Muslim culture

Dictatorship in Muslim Families

By Karim Serageldin

There are those that use Islam as a power tool to get their cultural agenda's or personal wants applied by their children. Things are said like "If you do not do what I say, you will go to hell." OR "Allah will punish you, or I will disown you." This method is used by some parents to abuse children. One example I encountered lately is this reflection of a bright teen in search of truth.

"I feel like they (parents) only want me to follow their Islam, or they want me to study Islam to come to their beliefs, to be just like them, but I don't want to be like them. I am always associating God with fear and discomfort because of them, God is their "punisher."Even when I study Islam and bring my own views, they ridicule me if it is not in synch with their beliefs. On top of that, they seem miserable as people, always fighting and being aggressive. How am I supposed to have a connection to this religion that they claim is true, when they act so bad all the time."

{Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought: Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.} (Quran 2:286)

Cosmetic Muslim Culture

By Karim Serageldin

Some Muslim cultural family systems over emphasize external standards of success and outer evaluations. In other words "what people think, what people will say, we must keep up appearances, we need to show off or show them off." This type of thinking and feeling leads to cultural-relational norms that invest so much time on the social-surface-status-polish that the real inner work becomes absent and forgotten. This is why we see some people having 'eebadat' (worship rituals) in practice but their 'mu'malat' (social character) is foul. This is why we see some people obsessed with appearance and perceived prestige that they can even use religion to boost the ego. Subhan'Allah.

This disconnect is one of the main diseases of our times, we care too much about what others think and how they will judge or perceive us that we forget Allah's Countenance in the process. It is like having Social Make Up on- it's not REALLY YOUR FACE- it's time we make this life about true spiritual transformation within ourselves and families in presence of the Divine.
No one will be with you when you meet your Lord. No brands of clohting will protect you, no community will be called by the university they attended or the language they spoke. You will be called by your nation of faith and brought forth alone as a soul for your reckoning. All those "people" you tried to please or show off in front of will be quivering in their own shame and drowning in their own sweat, on a day where there is no avail other than your sincerity of heart and your actions.

May the Divine guide, forgive and protect us and increase us in sincerity, Amin.