A friend’s query answered (Insha’Allah) updated

BismilLah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

It’s been awhile since I wrote in my blog. I had been ill this past week and thus experienced the dreaded writer’s block…

This morning, I received a query from a friend who said, “Assalaamu’alaikum Sharena. I hope you can advise me. I’ve tried to apply the khalifah method in my life and in raising my family. But as time goes on I’ve found that I’m moving further and further away from that aim. If there is one thing that you could advise me to do to get back on the right track, what would it be?

As I quickly wrote my reply to her, I thought, “Hey, a writer’s block quick fix! Just post this answer in your blog instead!” So, here’s my answer to her query and I hope that it will be of benefit to you in understanding how to apply Khalifah Method better.

Wa’alaikumusalam,sister. Thank you for sharing your concern with me.

First, a quick recap of Khalifah Method.

“When an individual or group is given 2 things:
1) a positive, accurate, motivational world view (tassawur), and this is Islam according to Al Quran and Sunnah
2) a good understanding of the Laws of Learning
then, they will naturally move towards all that is good and right.”

3 Steps of Khalifah Method: (includes for parents as well)
1) Teach your child the role, the inherent potential and the responsibilities of khalifah (Surah Al Baqarah:30/Surah Al Hijr:29/Surah At-Tin:4)
2) Reward every positive behavior/refrain from doing bad that your child does with loving praises,warm hugs,small gifts
3) Set firm boundaries and enforce consistently with Kind Discipline (tegas dan berhikmah-Way of Prophet Muhammad salla Allah alahyi wasalam)

3 Responsibilities of khalifah:
1) Perfect Self (aim for Jannah)
2) Perfect Society (towards a fully and truly Muslim world)
3) Perfect the world of space and time (care for the environment and other creations of Allah)

The problem that most parents have trying to apply Khalifah Method is that they did not set their goal/aim for their child or family in the beginning. So, we have the father saying one thing and the mother saying another and the child becomes confused or even takes advantage of the gap and manipulates the situation to get what he/she wants out of it.

When I first applied Khalifah Method with my sons, I had a clear goal;
1) I wanted my sons to learn to think logically and sensibly
2) I wanted our family to live according to Al Quran and Sunnah.

I created a family Vision and Mission statement (Thanks to Sis Ilaine, who gave me the idea) so I could always keep track of my goals and not lose hope and give up when things didn’t work out as I planned. This is also a very good way to prioritise what is important to you in bringing up your child.

Then, I started setting up an environment at home that would help me achieve my goals. This is what I did:

1) Help sons think logically

  • I only allowed my sons to watch TV programs/cartoons that is based on fact/science e.g. Barney (Ok,so he’s a purple dinosaur, at least the content was real!) Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Tank Engine
  • I banned ghost stories/magic/fairy tales as it easily develops and heightens the child’s imagination and interest towards fantasy.
  • I gave them playdough, Lego, paper and colors to draw (they drew on my wall), creative activities that has elements of logic and sequence (they learnt cause and effect)

2) Build our family to live according to Al Quran and Sunnah

  • I only allowed them books that were factual. We never did the whole ‘Mickey Mouse/Disney characters’ story books, not even Scholastic’s Disney encyclopedia set (but we have every other set!)
  • I began introducing muslim children’s books and shared stories on the Seerah, the Prophets, muslim history.
  • I mentioned Allah and linked Him to signs and creations around the children so even at the age 0f 3,4 years old, they were VERY clear in their mind and heart that Allah is the Creator. Masha’Allah! (Just for this, I am so grateful for Khalifah Method!)

The Khalifah Method application is through Directed Positive Influence, that is, the way you interact and communicate with your child in implementing your Vision and Mission Statement. For example:

“Adam, watching this cartoon is not suitable for you because it is very violent and you may think it’s okey to play the same way with your younger brother. Someone could get hurt. You are a khalifah, Adam and a khalifah always chooses to do good, right? Let’s change the channel to something better.  Alhamdulillah, thank you, Adam for choosing to be a khalifah.”

In the above conversation (which happened when Adam was 4+ years old), a few things occurred:

  1. I explained to Adam why the cartoon wasn’t suitable (too violent and he might end up thinking it’s okey to play that way) Thinking logically
  2. I showed Adam what could happen from watching the cartoon (playing aggressively with his brother and someone getting hurt- it had happened in the past from watching Power Rangers) Thinking logically
  3. I reminded him that he is a khalifah (helps to inculcate Islam and being a muslim internally) Living according to Al Quran and Sunnah
  4. He was reminded that a khalifah always chooses to do good. Living according to Al Quran and Sunnah
  5. I gave him the opportunity to choose to do good. (Let’s change the channel to something better) Living according to Al Quran and Sunnah
  6. I thanked him for making the right choice. Living according to Al Quran and Sunnah/ Dzikr

[Note: A few days later, Adam made the choice to change the channel on his own without any influence from me (I was in the kitchen at the time) and this made me realise Khalifah Method helps to build a child’s inner armour against negative and evil influences]

Isn’t Khalifah Method great?? In just one interaction, so many different lessons were being learnt! Professor Dr. Muhammad al’Mahdi said, “It is simple but it is not easy.” The difficulty lies in us being careful to word our communication with our children or student.

Try this first and get back to me. (I don’t want to overwhelm you; you did say ONE thing,LOL!)

May Allah ease your path and grant you success, Ameen.

Love, Sharena

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About Sharena

My experiences as mother to Adam and Daniel, wife, daughter , teacher, trainer and friend has enriched my life to the fullest. Life is a journey of small steps through love, tests and contentment; fulfilling our role as khalifah makes it even more challenging and satisfactory.
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