Dear Parent…

Mohamedarif Suleman

(Nairobi, Kenya)

“Yes, of course your child is the best and this is why I am writing to you – to compliment you on this wonderful being that you have brought about, and for whom I am sure you are ever-so-grateful to Allah (SWT).  I know that you must understand that just as Allah (SWT) has tested those parents with a big test by not adorning them with children, He has as well tested you greatly by endowing you with one.  For in this bounty lies your practical paper.  How you groom your child, how you prepare them, not only for this life but the eternal life in the hereafter, will immensely determine your success in passing this difficult paper.

“And yes, I do understand your challenges – to try and bring up an individual who is not only an excellent person, but is a shining example for others is a daunting, yet enviable task, for the rewards will be great, I am sure.  I know that you fear the external environment whereby the world and its leaders are advocating something totally apart from what you may have envisaged for your child, but this is a true test that you must perform in.  As a parent, you must stand up to these immense challenges and face them with a resolve that is unparalleled and a strength that is unmatched.  Allah (SWT) will, no doubt, come to your aid whenever you are stuck on account of a surmounting issue, provided that your plan of grooming is not simply to make your child a secular genius and a social animal, but something more actual, a substance much deeper.

“You are caught between meeting the economics of your home, I appreciate it, for without the extra buck, your dreams may never translate into reality, your child may never even see High School, and you may have to go around asking for loans, but do you remember the time when you had just started off yourself? I hope you do, for that past experience was cast on you by Divine Wisdom so that you may understand the issues of your child, so that you may rest your entire faith in Allah (SWT) as the only saviour from both worldly and heavenly challenges.

“As your child grows, I am delighted that you have tried your utmost by working hard to provide for good education, you have even sent your child to the Madrasah, but remember that these are simply polishing institutions, they will never replace your own input as a parent.  Now that your child has blossomed into an adolescent, you are ever-so excited about the life that is knocking at your child’s doorstep.  You are, I know, making all the prerequisite efforts in facilitating your child’s easy and convenient access into higher learning.  In doing so, I earnestly hope that you realize that this will pose an even graver challenge for you, as the chances of being inflicted with external malice and vices have just shot up multifarously.  Your vigilance now, more than ever, is paramount to the ultimate arrival at the goal you had charted out as a Muslim parent many many years ago.  Do not be conned by your colleagues in letting loose the rope of freedom lest you throw away all that you have so far done.  Naturally, you love your child more than anything else in this world, but remember that Allah (SWT) loves your child more than you can ever imagine.  And He has prescribed not the late night outings to places of vice.  Remember that the night is pregnant with untold horror – even the boldest and firmest of individuals are susceptible at this unearthly hour at the hands of Satanic agents out to fulfil Azazeel’s promise to Allah (SWT) at the moment of expulsion.  Be helpful to your child, extend deeper love by restricting nightly, unsupervised movements, ensure that you still chaperone your child so that predators of sin do not cast an unfriendly eye on them.

“Dear Parent, all that you have worked for so far, all that you have slogged over and spent sleepless nights for, will be confined to naught, should you let your guard off at this crucial moment in your child’s life.  Look at your friends, some of their children are not only chained by the habit of drinking, but some also succumbed to the potent addiction of hard drugs.  Modern day peer pressure, my friend, is not something even stalwarts of society can sometimes withstand, so do not expect your children – however smart and trustworthy you may deem them to be, to be able to cope with this crushing experience.  Engross your child in productive activity not in events of fantasy that will only help to reduce their spiritual power.  Prepare your child, my friend, for if it is not now, it never will be.

“Do engrave in your mind that in reality, our capital is not our cash value, our belongings and estates.  Good deeds will be our assets while sour ones will be our liabilities.  I find it useful to remind you of part of Imam ‘Ali (AS)’ will in which he said: ‘The wealth which is left to the heirs if properly utlised, will benefit them in the hereafter, but if they misuse it, you (parent) will be the one to bear its punishment.’

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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