Family, Parenting,Christmas (Counseling Session)

Salaam `Alaikum dears brothers and sisters,

We would like to thank you for joining us in this Counseling Session.

We would like also to thank our counselor, sister Aisha for answering the questions.

Feel free to send your questions to [email protected]

 

Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 | 01:00 - 03:00 GMT

Session is over.
DISCLAIMER
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.  

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Q:

Assalamualaikum, 

I am strongly inclined to choose a name for my daughter based on a name that I heard and like. The name I have selected is “Kehara” or “Kihara” (كِهارة). 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no negative meaning associated with it or any meaning whatsoever. 

Is it permitted to give a name that has no meaning and only because the word sounds beautiful to the parents? Thank you for your time. 

 

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our live session.  As I understand your question, you are choosing a name for your daughter. You are wondering if it is okay to name her this name.

An Unknown Name

The name that you have selected is a name that you heard, and you liked. You stated that to the best of your knowledge, there is no negative meaning associated with it or any meaning whatsoever. I am wondering first of all where did you hear the name? In what context was the name spoken?

Meanings of Words

In order to decide whether a name has a meaning or not, perhaps by identifying where and when you heard it and how it was said, you can infer a meaning from it. For instance, if it was stated in regards to something beautiful and nice, then that word or name would have that kind of connotation. On the other hand, if the name or the word was spoken in a negative context, then that would not be a name you would want to use, even if it sounded nice.

Further Research & Exploration

As you stated, to the best of your knowledge there is not a negative meaning associated with it the name. I gather that you have researched this name or word to clarify that there is no negativity surrounding it. I will kindly suggest that in addition to the research and inquiry you had made regarding the meaning, that you also go to the original source of where you heard the word.

Perhaps it was in a conversation with a friend, perhaps it was in a book you read, perhaps it was in a conversation with coworkers or sisters at the Masjid. In any event, if you can recall where you did hear this name and in what context, please do ask the person who said the word or name what it means to them. This is rather important because it could be a slang term. If this is the case you would not want to name your child this. I did look for the name and found several references to it. One was a Japanese name (no meaning), one was a last name in the US (no meaning), and one was on a Muslim Children’s name site (1). There it meant “Precious”.  With so many different associations and unknowns however, it is best to get a clearer meaning.

Conclusion

When we name our children, it is very important that we pick out a name that is good, righteous, and in accordance with Islamic guidelines. For instance, I knew of a family who had a beautiful daughter with a lovely name “Ginger”. Her nickname was GinGin. After their reversion to Islam and learning about the Jinn, Ginger and her mom did decide to change her name because of the negative connotation. This is just a small example, however the name you give your child is one that they may have to deal with all of their lives unless they choose to change it. Please do try to seek out the source of where you heard this name or word, please continue to search the name in other languages to see if it comes up there. Sister, I am not an Islamic scholar, therefore I would kindly suggest that if further research and inquiry does not find a definitive meaning for this name, that you do ask your local imam or our “Ask the Scholar” section. I would not want to lead you in the wrong direction. We wish you the best.

  1. https://muslimnames.com/kehara

 

Q:

 

I am looking for advice. My son is almost 12 and he has hit those preteen hormonal stages. He was always an A-B student until last year. He lost interest in school and I had to stay behind his every move to keep him on track and he got a C! He is active in all sports—soccer, baseball, basketball, and now football. He loves video games. My problem is that he has become sort of withdrawn from me.

He has always talked to me about EVERYTHING and now he just sort of “sulks” around. The main changes I have seen are that he is very unorganized—messy room, doesn’t care about assignments much, and crams dirty laundry under the bed. He is withdrawn. He is not open with me, changes friends often, and HIDES THINGS. I know the hormones are raging, I see the physical changes (the beginning of acne, hair, and now some slight vocal changes). He is so special to me and I don’t want to lose him during the teen years.

I welcome any advice to help me deal with him. He was chosen to be in the honors program this year and is doing all advanced classes. I will be so upset if he blows this. He is so intelligent, but he has started to be careless a bit about his grades. Please help!

A:

As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with your son. You stated he is almost 12 and that he has hit the preteen hormonal stages. You indicated that he has now lost all interest in school, and you have to stay behind his every move to keep him on track.

Recognizing the Reasons for Behaviors

It is a great thing that you realize that your son’s behaviors, feelings, and reactions probably do to the developmental stage that he is in. Indeed, hormones are raging, changes are occurring both cognitively, and emotionally, as well as physically. Insha’Allah, you have sat down with your son and discuss with him the changes that he is going through. I understand that he always used to talk about everything with you and that now he kind of “sulks around” and is withdrawn.

Re-bonding Time with Son

If you can find some quiet time with things that are calm to talk to him, it may help a lot. Insha’Allah take him out to one of his favorite places to eat, so the two of you can conversate. If you approach your son with the attitude that you are a friend rather than a parent, it may work out better at this stage for you. This means approaching him without judgment or criticism for his current behaviors and actions. It means approaching him with the intent of finding out how he feels about things, the changes going on in his body, as well as his thoughts. It also means sharing some of what you went through when you were his age in relation to preteen issues, dilemmas you got into with your parents, and how you navigated the preteen and teen years. By speaking with him and sharing your experiences, it may help him to feel that you are still a safe place to come to, to talk about problems he is having or thoughts he doesn’t understand. While it is important that your son does get good grades, is also important that he feels he is understood and has a safe place to come should he wish to talk. If a child feels they have someone on their side whom they can confide in, they tend to do better in other areas.

Mental Health Check Ups

Many events and situations can occur in the preteen and teen years that parents may not always be told about. These events and issues can range from feeling confused about identity, feeling guilty for sexual urges, getting bullied at school, having fears, witnessing traumatic events, and so forth. As parents, we hope our children will tell us if any of these (or other) thoughts or situations arise. However, a lot of children keep it inside and may develop depression or other mental health issues. While your son sounds like he is a typical pre-teen, insha’Allah please do keep vigilant for signs of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Keeping lines of communication open, without judgment is one of the best ways to gauge your son’s ability to handle challenges which may come, as well as the challenges he is adjusting to now-namely his changing hormones and his developmental stage.

Conclusion

You are a wonderful parent. You love your son very much and want the best for him. I am sure he knows this. As you can remember, this is a time of intense feelings, emotions, and pressures. Your son is not only going through hormonal changes, but he is also trying to figure out who he is, where he fits in, and how to navigate all this. This is a very awkward stage for most children. As this is an age when there is already a lot of pressure on a child, it is best that parents do not put a lot of undue pressure on their children. It is good to encourage them in school, give them gentle reminders about grades, cleaning, organization, and general tips and advice to help them along the path to adulthood. It is our job as parents. However intense and constant conversations about how poorly they are doing may only have a negative effect on their growing self-esteem and self-confidence. As the teen years are coming very quickly, I am sure that if you continue to create that bridge between the two of you, the teen years will not be so difficult.

Begin friendly conversations now, comment frequently on your confidence in him, encourage him in his tasks, thank him when he does something around the home, and share your experiences of when you were his age. Insha’Allah this will help him on the path towards self-confidence and success. There will be bumpy times no doubt (as you are going through now), but insha’Allah the two of you will get through them, bond, and you will be an anchor for him during turmoilous times. This age and developmental stage will not last forever, although it may feel as if it is :-). Before you know it, your son will be a young man in college and these days will be memories. While these can be trying times, insha’Allah you will look back at them one day and smile, knowing you did a good job with your son, staying by his side, encouraging him, and providing space for him to grow. We wish you the best.

 

Q:

As-Salamu `Alaykum.

I am an American Muslim born into a Muslim family. I am now in the process of learning much about Islam and I have begun to pray. My children go to an Arabic school and have been learning about this wonderful religion. My husband and I enforce this good behavior at home. However, I have a question. We as children just wanted the gift aspect.

I also wanted to enjoy the Santa phase so I now bring out the ‘`Eid tree’ and hang candy on it. It comes out at `Eid and goes back in the box two weeks later. My children know this as the `Eid tree. Is this acceptable? I teach my children to respect different peoples’ religions, but to cherish theirs.

A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our live session. As I understand your question you are speaking about an Eid tree that you use for Eid to hang candy on. You stated that it comes out on Eid and goes back into the box two weeks later, and your children know this is the Eid tree. You want to know if this is acceptable.

Learning More About Islam

Historically you are an American Muslim born into a Muslim family. You are recently learning more about Islam and you have started to pray. Your children  go to an Islamic school and have been learning about Islam as well. As it is Christmas time I am thinking that your question is referring to Christmas, the Christmas tree and your Eid tree, but I am not sure. Please forgive me.

Eid Trees and Christmas Trees

As with other Muslims, it is possible that you had previous celebrations of Christmas in a cultural-traditional context with friends or family members and your current concern about this Christmas, is whether the children will be confused seeing Christmas trees, as they associate trees and gifts with Eid.  I am not sure of their ages, but perhaps this is the first Christmas holiday that they will be aware of trees other than Eid trees. Muslims celebrate Eid in many festive ways. Some hang lights, some put up trees, some decorate their entire home. There are many ways in which Muslims get festive for Eid. If you are unsure regarding Islamic rulings on trees for Eid (I am not an Islamic Scholar), please do consult our “Ask the Scholar” section.

Seeing Christmas Festivities or Partaking in Festivities

In regard to possibly celebrating Christmas, if you have been celebrating Christmas with friends of family in the past in a cultural context, meaning there is no religious aspect to it, then there is no harm. Aboutislam (1)  states that  ’Muslims are allowed to share with non-Muslims in their joyous occasions, wishing them happy holidays, even send greeting cards to your Christian friends, relatives or neighbors. If they give you gifts, you should thank them and accept them with good cheer and should also remember them at the times of Islamic holidays. Therefore, there is nothing in Islam that prevents you from being with your family during Christmas, at least to show them that you are part and parcel of them even after your conversion to Islam.”

Additionally, ’ the Qur’an  states “Keep their company with kindness in this world, and follow the path of him who turns to Me.Then unto Me will you return, and I shall tell you what you did.” (Luqman 31:15)”

Therefore it is advised to “accept invitations from your family, share their happy times with them, and eat any kind of permissible food with them, which excludes pork, intoxicants, and that which has been dedicated to idols. Also, you should not participate in any religious rituals associated with non-Muslim beliefs.” (2).

If you are concerned that the children will be confused about the holiday given they associate a tree with Eid, I would kindly advise that you speak with them about the similarities and differences between Eid and Christmas celebrations, your use of a tree for Eid (and why), as well as define your expectations of them concerning any participation in Christmas festivities. Insha’Allah, please ensure the children fully understand the differences, as well as their religious obligations for Eid. There are many wonderful children’s books on this topic.

Growing in Islam-Changing Holiday Formats

As you and your family are learning more about Islam and you do have a dedicated Eid tree, I would kindly suggest that you keep that tree just for Eid. As the children know this tree is for Eid, it would be confusing for them if they thought it was also for a Christmas celebration. If you do participate in family or friends oriented traditional celebrations for Christmas, I kindly suggest ensuring that the children know the difference. As you, your husband, and children are growing in Islam, if you did (or plan to) partake in festivities, perhaps it is best to do so out of your home as everyone in your home-is Muslim. Perhaps now is the time to reaffirm Islamic holidays as our holidays.

Teaching Children

I admire how you are teaching your children. You stated that you teach your children to respect other people’s religions, but to cherish ours. That is an Islamic trait which is very valuable. As we expect others to respect our religion, we are to respect theirs.

Conclusion

While we respect other religions and some Muslims may partake in some of the holiday festivities from a cultural and traditional perspective, we are not to participate in any of the religious rituals. Your children must understand this. Please continue to teach your children as you have been-with respect for other religions, but also teach them where to draw the line when it comes to partaking in other religions holidays and festivities. There is a balance, I am sure you will do a wonderful job with your children regarding this. We wish you the best.

1.https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/celebrate-christmas-family/

2.https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-scholar/muslim-creed/celebrating-christmas-family-permissible/

 

Q:

I am a mother of four children between the ages of 6 -12. My problem is how to bring them up as positive, secure, confident children while their father is totally the opposite of all these characteristics. A father is supposed to be the source of protection and emotional security for the children and hence he should be secure and confident himself

This is totally the opposite with my husband; as a child he was brought up in a way that made him grow up lacking self-confidence, lacking trust in people and feeling insecure. The problem is that he tries to compensate for his insecurity and lack of self-confidence by continuously negatively criticizing my kids, continuously blaming them on every trivial mistake, making fun of them as if joking with them, scolding them in front of people, belittling their achievements.

I tried so many times to convince him that such behavior would have extremely negative effects on their personalities but he always argues that this is the best way of ‘tarbiah’  and that you should magnify the mistakes so that a child never repeats his mistakes, etc. I don’t know what I should do especially when they feel depressed or frustrated. Shall I be on their side and tell them their father is wrong? Or should I try to protect the image of the good father and to appear as if their father and I are one unit and not having contradicting views and thus preventing them from getting confused about who is right and who is wrong?

 A:

As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to our live session. I am sorry to hear about your situation at home with your husband and children. As you stated you have four children between the ages of 6 and 12. You describe your husband as growing up lacking self-confidence, lacking trust, and feeling insecure. You state that he tries to compensate for his insecurities by constantly criticizing the children, blaming them for every little mistake, making fun of them, scolding them front of people, and belittling them for their achievements.

Husband is Emotionally Abusive Towards Children

Sister this kind of treatment of children is emotionally abusive. It is likely that your children will grow up feeling very negative about themselves. It could be that they may develop depression or other mental health issues due to constantly being criticized and belittled. As they are between the ages of 6 and 12, they are at a very impressionable age. The way you described how your husband treats the children is rather traumatic. The way he treats the children is not in accordance with Islam. If we look at our beloved prophet (PBUH), he did not belittle, criticize, nor make fun of children. He was very gentle and loving with children. Perhaps you need to bring this point up to your husband, who seems to think that  it is Islamic to treat children in such an abusive manner.

Speaking with Husband

As your husband grew up dysfunctional, it is unlikely that he will be willing to change his ways now. Alhamdulillah if he does, but it is unlikely. Only Allah knows. Sister, I would kindly suggest insha’Allah that you speak to your husband in private and inform him that the way he’s treating the children is not Islamic, it is destructive, harmful, and abusive and can no longer be tolerated. Base your conversation with him on the Qur’an, hadiths, and illustrations on how the prophet (PBUH) treated children and others.

Counseling for Husband

I kindly suggest that at this point, you ask your husband if he would be willing to go to family counseling with you. This would be for your husband, with you there as a support. This is not marriage counseling, but it is family counseling to help him see the errors in his methodology with the children. Insha’Allah he will agree and insha’Allah he will eventually be willing to go for counseling for his own issues.

If Husband Refuses to Change or Address Issues

If he does not agree with anything you are discussing with him, I would kindly advise you to speak with the imam at your Masjid. Insha’Allah, the imam can be of some assistance by speaking with your husband and trying counseling him, or by encouraging him  to seek counseling. If your husband is truly concerned about Islamic values and being a good husband and father, he will be open to Islamic counseling regarding parenting.

Emotionally Supporting the Children

You mentioned if you should explain to the children that their father is wrong, or to continue protecting the image of the ”good father”.  Sister, it is probably already apparent to them that he is not being a good father. Insha’Allah please do praise them for their achievements, encourage them with kind words, and ensure they know how important and loved they are.  We are to stand as one with our spouse yes, however not when it is going against Islamic principles, values or is at the detriment of a child’s well-being.  You have the obligation to inform them their father is wrong, and that they are valuable, smart, loved, and wonderful children. You also have the obligation to provide a warm, loving, safe home for them, even if it means having your husband move out if he will not get help or change.

Accountability

As both you and your husband brought into the world four children by the blessings of Allah, you both are responsible for their well-being. This includes their physical and mental well-being, as well as protecting them from any neglect or abuse, including emotional abuse. You are a wonderful mom who is very concerned about her children. I am sure your husband loves the children as well; however, he is unhealthy for them. He will be accountable to Allah for his actions. As you are aware of the situation, you will be as well, as you are expected to protect your children. You say that the children are already getting depressed.  Children should not suffer with depression due to a parent’s emotional abuse. I understand dear sister you are torn; however, as you are the only one in the home who can stop this, it does depend on your actions.  May Allah make this easy for you sister.

Counseling for a Plan of Action

Sister, I kindly ask that you to seek counseling for yourself in order to develop a plan of action to protect your children when your husband is emotionally abusing them.  I suggest seeing an Islamic counselor if possible as this will strengthen your resolve and provide additional Islamic supports.

Possible Future Outcomes

As your children have already exposed to this emotional abuse for some time now, and they are already depressed and frustrated, and at least one of them is a preteen, if the behavior does not stop the child that is 12 may start to rebel and may develop other problems trying to cope with the situation at home. All four of your children may need counseling sister.  Insha’Allah, you can avoid further damage to them by addressing the situation now. This may help reduce any faulty coping mechanisms that they have developed or may develop as they get older.

Conclusion

Sister please do speak with your husband about the treatment of the children. Ask him if he’s willing to go for counseling with you. If he refuses please do speak with an imam at your Masjid for an intervention. If this does not work he may have to move out for the children’s well-being. Insha’Allah please do seek counseling for yourself. This is not an easy path sister, but you will be blessed for your efforts in helping your children. Trust in Allah, he loves you and the children. We wish you the best.