|Ramadan Parenting Challenge 2014|
Not ever a word can be uttered but there is a watcher with him, ever present. (Qur’an 50:18)
As Muslims, we must be aware of what comes out of our mouth all the time. Allah warns us about slandering and backbiting: And neither allow yourselves to speak ill of one another, and neither allow yourselves to speak ill of one another behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would loathe it! (Qur’an 49:12)
In Ramadan not only do we fast our stomach but our tongue as well. Abu Hurairah relates that Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "…When any of you is fasting he should abstain from loose talk and noisy exchanges. Should anyone revile him or seek to pick a quarrel with him, he should respond with: I am observing a fast…” (Bukhari and Muslim). For what good is it to clean our stomach when our mouth continues to spew out obscenities and falsehoods? It is a contradiction to clean our stomach while our mouth remains dirty. The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “He who does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah does not need his refraining from eating and drinking.” (Muslim 2486)
We must completely abstain from lying, slandering, backbiting, cursing, abusing, giving false witness, vain talking and all other foulness that could come out of our mouth. Prophet Muhammad (s) has told us that if we can protect what is between our mouth and legs then he can guarantee a place for us in Paradise.
What this means to your parenting is you need to pay particular attention to children’s rampant habit of swearing and backtalk. Swearing is common among people these days. It has become an acceptable form of talking in society. But it is not for Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (s) never did it nor would he condone it. Unfortunately, many Muslim teenagers have adopted this style of talking. It is your duty to ensure that your children do not fall into this bad habit. Deal with it immediately if, and when, it shows up the first time and demonstrate that you have no tolerance for it. Make sure though that you yourself don’t model this bad habit (yes some Muslim parents do swear). (To read more on this, read my blog on ‘Speak good Words Not Obscenities’.)
You will find that as your child grows older, he is more likely to backtalk. This is true of my eldest. He is 12 and is beginning to question what we tell him rather than accept it quietly like he used to. He is beginning to question authority and as long as it’s done in a respectful manner then it is alright. In this situation, I would explain to him why and stop there before it becomes a back and forth game. But if, and when, it becomes unacceptable I need to be patient, to listen and understand. In this way I am modeling the correct behaviour as well as being calm and in control. True communication can only happen when both sides are calm. So do whatever is necessary to calm both sides.
Challenge for today to:
- Be aware of what’s coming out of your mouth. Ask yourself if it’s going to hurt anyone.
- Teach your children that swearing and backtalk is bad.
Do these and continue to do them throughout Ramadan.