Editor’s Note: It's time for our annual #LikeYouMeanItHH end-of-the-year reflection time when we discuss what it means to renew our intentions around hijab and various aspects of our lives. While in past years, we’ve reflected on what it means to "wear it [hijab] like you mean it," this year, that focus felt too narrow and out-of-touch with the realities of our current world and lives. These are difficult, challenging, painful, somber times - for a number of reasons. And we want to explore what it means to live and focus “like you mean it” against the backdrop of everything we are enduring. We invite you (and ourselves) to renew our intentions and reflect on what our faith, families, and commitment to fighting for justice mean to us.
By Zaiba Hasan
Amidst the tumultuous world today, Haute Hijab’s #LikeYouMeanItHH annual campaign emerges as a call to action and a guiding philosophy for conscious Muslim parenting. As parents, we are navigating a landscape marked by significant challenges: the war and ongoing genocide in Gaza, the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, Syria
, and Morocco
, the ongoing conflicts in the Congo and Sudan
, the persecution of Muslims in India, and the plight of Rohingya and Uyghur Muslims, and on and on.
These global events have inevitably led us to a point of reckoning, prompting us to reevaluate our intentions and priorities in both our deen (faith) and dunya (worldly life). For those of us who are parents, this reckoning feeds into questions about how we should shepherd our children through these times. How do we parent with intention? Here are six things we all can do.
1. Realign our intentions.
The reality of these crises has shifted our focus, compelling us to reassess what we hold dear in our faith and daily lives. As Muslim parents, our primary concern is to raise our children with strong Islamic values, instilling in them the importance of empathy, resilience, and community. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "The best among you are those who have the best manners and character." [Bukhari] This teaching takes on a renewed significance in these trying times.
We are competing with a myriad of things for our children’s attention, for our ability to educate and inform them, to teach them about their faith and this world, about what it means to be strong, empathetic, just Muslims. How and where do we gain their attention?
2. Have engaging car conversations.
As a parent in the U.S., my daily routine often involves driving my children to their activities and running errands, which can add up to two hours in the car. Surprisingly, this has become a valuable opportunity for us to have conversations that might not happen otherwise. I'm constantly amazed at my children's awareness of global events and their deep understanding of these issues during these drives.
Image source: Parents.com and Getty.
Our car rides have become a unique space for meaningful discussions about faith, world affairs, and personal accountability. Using these dialogues as a tool, I hope to provide my children with information and insights that nurture their curiosity and inspire them to live purposefully in all aspects of life.
Sure, sometimes it's better to keep it quiet if everyone needs time to be silent, decompress and rest. But, you do spend a significant amount of time driving your kids around. Use that time to peek into their worlds and carefully instigate conversations about what is happening around us and how we should respond as compassionate, justice-seeking Muslims.
3. Live like you mean it.
To truly "live like you mean it" embodies embracing each day with deliberate intention and purpose. This involves wholeheartedly nurturing our faith, where acts of worship transcend mere routines, becoming heartfelt expressions of our love and devotion to Allah (S). This philosophy profoundly influences our parenting approach. We strive to teach our children the significance of prayer, the strength of patience, and the necessity of extending compassion to all, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.
Being Muslim also involves an active engagement with our surrounding society, blending seamlessly rather than standing apart. It is essential to encourage our children to volunteer in the community, assume leadership roles in their schools, and participate wherever possible. This visibility is crucial. In the Hasan household, we embody this by actively volunteering in our local community, setting an example of how to live a life visibly, and actively engaged in the broader society while holding firmly to our Islamic values.
4. Embody faith in parenting.
Image source: Pexels
In the context of parenting, embodying our faith means demonstrating the values of Islam through our actions. Our children learn more from what they see us do than we tell them. When they observe us responding to global crises with prayer, charity, and advocacy, they learn the importance of being proactive members of the global ummah when they see us as their parents, they are proactive members of the global ummah.
As Allah (S) says in the Quran, "You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah." [Quran 3:110]
5. Build resilience and empathy.
We are raising children in precarious times, and equipping them with resilience and empathy is vital. This involves open discussions about Muslims' worldwide challenges, encouraging them to think critically and feel deeply about these issues.
It's about balancing awareness with hope, ensuring they understand that despite the hardships, our faith gives us the strength to persevere and the optimism to envision a better future. We shouldn’t be all doom and gloom with our children, as we are trying to equip them to build a better world and live their lives to the fullest.
(Click here to learn how we can teach our children to embody resilience and empathy in a time of war and strife.
6. Foster community connections.
Experience a fulfilling and meaningful parenting journey by embracing the principle of "living like you mean it." In a society that often prioritizes individualism and the things that bring us joy and contentment, it is also crucial to teach our children the value of belonging to the global Muslim community, known as the ummah. We are only as strong as our collective selves, and our happiness, joy, safety and liberation is inextricably tied to that of our fellow Muslims and humans.
Welcome Home volunteers packing bags.
Engaging in local mosque activities, participating in community service, or connecting with Muslims worldwide – these experiences enrich our children’s understanding of being part of a diverse and vibrant faith community.
Beyond a mere slogan, the #LikeYouMeanItHH philosophy and annual campaign have become integral to our lives, especially in these challenging times. As Muslims who value parenting consciously, it is our responsibility to instill in our children the profound values of our religion. Our guidance empowers them to lead purposeful lives rooted in faith, resilience, and compassion. This journey equips them with the skills to navigate the world's complexities and make positive contributions, embodying Islam's essence.
Until next time
Zaiba Hasan is part of the dynamic duo behind the award-winning podcast, Mommying While Muslim. She is the founder of and a spiritual parent coach at Emerge Consulting Solutions, an interfaith mediator and sports mama extraordinaire. Look for her on the baseball fields and basketball courts in the DMV (Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) area cheering from the sidelines.