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Thursday, 19 July 2007

A Family That Prays Together

A Family That Prays Together

By Anthea Davis

One of the greatest feelings of harmony and peace I get in life is when I pray. After a tiring day, I look forward to coming home where I know there are people who care about me. I know my family will tell me the truth and give me good advice. I know they will stand by my side through thick and thin. The peak of my happiness comes when I stand in prayer alongside someone I love, especially someone from my family.

Filling a Vacuum

One of the most frightening things is to be alone. And strangely, we can feel very alone even if we are in a crowd. Often this feeling of loneliness comes from not feeling accepted or not feeling understood.

Allah created us and He knows what we need and what we fear. He knows that human beings need to live in a stable nurturing environment, so He, in His great mercy, gave us families. And along with that He gave us deep feelings for each other — a deep commitment and caring for each other. This feeling is so deep that even if children grow up without it — that is, without being loved, protected, and nurtured by their family — they will miss this and feel a sense of loss, a vacuum. With the increasing rate of family breakdown these days, we see so many young people turning to all kinds of dangerous things in an attempt to fill the vacuum of having been deprived of a stable loving family.

So if you are fortunate enough to have a family, or even part of a family, around you, then you should realize how precious that is. And you should earnestly look for ways to improve your relationship with these very important people in your life. A good start is not to take them for granted.

But along with all the nurturing, help, care, and advice, there is also the squabbling that goes on and the misunderstandings. Whenever people live together and have to share things and compete for attention for those they care about, we must expect that there will be arguments and friction from time to time.

But beneath all that runs a current that joins you all into a unit in this life and the next. There are other bonds that bind people together in life, like friendship, marriage, and the bonds of faith, but the bonds of family are deep, intrinsic, and rich. They are a part of our very being; hence the sacrifice required to live away from family or to be separated in any way — emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

Breaking the Ice

If you have been estranged from your family or from a family member for a while, then be the one who makes the phone call or visits or just tries to break the ice. The one who does that is the one who will receive the blessings from Allah Most High.

Try to step back and look at your family from a more objective perspective. Maybe people who are outside your family unit see them in a very different way. Perhaps you see your mother as someone who works all the time, is always busy, and gives lots of orders. Yet people outside the family might see her as an organized, devoted, successful woman who has raised great kids, including you!

Again, you might see your father as someone who always has his head in a book, makes jokes that are hard to laugh at, doesn't talk much, and is a bit old-fashioned. People outside the family might see him as very successful in his career, great to discuss issues with, and energetic and intelligent.

Seeing You

It might be interesting to ask your parents and other family members how they see you. You could make a family activity of it.

You could all sit together and think about these questions and then get each family member to answer on paper.

  1. Write three words that best describe (the person).
  2. What is his or her best characteristic?
  3. What does he/she have to improve on the most?
  4. How do you imagine him or her in 10 years' time?

Go on! Give this a try. You might be surprised at the answers! And don't forget when the time to pray comes, to bring them all together and stand among them praying to the Creator and thanking Him for giving you all to each other.

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