|Ramadan Parenting Challenge 2014|
The believers are but a single brotherhood. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy. (Qur’an 49:10)
Muslims are united in brotherhood. We treat each other well. Anas bin Malik reported Allah's Messenger (s) as saying: Neither nurse mutual hatred, nor jealousy, nor enmity, and become as fellow brothers and servants of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim that he should keep his relations estranged with his brother beyond three days. (Muslim 32:6205)
We want the best for our fellow Muslims. Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself." (Bukhari 2:12)
Muslims have empathy for each other. Nu'man bin Bashir reported that Muslims are like one body of a person; if the eye is sore, the whole body aches, and if the head aches, the whole body aches. (Muslim 32:6261)
Empathy is the ability to place oneself in another's situation and feel what the other person is feeling. This is an important attribute for Muslims to have as it fosters brotherhood, charity, kindness and other characteristics that are central to Islamic teachings.
Without empathy it is difficult to feel any mercy, love, kindness or any considerations for others.
To encourage empathy in children for others, parents need to:
- Focus on others’ distress: "He is sad." "She is frightened."
- Focus on child's role in causing the distress: "When you push her, she is frightened." "He is sad because you hit him."
- Provide scripts: "It is nice to be helpful." "Allah loves those who are kind." "I like to share."
Challenge for today is to:
- Treat others well.
- Wish others well.
- Be empathic.
- Teach your children empathy.
Do these and continue to do them for the remaining Ramadan.
Note: The above is an excerpt from my parenting book ‘Guiding Children’s Behaviour: From An Islamic Perspective’ where empathy is one of the strategies from among 13. To read more about empathy and the other strategies, click here.