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FamilySociety

Appreciating the wisdom from our elders

FamilySociety

Appreciating the wisdom from our elders

For some, the wisdom is top of mind; it’s something they think about frequently perhaps even without focusing on where it came from. For others, it takes a moment of reflection, a welcome opportunity to pause and think about what guides their actions or provides them comfort. 

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With the month of Ramadan behind us, how do we continue to stay centered, prioritize what is important, and hold on to the peace of mind that we nurtured? One way I try to keep the spirit of Ramadan going is by continuing to share stories of compassion, kindness, and our common humanity.  

During Ramadan for the past nine years I’ve been keeping a blog called ‘30 days 30 deeds‘, to share the essence of the month through universal themes like gratitude, tradition, and inspiring stories. This year’s theme was ‘30 wisdoms from our elders‘. One of the fulfilling aspects of writing the blog each year is that it rarely ends on Eid day; after 30 days of building a global community of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, around themes that are important to all of us, the reflections and messages continue to circulate. 

I think it speaks to the power of personal stories and how they help us connect with each other, no matter where we come from or what we may believe. Doing good, expressing gratitude, and cherishing wisdoms from elders are universal sentiments; they are expressions of our deepest humanity. Through the years, as the blog has gained a loyal international audience of people of all faiths or none, from Australia to Zimbabwe, it’s become a place for people to build a sense of community through this shared understanding.

5 Ways To Help Elderly Women in Your Community and Beyond

One of the sentiments I hear most often from readers is the feeling of ‘connection’; for many, reading these stories is just another reminder that we all strive and ache for the same things. As one reader said: “By reading your blog and incorporating some of the things that you are doing with your family and in your community, we can all connect more with our own spirituality and with Muslims and non-Muslims who share the goals of doing good, caring for others, and living each day with an attitude of gratitude. Thank you for making us all feel more connected.”

It’s been a meaningful experience to ask people what wisdoms hold special meaning for them; I’ve continued to, well past Eid, especially as I travel to new countries. It’s become a wonderful way to deepen understanding with friends, and to develop friendships with strangers. For some, the wisdom is top of mind; it’s something they think about frequently perhaps even without focusing on where it came from. For others, it takes a moment of reflection, a welcome opportunity to pause and think about what guides their actions or provides them comfort. 

For myself, one piece of wisdom that stays with me is something my mother said to me more than 30 years ago. Growing up, I was a fairly quiet and reserved girl, happier studying than socializing; and getting straight As in school became my ‘thing’. But during my second year in college, in an Astronomy class I had taken because I thought it would be less challenging, I got a C+ on my final exam.

Completely distraught I told my mother what had happened, with the overly dramatic flare of a teenager. She listened calmly, not at all phased by my histrionics, and said, “God has to sprinkle his favors on everyone. He can’t make you good in English and History and Math … and Astronomy. He has to be fair and make someone else good at some things.” It’s a wisdom I’ve turned to over and over again when things haven’t gone my way, and something I’ve shared with my own kids too.

For Dalia Mogahed, the wisdom that continues to give her courage is something her father said to her when she was an activist in college: if nobody’s criticizing you, that means you’re not doing any work. “I go back to this wisdom a lot,” Dalia tells me, “because it’s so important to remember so you don’t get discouraged or want to quit.” 

Zeshan B remembers wisdom from his Naanima: tell the truth, even if you stand to lose. As often the case, when someone remembers a wisdom from a loved one, so many other memories come flooding back. Zeshan remembers that the day his grandmother passed away, he was scheduled to sing at a chapel in Chicago. When he got word that his grandmother was really not well, he asked the organizers if he could sing one additional song. He sang Ave Maria – but the last line he changed to Ave Naanima.

Muddassar Ahmed shares a certain piece of wisdom from his father, who passed when he was only 13 years old, something he rarely talks about. Since the age of five, Muddassar’s father would teach him the Urdu language and poetry; but Muddassar found it challenging to write in Urdu. His father would tell him, imagine that you can write, really imagine it, and you’ll be able to. It’s a confidence trick that Muddassar says he continues to use. 

Honouring the Elderly: Turning Scripture into Action this Winter

When I had come up with the idea of this year’s blog theme a few months ago, I didn’t know that my own father would pass away just a few weeks before Ramadan. Through the blog, I’ve been able to share the beautiful wisdoms that I’ve learned from his example. Even more fulfilling has been to hear how my kids remember their grandfather, like the wisdom my daughter Saanya shared: “Nunno saw art in everything; he saw beauty in every forgettable thing. He saw shape and color and texture; he saw penmanship and craftsmanship, and saw the world as art. And all that I can hope is that in my 22 years spent with him is that I’ve acquired half of the unparalleled wonder he had with the world.”

My 17-year old son Zayd shared a piece of wisdom that he’s learning from his father: “Pa always says, the most important thing you have is your character and integrity; no one can take that away from you. That’s who you are; it’s what makes you, you. Without that personal core, you don’t really have a home base for yourself.” 

Many readers share their own wisdoms or how reading the blog has had an impact. One wrote that on her birthday she read a piece of wisdom that her uncle had shared and that she had never heard before, and that she couldn’t have imagined a better birthday present. Another shared a wisdom from her Oma, her paternal grandmother, whose life spanned over three different centuries, and whose wise words she continues to cherish. Another wrote that simply valuing the wisdoms of our elders is wisdom itself.

On Eid day, a reader wrote: “The advice and knowledge of our elders is such a unique, important and singular gift. Thank you for making the world a kinder, better, more connected and understanding place.” 

It’s been a blessing to share these wisdoms in the hope that they may provide a sense of the generational history that we’re all a part of, and the comfort of knowing that the gentle voice of our elders is something we can tune into whenever we need it the most. And the realization that no matter who we are, in whatever corner of the world, we are all connected through simple things that bind us, like the wisdoms that we cherish from our elders.

Please share your own wisdoms from elders that hold special meaning for you; let’s continue the conversation to exchange our life’s most meaningful lessons ([email protected]).

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

For some, the wisdom is top of mind; it’s something they think about frequently perhaps even without focusing on where it came from. For others, it takes a moment of reflection, a welcome opportunity to pause and think about what guides their actions or provides them comfort. 

With the month of Ramadan behind us, how do we continue to stay centered, prioritize what is important, and hold on to the peace of mind that we nurtured? One way I try to keep the spirit of Ramadan going is by continuing to share stories of compassion, kindness, and our common humanity.  

During Ramadan for the past nine years I’ve been keeping a blog called ‘30 days 30 deeds‘, to share the essence of the month through universal themes like gratitude, tradition, and inspiring stories. This year’s theme was ‘30 wisdoms from our elders‘. One of the fulfilling aspects of writing the blog each year is that it rarely ends on Eid day; after 30 days of building a global community of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, around themes that are important to all of us, the reflections and messages continue to circulate. 

I think it speaks to the power of personal stories and how they help us connect with each other, no matter where we come from or what we may believe. Doing good, expressing gratitude, and cherishing wisdoms from elders are universal sentiments; they are expressions of our deepest humanity. Through the years, as the blog has gained a loyal international audience of people of all faiths or none, from Australia to Zimbabwe, it’s become a place for people to build a sense of community through this shared understanding.

5 Ways To Help Elderly Women in Your Community and Beyond

One of the sentiments I hear most often from readers is the feeling of ‘connection’; for many, reading these stories is just another reminder that we all strive and ache for the same things. As one reader said: “By reading your blog and incorporating some of the things that you are doing with your family and in your community, we can all connect more with our own spirituality and with Muslims and non-Muslims who share the goals of doing good, caring for others, and living each day with an attitude of gratitude. Thank you for making us all feel more connected.”

It’s been a meaningful experience to ask people what wisdoms hold special meaning for them; I’ve continued to, well past Eid, especially as I travel to new countries. It’s become a wonderful way to deepen understanding with friends, and to develop friendships with strangers. For some, the wisdom is top of mind; it’s something they think about frequently perhaps even without focusing on where it came from. For others, it takes a moment of reflection, a welcome opportunity to pause and think about what guides their actions or provides them comfort. 

For myself, one piece of wisdom that stays with me is something my mother said to me more than 30 years ago. Growing up, I was a fairly quiet and reserved girl, happier studying than socializing; and getting straight As in school became my ‘thing’. But during my second year in college, in an Astronomy class I had taken because I thought it would be less challenging, I got a C+ on my final exam.

Completely distraught I told my mother what had happened, with the overly dramatic flare of a teenager. She listened calmly, not at all phased by my histrionics, and said, “God has to sprinkle his favors on everyone. He can’t make you good in English and History and Math … and Astronomy. He has to be fair and make someone else good at some things.” It’s a wisdom I’ve turned to over and over again when things haven’t gone my way, and something I’ve shared with my own kids too.

For Dalia Mogahed, the wisdom that continues to give her courage is something her father said to her when she was an activist in college: if nobody’s criticizing you, that means you’re not doing any work. “I go back to this wisdom a lot,” Dalia tells me, “because it’s so important to remember so you don’t get discouraged or want to quit.” 

Zeshan B remembers wisdom from his Naanima: tell the truth, even if you stand to lose. As often the case, when someone remembers a wisdom from a loved one, so many other memories come flooding back. Zeshan remembers that the day his grandmother passed away, he was scheduled to sing at a chapel in Chicago. When he got word that his grandmother was really not well, he asked the organizers if he could sing one additional song. He sang Ave Maria – but the last line he changed to Ave Naanima.

Muddassar Ahmed shares a certain piece of wisdom from his father, who passed when he was only 13 years old, something he rarely talks about. Since the age of five, Muddassar’s father would teach him the Urdu language and poetry; but Muddassar found it challenging to write in Urdu. His father would tell him, imagine that you can write, really imagine it, and you’ll be able to. It’s a confidence trick that Muddassar says he continues to use. 

Honouring the Elderly: Turning Scripture into Action this Winter

When I had come up with the idea of this year’s blog theme a few months ago, I didn’t know that my own father would pass away just a few weeks before Ramadan. Through the blog, I’ve been able to share the beautiful wisdoms that I’ve learned from his example. Even more fulfilling has been to hear how my kids remember their grandfather, like the wisdom my daughter Saanya shared: “Nunno saw art in everything; he saw beauty in every forgettable thing. He saw shape and color and texture; he saw penmanship and craftsmanship, and saw the world as art. And all that I can hope is that in my 22 years spent with him is that I’ve acquired half of the unparalleled wonder he had with the world.”

My 17-year old son Zayd shared a piece of wisdom that he’s learning from his father: “Pa always says, the most important thing you have is your character and integrity; no one can take that away from you. That’s who you are; it’s what makes you, you. Without that personal core, you don’t really have a home base for yourself.” 

Many readers share their own wisdoms or how reading the blog has had an impact. One wrote that on her birthday she read a piece of wisdom that her uncle had shared and that she had never heard before, and that she couldn’t have imagined a better birthday present. Another shared a wisdom from her Oma, her paternal grandmother, whose life spanned over three different centuries, and whose wise words she continues to cherish. Another wrote that simply valuing the wisdoms of our elders is wisdom itself.

On Eid day, a reader wrote: “The advice and knowledge of our elders is such a unique, important and singular gift. Thank you for making the world a kinder, better, more connected and understanding place.” 

It’s been a blessing to share these wisdoms in the hope that they may provide a sense of the generational history that we’re all a part of, and the comfort of knowing that the gentle voice of our elders is something we can tune into whenever we need it the most. And the realization that no matter who we are, in whatever corner of the world, we are all connected through simple things that bind us, like the wisdoms that we cherish from our elders.

Please share your own wisdoms from elders that hold special meaning for you; let’s continue the conversation to exchange our life’s most meaningful lessons ([email protected]).

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

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