Estimated reading time: 19 minute(s)
by Fudia Muhammad
Over the years, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has been very candid in sharing the circumstances of his birth and the details surrounding his childhood. He speaks of his beloved mother with great reverence and honor. She was a strict disciplinarian who reared her sons to be respectful and truthful; to be God-fearing and to love Black people. He describes his mother as a woman who demonstrated her love for her children daily, through the manner in which she was determined to rear them. She was a single Black woman with the serious task of rearing two boys during the 30s and 40s, leaving little time for foolishness. She was not affectionate with her children, giving them hugs and kisses;or saying, ‘I love you,’ with the regularity that children may desire. However, she was a dutiful devoted mother; and though they were poor,she made sure that her children did not want for anything.
Love is a word used far too casually – I love ice cream; I love that song; I love my bestie! However, we are taught that love is NOT an emotion. The dictionary’s definition of love is simply inadequate; it does not capture the scope of the word. In its fullness, God is Love. Duty is Love. Love is a verb; it’s action. Love is not something we merely feel; love is mostly seen. How do we know if we love our spouse? Our children? A critical examination of our actions will allow us to honestly ascertain whether or not our love is complete. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, a divinely guided man, dissected real loveand offers a brilliant explanation.
In Self-Improvement: The Basis of Community Development (Study Guide 18: Rising Above Emotion into the Thinking of God), The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan wrote, “Though ‘Love’ is equally defined as an emotion, I would say that Love is not an emotion; Love is the Mother of Emotion. Love is the Creative Force out of which all things come. Love can be broken down into 4 principles: Freedom, Justice,Equality and Obedience to the Will of Allah (God). We call our intense feeling of like or dislike ‘Love’ and ‘Hate.’ But Love is not just an intense feeling. That is a limitation that this world has placed on it, making it our emotional reaction to something…We must not narrow Love to an emotional reaction. But when we say, ‘God is Love,’ the word ‘is’is represented by the ‘=’ symbol, then Love has to be complete, because God is not an emotion. All of His Attributes are embodied in the Creative force we call Love; an intense like for something is only one of its manifestations.”
Again, on the subject of ‘Love,’ The Minister writes in Study Guide 16: The Law of God, “The Essence of Divine Law is Love…When one gains Love for Allah (God),and for His Creation, then in that Love is contained the Law. One willingly obeys Divine Law out of Love. We need Love, but not without Law.”
Displaying love at this level is deliberate and purposeful, nothing is done haphazardly. Parents who unwisely seek the friendship of their children, and above all simply desire that their children be happy with them will acquiesce to their children’s wishes even if it conflicts with what they know is right. This is the emotional aspect of love. Seeking favor from our children and not the favor of God is an unworthy goal because the reward is fleeting. How can we honestly profess our love for our children and allow them to engage in activities that are not good for them? It is a contradiction to say we love our children but will not discipline them or put restrictions in place to protect them. We are guilty of abdicating our God-given responsibilities as parents when we seek the path of least resistance.
The evidence that a mother or father love their children beyond the limitations of an intense emotional relationship is manifested in their actions. They will teach their children about God and righteous conduct. They will correct them when they deviate or rebel against the rules of the home because this reinforces discipline and builds respect and character. They will feed their children the best foods because this increases the likelihood of long life and good health. Parents who love completely will also take all necessary measures to keep negative influences away from their children; as well as teach and train them on how to navigate around those that seep through. This means that cell phones, social media, friends and activities are all monitored.
It is in the nature of a child to be curious about the unknown; so children will push boundaries until they are stopped. Children do what parents permit them to do. Therefore, we must BE THE PARENT and not the friend. Giving in to pressure is not love. Certainly, our children may feel that we are strict or even “mean” for keeping an ever-watchful eye over what they watch; listen to; the friends they keep; cell phone usage and all their comings and goings. But in the end – SO WHAT! Rest assured, they will not be children forever and will thank you later. If we love our children completely, we will do what is best for them; whether it leads to their displeasure or not. After all, the Holy Qur’an reads, “It may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you;and Allah knows while you know not.”
If love is freedom, justice, equality and obedience to the Will of Allah (God); our children should be free to (respectfully)express themselves – we should welcome questions, comments, complaints and conversation. Their concerns should not be dismissed. We must be just and fair in our dealings with them; and if they are right, we must bow down to the truth that they speak. If we parent with equity and justice, our children who are righteous by nature, will grow to love God’s law and His way. As they mature, they will be grateful for our obedience to the divine laws of Allah (God). We cannot parent our children, looking for instant gratification – our reward comes tomorrow.
All of this is not to say that we should not be affectionate with our children because we absolutely should. Children need to be hugged and stroked and kissed. There is power in the touch; just a few seconds releases oxytocin, strengthening our natural bond and trust. Children also need to be reassured and validated by receiving positive affirmations and praise; and by hearing the words, ‘I love you’ all of the time. But if we say it and don’t show it, then our words are in vain. So, the greatest testament of our love is to be dutiful to Allah (God)and to rear our children in the best manner.
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)