Tag Archives: Manners

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

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As you grow old, you realize how inversely proportional your vocabulary becomes to how much you actually speak in general. Listening more than talking has its downsides but in totality, the less you talk, the better it is for you and the people around you.

Of course, communication is the key ingredient in making any relationship successful. However, like everything else in life, excess of this too leads to problems. Here, you may not be able to control one end of the deal but you always have the option of weighing your side of things before throwing in anything.

 People have this tendency to somehow make sure the last word in any conversation belongs to them. This very tendency often pushes conversations to unnecessary lengths and sometimes even disputes, which by the way results in even lengthier and even more unnecessary conversations. You may not always have the whole situation in control but you’ll always have your tongue inside your mouth and the luxury of not using it by not opening your mouth.

A smile usually serves well in many situations instead of actually delivering words. You have to be careful even there though as sometimes even a smile can be misconstrued and you may end up using a lot of words to explain that smile.

‘Minding your own business’ is one of the most difficult jobs in the world nowadays, but the fact of the matter is that it’s beneficial for all if you do it more often than not.

-Hammad A. Mateen

When’s the right time?

I get really perplexed at times when I hear about a will of someone who’s no more in this world. It’s usually a lawyer reading out a piece of paper in which details are mentioned regarding the distribution of property & assets or nominating a heir etc. What’s confusing for me is the timing of the will. When did that person actually write it? How much time prior to his death did he feel like writing one? Did he actually know that his end was coming? Of course many people that have a strong link with ALLAH (SWT) do have an intuition regarding their death, but what about all the others that leave behind a will? I know many people get a will written and then periodically revisit and update it according to the changing situations and scenarios.

But the question is, ‘When is the right time for a person to start writing a will?’

writingawill

We do have a strong belief that demise is something we cannot escape. Whoever is born in this world has to die as well. But what about those special people who die before their death?

I’m starting to sound creepy aren’t I?

I actually do not intend to mention any do’s and don’ts of writing a will in this post.

What I do intend is to try to focus on a very important facet of our lives which we’ve started to neglect generally these days. It is ‘IKHLAAQ’. In English we usually term it as ‘Virtue’ or ‘Manners’.

Life has a great connection with Ikhlaaq, and so does death. In fact, we can even simplify the complexities by breaking it down to just a few steps according to each scenario.

life

Pretty self-explanatory isn’t it?

My confusion with wills doesn’t end with the question about the timing. What is more confusing for me is that people are concerned about their assets and worldly properties even after their death and very few of them are worried about what they are going to take away with them when they depart from this world. I know it is extremely important in our religion to make sure your property and money gets well distributed among those who you leave behind but the importance of what you are going to carry along with you is often neglected.

People prepare wills and testaments and revisit them regularly to update them. We periodically check our bank account statements to make sure everything is smooth and fine. But do we revisit our virtues that often too?

Maybe not!

Because there are obstacles in the way, hurdles like ego and self-made set of laws that are far more stronger than the courage in our hearts to break them ourselves. It’s like committing suicide.

Those who die before their literal death do just that. They kill themselves each day by revisiting their diary of virtues. A diary in which rules like ‘forgive and forget’ exist. Clauses like ‘take no revenge’ reign supreme and transform this ordinary diary into a constitution for life.  It’s an arduous task to perform and more often easier said than done.

ALLAH (SWT) is watching us 24/7, all our deeds are being recorded in a well-maintained log book of our Aamaal. So why can’t we just keep this in mind and perform each deed just for the sake of ALLAH (SWT)?

Why can’t we revisit our diary of virtues and go back and ask for forgiveness from those whom we have hurt with our actions or words and ask for forgiveness from ALLAH (SWT)?

It requires a very big heart to apologize, and it requires even a bigger one when the apology is for something which you haven’t even done. This is what our religion teaches us to do. This is what our beloved Prophet (PBUH) taught us to do. Saying just a simple ‘sorry’ can become very difficult for many of us. Accepting someone’s apology is also not something which comes to us naturally.

Good virtues mean to be good with everyone, even if the other person doesn’t give you the proper respect. Do it for ALLAH (SWT), not for anyone else. Learn to say ‘Sorry’ and ‘it’s ok’. Keep it simple for yourself and leave everything else for ALLAH (SWT), He will surely do justice. That’s a promise.

The more you do for the sake of ALLAH (SWT) the more closer you get to Him.

So, don’t waste time asking yourself when’s the right time. Just look into your ‘Diary of Virtues’ and be the first one to resume ties with those who’ve gone far from you.

It’ll definitely serve better when you meet your Creator. InshaALLAH!

Hammad A. Mateen