Saturday, October 16, 2010

Parenting: When does it begin?


Parenting is an effort by parents or guardians to develop their children physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Since the aims of Islamic education are to communicate The Revelation, purify souls, to teach The Book and wisdom (al-Baqarah: 129; Ali-Imran: 164; al-Jumu'ah: 2), hence parents are responsible to ensure that these aims are achieved. Concisely, parenting is an endeavor made by parents to achieve the mentioned aims of Islamic education.

According to Abdullah Nasih Ulwan, parenting begins at the time of choosing one's spouse. What follows is the story of my effort to be a good parent.

Here it goes...

I was 20 years old and I was thinking that I will be an old maid if I didn't get married before the age of 22. I have read books on family structure in Islam, Keluarga dalam Islam, etc. and I felt I was ready to be a wife and mother. The next step was to find me a good husband and a good father to my yet to be born children. The opportunity came when 1 fine day, my naqibah popped the question, "who are ready and wanna get married?". Since I was shy to publicly declare my intention, I called her privately and told her that I was ready and needed her help to find me a husband.

I gave my naqibah a list of criteria that my future husband should have. Here were my criteria
1. understand Islam as a deen or a way of life and be a practicing Muslim
2. know and understand his responsibility as a husband according to Islamic teaching
3. know and understand wife's rights, needs, and responsibilities
4. ready and willing to work hand in hand in becoming 'abd and khalifah of Allah
5. collaborate together in building bait muslim
6. allow me to continue my study until PhD and would support my education and my thirst in seeking knowledge
7. would support and allow me to work in Islamic cause
8. the most important thing is to be able to accept my weaknesses and cooperate in building a family that tries to the best to follow Islamic teaching and to achieve the pleasure of Allah.

I believe without doubt the Qur'anic verse that says a good man is for a good woman. If I were a good Muslimah, then, I will get a good Muslim as a husband. What I needed to do was to always try my best to be a good Muslimah and to do everything only for the sake of Allah.

One day, my naqibah called me and told me that she had found a suitable guy for me...he was studying to be a chemical engineer in a university about 450 miles from my university. A few weeks later she gave me a letter written by the guy telling me about himself and his hope in the marriage. Enclosed with the letter was his very small picture... I could not see his face clearly. But his letter was reasonable and after seeking Allah's guidance, I accepted the guy as my future husband.

THE BIG QUESTION that arose at that time was, "how am I going to tell my parents?"

After I had built up my courage, I called my mom

Me: Hello mek...Assalamualaikum
Mom: Waalaikumussale
Me: Mek nga ayoh apo kaba?
Mom: sihat blako
Me: Mek, oghe nok ghoyak satu bendo...mek jange maroh deh?
Mom: ggapo? ghoyaklah, mek tok maroh...bakpo nak maroh nyah?
Me: Mek, oghe nok nikkoh
Mom: Nok nikkoh, nga sapo?
Me: Nga budok kalo luppo, namo dio bla...bla..bla...
Mom: Mek tak apo blako asa ke dio oghe berime sudoh lah
Me: Nati oghe suruh budok tu ata surat nga gambar dio ko ayoh...nok mitok ayah wat surat wakil wali untuk akad nikoh nati
Mom: hom lah
Me: pah tak apo deh? terimo kasih bbanyok sebab bui kebenare oghe nok nikkoh.

It sounds so easy but I was so nervous that my body was shaking and shivering. My father sent me surat wakil wali after my future husband sent a letter to him asking for my hand in marriage...NOTE THAT...I had not seen him face to face yet...

to be continued...

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