All of us have role models, a person whom we may imitate, look up to or admire. Role models influence the way we behave. Therefore, we need to be wise when choosing a role model. Obviously the perfect role model for any Muslim is the best human, the one whom was sent as a mercy to the worlds, the prophet (SAW). Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki mentioned in a lecture that it is best to have a role model who has passed away because that way there will be no fear of following their mistakes.
We were asked to inform the group of our role model. I think a majority of the sisters said it was their “mother”, other role models included, Khadija (RA), ‘Umar (RA), the prophet (SAW), Umm Talha.
We discussed the question; ‘what does having a role-model do to a person?’. The following were some of the responses we came up with;
• Makes us observant of that person
• Shapes our behaviour
• Imitate them
• Aspire to be like them
• Find out everything about them
• Motivates us to follow them
• Moulding our speech like them
• Copy them, whether good or bad (bad behaviour destroys us)
• Obey them
• Struggle to be like them
• Self-reflection- think am I still following that person
• Makes us want to be in their company (passed away-read/talk about them)
• Imagine them
• Affects us socially
Muslim Youth Culture
The company a child keeps is very important as it will influence their behaviour.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said “People are like gold and silver; those who were best in jahiliyah are the best in Islam if they have religious understanding and souls are like recruited soldiers, they get mixed up with those similar to them in qualities and oppose and drift away from those who do not share their qualities” (Muslim). This hadith distinguishes between two types of people suggesting that some people are better than others. It also emphasizes the fact that certain people ‘click’ instantly when they meet because they have similar qualities. I am sure we can think of certain people we feel comfortable talking to and just being in their company and others we dread bumping into! Also the statement “souls are like recruited soldiers” signifies the natural difference of nature and temperament in people. Noble ones would be introduced to the pious ones. Those fascinated by evil will be introduced to mischievous ones.
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (SAW) said “A man is upon the deen of his friends so look at those who you befriend” (Hassan,tirmidi, Abu dawood).
In surah Al-Furqan verses 28-29 Allah says that the Zalimun will say,”Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so and so as a khalil (intimate friend)! He indeed led me astray from the reminder (this Qur’aan) after it had come to me. And shaytaan is to man ever a deserter in the hour of need”.
Also in surah Al-Kahf verse 28 Allah says “And keep yourself (O Muhammad SAW) patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e your companions who remember their lord with glorification ,praising in prayers and other righteous deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking His face; and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of our remembrance, and who follows his own lusts, and whose affair (deeds) has been lost”.
From these ahadith and verses of the Qur’aan it is clear that having good friends and being in the company of pious people is the key to success inshaAllah. Our friends influence us in so many different ways. Sometimes we may walk, talk or even dress the same! Also our children will be exposed to the children of our friends; therefore, we need to be selective when it comes to choosing our friends.
We as parents are the very first role-models for our children. Therefore, it is essential that we are positive role-models and act in accordance with Islamic principles. We should not tell them to do certain things while we act in contradiction to that. For, example, if we explain to our children the importance of offering salaah at it appointed times and expect them to do so, we should not delay our salaah because they will see a contradiction. Basically, we should practice what we preach. Also as mothers we need to be extra cautious because a small child will imitate almost EVERYTHING we do or say. subhanAllah my three year old daughter imitates me while she plays “mummy” with her dolls! She speaks to them exactly the way I speak to her. Therefore, it is essential to always check our behaviour and refine our speech because we are being followed and imitated by our children.
Allah knows best.