Spider Web - A Dysfunctional Home.
Not every house is a home.
"The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew." (Al-Ankabut 29:41)
In the above verse, Allah (swt) explains the status of a disbeliever's faith and its fragility. The example of a spider has been chosen to describe a disbeliever's planning, thoughts, and life choices, which go against him.
Why did Allah (swt) specifically mention the house of a spider among all the other animals as a metaphor? It is primarily because many families today have similar belief systems and thought processes, which make their homes equally weak.
How does a spider work? After mating, the female spider eats the male. Spider babies eat their mother. This horrifying reality of nature mirrors the emotional tragedies that exist in human families. If parents do not rectify their affairs, their children will grow up in broken or emotionally abused homes, which will eventually push them out to repeat the vicious cycle for the next generation. If family members do not get along, they need to identify the root cause as quickly and calmly as possible for finding solutions. If left unchecked, the home will metaphorically resemble the destructive spider's house.
Top five things a father must do for his son
1. Treat your son with the same respect as you give to your business clients. No hurling verbal abuses, hitting, or threatening. This does not mean that you always agree with him or not take disciplinary action, when he oversteps boundaries. It simply means that you address him with firmness yet politely and minus any rage, when he disobeys. Remember your son is most likely to solve his problems tomorrow exactly the way you solve yours today.
2. Get to know who your son's friends are. Call them over and spend time with them playing a sport, game or eating out together for finding out what their values are like. Try to befriend their parents to know what their families are like.
3. Talk to your teenager, who turns thirteen, about the dangers of pornography, homosexuality, drugs, free mixing, and bad company. This is even more important if he is going to co-education institutes. He must know and follow the parameters of Haya (modesty) with his female as well as male classmates. He must also have the confidence and courage to come and speak to you, if ever anyone is trying to hurt him physically or emotionally. This will only happen, if you do not blame him but empower him by standing by his decisions when they are right, and giving him space to lift himself up when he fails.
4. Most sinning happens on school trips, when students are sent for various academic representations. Your son should again know what his limits are - how no one can take advantage of him via substance abuse. Similarly, he must never become an oppressor to others. He must observe his five daily prayers, even when away, and recite his Fajr and Asr Adhkaar as a guard against any evil.
5. Never trust any domestic servant, tutor or Qari to be behind closed doors or left in solitude with your son for studies. Frequent cases of sexual abuse that go unreported happen under such circumstances and parents hardly ever find out. But they leave unimaginable scars for life on the child who either becomes an oppressor himself or an oppressed soul.
Top five things a father must do for his daughter
1. Treat your daughter with respect and talk to her with love and hug her. We have extreme cases, where sometimes fathers are very distant from their daughters and they hardly have any relationship other than a formal one. The daughters fulfill this need by getting involved with boys at school or online - they feel understood and affirmed by them, thus ruining their lives.
2. Get to know her friends and their families. This will give an insight into their value system - if it mismatches, smartly steer her away to more agreeable families with girls, whom your daughter can befriend. Companionship is absolutely critical, whether it is virtual or real.
3. Keep a check on their pastimes and interests by having reflective conversations with them. 'What do you think about drugs?' 'Why do you think kids fall for it?' 'What does it lead to?' 'How can we stay away from such company?' As parents, we must stay vigilant and talk about the concerns, instead of brushing them under the carpet or feeling falsely assured that our kids will never fall for any sin. Today kids hailing from respectable families are on adventure sprees the most.
4. Teach your girls to dress up morally and with modesty, especially if they are not donning the Islamic dress code. Tell them their limits and distance they are required to keep, especially when studying in a co-educational institute. Explain to them that they should never be alone in a male company or in a group study behind closed doors.
5. Never trust any domestic staff, teacher, tutor or Qari with your child's safety. It is increasingly common for parents to leave their children in the company or care of others, which leads to sexual abuse. Involve also their mothers for teaching them about any bad touch.
The breed of tiger moms and ATM dads has sadly given birth to baby spiders: while fathers are only concerned with financing the expenses of the family and mothers are overly concerned with their kids' education and careers, the kids are not concerned about anyone but themselves.
May Allah (swt) have His mercy on all families and Muslim homes and protect their Iman. Ameen.
Adapted from "Quranic Lessons from Animals (Sound Vision)".