lot of good, but we're also gaining a lot. And ultimately it comes back to there's no choice about this, either.
islamically, there's no choice about this. Absolutely. And it's something that I've had to sort of hammer home with my kids that it's not whether you feel like something, you want to do something, this is central, you know, to
Islamic social architecture. Yes. If you take the religion label out of it, is for the benefit of any community.
And you put people, people are going to age, England has got a very big aging population. And so I've seen some projects are really lovely, where, but they're, they're few and far between, but I think they can be replicated, where they've put university students in accommodation, right, next to a care home. And that the connection is that they go and look after, or
occupied, the elderly, and the relationships been wonderful. There's actually studies done about it. And the same has happened with some some parts of England, I can't remember which one where they've got little children going in, to a care home, or to an elderly home, not necessarily a care home, to a place where there's elderly and again, having a regular connection has benefited the elders a lot. The
ways open, there's so many creative ways we can do more. But
the fact is, Uh hum de la, like, we're just talking about it today, we need to have many more of these conversations. So it's part of our mission. And we're not
excluding them from the agenda of what's important in our lives.
Yeah, so Pamela, and, you know, I think even if, yeah, like you said, you know, even if you can't see any particular benefit in, you know, any gain for you, for example, in kind of connecting with an elderly person. The point is that it's our duty to write, and we've got to do it, we've, it's not a negotiable, it's non negotiable. And just as you said, you know, we, we tend to make time for children, and we think to ourselves, you know, okay, like, especially when, when we become mums, you know, we are going to devote ourselves to this task for a certain number of years, especially when they're young and really in a lot of need. But when the older generation are getting older, we,
unfortunately, people can tend to see them as an inconvenience, rather than
just as much of a duty, you know, to kind of serve them as it was to serve our children, if not more. Yes, yeah. Precisely. And, and it gives, I think it's important that we acknowledge it's hard and honest, but it is hard when you're responsible for a lot of different age groups. And I think a lot of us fall on mothers, you know, it does. There are some great mothers and father teams that manage it all. But it's just the way of society a lot does work. And it is difficult. It's not easy. And it is a struggle. But if we're open about that, then at least we're able to exchange and support and encourage each other and a lot of my conversations with friends nice about exactly that.
How to help each other and motivate each other. And you know, because you come, problems crop up is not straightforward. But inshallah The intention is that is to do our best sincerely.
Sorry, say that again, and to have a balanced life at the end of the day, it's about balancing everybody's needs. Yes, yes, yes. And I guess also bearing in mind that, you know, so Pamela, where we are also going to be elderly one day, right? Charlie fuller gives us life. And the way we would want, the younger generation to interact with us, is the way we should be interacting with them. I, I've noticed that a lot of like, the older people in my family,
they really don't want drama anymore. You know, they like past that. They don't want dramatic things happening. They just,
they just want a bit of peace, you know, and they want positive things, they want positivity. And sometimes, like, when you're a bit younger, you still got a lot of drama going on, you know, can be quite volatile, dramatic, etc, etc. But I think we have to be really conscious, like one of the things that I try to do, I'm not always successful, but I try is
to think to myself, when I'm meeting my parents, for example,
that I'm just going to make them laugh, you know?
Yeah. during that meeting, however, whatever the length of time is, that I'm going to be meeting them. I just want my mom to be happy and laughing, like, I want to tell the stories or make the mood such light, you know?
Because there's so many other types of energy out there, you know? Yeah, absolutely. Why not be
Alhamdulillah, she's right nearby, so I see her more or less every day Alhamdulillah. And it says, I completely identifies what you're saying is that the time we spend, try and make it happy, and sometimes they can be quite negative as well. Yeah, as a reality across the board, some elderly can feel quite low, quite lonely, especially with the whole pandemic, you can feel quite that what's going to happen, they can feel scared. And so there's a role, we've got to try and help them as well. And it works both ways. You know, sometimes I go to visit my mom, because she's so notified, Michelle, that I can go everyday but, and I'll have things on my mind, and I will offload sometimes
they'll Mom, this, this, this, this, what I do about this, and then she'll give me really good advice.
And say, is not really that big a problem. And that just helps.
I have the
you know, panoramic view of life. And so they can kind of say, well, who cares? It doesn't matter. You know?
also, sometimes I think our generation has to be
patient, you know, because sometimes the older generation do want to tell you off or do want to tell you what we're doing.
And it's a cultural thing, too. And culturally, you know, sometimes my mom's greeted will be, Oh, you didn't do this, or you haven't done that? or Why are you wearing this. And that's not something I take offense from. It's their way, it's that cultural way of communicating, they're not actually trying to be negative. It's just
what I mean is like, part of lowering the wing of humility is allowing certain things to slide, you know, like,
every little thing personally and like, because even just reflecting on the way I am with my kids, like, I don't, it doesn't matter if they're 18 or 20, or whatever age, I'm still Mom, you know,
I'm still telling them where they're going wrong, right? So it's the same thing, right? It doesn't matter if you're 40 or 50, or whatever. Like, your mom and dad are still gonna be, you know, still see you as the child. So, absolutely. My mom told me, there's no way I'm going walking in the rain the other day.
But the age doesn't come into it. They're your mom. And you know, I locked it off. I got the umbrella and I went, but it was just sort of hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah. We're blessed to have them, their company and I think it's
It's just and I'm really grateful to you, Michelle, last honor that you've made time and space to talk about the elderly to be this, this as well using platforms to remember them to give them the honor and space and to raise the awareness. Yeah, and even if your parents have passed away, like, one of the things that I would do in encourages is when a person's father or mother has passed away that you should actually keep in touch with your parents friends. Right. I mean, that's just amazing when I when I read that was like, so Paula, last 100, that Allah
has allowed us to continue honoring our parents, by keeping in contact with their friends, because it's so easy to forget those friends, but those friends meant so much to to your parents or your in laws, or, you know, the elderly, and the elders. And it's a struggle. And you know, even yesterday, I remember yesterday, being Friday, just thinking, this is an auntie I really need to find is
the wife of my father's really good friend. And I'm feeling as guilty as anything, because I have kept remembering and kept forgetting. And so the struggle goes on. But it's, the reward is so much. And it's, it's such an emotionally as well, a really beautiful connection, when you do make contact with a parent who's passed away their friends, the front, there's just like ripples and ripples of benefit in it. And they're so obviously, they have become so happy to hear from you.
So yeah, that's, that's a very good reminder. And
I think what, you know, we just have to change our mindset, isn't it? Like, I was just thinking that we make time for so many things, like when we really want to, and, and I think it is part of that whole disease of needing to do things publicly, you know, like, now, people when they're giving some money to charity, they, they're sort of filming themselves, you know, talking to?
Well, I mean, we've got to that sort of stage now where, where people are so conscious of kind of needing public validation, you know, but this thing of contacting your parents, relatives, friends, these are things that only Allah is really going to know about, you know, that you're doing, and you're gonna do it for the sake of Alex anyway, it's a very sincere, pure act. And I think just as we make time to do, volunteerism, yeah, all kinds of things that people see us doing, and we get a lot of, kind of, maybe public
recognition for, we've also got to make time for those things that nobody really knows about.
And it's not necessarily always enjoyable. That's data. That's the truth. You know, I'm all for just saying it as it is. I'm glad. It's not always fun, because we can't always do things that please ourselves, either. It's like other guys in it. It's like, we have a selection of charities, whether you do it or not.
Yeah, you do it, you do it. And without expecting that it's going to tick the boxes for yourself necessarily.
But it's an hamdulillah. It's an important part of a balanced healthy community society. Family.
Thank you so much. So my papa, you've today you've, you've drawn out attention to the youth, and you've drawn our attention to the elderly. And I hope our listeners and viewers out there will, you know, just take the time to reflect who are the young people who you could reach out to who are the young people, apart from your children, you know, even are the other young people who need your mentorship and your support? Oh, before I forget,
I wanted to show you this book, because I believe that the author of the book is,
has been a mentor to you. This, this was a book that really changed my life. Can you This is the old print, can you imagine?
It's long the natural way by Abdullah Ahmed.
And the reason why I wanted to bring it up is because we were talking about mentors as well. And
you know, I found this book as a 13 year old on my dad's shelf, and I just come back from school and, you know, people were asking me all sorts of questions about Islam. And, you know, I was asking myself well, how I actually did like, want to know how do we explain to people about God, you know, how do we explain these things and, and I remember just seeing this book on my
shelf and pull. Wow. Islam the natural wait, just the title of it was like, Yes. away, you know, it's not a religion, you know, it's the natural way. I just loved that. And I remember
Yeah. And the way it kind of took me on a journey going from sounds like from first principles, isn't it like? Absolutely Yeah.
You found yourself in the world now what are you going to do as a human right? You know, and it takes you that mental journey. And for a teenager who really needed to be able to articulate and understand that for myself. It was just like Subhanallah after reading this book, I was like, handle I have absolutely no doubt that this is, you know, the deen of Allah and that we have to share it. You know, Stefan Allah. So tell him telling me. Yeah, right. So I just love seeing that cover, I have to take my nap. inshallah. I was probably about when I came across that older, some of the 17 came across it in a bookshop near Regent's Park mosque. And it had the same effect on me.
gained a lot from it again, because as I said to you, in the beginning, I didn't have formal Islamic education, it was read.
This book crystallized so much for me and hamdulillah. And I remember, I went back and bought two more copies to give to family. My another friend later on, I think about a year later, I was going to university so again, another one, the front, and it just spoke to me so much and I really gained, everything just came together.
And I didn't say this was anything but as Allah wills A few years later, I married his nephew. So
again, I mean, I love the way he plans and Subhanallah It's wonderful. So when I was putting turning the tide together
I just initially got some ideas together done a one or two chapters. And I we used to visit Uncle Uncle Whitehead, we call him Mashallah. And I used to visit him quite regularly. We went to faraway we lived in London, and they lived in London and I showed him very, very cautiously because Mashallah his knowledge of Quranic Arabic is amazing. And subsequently, after that he's written full courses, access to Quranic Arabic graded steps. And, you know, very, very deep.
Exactly. So does that specialism he has both in terms of history but also with Quranic Arabic. And so I wanted to be sure cuz I was so worried and nervous. I've got this idea, but is it right? Is it wrong? Should you do this type of thing, and I showed him, and Mashallah, he was so supportive. He said, You know, this real need, especially for young people for this type of publication. And I remember, keep checking with him, and you're sure this is okay. And he, when I finished it, and he did keep reassuring me but when I finished, he went through every single translated, with a fine tooth comb. I remember that weekend, he came to stay with us. And he stayed up a lot of the night
and said to me, now you go to sleep, he put young children to look after and he went through every single page, every translation. And if I had put something that I had, I had put in a place where it wasn't the actual meaning. You know, he showed me told me and get out. But unhandled Allah, thanks to Uncle Whitehead, turning the tide came out. I don't think I would definitely I wouldn't have had the confidence to do that on my own. So a lot of credit, Mashallah goes to him. And, you know, so many people have benefited from his work, you know, may Allah reward him always for that, and I've heard subsequently that a lot of people
converted, having read Islam, as well as other things, but it
you know, pivotal change in their mind, that actually this new religion, this is just
your natural disposition in terms of
your relationship with God and His creation. So Alhamdulillah I'm really grateful to you for remembering
luck and also the effect and the mentorship I had the dude turning the tide.
Thank you, through his advice and through
Yahoo his guidance. We see, again that it really illustrates that gratitude that we need to
Have for that for the previous generation, right? Because I remember once there was a somebody, a chef who is
he came to the UK a lot later, like, you know, in the 2000s. And he was saying something, you know, like about the previous generation, something a bit critical. And I remember emailing him and saying, you know, like, with all due respect, you know, like, with all due respect, like you came to the UK at a time when it was easy to be a Muslim, you know, and you don't realize, but only a decade or two before that you would never see a hijabi on the street, like you're talking about, you're, you're criticizing the previous generation and certain aspects of the previous generation, not realizing that that generation made it easier for you to do anything that you're doing. You know,
obviously, I tried to say it in a nicer way than that. But, you know, I'd really, really like
annoyed me, you know, that any one of our generation would take it for granted. What those people had the foresight to do, you know, and it's not, it's much easier now to get a book published. I mean, it's still difficult, right? But it's much easier. Yeah. But to be that first generation, who first thought of writing these books, you know, who first thought of building those massages, who first thought of inviting Imams and other Muslims to the UK and, you know, all the hard work that that generation did. And actually, they sacrificed a lot and what I could see at that younger years, and they sacrificed a huge amount they didn't have the resources, there's this certain pockets of
society now that have a lot of resources, not across the board. But you know, Mashallah, there's there's a lot of
resources in some areas of the work that's being done, but there wasn't that much then at all. And it was a lot of self sacrifice. And basically, you know, dedicating their life to establishing something I'm thinking here when I'm saying this of like, the Muslim educational trust in
North London, I think we gained so much from that book, the pink book
by Professor bill, I'm sorry, but again, I've never seen him.
really well. Mashallah. But he's dead his life to establishing a lot about Islamic education education generally. And serving the community and laying this foundation block. But does anyone know what it looks like?
No, no, yeah, I know his daughters as well, you know, who they were our childhood like these to hold helicopters, and, you know,
my shoulder, but I don't, I've never seen him. But you're right, like their books, you know, other books that made us right. And also in the same breath is that Chroma Rodman last minute.
I mean, huge, huge effect of positive effect, beautiful effect, I was very fortunate to go to his talks at Islamic foundation when I was younger.
And very often, he would be called to give us a fragile reminder or something, because somebody else wasn't around or speaker for the day didn't turn up and they were living, they're actually on site
at different times of the year. And those were probably till this day, the most beautiful talks I've ever heard
completely unprepared, but then the person was prepared person all the time. That's the difference
in the most loving, beautiful, beautiful, messy messages, which will stay with me always inshallah.
So their legacy is a very precious one very beautiful one. Yeah, so you know, our generation must make the offer them and remember that we're standing on the shoulders of giants. Really, you know, it's a panel it does, I can see
all of that with us.
You know, you've taken us on a trip down memory lane, Mashallah.
And I hope people will get a copy of your book turning the tide
published by the Islamic foundation. So much i love the same organization that you've mentioned quite a few times during this session that obviously had played an important part in your life.
May Allah Allah reward you for writing such a beautiful book and may
weigh heavily on your skills on the Day of Judgment.
And also just like a lot to everybody who had pot to play in that, including yourself this insider I remember Hey, Chris, yes, for this last edition, you actually checked it off for me again.
But hamdulillah I'm
really agreed to
keep publishing as well. And we mustn't forget the creative designer creatively to
redesign the whole thing. And
that's what has become very attractive to a lot, especially our younger sisters. I'm getting a lot of really lovely feedback from them. They're just immediately attracted. So that credit goes to the brother who's the designer?
Well, that's the great thing about a book. You know, it's a collaborative effort, isn't it? But it's the words The words are the kind of, I'd say the most powerful thing about a book. So does it laugh, Aaron? Suma up and I hope you have a good weekend. salaam aleikum wa
Monica Michelle Mrs. Mehta live.
And with that, dear brothers and sisters, I'm going to leave you in sha Allah, I bid you farewell. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Please do share the episode with as many brothers and sisters and friends that you can, you know, you never know when somebody might hear something that they really needed to hear. And also we want to spread these positive messages you know about the youth about the elderly as well and the books and things that we've can benefit from so do share the episode in Sharla like the episode and leave a comment. And with that, I'm going to say Salaam salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. subhanak Allahu morbihan. Dig a shadow Allah, Allah inlanta A stuff
hirokawa to Bulik