Monthly Archives: June 2015

My Father: My Hero, My Inspiration

Sheikh Abdul Mateen

I can never thank God enough to have given me birth in a family that looks up to you as an inspiration.

May ALLAH (SWT) bless you with health, happiness, prosperity, guidance and a very long life… Aameen!

Hammad A. Mateen


DNA Dilemma

The most ironic part of parenting is where deep down inside parents do not want their children to become like them when they grow up. There’s no harm in thinking that way as usually all parents have purely good intentions attached to this wish. They want their children to become better human beings than they are. They want them to become more successful in life. It is generally a pack of all deficiencies parents see in their lives which they wish not to be part of their children’s future.

The interesting part here is the fact that we do not want to work on these deficiencies ourselves. In some cases, we might not even see most of them as deficiencies and may even be proud of them but would still not want our children to inherit them. It is a vicious cycle that we are all part of. Some of us conscious about it and the rest not.

Remember the time when we were growing up? The time when ideals were made in our minds. A teacher who touched our hearts, aHappy Familyn uncle with a macho attitude or an elder cousin who could do anything he wants with such great confidence. These are all examples of people who effect our minds and shape our personalities without us even knowing. We look up to them, copy them and want to be like them. Each one of us has a personality contaminated with elements of characteristics from our ideals. The biggest problem with that starts when we lose the sense of what’s right and wrong while blindly following these idols.

Human beings inherit a lot from their parents and ancestors. The DNA not only carries details about physical appearance and characteristics but also holds strong information about how a person will think, react and behave under certain circumstances. This is what basically forms the foundation of our personality when we are growing up. Call it our ‘default setting’. What makes us different from other living creatures though is the gift of intellect from God that enables us and gives us the option of overwriting certain settings inherited from the DNA and form our own personality.

This is where judgement comes into the picture. The sense of knowing what’s right and wrong while being completely detached from any prejudice or bias. We can all never be perfect, neither were our ancestors. To convince ourselves that we’re imperfect is the most difficult step. Of course, all of us agree that nobody is perfect but we actually don’t really count ourselves when we say it. The fabric of tradition and obedience with which our society is so closely knit sometimes does not allow us to explore anything outside it. Neither does it allow to test the fabric itself with time, religion or technology.

Many of us know about some of our habits that are not correct. In terms of the vicious cycle I was referring to earlier, many of us even know some of our parents’ and our children’s habits that are incorrect. We are usually proud of them for that and blame it solely (still not seriously) on the DNA.

  1. ‘O look! He’s so stubborn just like his Grandpa!’
  2. ‘She only does what she wants just like her mother. No point in telling her anything.’
  3. ‘He’s always late. Like father like son.’

For our children, we don’t take it seriously until it becomes a pain for ourselves when they start developing such habits permanently. In case of our elders, we just can’t find the courage and words to correct them in a polite manner. In fact, we aren’t even honest enough to ourselves to accept that anything they do can be incorrect. The purpose of this post in no way is to entice disobedience towards our elders. It is rather an effort to open our eyes to what is right and what is wrong not from an ancestral point of view but from a ‘religiously-correct’ contemporary perspective.

It is perfectly fine not to bring to notice of our elders some of their habits which may not be appropriate (from a contemporary point of view only). At the same time, it is extremely important to look at ourselves critically and explore if any of these habits exist in our own systems. The best we can do is be honest with ourselves and eliminate habits that we do not want our children to inherit. Besides, our parents probably didn’t want us to become like them in the first place.

You may be short-tempered like your father but that is certainly nothing to be proud of, neither would you want your children to become that way. People may love your child being stubborn just like you but that’s not something to be pleased about if you don’t want your child to grow up and become that way.  So, what do you do? You work on yourself for this. Do not expect your children to be better than you without telling them what’s better. The best way of ‘telling’ is ‘showing’ what you mean by ‘doing’ it yourself. There are more chances of them learning from what you practice than from what you preach.

Hammad A. Mateen

Communication: A gift of God

One of the greatest blessings of God for mankind is to make each other understand what is in their minds. The ability to make people comprehend something the way you want them to is nothing else but a gift and blessing. Come to think of it, not everybody around us has it in them to explore this blessing and utilize it to the fullest; those who do aren’t thankful enough.

We are aided by so much from within and around us to facilitate us in initiating and completing the process of communicationtransferring an idea from one mind to another. Yet, we fail at times to do what seems to be such a small job to start off things. What’s crystal clear to us and so simple to understand somehow seems like the most difficult thing in the world for another person to comprehend. It starts off with a sense of mocking in our mind for the other person’s intellect and then slowly transforms into frustration.

What are the factors that might cause this situation to occur? Let’s take a look at a few:

Lack of empathy

One of the main factors that can cause a ‘disconnect’ between two persons is lack of empathy. We need to realize and relate to the level of absorption of the other person while communicating with them. Something coming naturally to you or being a ‘piece of cake’ might actually be ‘rocket science’ for another person. Sometimes it’s like teaching a child 2 plus 2 for the first time, you know it’s 4 and it’s as simple as how ‘2 plus 2’ sounds, but that’s not how the kid you’re teaching looks at it. You need to come to the level of the other person to make them understand your point.


There are times when you are sure you have come to the level of the other person to make them understand an idea, but somehow, the connection still doesn’t seem to be formed properly. This usually happens when either of the two persons does not agree to the other person’s opinion/ idea. This may not be a problem of not making the other person absorb an idea; it’s more about two people not convinced on/ about a single notion. Everyone has the right to disagree but make sure the disagreement is backed up by grounds that are mutually acceptable by all parties involved. Believe me, you would prefer someone disagreeing to an idea on valid grounds over hypocrisy. Don’t force yourself or someone else into pretense just for the sake of avoiding disagreement.

Mental block

Disagreements generally originate as a result of mental blocks. Beware! Mental blocks are fatal and can lead to permanent damage to not only the discussion underway but also the long term relationship of the people involved. For effective communication, it is extremely important to get rid of all prejudices and mental blocks before going into discussion.

No idea in the world is a 100% perfect. It is important for all of us to accept that and keep our minds flexible during discussion.

I can’t be wrong

Flexibility of mind demands honesty on the part of all involved in the discussion. Honesty to the extent that you might even have to accept that you are wrong.  Yes, you CAN be wrong and you have to have a heart big enough to accept that. Having the notion that ‘I can’t be wrong’ is ‘wrong’ in itself.

In case of being on the other side of a discussion, it is important that ideas should be heard with open heart and mind. Never say ‘No’ immediately to any ideas. Always view all ideas keeping all possibilities in mind.

The most important and foremost thing in communication is unconditional respect. It is essential that respect is given to the other person in order to gain respect for ourselves and our opinions/ ideas.  The key to effective communication is keeping an open mind while going into a discussion and to continue keeping it open during and after it. Staying positive and open to new ideas is likely not to let you down in the long run.

Hammad A. Mateen

What’s in a moment?

Life is too complicated to be lived in years, months, weeks and days. All that we remember at the end of a journey are moments. Life should be lived in those. Moments of joy, moments of sorrow, moments of regret, moments of surprise, moments that can’t be defined, moments that don’t need to be defined, moments of love, moments of pain, moments of excitement, moments of disappointment, moments of valor, moments of pride, moments of serenity, there are just too many of them. But what’s amazing about moments is that we remember them all. Maybe because all that we remember are the only ones that count.

A moment can’t be measured, it’s smaller than a second and greater than eternity. Time is just not worthy enough to become the unit of measurement of a moment, nothing is. A moment is like a gush of wind that touches you with an invisible power and makes you succumb to its grasp. A moment is when you wish you had control over this heartless thing called ‘time’.


What makes up a moment though is the realization of it in your heart with all the sincerity and honesty your soul can ever make you experience.

A moment is when you accept the fact that you have failed at something in your life, especially when it’s for the first time ever. A moment is when a hard-thought, complicated plan comes together. A moment is when with shivering hands, you carry your child in your arms for the first time. A moment is for which a photographer regrets for his whole life for not carrying his camera then.

A moment is when you gather the courage and utter those special words to your loved one for the very first time. A moment is when you realize that you are actually in love. A moment is when a father feels a sense of pride for the first time in his life because of his offspring. A moment is when you realize that you have lost someone close to your heart forever.

A moment lies within a Sajda when you can feel God in front of you. A moment is when you feel like the only person in the world and it doesn’t frighten you. A moment is when you connect to yourself like you never have before. A moment is when you can almost literally hear your heart shatter. A moment is when you prove your own doubts wrong by outdoing yourself. A moment is when you feel appreciated.

Moments are valuable, moments are rare. Moments are what we’re only able to recollect through feelings and not by anything else. We learn lessons of life through moments that we either want to relive again or not experience anything even close to them ever again. Life can very easily be transformed into a book using moments as its chapters. Start writing your book, value the most important moments of your life.

Hammad A. Mateen