An interview with Sr. Umm Rayyan: Teenage and Islam

Assalam alai kum sisters,
The signs today suggest we sure seem to live in end of times. Our teenagers are exposed to variety of evil like obscenity, violence, abuse, peer pressure, etc. In this scenario what should an ideal approach of a Muslim parent be and how should the Muslim youth themselves be able to survive and excel in this environment along with holding firmly to their tenets of faith. Sr. Umm Rayyanis a counselor and a level 10 Muslimah life coach. She is a mother of two teenagers herself and with her background in Islamic psychology, she has discussed  all these issues and  questions on live session in the group Alhamdulillah I am a productive Muslimah . Here is an excerpt from the interview.
1) Assalam alai kum sister Umm Rayaan. Glad to have you here. Tell me something about yourself?
Wa alaikumus salaam wa rahmathullahi wa barakatuhu. I am a graduate in psychology and a student of Islam, I am a Level 10 Muslimah Life Coach, and my focus is to help Muslim women and teenage girls live a holistic, level 10 life of purpose, through Psychology, mindfulness and Islam. I help my sisters in deen with the understanding and importance of connecting with our fitrah, to embrace life as it comes and live with Ihsan(excellence) ‎إن شاء الله‬.
2)Any direct quranic references or  hadith which talk about teenagers?
There are no specific references from the Quran for the teenagers, in Islam there is no concept of adolescence, it is childhood and then adulthood, that means once a child hits puberty they are considered adults which means they are begin their accountability with Allah‎ﷻ‬ for their actions and obedience to Allah‎ﷻ‬. So, the references from the Quran and Sunnah are the same that there are for any person. We can take parenting lessons from Surah Yusuf and Surah Luqman and also from the life of Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ as to how he dealt with the young sahabas, radiallahu anhuma, ‎he was very respectful and mindful of their emotions. ‎الحمد لله‎‬
3)What is approach Muslim parents should have in dealing with teenagers?
Teenage is a transitional period, there are a lot of physiological as well as psychological changes that they go through at this age. On one had they are treated like kids and on the other hand they are expected to act like adults, these conflicting message coming from parents can get very confusing for them, rather we have to make this transition easy for them, so we need to first understand what exactly is going on with them biologically. If we see their brain, neurologically their brain are still developing, when the children are in the initial stages of development they are trying to learn a lot of things and their development is rapid so their brains are also rapidly building connections called ‘synapses’, so when they are in the teenage the brain is undergoing a process called ‘pruning’, where it is trying to shed a lot of the connections that it thinks it doesn’t need and it is building new connections, like sort of a decluttering process, and thins causes a lot of behavioral changes in them as well, so we we think our kids are acting out, having mood swings and lashing out at us, their bodies are actually dealing with so many things going on within them, and they aren’t doing it intentionally. Its simply means their logical part of the brain is still developing and their emotional part of the brain is highly active and their thinking is emotion based, rather than logic based. So, lecturing them at this point is not going to help, because they are not wired to process those lectures. What they need from us is love, understanding and support to get through this phase of their lives. It would be a good idea to “shut up and listen” to them, we actually need drop everything and just listen to them; with teens its a rarity that they would actually want to talk to us, if they do come to us we need to be there, because that means they are seeking to connect with us and when we do that they come back to us in a much more loving manner ‎إن شاء الله‬. It’s important to act with wisdom and put ourselves in their shoes, go back to when we were teens and the struggles we had at the time, if we can do that, we will be filled with compassion for them. Now this does not not mean we do not set limits with them, and how we do this is, from a loving place, without the drama of yelling and shouting, but we are setting a limit by staying firm and assertive.
4) Considering the scenario today what should a teenager do to hold his religious ground as well as able to survive in the hostile environment?
My advice is again for the parents first, and how we interact and connect with them, this sets the foundation for a teenager to survive the challenges of these times. When we have that kind of relationship in place, we would be the ones they would come to with anything, there wouldn’t be secrets, they should be able to come to us and talk to us about anything and everything and we as mothers need to stop over-reacting and show them that they can talk to us about everything. [One tip that I would like to give mum’s is when you children come back from school, keep yourself completely free at that time, because that’s the time they are waiting to pour out about their day to you, once that time passes they will not come back with it again, try it if you like, try asking about their day a little later, the answers you would get will be vague.] Teaching them the importance of good friends is so important, and it is also emphasized so much in our deen, the hadith where Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬, compares a good companion to a perfume seller and a bad companion to a blacksmith, and also in another hadith that we are upon the religion of our friends, meaning the powerful influence our friends have upon us. Know who their friends are and encourage them to have friends who remind them of Allah‎ﷻ‬, mingle with families who are on the same wavelength as you and who have children with similar age groups. Also encourage them to volunteer, in Islamic gatherings, or events, this will help them in building responsibility and self confidence. You can even make it family thing and volunteer together. For children, obeying their parents is very important and they are their best friends, the other friends will come and go, but no one can replace our parents and they are the ones who feel our pain and hurt with us when we hurt and feel the joy with us when we are happy.
5) Any last words.
We don’t own our kids we don’t have control over their lives only Allah does and our job as parents is to do the best in our capacity to show them the right direction, teach them Islam, inculcate the love of Allah and Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ in their hearts, and make lots and lots of Du’aa. Nothing is possible for us, but to Allah nothing is impossible.


Author: aaliyahkhansite

Alhamdulillah I am an Islamic entrepreneur and have launched India,s first online islamic store for children.Visit my website at I am also Alhamdulillah a student of IOU and Markaz Al Huda,Dubai. Also Inshaallah will soon be launching my first islamic fiction novel. MAshaallah being a mother of 2 cute kids have inspired me to write and learn more on islamic upbringing of children and being a productive mother. I firmly believed in living life the Islamic way hence everything in my life revolves around Islam. Love to socialise and meet like minded muslimahs

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