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The Forgotten Blessing: Giving Your Parents the Proper Treatment They Deserve

The Forgotten Blessing: Giving Your Parents the Proper Treatment They Deserve“Ali, please come downstairs and eat”, calls Haleema, his mother, for the third time. “In a minute MUM, I’m busy, you’re so difficult.. gosh.. just leave me alone!” followed with a loud slam of the door.

How many of us are guilty of this? It may not be the exact same words, but in some way we have all disrespected our parents, which they certainly do not deserve. Today’s youth have lost respect for their parents who worked so hard to raise them. It has become the “norm” to scream at our mothers. We make derogatory remarks and sometimes pretend like we cannot hear what they’re saying.

Just take a second to step back and reflect: the one who taught you how to walk, eat, speak – you consciously CHOOSE to ignore her? Continue reading

9 Practical Tips to Rebuild Our Ties of Kinship This Ramadan

9 Practical Tips to Rebuild Our Ties of Kinship This Ramadan - Productive MuslimNever has a religion emphasized the importance of maintaining the ties of kinship and building strong bonds with one’s relatives/family than the religion of Islam. With verses revealed on this topic, and many ahadith narrated about this virtue, it is ironic to see Muslims today far from this practice and not upholding their ties of kinship.

With the breakdown of the traditional ‘big’ family structures and mass migration of Muslims from villages to cities and various countries, we’ve lost touch with our relatives and our kin and unfortunately, by default, we’ve cut our ties of kinship.

Ask yourself, how many of your parents’ brothers and sisters do you know very well? What about their children? What about your grandparents and their relatives?

We must clarify that the ties of kinship meant here is not simply narrowed down to your immediate family members and a few uncles/aunts whom you commonly speak to, but anybody that is part of your family tree is considered a kith and kin that we must keep in touch with. Continue reading

Striving to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law (Part 2)

Striving to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law (Part 2) - Productive Muslim“My mother’s coming for two months,” your spouse says, gleefully, then turns to embrace you. There is a sinking feeling, even though there shouldn’t be. All of a sudden, your sense of autonomy, purposefulness and passion are all drained. I married you, not your mother, you think to yourself, but don’t actually say it. “Inshaa Allah,” instead you respond. However, your heart tightens, and you ask God to give you the strength to endure another visit.

All too often, the mother-in-law-daughter relationship is fraught with tension and resentment. Seldom do we encounter examples of these two women really thriving in their relationship. In the first article in this two-part series, I suggested ways for you to organize your kitchen and other parts of your home to improve the relationship. Continue reading

3 Productive Ways To Give Sadaqah As A Family

3 Productive Ways to Give Sadaqah As a FamilyGiving Sadaqah (charity) is not only a great way to fulfill the needs of the poor, but also serves as a purification of the heart. Therefore, it is important to instill a sense of compassion and the love for charity in your children from an early age on.

To help you achieve this, I want to focus on three, hopefully original ideas to involve your entire family when giving Sadaqah. However, since they are all considered monetary charity in one way or another, it is important to let your family know that there are many ways to give what is called physical charity: like smiling at others or removing something harmful from the road, and that every good deed, no matter how small, is considered Sadaqah. Continue reading

Striving to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law (Part 1)

Striving to Achieve a Productive and Peaceful Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law (Part 1)Years ago, I remember learning of the joint family system – not through my own family, but, rather, from a Satyajit Ray film, which depicted a young bride, largely in servitude, scorned by her in-laws. Such was my first impression. Meanwhile, my backdrop was New York City, and, what I would now characterize as glorification of autonomous young Americans, defined primarily by their own earning power and alleged independence of thought, action and spirit.

But, the world is not black and white. Plenty of New Yorkers live with their mothers, well into adulthood, many of them quite happily together with their spouses. This is no Oedipal Complex, as we were taught by the Freudian psychologists, but instead the simple act of caring for those who need extra help and trying to live in harmony. Likewise, there are countless Generation X and Y-ers in our midst who, while perhaps not living alongside their parents, are dutiful sons and daughters. Continue reading