Leaving the Children in the Care of Others
- :Carol L. Anway
Some Muslim parents are willing to let the children stay with the grandparents or others for a few hours or overnight, but it isn't often. Muslim parents feel very responsible and have so many things they want controlled in their children's environment that those outside the Muslim family almost have to prove themselves. This is true of extended family members or even with non-Muslim neighborhood children. Careful consideration is even given when leaving children in the care of other Muslims. It is best to listen to the concerns of the parents and try to follow the rules. Such ordinary things as bathroom habits require different learning by non-Muslims. Being supportive of Muslim religious views with the children and refraining from "indoctrinating" with opposing views will be much appreciated by the parents. Care should be taken about the television programs or music that is played in their presence. Providing the right food and omitting the forbidden foods is also important.
My parents often request for the children to sleep over. The children and others have noticed my mom asking the children if they have prayed and reminding them to do so. (Appropriate if done from Islamic viewpoint!) My area of concern is my ten-year-old daughter. Mom thinks she is too young to worry about modest dress and buys her mini-skirts, which I hurriedly hide away. My daughter does not wear hijab yet, but she is accepting of the idea and very positive about it. She does dress modestly outside the house mostly in cotton printed long sleeves, loose fitting pants or a long skirt.
I visit my family on a regular basis. I let my mother watch the children for three to four hours, but with other grandchildren at my mother's it is hard for me to leave them. I worry more about my children picking up non- Islamic ideas more from peers than from adults (e.g., when nieces play Barbies they usually have Ken and Barbie dating). The cousins also have boyfriends or girlfriends at school that they talk about. My children will always be welcome at my parents, and my mother is wonderful with the kids. My family knows they do not have to change to accept me the way I am now. My child gets no different treatment than any other child except they know he can't have beer, pork, or any foods that we don't allow.
During the summer my brothers would always let their children spend a week or two with my parents, but our children never went to visit their grandparents without my husband and me. They never tried to push us or persuade us because they knew our children could not eat their food. 1 know if we left our little girl alone with my mom when she is older, she would try to Christianize her, and that I cannot abide by! The fact that I can't trust her causes me great sadness-the depth of which my husband cannot understand. I must abandon my mother for her own stubbornness but this I do, not only for the good of my marriage and family but for my own good as well. Leaving my child is difficult in that they feed him too much junk food and spoil him, which I know is usual for grands. The biggest concern is him not eating anything but halal meat, so they get upset when he can only eat fish and vegetarian meals.
My parents have assured me that if God forbid, something should happen to my husband and me, they would make sure our children would be raised Muslim and keep close with my husband's family. Both his and my family have mutual concern and respect for each other. The Daily Prayers Often in the fervent discussion regarding school prayer, no consideration is given to those who may be of a religious faith other than Christian. Muslim youth are brought up to pray five times a day with at least two of those times during the school day. Yet any consideration to providing for their needs for a place and time to pray is probably avoided in most discussions on school prayer.
This also becomes a problem for those Muslims in the business world who need to have both place and time scheduled to allow them the privacy for a few minutes, probably twice a day, to perform this obligatory practice. When they visit us, Jodi and Reza feel free to go into another room of the house that isn't being used when it is time for their prayers. If non-Muslim parents are uncomfortable with this practice, an agreement should be worked out with all parties involved. My parents are very considerate of our beliefs. They have no problems with us praying at their house, are extremely careful of what they fix us to eat, and try not to say anything offensive.
Muslims may feel very uncomfortable when prayers are offered in the name of Jesus Christ and try to avoid situations where this may occur. I am grateful that my parents understand our feelings of being in offense if we are present when a prayer is-given in the name of Jesus. They are careful to close their prayers "In the name of our Mutual God, Amen."
Adapted from: "Daughters Of Another Path (Experience of American Women Choosing Islam)" by: "Carol L. Anway"
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