Mohamedarif Suleman – Nairobi, Kenya
A lot has recently been said about changing values of our society and so on. The eternal feud between members of the older generation and those of the current one is predictably cyclic. If anything, these differences, these so-called gaps of generations have been there since time immemorial. For at no one time have the expectations and perceptions of these two varying age groups been similar. A youth has to go grow into a higher age, perhaps outside what defines youth, to accept and practice certain hard core facts. In the same tone, one has to be a youth in order to possess that zeal, that unique enthusiasm that is necessary in , say, spurring a revolution. Both sides of the coin, you may say.
Equally true are the conflicts arising between members of the opposite sex. Increasingly, both new and old couples are plunging into the inevitable conflict of individual roles in a home. The female sex, obviously wary of Islamic emphasis put on their rights are out to ask for equity, if not equality. Men, on the other hand remain strong disciples of the age-old teaching that the place of women is in the “kitchen” only. Again, a situation that has existed since marriage itself. The only difference is in the prevailing environment at the time. None of the sides are wrong, and yet neither is correct. A paradox?
Since Ramadhan, a lot of lectures have been given between the parent-child relationships. Preachers and zaakireen have on occasion gone hoarse in admonishing of the attending audience the necessity of optimum parenting. What exists presently, goes the argument, is extreme parenting. Parents are either too lax such as to let the children loose and wandering or they are so strict as to muffle the very virtues that youth is all about. Neither group is justified but given the choices at the disposal of these parents, their actions are hard to write off as abnormal. Those parents who offer freedom and immense indisposition of wealth to their children are, said to be compensating for their own lost time of luxury and affluence. Unknowingly and in the garb of love and affection, they are shoving their offspring into an unknown and unpredictable alley. Those who are too strict are too conscious of the perils of external influence, and are justifying their actions in the name of protection. Two parallel groups, none centre. Either right or left.
For Muslims, there is another violent struggle that ages a long time. Many times preachers are accused of distancing themselves from the contemporary society and levelling constant blame to the so-called “West” and “Western influences”. The proponents of such anti-Western sentiments prove the validity of their actions by the fact that the said society, due to its non-conformity to Laws of nature, are themselves dipped in social chaos, and can therefore hardly be role models to other societies. The other group feels that such attitude is anti=progress. The contention is that die to the outstanding progress that this particular sphere has offered, affords them the nature role of socio-economic leadership. If anything, their role in the upliftment of society is a matter worth emulating.
Constant struggles. Stephen Covey in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” states that “Interdependence is a higher value than independence”. In this fragment, lies the wisdom that should suffice to put an end to these traditional conflicts. If each group, minor and major were to understand that they are each indispensable, or that various actions are carried out due to some form of significant circumstance, then the world would be void of battle. This is a value higher than all others.