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Not Setting a Good Example for My Daughter

Questioner

A (36_female_Canada)

Reply Date

May 19, 2017

Question

Salaam Aleykum, I have a question about my 11 years old daughter (and I am very embarrassed for even having to ask this question). I reverted to Islam Alhamdulillah, but did not enforce prayer, or fasting, or hijab upon my daughter, fearing shame at her school as she would be the only Muslim, and having to deal with very opinionated Christian mothers. Now that she is 11, I am looking to be more serious about Islam with her and helping her to see the beauty and necessity of loving and obeying Allah (SWT). However, of course she is resistant as she is entering junior high and likes her nice clothes, etc. and I don’t know how to approach this in a manner that will be easier for her to deal with. Do you have any advice on this matter? Anything that I can do would be greatly appreciated. I am currently looking for a Muslim husband, which I feel will help somewhat, and I will also wear in sha’ Allah the hijab full time at work in the fall, which will also help as well hopefully. But what can I do to approach this with her without push her away from Islam? Jazakum Allah khair!

Counselor

Answer


Example, Role model

 As-salamu `alaikum sister,

Thank you for writing us. I think you have a good grasp and feel of the situation before you. I sense that you are aware of the dangers of pushing your daughter too hard and too fast, given the fact that Islam is something new to her life, and she is probably very much embedded in her ways at this point.

For a young teen, of course, that includes certain social norms that she is probably pretty adamant about. Nevertheless, the evolution that she sees occurring in you will have an impact on her, either directly or indirectly, as you are her first and foremost role model.

role-model-

Try your best to provide truthful, honest answers in a way she can understand.

As such, my suggestion is to continue on the path you have started, by introducing Islam slowly and softly in your daughter’s life. However, also be clear with her that as Muslims things will be different at home, and she is free to help out and contribute to building this new home environment. Invite her to help you in doing this, do as many things together as you can, and help her to see and understand how Islam has touched you and changed your life for the better.

Don’t be too preachy but try to capitalize on the warmth of the mother-daughter relationship to share with her and let her see it for herself. Don’t shove it down her throat, in other words.

It’s times like these that the strength and closeness of your relationship is your greatest ally. Also, try to understand her, what she’s feeling, what reservations she has about Islam, try to answer her questions and so on.

Another very important point is to make sure that everything you do is well explained so that she sees the logic and meaning behind your new way of life. Eleven-year-old are at that stage where cognitively they are able to engage in more higher-order thinking, and they will naturally become very inquisitive and critical. Try your best to provide truthful, honest answers in a way she can understand. Mind you, it’s not easy but very important for a young teen!!

At the same time, I agree that having a Muslim husband in the home will be a huge boost, as long as you are both on the same page about how to raise your daughter and how you want the home culture to be like.

In sha’ Allah, in time your sincere dedication to Allah and His deen (religion) will rub off on your daughter, and she will want it for herself. Just be patient, be consistent, educate whenever possible and set a great example for her. And of course, make lots and lots of du’a for Allah to open her heart and allow her to see the beauty and truth of Islam, and for it to be meaningful for her.

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About Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah

Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Study’s Community Education and Youth Studies Laboratory, Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware (U.S.), his M.S. from Columbia University (U.S.) and his PhD from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies (PEKKA), Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 in the field of Youth Studies. Abd. Lateef is an American who has been living in Malaysia since 2001. He is married and has 2 children.

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