How do single Muslim women in America raise their sons in Islam? By Shaykh Abu Muhammad Luqman Ahmad

fatherlessBismillaahi Arrah’maan Arraheem

Kids have a hole in their soul the shape of their dad and if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed” – Roland warren

There is no easy answer to this question. Traditionally, it has been the duty of a father to raise his son in the proper way of becoming a Muslim man. If not the father, than the task should go to the grandfather, or the uncle, or to the older brother who has grown up as a Muslim and had become a man in the true and proper sense. However in today’s time we are crippled with the sad reality that many men who provide the sperm are absolutely worthless as fathers. Many are in jail, others are drugged out, selfish, lazy, absent, and many are dead, either through unforeseen occurrences or risky behavior and street life. Still the fact remains that there are many Muslim women with sons and no husband or man available to help them raise him in the proper way to manhood. So the question is; what is such a sister to do? Ideally, every sister should have a guardian that can check the brother our before marriage to test his worthiness not only as a husband but as a potential father. Real fathers know that it is absolutely essential that they pass down manhood and Islam to the next generation, and they will do what they can to see that this occurs. However, this rarely happens these days so let’s deal with the reality.

Like I said, there is no easy answer to this quandary and my heart goes out to all the single women out there who are struggling to raise their sons in Islam. The following are a few salient points to consider if you are one on these women. These points provide no guarantee that your son will survive street life, drugs, gangs, and the type of behavior that will inhibit his reaching maturity. However, if you follow these guidelines, you will increase the likelihood that your son will learn to be a Muslim man.

  1. Teach your son about Allah, as early as you can and about the shaitan. Let him know that there is a heaven and a hell and that he is subject to go to either. If he becomes afraid of Allah’s wrath, or afraid of going to hell then that is a good thing. He will learn to love Allah at the same time he learns to fear Him. Your son should learn early on that after it’s all said and done, he will have to stand before Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and that you will not be able to help him when that time comes.
  2. Make your son responsible for his prayers and his religious obligations. You have to start this early on without hesitation, and you must enforce it. You must do it before the street gets a hold of him. If you wait too long, then you will have problems.
  3. Understand that you do not own your son, and that he is only placed in your trust. Our children are a trust, entrusted to us from Allah. Some women think that they own their sons and do not let them up from under their skirt, even after they become adults.
  4. 4.       Do not treat your son like he is your husband. Some sisters raise their sons to take on a almost husband role in the family, and when that happens, they are afraid to let him go or have him stay on out of a sense of guilt. This have proven to be a bad situation for many Muslim men who find themselves well into their thirties living under the mantle of their mother. After a while, they lose the will to be men on their own. Remember that the window of opportunity for raising a boy to a man is short, and you don’t want to overstep that window by making him like your husband because if he is the role of your husband, it is likely that he won’t be able to be a good husband to anyone else.
  5. Reject the mindset that says that a woman does not need a man to help her raise her son. This mindset is completely false. Men have been raising boys ever since human beings populated this earth. That doesn’t mean that a woman cannot successfully raise a boy to manhood by Allah’s permission. However, the standard remains that men are best suited to raise men; and that will never change.
  6. Teach your son to take care of himself. Teach your son how to bath, wash and iron his own clothes, how to cook, how to make up his bed, how to put out the trash, how to clean his room, how to comb his hair, how to use deodorant and how to shine his shoes. Of course these things are taught in stages. The rule here is to be careful not to mommy him all of his life, especially once he reaches puberty.
  7. Make sure that your son respects you and your authority. From a very young age, you must make it clear to your son that you are in charge of him and that he must respect your authority. You must raise him in the atmosphere of Islamic discipline and reverence for the mother. Don’t tell your 10-year-old son that he is the man of the house and give him equal decision-making capacity as his mother.
  8. Make sure that your sons gets a basic Islamic education and start early as possible. Make certain that your son is somewhere learning about his religion. Whether it be at home, at the masjid weekend school. Jum’ah khutbas, videos, paid tutors, brothers at the Masjid, lectures, family nights at the masjid, or a full-time Islamic school, if available and you can afford it. However, do not hesitate to make some sacrifice so that your son can learn about who he is and should be as a Muslim. Don’t raise him on toys and television and then later lament the fact that he doesn’t know anything about his religion.
  9. Teach him that he is responsible for the consequences of his actions. Don’t take the attitude that his lapses in judgment are cute, or that he can do no wrong and don’t make excuses for him all the time. Give him a little room to make some choices but let him realize that he has to live with the choices that he makes. This way he will learn early on that perhaps he should make better choices. The first time he runs afoul of the law, don’t rush to his rescue. Let him deal with the consequences.
  10. Teach him good adab and character. Teach your son how to say please, thank you, yes mam and yes sir, how to give and respond to salaams, how to say excuse me, how to say I’m sorry, how to speak clearly and not mumble, how to give a direct answer, the importance of telling the truth, how to wash before eating, how to make wudu, and how to take a ghusl.  Adab and character are the means by which a person can accumulate knowledge, good habits, attract good people, and absorb religious teachings seamlessly. If he has no adab and bad character then he will repel good and absorb evil.
  11. Do not give him an allowance that he does not earn. Teach your son that he has to earn his way through life. Teach him that he is not entitled to anything more than food clothing and shelter and that everything else above that must be earned either by behavior, or by hard work. When your son lands a part-time job as a teenager, make him pay rent, pay a bill or contribute in some financial way to the family. One of the first things that a man leans is that he must share his wealth, and that he must spend money on other than himself.
  12. Stay close to the masaajid and to congregation. I realize that many Muslims, especially converts are not a part of any Muslim congregation or extended family unit. Raising your son by yourself outside of a Muslim congregation or an extended family unit will almost insure that he will have a hard time becoming a man. Many times he will end up a ward of the state. The only people today who actively engage in maintaining Muslim communities are grown Muslim men because that is a task that only men can do. Boys do not maintain communities and masaajid; that is a man’s job. When you become part of a Muslim community led by men, then your son will learn from them, learn their ways, and listen to their conversations and in many cases there will those who take him under their wing for a time to teach him this or that because that is what Muslim men do. Most qualified and enlightened Imams are very sensitive to the issue of our Muslim boys. Find an Imam that you can trust and make him aware of your son’s presence.
  13. When your son is ready to take on the responsibility as a man, let him do so. Here I am talking primarily about taking care of himself, paying his own bills, and marriage. If he feels ready to move forward as an adult, then make sure he understands the things you taught him and let him go. Don’t hold on to him for fear he will fail or because you still want to be the mommy that provides his every need. Let him go forth with what he has learned and meet the challenges of life head on. It is natural that as a mother you will be afraid for him and have your concerns, but you will have to put your trust in Allah.

I wrote this in response to a sister’s query on social media. The above mentioned points are not a catch-all solution for how to raise Muslim boys into men; however, they are proven principles that will greatly enhance your son’s chances at not ending up another statistical joker in sha Allah. Wal allahul Musta’aan.

Imam Abu Muhammad Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad is the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center of Sacramento and Executive Director of Wadia Islamic Academy, a weekend school for Muslim children in Sacramento CA

An American Imam Weighs in on the Same Sex Marriage Debate, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

Same sex marriage debateIn case you haven’t noticed, the Devil (Shaitaan) is taking his fight for our souls and the souls of our children into high gear. Only a small number of people will survive the new wave of satanic thought being thrust upon us, so now is the time to dig in by stepping up our efforts to hold fast the Book and to the sunna of our Prophet (SAWS).  The greatest weapons and defense that we have is our faith, our scripture, and our steadfastness. Remember; just because you do not see Shaitaan in the flesh does not mean that he, his allies and his forces are not attacking you, your family and our community.

As the national debate around same-sex marriage heats up (awaiting a Supreme Court Decision),American Muslims may be called upon to take a public stand on the issue; especially if it passes. Either way, this matter and the reality of homosexuality and lesbianism in America, will remain at the forefront of national discussion for a long time to come. The homosexual lobby is relentless as this is an important fight for Shaitaan and there seems to be no letting up until everyone in America accepts this unholy lifestyle. Privately, most Muslims are very clear about homosexuality and lesbianism; they reject it outright, and it is clearly prohibited in Islam. Same  sex marriage for most Muslims is out of the question. Whether or not homosexuality exists in the Muslim world, is a matter of debate. Lots of evidence points to the affirmative but that is another discussion altogether.   Still, public discussion one the question of same-sex marriage is difficult for many Muslims, and much of the Muslim political leadership are reluctant to take a definitive stance on it.  This is for a couple of reasons; the first is that during such a time as now when some of our own religious rights and liberties have come under fire, gay and lesbian groups and individuals have been limited allies to Muslims in our own struggle for religious equality in the United States. Thus, any public stance on the matter by Muslims leaders, Imams, and political activists, risks the potential backlash from that group and from the political Islamic groups and advocacy groups why tacitly support their agenda in order to to garner recipricol support in the very profitable multi-billion dollar, anti-islamophobia industry.  By the way, that’s called politics.

Another reason is that in the effort to be as mainstream as possible, we have in some ways backed ourselves in a corner, and coming out, (no pun intended) on the wrong side of the same-sex marriage debate will signal that we as Muslims are definitely different, and it will highlight the fact that the moral roots of our faith, which are markedly conservative, are not in sync with the current national trend of the rest of the country in accepting same-sex marriage and by proxy, homosexuality. “And to Lot, too, We gave Judgment and Knowledge, and We saved him from the town which practiced abominations: truly they were a people given to Evil, a rebellious people”. [21:74].

Some Muslim leaders, including some imams have remained on the fence about the same-sex marriage issue, and homosexuality. And somevImams have just straight cone out. There are already at least one openly gay imam in America.  some are nervously silent, and some have already capitulated and we are already starting to see gay Mosques and gay friendly communities of Muslims in Europe and in the United States. One so-called American Imam has gone so far as to publicly proclaim his homosexuality. So let me get this out of the way; I declare here and now that I am against it, and against the practice of homosexuality on the grounds that it is hated by God and that He has destroyed an entire people because of it; “We sent against them a violent Tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them), except Lot’s household: them We delivered by early Dawn” [54:34]

Let’s face it; homosexuality has become ingrained in our society, and admittedly, gays and lesbians make valuable contributions to the society like everyone else; in medicine, industry, law enforcement, the military, social services, science, education, and of course, the arts. That is a fact. So it is not totally implausible that people may empathize with them as a group, or with individuals that they know personally, even if they do not agree with the practice of homosexuality itself. Even the Prophet Abraham/Ibrahim pleaded on their behalf at first;” When fear had passed from (the mind of) Abraham and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with us for Lot’s people”. [11:74].

Many of us, have gay or lesbian co-workers, neighbors, employees, associates, and family members, who do us no personal harm so the issue for many of us, is closer than we would like. I have worked alongside gays and lesbians in political work. In fact my woman who hired me at the Pensylcania Public interest Coalition, Patty Snee, was lesbian and although wevdidhr see I to I. On the gay issue, the gay and lesbian and pro-gay, pro-choice, and pro- same-sex marriage folks who trained me in issue and electoral politics back in my early to mud-twehties, were awesome folks to work with and they were light years beyond many close minded people as far as understanding hand respecting Muslima. My personal experience with many days and lesbians has always been that they were actually, cool people, with many of the same quirks and ups and down like other people. Because of this and because of the aforementioned political considerations, it is difficult for some Muslims to even talk publicly about the issue of homosexuality or lesbianism with any conviction. This is another reason why we hardly see it addressed by Muslims publicly in the United States.

Nevertheless, as the issue is being heaved upon the public like a ton of bricks, to the extent that a person could lose his or her job for being anti-gay, bolstered by such arguments that; homosexuals and lesbians are good people, or they are my relative, or that we shouldn’t judge, or they can’t help it, it is understandable although lamentable that some Muslims are starting to crack and accept the practice of same-sex marriage. I’m not saying I agree; I’m just saying it’s understandable since all of the above may be true, and granted, there is hardly anyone who is all bad in every aspect of their lives. However, There are murderers who give generously in charity are good people otherwise, there are pedophiles who teach grade school, and are otherwise good people, there are thieves who smile in your face, and help little old ladies across the street and are otherwise good people, there are rapists who volunteer at charitable organizations and do a good job, and there are criminals of every type who readily engage in their crimes, but are otherwise are good people. However, none of that excuses the sin or the nature of it according to our understanding as Muslims.

Open or Hidden sin

It’s not the just the sin itself that we are talking about; everyone commits one sin or another, based upon the prophetic tradition; “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not commit sin Allah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin then pray for forgiveness.” [1] It’s one thing to commit sin, if the homosexuals are overwhelmed by their lower desires, and men have sex with men and women have sex with women, while acknowledging it to themselves that they are committing sin. Then this has been the case for thousands of years, before they came out of the closet. However, it’s another thing to openly pronounce that your sin, is not a sin, when God has said otherwise, and it’s still another thing to say openly and proudly that you are a homosexual, that there is nothing wrong with it, and wanting society (Muslims included) as a whole to accept that there is nothing wrong with it, all the while we have scripture that we believe is the divine word of God Almighty saying otherwise.

At that point, the believer has to make a decision; do we accept the premise that God’s word is not true, that His promise is not true, that His judgment is not true, that His Prophets (AS) Lot, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad all were not telling the truth; that they all were liars? Or do we accept the premise that Allah Himself, be He Exalted and Glorified, was unjust when he punished the people of Sadam for homosexuality? The current ideological onslaught is not to get people to engage in homosexuality and lesbianism; it is simply to get people to accept that it is okay, that it has no moral consequence, and that it shares the same status as heterosexuality. For the Muslim, this is enough to constitute heresy. This is how the Shaitaan/Satan attacks; he goes after the heart and the belief system first, then after that, the body is sure to follow. The dilemma here is that accepting any of the above, constitutes heresy according to what we believe. This is America and people are entitled to do as they please, believe as they please, say what they want and advocate whatever they want. So we are not trying to force our beliefs upon anyone else, but at the same time, we are not supposed to change what we believe, in order to satisfy homosexuals, and lesbians.

Human beings have built within them, an inclination to do sin of all types, which is why the Prophet (SAWS) said: “all the sons of Adam (mankind) commit sin and the best of those who sin are those who repent[2]. However, the issue of religious sanctity is that we recognize moral standards according to what Allah revealed and that we work to suppress our lowly desires, or to channel them in ways that are permissible. Some people, if not most, or all of us, struggle with sin their entire life. That is the nature of being tested in this life. However, once we abdicate the commitment to uphold the truth, then there is no sense to being a Muslim at all.

The issue with same-sex marriage is that Allah has ordained that marriage as something that occurs between a man and a woman or women. When Eve was created, she was already Adam’s wife. Thus if anyone believes that the divine marriage design matrix as fashioned by Allah, is not the proper way, the best way, the ordained way, and the way that is best for human beings living on the planet earth that Allah has created, then they are saying that Allah’s plan and design for men and women is faulty, that it is flawed, and no matter how you slice it, that is disbelief.

Regardless how any one of us feels personally about a gay or lesbian that we my know, or a family member; it is still against God’s divine law and an abomination, no matter how nice they are, how well they dress, and how helpful they are in other areas. We are not responsible for their homosexuality and lesbianism; however, we are responsible for what we believe about homosexuality, lesbianism and gay marriage. Especially after our scriptures and sacred religious cannons are clear on the issue.  We as Muslim Americans are obligated by God to hold fast to our beliefs, and not give in to modern trends where there is no moral right or moral wrong; where everything is neutral for that is the worship of hawaa [whim].

Time magazine has on its cover, a picture of two men kissing each other and a picture of two women kissing one another cover under the caption: “Gay marriage already won”. So for anyone who is still under the delusion that Iblis is not directly engaged in spiritual warfare and that this is not a battle for the souls of people, then wake up, and think again ; “And on them did Satan prove true his idea, and they followed him, all but a party that believed”. [34:20].

Conclusion

I do not ask people about their sexuality: it is none of my business, and if they want to keep it private to themselves that is fine with me. The people whom I had interacted with in business, education, neighborhood, and neighbors who have been gay or lesbian, have been honest, caring, good neighbors, and people whom I’ve had no problems with. Furthermore, I would not refuse to hire someone, work for someone in a lawful enterprise, or buy or sell from someone because they are gay, nor do I advocate that any Muslim or non-Muslim do such a thing. Nor would I refuse to feed, clothe, or extend charity, kindness, or assistance to a gay person who is not fighting me in my religion and not trying to remove me from my home, based upon the verse; “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just[3]. Nor will I go around, or advocate calling gay people detestable names in their face, or harassing them because neither our Lord be He Exalted and Glorified, nor our Prophet (SAWS) commanded us to do such.

The Prophet (SAWS) did not harass the mushrikeen (polytheists), and worshipping gods other than Allah is the greatest sin.  Homosexuality is also a grave sin but not as grave as polytheism. The Prophet (SAWS) did business with the polytheists and unbelievers, he showed kindness and charity to them, and he instructed us to do the same, under normal circumstances. So gays and lesbians deserve no less.

Although we are on different sides of this debate, we should keep our disagreement with homosexuals in perspective. Gays and Lesbians are free to believe what they believe, and we are free to believe what we believe. They are free to uphold their whims and lowly desires and we are free to uphold our scripture. They will have their reckoning on the Day of Judgment and I will have mine. I cannot help them on that day, and they cannot help me. Our job as Muslims is to simply deliver the message, to hold fast to what we believe, and to practice our religion the way we ought to. Therefore, I will never accept the moral legitimacy of homosexuality; not ever. And no Muslim who believes in our scriptures ever should. The fast trending tide towards global immorality is a sign of the times and a reminder to Muslims of just how crafty Satan is in that within a span of less than fifty years or so, he managed to convince the majority of Americans, mostly who are Christian, that something that was considered an abomination for thousands of years, should now be an acceptable and supported practice.

The momentum towards legalizing gay marriage in the United States is very strong. Since 2004, 11 states[1] plus the District of Colombia, have legalized gay marriage and the status of California is currently pending before the US Supreme Court. Although I believe categorically that we as Muslim Americans should state our case on same sex marriage issue, and express our indignation and disapproval,  I don’t think we should devote too much of our resources on this issue because there are more important matters that we need to address which affect us. This issue is just another sign for us as Muslims, that shows just how easy it is to drift into heresy, and that we must step up in practicing our faith, calling to it, and remaining steadfast in the face of this as well as other heinous ideological onslaughts of our time.


[1] Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington (State), Main Maryland and Rhode Island.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Narrated by Muslim.

[2] Collected By at-Tirmithee.

[3] Quran, 60:8

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New Book Release! The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

salafi book cover amazonThe modern-day Salafiyyah, or Salafiyyism, or the Da’wah Salafiyyah has done much to highlight the Sunna of the prophet (SAWS), and its importance. However, in the process of spreading the new ideology of, “The modern-day Salafiyyah, many of its proponents have perhaps unintentionally made casualties out of the very persons for whom the so-called “da’wah Salafiyyah” was intended. Get it today at the link below or go to imamluqman.com.

Excerpts: “For many practicing Muslims, Salafiyyah is a bitter dose of questionable medicine. No one committed to this religion rejects the Salaf as-Saalih or the principles on which they agreed. However, the Salafis and their modern-day da’wah do not suit the tastes of all the righteous. Too much of their methodology revolves around character assassination, claims of monopoly on Allah’s guidance, a fanatical obsession with uncovering the faults of the Muslim”.

Another Excerpt: [Salafiyyism as presented by its modern-day adherents is not a simple methodology; it is a myriad of ideals, slogans and tendencies which burdens the average Muslim with understanding complex issues of theology, jurisprudence, exegesis, hadith methodology, language etc. It effectively abrogates the simplicity of tawheed and gradual assimilation of the Quran and Sunna, and replaces it with unreasonable demands of immediate perfection] -Imam Luqman Ahmad.

[Taken from the new book from Lotus Tree Publications; ‘The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafi Sect’ by Imam Luqman Ahmad] available now @ imamluqman.com. Get your copy of this important and pertinent book today! Wholesale quantities available.
Go to imamluqman.com to order your copy.

New Book Release! The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

salafi book cover amazonThe modern-day Salafiyyah, or Salafiyyism, or the Da’wah Salafiyyah has done much to highlight the Sunna of the prophet (SAWS), and its importance. However, in the process of spreading the new ideology of, “The modern-day Salafiyyah, many of its proponents have perhaps unintentionally made casualties out of the very persons for whom the so-called “da’wah Salafiyyah” was intended.

Excerpts: “For many practicing Muslims, Salafiyyah is a bitter dose of questionable medicine. No one committed to this religion rejects the Salaf as-Saalih or the principles on which they agreed. However, the Salafis and their modern-day da’wah do not suit the tastes of all the righteous. Too much of their methodology revolves around character assassination, claims of monopoly on Allah’s guidance, a fanatical obsession with uncovering the faults of the Muslim”.

Another Excerpt: [Salafiyyism as presented by its modern-day adherents is not a simple methodology; it is a myriad of ideals, slogans and tendencies which burdens the average Muslim with understanding complex issues of theology, jurisprudence, exegesis, hadith methodology, language etc. It effectively abrogates the simplicity of tawheed and gradual assimilation of the Quran and Sunna, and replaces it with unreasonable demands of immediate perfection] -Imam Luqman Ahmad.

[Taken from the new book from Lotus Tree Publications; ‘The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafi Sect’ by Imam Luqman Ahmad] available now @ imamluqman.com. Get your copy of this important and pertinent book today!
Go to imamluqman.com to order your copy. Or you can get it at Amazon.com.

Free Audio Khutba: Temptation and How to Deal With it According to the Quran and the Sunna by Imam Abu Maryam Luqman Ahmad

temtationTemptation can ruin you, and unless you know what to do when it comes, you might be a victim of it. How does a person deal with temptation?  During this free audio khutbatul Jum’ah at Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, we discuss temptation and the ways to deal with it according to the Quran and the Sunna. Click on the link below, wa Allahul Musta’aan

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