Compassionate communication is essential in Muslim spaces, especially in the places of worship and marriages. During the ICNA 2019 convention’s “Relationship Optimization” session, Sh. Saad Tasleem talked about the critical role of positive interpersonal communication in masjids.
Communication in Masjids
Almost half of US Muslims surveyed said they attended the masjid once a week or more.
Tasleem noted that many Muslims express frustration with attending their houses of worship, often becoming alienated. “Masjids will never be perfect because they are run by human beings.”
However, Tasleem stressed the importance of improving masjids instead of abandoning them.
“The answer isn’t to get rid of the masjids. The answer isn’t to get rid of the places where we come together. We must make it our personal responsibilities that our masjids become welcoming places. Make experiences pleasurable for Muslims.”
He advised listeners to appreciate the importance of personal interactions between congregants.
“It’s not about the imam or the board members. For a lot of people, they never see the imam; they never see the board. The [impression] of a masjid is defined by the first person that they meet. I’ve spoken to people who have left after their first experience and people who became Muslim because of the first experience they had with the first person who said hello, welcome and gave them a sense of peace.”
Tasleem mentioned that everyone should have some accountability when it comes to making masjids inviting and safer social spaces and not to blame each other.
“It’s easy to point fingers. It’s easy to say, ‘no, it’s their fault. It’s the uncles.’ I hear that a lot. It’s the older generation. They’re too judgmental. What I see, is that the judgment is still there. It’s just that we’re judgmental about different things.”
The older generation may be judgmental about the way we look and dress, but in this generation, sometimes we judge people for not being woke enough. Unless that judgment stops. Unless we understand that this jama’ah is important to all of us, then we cannot change the world.”
Tasleem encouraged compassionate communication even when Muslims experience differences.
“As human beings, we are going to definitely differ. There is no world we are living in where we are not going to have differences. If we can’t support, be there for and be kind to one another despite out differences, then we are never going to be good to one another.”
Before making a closing dua, Tasleem extended the need for communication into marriage.
“If a husband and wife were only good to each other when they agreed with each other, [the] relationship is not going to last very long.”
Dunia Shuaib emphasized that:
“The first step to healing humanity actually starts at home by healing our homes.
“It’s no secret that we are living in extremely challenging times and stress levels are on the rise due to so many different factors. One of the most relationship optimization hacks that we can learn is learning how to manage stress.
Stress impacts our relationships more than we’re aware.”
Shuaib explained that couples dealing with increased stress fight more frequently, have feelings of sadness and anger and are more likely to withdraw from each other, subsequently feeling disconnected. She underlines
“Partners who learn how to practice [and apply] healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stressful situations, it actually strengthens relationship durability over time.”
Shuaib offered seven relationship “hacks” to cope with stress and communicate with partners.
1. Recognize Stress Symptoms
“We need to know when we’re stressed so we can take a break. It’s important to know and identify what triggers you [and] what triggers your spouse.”