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How to Know if You Are a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman?

More often than not, when we hear lectures about gender roles and responsibilities in Islam, these pertain to women alone.

Occasionally, I hear a lecture dealing with men or male responsibility, but it’s done only with criticism.

But there’s no discussion of a solution. We’re really good at pointing out the problem, but not so good at dealing with it.

Someone can tell me that I need to be a good son, a good husband, or a good father.

Unfortunately, no one is telling me how to actually be these things, especially through the lens of Islam.

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The absence of strong, male role models in society in general, and within the Muslim community in particular, makes it much harder for a young Muslim man to know what the word “responsibility” really means in a religious setting.

How many of us were taught how we’re supposed to treat women from an Islamic standpoint versus a cultural standpoint? It’s important here to not think in absolutes.

Meaning, not knowing how to treat a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that one mistreats women.

How to Know if You Are a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman? - About Islam

Has anyone ever sat us down as young men and even explained to us how to respect and uphold our responsibilities? And then did we see those words manifest into actions by the male figures we admired while growing up?

If I don’t know what my responsibility is as a young man, how will I really know what to look for when I am trying to find a woman to spend the rest of my life with? More importantly, why would anyone want to marry me?

True Stories Among Us

I travel a lot for speaking engagements. On a trip to the south, I was approached by an elderly man at a mosque after a lecture I gave.

He asked me if I could speak to him in private, and when we sat down, he began to cry.

He said that when he was younger, his father hardly spoke to him.

He only really engaged with his son when he did something wrong. His father was always very somber and distant.

This now elderly man found himself being the same way with his wife and children after he got married.

How to Know if You Are a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman? - About Islam

His wife left him eventually, and then his children stopped talking to him.

He said his father never seemed happy in his marriage or with his children.

So he didn’t think it was a big deal that his own marriage wasn’t a happy one. Nor that he never tried to be a part of his own kids’ lives.

He was alone now, after seven decades of living. He had no idea how to bring them back into his life, and regretted not ever learning how to be a better father to them.

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