A very dear Brother called Humble Dad, a few days before we were to leave for our Summer Road trip to tell us that Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina was to do a talk on Time Management, especially during Ramadhan in Pittsburgh. I have a hundred and one things going on (maybe exaggerating, maybe underestimating) and the Road Trip is on my mind, but my mind was resolute on being in Pittsburgh on July 13th. My husband told me about an Aqiqah, celebration of the birth of a Muslim child, that would be the same weekend and our local Masjid was having their annual Summer Fest with rides, food, and more fun. But still I was determined, Pittsburgh July 13th.
Life was hectic. Vacations are nice, don't get me wrong, but they are alot of work as well. Most mothers/women will agree with me, coming home brings up the feeling that we need a vacation from our vacation. Between cleaning, unpacking, and returning to kitchen duty, I was overwhelmed. The first couple of days returning from our Summer road trip, I laid in bed. Humble Dad brought me food and drink and took care of most things those days. I had driven from California to Maryland by myself, just me and the kids, and my body was exhausted. After I left my bed, SEMAA began for my Beloveds. The program lasted from 10am to 1pm, Monday - Friday, which did not give me enough time to go home. The days would end and I just didn't feel like I was getting much accomplished. I was looking forward to Ramadhan, looking forward to a slower pace, looking forward to having the time to do things that really mattered. I was looking forward to learning about Time Management from Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina.
On Friday, we drove 4 hours to Pittsburgh after SEMAA ended at 1pm. Shaykh Salek's talk was to last from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, we did not arrive until after 7pm. Humble Dad missed most of the beginning of the program, I missed all of it. I thought why Allah (God) why do you want me here, if I can't attend the session. Shaykh Salek did another talk Saturday morning at the Ribat, we were able to hear some of it, but it mostly centered around questions of Polygamy which did not concern me. I was more concerned about family, disciplining of our children, our health and spiritual life. The next talk would begin at 5:30pm and we had only rented a room at the Embassy Suites for one night. I don't have to say that by the time 5:30 came, my children were cranky with no where to go, I had to deal with a temper tantrum during the talk and again I missed most of it.
Again, I went to Allah, why am I here? We were supposed to return home that night, we had planned to use our Read to Succeed: free Six Flags tickets on Sunday before Ramadhan began the following week. I was not getting anything from our trip to Pittsburgh and we were returning home that night. Then a wonderful sister informed me that Shaykh Salek would be doing a talk just for Sisters on Sunday morning and that he wants to teach the children how to perform Wudu (Wash before Prayer), she also said that my family could stay the night at her house. I took this information to Humble Dad and he said he would take Monday off to take us to Six Flags. (It was storming in Maryland on Sunday, so we are so glad that we made the decision to stay in Pittsburgh.)
This was why I was here.
**Another wonderful sister from Mali was there and she was telling me about the unrest in her homeland. Please make special duas or prayers for the preservation of Timbuktu and the people of Mali.**
Sunday was a different day than the previous days, I arrived early! I listened to and taped the whole Sister's talk and the real kicker, my prayers were answered: Shaykh Salek did the talk about family and our roles as Mothers. While Humble Dad and the other Muslim brothers took the children to the park.
Shaykh Salek is very concerned about American Muslim children and he sees a problem starting with women being outside the home. The first night of my arrival, he brought my husband close to him and said to him that he needs to make alot of money to take care of his family. The second part of that, which I am already doing is that he urges the mother to stay home with her children. He said his own father passed away when he was young, but his mother never left the home and that he is a Shaykh because of what she taught him. However, what I need to work on is being more concerned about the spiritual life of my children. He emphasized that our role is to protect our children from the hell fire. I thought about my goals for Ramadhan and this will be at the top after fasting. He talked about how important it is for children to respect and serve their parents, that this is a big part of their religion. It is important to start teaching respect at a young age, so that it becomes a good habit. He asked how many rich people do you see, where the children do not talk to their parents and the parents do not talk to their children. And if you ask them if they would give up their wealth for their relationships to be mended with their children would they give it up, they would answer in the affirmative. This shows you that the attainment of wealth & working a job is secondary to raising morally and religious children.
Shaykh Salek said that habits are established by repetition, that Deen should be taught time after time after time. He said that before we focus on the community, we need to focus on our own families. He said that in small steps by a family who was exceptional, they can be an example and help teach other families, in this way a community gets better. He said the most important thing is to raise righteous children, it is our sadaqa jariyah or our ongoing charity that continues. Lastly, he stressed how important it is to get rid of the television. He said it is a horrible habit that it is hard for people to cut off because the television is their life. It is an addiction just like fornication or drinking alcohol, etc, that must be cut off when a person becomes a Muslim. I think that this is deep that he compared television to drinking alcohol. Many people say they do alcohol or television in leisure, not realizing how addicted they are and how much control it has on their life. Shaykh Salek said that it is best to not teach our children the habit. One sister asked about what to do when our husbands do not want to get rid of the television. The translator said to give him the medical statistics of the harm of television. I believe that there is wisdom in the way our grandparents did things. If you have a husband that comes home about 6pm and likes to sit down on the couch as soon as he gets home and watch television. Then why not draw him away from this habit with having dinner ready when he comes home, so that instead of the couch, your family is sitting down together at the dinner table. Shaykh Salek believes that some husbands think television will help them relieve stress, but it is the opposite, it causes more stress. An extreme example of this is husbands that beat their wives after their team looses a football game. May Allah (God) protect our children, our husbands, our families, our communities from the turmoil of our society. Ameen.
I wanted him to talk about how divorce contributes to this problem, but I did not have the time to ask that question. It was a very beneficial talk and a reminder on what my priorities should be going into Ramadhan.
After the Sister's talk, he showed us how to make wudu. I am not going to lie to you, when I told my Beloveds that we will wait a day to visit Six Flags so that Shaykh Salek can show them how to make wudu. They were complaining saying that they already know how to make wudu, but I said this is a grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu 'Alayhi wa Salaam) and they still complained, they did not see the point. However, when this short in stature man came out onto the yard, sat down on his mat and started the miswak and then unwrapped his turban and proceeded to clean his arms, head, and feet they were moved. And I am moved to tears, just writing and remembering the beauty of such a simple but blessed event. So the son that was complaining the most said to Humble Dad, why didn't you tell me he was the great-great-great, etc grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu 'Alayhi wa Salaam). And Humble Dad and I said in unison "we did!" I knew he realized at that moment, how special this wudu was.
I had so many plans of decorating and making the house festive in preparation for Ramadhan. I was thinking I would do it the weekend before Ramadhan, this weekend, but instead my family was in the presence of a man, Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina, who gave us one of the best preparations.
We will still hang lights, it just will happen during Ramadhan instead of before it. I made a Ramadhan packet for Lil A a couple months ago, but again I have not had the time to work on it much with her. I am sharing it, my gift, Happy Ramadhan! Ramadhan Mubarek!
Ramadhan Packet download can be found on my I ♥ Islam Page
More Ramadan 2012 posts:
* Preparation for Ramadan
* Ramadhan Interior Decoration
* Ramadan for Intelligent People
* Gingerbread Masjid
* I'm Fasting
* Ramadan for Children
* A Retreat with a View
* The Post of Eid Past (yes, this title was influenced by Charles Dickens)
* Eid al Fitr 2012