By Mumtaz Saley-Moosa
It was difficult to ignore the screaming match coming from the kitchen as mother and daughter had a go at each other. I was saddened by the situation and woke up to intervene when Ahmed asked to let them fight it out. But, after exercising a few minutes of patience, I could no longer keep out of it.
Ayesha stopped when I entered, but her expression was a mixture of anger and pain. Nusaybah was red-faced and sobbing, standing by the sink, also looking hurt and ready to bolt now that the opportunity had arisen. I gently asked her to go to her room as I needed to talk to her mother.
Ayesha sat across from me at the kitchen table, still seething but calmer. “I am at my wits end with that girl,” she said as tears slipped down her cheeks.
“Ayshoo”, I said as I held her hands in mine, “do you not remember how you and Mum would get into it? Sometimes, you’d stomp your feet, and she’d threaten to strangle the living daylight out?” Her lips curled slightly into a small smile at the memory, and soon she was giggling.
“And I would threaten her with “I’ll leave home and never come back.”, only to hear her say, “then please do!”
“How do I handle my daughter, Abba? We seem to get into arguments at the slightest thing?” she pleaded.
“Well, seeing that you’re asking for my help. . . Let’s begin with you being calmer and more open to listening to her. And when you’re angry, stop before throwing your toys out the cot.” Maybe walk away, and when you’re calmer, approach her and speak gently.”, I answered gently.
“Remember that she is a teenager; shouting and screaming at her will get her more defensive. She’ll become rebellious. Just like you were at that age”, I said, smiling at her, remembering Bibi and Ayesha’s endless arguments.
“Nabi Muhammed ﷺ said to speak gently. It is how you can influence people to listen to you. And especially to your children, as you will also be setting an example for them.”
Ayesha listened attentively, smiling as she reminisced about her teen days and eventually thanked me.
“You’re very blessed with Nusaybah, Ayshoo. She’s a perfect child, especially being a teenager today. She’s never asked to go out with her friends, nor does she want that lifestyle most teenagers seem to live today. She’s Islamically inclined as well. So, you should be grateful just for those few mercies, algamdoelillah.” I added for extra measure and to remind her that she was overlooking an essential aspect of her young daughter.
“Now, stop being Shaytaans’ keeper and relax a bit. I’m going to talk to my granddaughter for a while.” I said as I woke up to leave. Ayesha gave me a hug and a wet smooch on my bearded cheek.
“Shukran Abba.”, I’m going to make tea, and maybe we can enjoy it together when you’re done.” She said quietly.
Nusaybah was lying on her bed, red-eyed and still, dry sobbing when I knocked on her door and entered her room.
“What’s up, my girl?” I teased, knowing that she would smile at my silly attempt at sounding young and cool.
Big, fat tears began to roll down her cheeks as she blurted out, “Nobody understands me, and Mom thinks the worst of me all the time. I can’t stand it anymore!”
I reached out to her and pulled her close to me, “Tell me what happened?” I asked.
“All I did was answer the telephone because Mum was praying her salah. But when she walked out of the room and heard me on the phone, she grabbed it out of my hand, slammed it down, and began screaming that I’m always on the phone with who knows who.”
“It was Uncle Mohammed calling to speak to you. Mum thinks I was talking to a boy. She’s always accusing me of things I don’t do, and it makes me so angry.”, she answered.
She tears rolling down her cheeks, “I’m not on any social media unless it’s the weekend. I’m catching up on some interesting craft ideas or trends, and I leave my phone at home and only use it on weekends. This was the agreement Dad, and I made when he got me my phone.”
I asked her to accompany me to the kitchen, where we would enjoy a cuppa and a heart-to-heart talk. It started awkwardly as both were hurt and upset, but I soon managed to get them talking. Before the tea had cooled, mother and daughter were in a warm embrace, asking for forgiveness and, more importantly, realising that they could solve their issues merely by talking instead of screaming at each other.
“You know it would be a good idea for you two to spend a few hours at the mall may be together, or maybe find a hobby you both enjoy or Ayesha, you start to teach Nusaybah to cook and bake so when she gets married at least we know her husband won’t be poisoned!” I teased them both, hoping they would take the slight hint I had dropped.
“And never forget that we should never be suspicious of each other. Ayesha, you had assumed that Nusaybah was talking to a boy instead of going to pray. But it was Mohamed calling to speak to me. I think you need to apologise and explain to him about the hone being slammed down on him before he thinks Nusaybah was being rude.” I said as I realised that Mohammed had not called back.
Islam teaches us that being suspicious is dangerous and causes harm. Ayesha R.A., remember the beloved wife of Nabi ﷺ was accused of sin. People slandered her and spoke ill of her until Allah rectified the situation by revealing an Ayah of the Quran. This is a lesson for us to – talk openly and ask instead of casting doubt or suspicion on another.
Resolving conflict was important, and talking to each other calmly, respectfully, and openly will ensure better communication and less friction.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the falsest of tales. Do not seek out faults, do not spy on each other, do not contend with each other, do not envy each other, do not hate each other, and do not turn away from each other. Rather, be servants of Allah as brothers.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6066, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2563