Are We Raising Real Muslim Men?

Treat your sons like young men and your daughters like young women, because this is what they actually are.

When I go to the grocery store with the kids, I give them jobs to do. “Bring me 2 gallons of milk,” or “Grab that container of peanut butter,” or “Help me pick avocados.”

When we get to the cashier register, the kids’ job is to help me unload the groceries from the cart and onto the conveyor belt. After we finish paying, the kids help put the bags into the cart. Then they thank the cashier and wish her or him a good day and we head out.

One day at the grocery store, we needed to stop in for one or two items quickly before meeting up with some friends at the park. So we ducked into the store without a cart and ended up (of course) grabbing more items than just one or two.

As we walked out of the store to the car, an older lady saw this sight: a line of four boys each holding a plastic bag in each hand, including the toddler, followed by a mom (me) holding only her purse.
She smiled and nodded at us approvingly and told me, “Good job, mom! You’re raising men!” Then she said to my sons, “Well done, young men. You carry things for a lady.”

I thanked her for the kind words and the boys puffed up their chests at the compliment.

But the reality is, in the modern world, and particularly in western societies, there is a much-extended childhood. Adulthood is delayed with the length of the adolescence period, which traditionally has been a much briefer period of time than what we now consider to be the “teenage years.” Kids in western countries are considered to be adults only at 21 years of age, with some “adult” privileges like voting or drinking alcohol granted at 18.

There is very little accountability. I know a mother who called her 16-year-old son “a child” in order to defend his chronic irresponsibility, lack of accountability, and lack of foresight.

But as Muslims, we know that this isn’t good for our sons or daughters, or for us as parents, or for society. People cease being “just a child” when they hit puberty and become baaligh (بالغ ).

This is when they will start to be held to account for their actions and when all of their actions, good and bad, will be recorded by the angels. It’s not all fun and games anymore. They have to know their deen and act on their knowledge and be responsible. They must start training, gently and gradually, for the future roles they will fulfill and the future responsibilities they will shoulder.

Yesterday, we were driving to the park and listening to our seerah as usual, and we reached the preparations for the Battle of Uhud. Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded the Muslim army to camp near the mountain of Uhud and he began to sort and organize the men into ranks before the battle. The munafiqeen left ignobly, making some lame excuse about this open area not being a good place for a battle and beating a hasty retreat back to Madinah. Only the believing men were left.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came to a group of youths. He commended them for their intentions and for their courage, but sent them back to the city, too young to fight. Among the young ones sent back was Abdullah ibn Umar, who was 12 years old. There was also a Sahabi who was 10 years old!

Then there was a 13-year-old Sahabi who tried to make a case for himself to stay and fight. He said, “Ya Rasul Allah, I am an archer. I never miss. Give me any target to hit and I’ll hit it InshaAllah.” Hearing this, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم granted him permission to stay.

Hearing this, his friend, another 13-year-old, suddenly spoke up. “Ya Rasul Allah! You have allowed him to stay, but commanded me to leave. But I am a good wrestler. Whenever he and I wrestle, I always win.”

What was the Prophet’s response, صلى الله عليه وسلم?

He said صلى الله عليه وسلم, “Then wrestle.”

The two young men wrestled right there on the battlefield and the one who said that he always wins did win. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم granted him permission to stay and fight, along with his friend the archer. They were two 13-year-olds. Today, many parents would call these young men “just kids.”

I turned to my own sons and saw that they were sitting up and paying attention. Good.

I said to Muhammad, my eldest, “You are 8 and a half. In a few months inshaAllah, you’re going to be 9. That’s only one year younger than the Sahabi who walked with the army all the way from Madinah to the battlefield near the mountain of Uhud. Do you think he was whining that he was hungry or that his feet hurt? Do you think he asked for a snack?”

They laughed. But they looked thoughtful.

Today, we have a short-term view sometimes of this subject, and we may mistakenly treat our children like very young children in a way that may hinder their emotional, mental, psychological, and even spiritual progress and development. Our love for them, natural and justified and good as it is, may cause us to over-coddle and baby them even when they are no longer babies. We hinder their maturity with our babying.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. We have developed this idiotic habit of feeling entitled. We can’t even walk comfortably without Nike Air Max. We need those designer hoodies when it’s barely breezy. Notwithstanding our “emotional & mental health”, and “trauma” issues if someone talks to us half sensibly or merely calls a spade a spade. Oh and our whining over “internet bullying” simply takes the cake! Even by western standards, half the jokes from the 70s and 80s sitcoms would be considered seriously offensive today.

    • Society is devolving, I dread to think what it will be like in let’s say 100 years or so. The world will be run by Yasir Qadhis, Satanists and LGBT liberals. Audubillah.

  2. The biggest failure of muslim masculinity is a little moron called Daniel who tries to be 3rd-world Roosh and thinks being a Harvard diversity token is any kind of accomplishment. Come out to play, danny boy. Come out with your address, or at least a zip code.

    • What a horrible thing to say to a fellow muslim. Who needs outside threats when muslims tear each other down, and fight like this. You have a problem with Daniel? then be man or women enough to debate him on whether or not he spoke facts in line with the Quran and Sunnah. Otherwise, you’re just what was talked about in this post. An individual who has been coddled and not taught the ways of men/women. More like how to be a petulant child.

    • Very brave. Under his wife’s online article through your keyboard. I would wipe the floor with a coward like if this was a real life exchange. If you really are Muslim, fear Allah. If you’re brave post YOUR address. I’ll be glad to stop by.

    • Relax fellas.
      This troll “Turkish Muslim” Is a disgusting and abhorrent Murtad who posts garbage.
      He’s a highly insecure wimp…

    • @Turkish muslim why don’t you tell me where you are. cmon don’t be a p$#@&. your scrawny little wouldn’t even look me eyeto eye in person without wetting your pants you wanna play hardball lets go

  3. Very good article mashallah, I’m 16 and still too young for kids but I will definitely take this into account when I do become a father, all the pampering doesn’t do them any good in the long run.

  4. MA. May Allah increase you wisdom. This is exactly one of the things we need. The next generation has a lot of work to do for the ummah. We need men who see life as it is i.e. with its imperfections and not man-childs who want this life to be Jannah.

  5. This is really an informative piece of work. We should upbring our children in such a way that they can differentiate haq and kufar at the age of 10 or 12.

  6. This woman is terribly wrong. She ignores what is, for an ideal of those sahaba. We do not declare youth ready for adulthood until two criteria, physical maturity and mental maturity.

    ولا تؤتوا السفهاء اموالكم التى جعل الله لكم قيما وارزقوهم فيها واكسوهم وقولوا لهم قولا معرفا

    And don’t give the weak-minded your wealth which allah has made for you a standing and provide them from it and clothe them and speak for them words endearing.

    Surah annisa 4:5. Quran

    If your kids are saying they can’t walk, then they can’t walk.

    • She is just rearing them the way it must have been from the time of the companions, unchanged. Then the whole point of that, in our times will be; early training — to slowly change “what is”, to acquaint with the “what is” to be ready for the “what will be”, not ignore.

      People who blame the idealist of impracticability are those who do not see the potential in an ideal. We become mature when we are held accountable and are given responsibility. This is the point of the article, if I read it correctly.

      There can be times when the kids really cannot walk, but even the adults make lame excuses. The excuses cease to be lame when they mature, even if not fully adult.

      And no better ideal than the companions of the Prophet, if one wishes that his dependents become real men and women. That — considering no one is stuck at thinking we are talking about getting our children combat-ready, then I say you are right that we are looking overzealously at an ideal we cannot achieve, not now atleast.

  7. This is an excellent article. I get sick when Muslims refer to their teenagers as just kids. There is no adolescence in Islam! It was invented so that we have irresponsible youth who don’t want to listen to their elders yet they believe they are invincible and will live forever. As a single mother I told my 14 year old son that he’s the man of the house, the only Muslim man in my family. If he acts any less there will be serious consequences.

  8. One thing for sure is the environment plays a huge part in the upbringing of children. In some parts of the world, children are expected to get up early, help with the house work, feed the livestock, have their breakfast and get ready for school. On their return they once again undertake similar chores. They mature at early age and don’t see this life pattern as a burden on them.
    Likewise the children in western societies have a completely different upbringing and are wrapped in cotton wool until they reach the early 20’s. So the socio economic factors play an important role in the lives of children.

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