Preventing fights isn’t easy when navigating Muslim friendships. To make it even harder, Muslim kids are known to quarrel over small things, much to our exacerbation as parents!
It can be difficult to get kids to understand that seeking common ground is more important than nitpicking differences. It can feel like the ummah is in complete disunity at times, even down to the level of our children.
Yet, the concept of unity is of such import in Islam that all Islamic concepts, be they spiritual, legal, ethical, or practical, are based on the concept of tawhid (God’s unity).
So, as Muslim parents, we must continually strive to help Muslim children navigate friendships in the spirit of maintaining unity.
Allah wants every level of human society to be unified towards progress. We need look no further than signs in His ordered, unified creation to realize this: bees in a hive, ants in a colony, and even planets in our solar system are all beautifully unified and ordered.
Our Muslim children start learning about unity, and the practical struggle to maintain it through their friendships, as they begin to experience social contexts. In the same way that adults, and even nations, struggle to maintain peace, so too do children.
The Noor Kids characters experience this often, and they too learn more about unity and togetherness in our most recent book!
So, how can Muslim parents help their children keep unity among friends?
Here are three ways for parents to help their children avoid cliques, not feel left out, and stop favoring one friend unfairly over another.
1 - Build Empathy by Standing in Somebody Else’s Shoes
Empathy is what makes us aware of the feelings of others and when you’re empathic, you’re much less likely to hurt someone else’s feelings.
So, how do we create empathy(and how can we help our Muslim children to do it too)? By appreciating each other’s humanity!
Ali ibn Abi Talib is famous for saying,
“If you are not my brother in faith, then you are the like in humanity.”
No matter our differences, we as human-beings share a commonality through our humanity.
To understand another’s humanity, we have to stand in their shoes and look at the world from their perspective. In other words, we need to understand their pleasures, their pains, their motivations, and their circumstances.
Muslim kids can think about these values in the context of the Prophet’s life….
Children are naturally interested to learn that the Prophet Muhammad kept both groups unified as one by pairing them up: one person who migrated from Mecca would stay in the home of one person who lived in Medina.
These people were once at war and literally killing each other.
But when people of Medina appreciated the circumstances of those from Mecca – that they had left their homes, their wives, their careers for the sake of the Prophet – they were excited to welcome them.
2 - Communication is the Key to Unified Friendships
Muslim kids can learn early on that communication is key to relationships. There are countless reminders from the Prophet’s life about keeping communities together and whole.
For instance, the Prophet taught that no Muslim should not hold a grudge or go longer than three days without speaking to each other.
This reference is a useful starting point to help a Muslim child problem-solve a falling out that has occurred in a friendship. Reminding our children that the Prophet tried to be the best friend he could to be to everyone can motivate Muslim kids to be the friendliest person in their class.
Enjoying this article? Continue the discussion by checking out 4 Simple Ways to Keep the Peace as Muslim Parents to learn how you can bring respect and friendship to your marriage as well!
3 - Being Different Makes You Interesting
It can be often the case that two people may not agree on an issue. Within our community, there can often be differences of opinion which create disunity.
There is a famous classroom poster that reads, “Being Different Makes You Interesting!” …and it’s true.
Allah tells us,
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Quran, 49:13)
Being different makes us interesting — but it also keeps us unified. For example, the four changing seasons come together to create a year of variety, beauty, and fun.
This idea can encourage Muslim kids to think about how a range of friends of different races, backgrounds, etc. actually makes their own life enriched and more exciting. What a great way to remember to be united!
Valuing diversity leads to valuing unity: we do not have to be the same to be united!