Saturday, 25 June 2011

Muslim Dads in Utah

The Salt Lake Tribune has  a feature about Muslim fathers in Utah called "Utah’s Muslim dads lead by example, and stress choice, not force"  which describes the family life of a number of Muslim fathers living in the state:

"Sometimes portrayed as unyielding disciplinarians, many American Muslim fathers say the opposite is true. Yes, many expect their children to pray and abstain from dating, alcohol and pork, but they try to lead by example rather than force. Above all, they aim to rear good people.

In Islam, every day is supposed to be Father’s Day and Mother’s Day in the sense that children should always honor and appreciate their parents.

Shiekh Maqbool Ahmed sits down to dinner with his wife, three children and daughter-in-law almost every night.His two unmarried children, ages 21 and 28, still live in his Kaysville home.  The key to rearing successful children is setting a good example, Ahmed said. Forcing them to follow rules and customs doesn’t work. They must be taught to want to follow the faith.  "We instill in the children that Allah is watching you," Ahmed said. "If I am not there to watch you, if your mother is not there to watch you, if your friends are not there to watch you, Allah is watching you."

Sajid Faizi and his son place caps on their heads and his wife and daughters don head scarves, or hijabs.  The 47-year-old Cottonwood Heights father kneels in front of the family, leading them in prayer for about 10 minutes, facing toward the home’s large front window, toward Mecca.

Though Sajid Faizi is often working, he couldn’t be more dedicated to his family, says his wife, Shazia, who started Utah’s first Muslim Girl Scout troop.  "The kids and us and me," Shazia Faizi said, "that’s his first priority."

When Ahmed, an Arabic language instructor at the University of Utah, prays, his 2-year-old daughter, Laila,is usually "kind of floating around."  "She kind of knows what’s going on," said Ahmed, 35, "but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know it’s a prayer."   She just thinks it’s "fun." That’s the same word Ahmed, who also has a 7-month-old son, uses to describe fatherhood in general.

"I’m enjoying being a father immensely because my role in the household is more of the fun role. I’m getting the better part of the deal," jokes Ahmed, who is also working on earning a doctorate from the U. in syntax."

You can view the full article here.

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