Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Family Ties

As I move through life and people come in and out of my life, I start to realize the importance of the consistent bonds with family. They aren't always easy to maintain and distance or disagreements can stretch and strain them, but for the most part, they don't break. I have a few really good friends I can count on when I am in need, and I am so thankful for that. But I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have my family behind me through thick and thin. Before this gets to sappy, let's have a funny throwback pic from one of the greatest shows ever on television:

I'm totally Jennifer. Mandi's Mallory.
I guess that makes Bobbie Alex P. Keaton. Now it's funny. 

All jokes and ridiculous wall decorations aside, this is dedicated to the ones I love.

This doesn't have much to do with family but it did get me thinking about them. I rearranged a bunch of stuff in the new place today and was doing all sorts of crazy things like moving an awkward, unstable, and heavy futon frame from the living room to the bedroom. It was idiotic and would have taken about 2 minutes instead of 24 with someone else here. Don't even get me started on the mattress either. Why do they have to be so heavy and floppy/handle-less??

At the moment I accidentally set the futon down facing the wall and had to flip it around (NOT EASY) I was totally crying for my mother inside. She and my sister came up a couple of weeks ago to help me out of the old place and they cleaned, carried, and generally put up with my insanity with no complaints. I love them and I am mad that they had to go back home.

I also vacuumed and did four loads of laundry plus moved a desk, two bookshelves, and a trunk into their rightful homes. I unpacked 4 boxes and completely arranged my closet in the bedroom. I'm sure I burned about 120 calories just wrestling the duvet into its cover so we're good on that dark chocolate I had afterward.

Health Tip of The Day: Don't stay up all night like me, trying to pound nails into the wall "real quiet" so your neighbor lady won't hear and report you to the condo association. Just go to sleep like a normal person and your body will thank you.


To go with the family theme, I want to share some thoughts on maintaining ties with non-Muslim family. As a Muslim, I struggle a lot with balancing my "two lives" when it comes to my family. While I shouldn't act any differently around them than I do with friends and other Muslims, it's inevitable. They don't use the same terminology we use in everyday conversation like "Alhamdulillah" (all praise is due to Allah) or "InshaAllah" (If Allah wills). They don't stop what they're doing to pray five times a day, or scan food packaging for pork ingredients, or worry about the music on TV.

At the same time, Islam values ties of kinship over almost everything. Allah says in the Quran:

And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. 
His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship [46:15]

And from the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ:

A man asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, who is the most deserving of my companionship?" He said, "Your mother". He said, "Then who?" He said, "Your mother". He said, "Then who?" He said, "Your mother". Then on the fourth occasion he said, "Then your father". (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

One of the greatest sins is to disobey your parents (as long as what they ask of you is not in disobedience to Allah). And while I may choose not to participate in some holiday celebrations or enter a church for a wedding, I love my family very much and want to be a part of their lives no matter how much I may change my behavior and personality to fit within the bounds of what is permissible in Islam. I hope they can continue to be patient with me as I go through changes and struggle to make the right choices and decisions.

And may Allah make me among those who are kind to their parents and keep ties with their family.

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