Muslim Family – Where Did We Go Wrong

Yasmin Mogahed


Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

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Salam ala rasulillah, while eleos iph mine, rubbish rattly Saudi where Siddeley Omri Washington, Dr. melissani of cocconi.

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It's an honor to be here with you, I really, really appreciate the theme of this conference reconnect. Because I think we live in a very connected but disconnected world, we are very connected.

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On the internet, we're very connected to our phones, we're very connected to social media. But more and more, I think we are very disconnected internally and between each other. And so I think it's a very important topic. And what I'm going to speak about first, in this session, is about the connection within our families. And in talking about that, I was thinking about this. And, you know, over the years, when you meet a lot of different people, and you travel, and meet various communities, you start to kind of notice certain trends. And what I want to do is talk about a few trends that I've noticed. And and I think that before you can ever really solve a problem, you have

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to be able to diagnose it, just like you know, in a medical condition, in order to solve you have to be able to diagnose correctly, I think that there are five mistakes that we make, when it comes to family that I think is hurting us, not just in this country, but globally as a community as a Muslim community as an oma. So I want to talk about what I think those five things are.

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Where are we going wrong, where I believe, you know, through talking to people all over the world, and observing and, you know, counseling and, and just dealing with, with, with with the community, where are the places that I feel that we're going wrong.

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So I'm going to kind of do them in in order of what it what I think is most important first, and then move on to the first place, I think we're getting it wrong, is that I think that within our families, within our relationships, we have the wrong center, we have the wrong center. And I'll explain what I mean by that.

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Many of us put things at the center of our relationship or at the center of our family, other than Allah subhanaw taala. So even for us believing, practicing Muslims, we sometimes put other things at the center. And this is very, very dangerous. For example, sometimes we might put another person at the center. And now this is going to be something that's going to sound strange. And and and it's going to be a subtle mistake that we make, but I think is extremely damaging, and extremely dangerous. One of the things that we do, especially as parents, and specifically as mothers, is that we sometimes put our children at the center. So as a mother, we and this is actually sometimes the

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way in which we are taught that this is how to be a good mother. And what it is, is that many of us take our children, and a lot of times it's specifically our sons, let's be honest. And we put that child that son at the center of our existence, and we do what I call to walk around him.

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That's it any of this sounding familiar? What does that mean? Practically? It means that

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Allah subhanaw taala is no longer at the center. And this is subtle, right? You're never going to say, I worship my son. Right? If I asked you, do you worship your son? Or is anyone going to raise their hand who worships their son in this in this room? No one's gonna raise their hand. But what is it really? What does it really mean to put something other than a lot at the center? I think that the problem we're doing is that we don't have a balance in how we raise our children. And sometimes it becomes very easy, especially with the love and mercy that a mother has for her child, to put the child at the center and to toe off. So what happens is the mother is now encouraged to and of

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course, this is rewarded. This is rewarded by society, by culture, that the woman should now live and sleep and wake and eat and not eat

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around her son, or her child, but specifically the sun. And you and a woman is actually expected to the mother is expected to put aside everything else. You're a mother now, right? And it even takes the the role or even takes the place of even her role as a wife.

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Sometimes, you know, it's like when you first get married, right. And when it's just you and your husband, sometimes you put the husband at the center and you do to walk around him. But that's until you get a child. Right. And then once you get a child, then the child goes at the center. And now, even the rights of the husband, get put to the side. Because your center is now your child, your center is your, specifically your son. Now, what's the problem with this? Well, there's a lot of problems with this. Number one is that only a love should be at the center. We shouldn't be living our lives

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revolving around anyone or anything other than Allah, Spano, Tata, even our own children. The other problem, and this is a big problem is that we're raising narcissists.

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You know what I'm saying? I'm saying that we're raising children,

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specifically men, who then expect that the world actually is supposed to revolve around them. Why? Because their mama revolved around them. And, and so now this is actually a harm that we're doing to another human being, teaching that human being that the world the sun rises and sets on them, that they are at the center, this is very dangerous to an individual to feel that way. This is, this is a disease within the hardest spiritual and psychological disease. But this is the type of person the type of character that we then raise when we behave in that way. Another problem is we're not raising strong leaders anymore. And I'll explain why. When we don't teach our children and

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specifically our boys to take responsibility, because we do everything for them. They can even make their own beds, right, because they're busy playing video games as important right?

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Now, when we baby our boys in that way, we are actually we call it love. Right? We do everything for them. No, but I love him, right? I'm doing everything for him to show love, but I'm actually hurting him. And the reason I'm hurting him is I'm handicapping him, I'm not teaching him to have to take responsibility. And now this is the boy who's supposed to grow up and become the leader. Right? Isn't it, he's supposed to now take this role of being the leader, how he has never learned responsibility. All he does, is he has everything done for him. And his only responsibility

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is to win in you know, whatever video game he's playing. This is a problem. And, and we as as, as parents, we don't realize that we're actually contributing to this problem. So when we, when we when we when we put when you have the wrong center in this way we are, we're not just harming our child, but we're ended up harming the society, because we aren't teaching this future leader to have to take responsibility. And then to grow and to mature, it's stunting the maturity. And it's it's really, really creating a very serious problem, you know, later on, and now we have a marriage crisis, right. And when I say marriage crisis, we talk a lot about the marriage crisis of old the

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divorce rate is this, I'm talking about a different marriage crisis. And that is there's a lot of single women who can't find men to marry. And this is a crisis that I'm hearing a lot about, where have women in their 20s, and then they're in their late 20s, and they're in their 30s. And they just, they cannot find suitable spouses. And a big part of this has to do with the fact that the women are ready to get married. And the boys aren't, because for various reasons, but part of it is the fact that they're not there. They haven't they haven't been taught that that responsibility and that maturity, and they're not ready. And And honestly, why would you if you have everything done

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for you at home, right? You know, why go through the risk take on that extra burden and responsibility and financial burden, etc, etc, right? The weddings are expensive, the motherhood is expensive, you know what I mean? Then you have to take on this new responsibility. Why if you have it done for you at home, so this is a problem, then we're and it's creating a domino effect in our society. All right.

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Number two,

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I think that within our families, we have the wrong foundation. So I talked about the center the center should be Allah subhanaw taala, not our children, not another individual, not money, not anything else. We also I feel within our family structure have

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The wrong foundation. And this goes back, it's related to the first point,

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I've noticed that a lot of our families, within our families,

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we, we create a foundation, that is the children. So as I mentioned before, not only do we make our children the center, we also make the foundation and I'll explain what I mean, within a family.

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The foundation should not be the children, it should be the marriage. So the relationship between the husband and the wife needs to be something that is that you invest in, that you make a priority, because that's what's going to make the family structure strong. What what instead happens is that the relationship, the marital relationship kind of takes a backseat. Right? And it's like, it's all about, okay, but what do the kids need, right? And the real and so what ends up happening, and this is, what I've seen, is that over the years, what ends up happening is that these two, this husband and wife, they almost become just strangers, they become a parent, they become a mother and a father

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living under the same roof. Their relationship is no longer something that they invest in, right? Like, you wouldn't, you wouldn't like take out time and spend time alone. I mean, going on a date with your spouse, you're just like, what, what is that, right? That's weird. Or like, you'll feel guilty if you if you get a babysitter for the child and spend time alone with your with your spouse. But this type of investment is actually very important to make the family structure strong. Because when you invest in the marriage, you're making the family stronger. And when the marriage is not strong, no matter what the family won't be able to be strong. Even if you know both of you do

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everything for the sake of the kids. But if your relationship isn't strong than that family structure won't be strong. And so this is another I think mistake that we make. Number three, is that I think we have the wrong focus. A lot of times in our families. So

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one, one way to look at this is that sometimes we focus a lot on

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image, maybe we focus a lot on an end and like, what people think about us, what kind of house we have, what kind of car we drive, that these things become focal points, beyond what kind of character are we building in our children and, and of course, there's also the idea of

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being very, very concerned. And this is important, but being very concerned for the dunia of our children, right, like what school they go to their education.

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You know, the grades that they get, and all of this is important. But sometimes we fixate on that. And we sort of forget about their character building we forget about their the deen aspect of their Islamic identity, because we're so focused on just go to med school, right. And so this is another problem where we have, you know, maybe the wrong focus. Another thing is that, you know, when you become religious, you see someone who's like, you know, they're like, martial law they're practicing. Yeah. And sometimes what you see is that when someone becomes really practicing, they start to become more and more harsh, for some reason, as if

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the more like, strict you can be, the more religious you are, right, this idea that being religious means being strict. And then who gets the brunt of the strictness.

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The family, right? So it's kind of like, Okay, this is how I'm going to be religious is I'm going to be really mean to my family. That's not what it means to be religious, right? Because the prophets I send them says, hydro completo como la, that's the best of you are the best to your families, to their families, or to their wives. And so what what this criteria tells us is that if you want to know if you're growing indeed, look at how you are with your family, that's the criteria given to us by the prophets, I send them and and and interestingly enough, it doesn't say the best of you are the best to, you know, the people at the masjid. That's easy, right? It's easy to be it's easy to

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put on a face in public, right? It's easy to be polite at the grocery store. Right? But it's harder to be good with your family. Why? Because that's, no one sees that, right? That's not that's not in, in the public sphere. And second, it's very easy to take family for granted. And so the prophets I send him is telling us that the actual criteria is

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How are you, in private with your family. And so the best of you are the ones who are the best with their families, not just the ones who are best in public. And sometimes I think we have this wrong focus, where we might be really, really nice. With everyone outside, we give everyone outside our best, but then we kind of save the scraps for our family. Right? You know what I mean? It's like you held it in all day at work with your boss, and then you just take it out on your family, right? They're the, they're the punching bag. That's not, that's not good character, the profits I sent him is telling us, we should be the best with our families. Okay, so that the focus is very important.

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And then number four, is, I think that we don't have good crisis management. When it comes to issues within our family, one of the trends I've noticed is that

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people wait way too long to get help when they have problems. So whether that those problems are marital, or family problems, we kind of wait until it's dead, and then talk about resurrecting it. And that's a problem, right? Can you imagine a you know, a number, like a doctor who waits until his or her patient is dead and then starts treating the patient? Right? That's what we do with our families. That's what we do with our marriages. It's like, No, no, no, everything's fine. Everything's fine, right? We're just put on a face. And we don't, we don't actually try to solve the problem. We don't seek help until it's very, very late. And and unfortunately, you know, when you

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when you seek counseling so late in the game, it's a lot less effective. So just the fact that we don't,

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we don't ask for help, we don't seek a solution early on. That's very problematic. And part of that is, of course, the stigma, which we have to, we have to we have to erase that. Because we we, we have to invest in our marriages. And if there's a problem, or if there's a problem in our family, we should seek help for that to try to rectify it early on. Before it gets to a point where it's, it's, it's, it's just so deep. And there's so much history and resentment, that it just becomes very, very difficult to resurrect.

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Another issue when it comes to crisis management, is that

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I feel like we, we sit too long in bad situations. Right? We sit too long in bad situations. And I've seen this over and over and over. I have people who contact me.

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I just got married, I just got married. You know, it's been a few months. And I found out that my husband is extremely abusive, right? So early on, she finds out her husband's abusive. So what does she do? Well, most of the time, people just sit and they sit, and they sit, and they sit, and they don't do anything about it. And then what ends up happening, of course, is then they get pregnant. So now they have to sit for the kids. And then 20 years later, yeah, and I know I know, cases like this 20 years later, they finally get out of that abusive situation, after this individual has not just abused her, but all of her children. And now her children are suicidal. So do you understand

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what's happening here is that we're sitting in bad situations, passively not doing anything. And then we're taking way too long to rectify or to or to change these situations to get out of bad situations. And that's extremely harmful. So, I mean, I had one sister, she contacted me and she said, I I found out this guy is abusive. He does this he does this, he does this. Okay, sister at this point. You don't have kids. You know, this is the point where you have to get out of this bad situation. She didn't she sat few months later, I got another message from her. Guess what she says, I'm pregnant now Can I get an abortion? So the idea is that we're this, this this this habit that we

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have to just be passive is very harmful. We have to be able to take action. When action is needed. The prophet SAW Selim said that if you see something wrong, you try to change it with your hand. We are a people have action. We are a dean of action. We are not passive. We don't turn the other cheek. When we see abuse or when we see something wrong. We have to be more active and not be afraid to take action, decisive action and not put it off and not be passive. So the prophets I send them said if you see something wrong, change it with your hand. And if you cannot then change it with your tongue. And if you cannot, then at least hate it in your heart. And this is the weakest of

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faith by the earth him and his home as a literal

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Is what the Quran says. And so we know that this is a destructive path to take credit. Now this is something we tend to do unfortunately with our children. If you have a child who is righteous, that is a gift from Allah subhanaw taala and be grateful for it. Don't be ungrateful by taking credit for it. Right? It's not because you're just more amazing than Newhall is seldom. Because you aren't, right. No, Holly has silom his son didn't didn't believe he was not. He was not among the believers. And that's not because he was an inferior parent. Right? Allah subhanaw taala tests us in different ways. And Allah subhanaw taala gives his gifts as he sees fit. Now the question becomes, well, then,

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what's my role? Why should I do anything if it's not on me? And the answer is, it's part of your worship. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children It is your responsibility to set an example for your children. It is your responsibility to do everything in your power. However, the result doesn't come from you. The result comes from Allah subhanaw taala. So guidance is not in my hands, not in your hands. It's in Allah subhanaw taala his hands he is the one who guides in Nicoletta demon bap to alakina, La Jolla, howdy Masha, that you don't guide whom you love. Allah guides whom He wills. So this is something very, very important to remember in our families. If you

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have a successful marriage, may Allah continue to bless you. If you have successful children. May Allah have continued to bless you and to bless them but always, always give gratitude to Las panatela don't fall into the trap of Karuna thinking it's because I'm awesome. And by the way, that person doesn't have a successful marriage because they're just not as awesome as me. Right. This type of judgment and looking down on others is something that we really have to stop including Connie Heather was Dr. Ali welcome in our photo Rahim. subhanak columbium deca shadow Nila Helen and staff required to Lake was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh