On Saturday October 18th, 2014, Muslim Family Services (MFS) held an interactive youth workshop for the benefit of all Metro-Detroit youth. The workshop was scheduled from 11:00 am-3:00 pm. The workshop, entitled “Stronger Youth, Greater Tomorrow”, was composed of six segments led by different speakers and professionals. Gracing the stage was none other than our very own Sheikh Ali Suleiman Ali followed by Dr. Halim Naeem, Br. Omar Malik, Br. Osama Odeh, Sr. Tahira Khalid and Sr. Jumana Abusalah. These six speakers engaged the audience about various issues plaguing the youth. Subjects like substance abuse, parent-youth relationships, romantic relationships and social diseases, good character, leadership skills development and brotherhood-sisterhood were all part of the workshops discourse.
First up was our director Sheikh Ali Suleiman Ali who welcomed all guest and discussed the need for brotherhood and sisterhood. He reminded all in attendance that “…none of [us] truly believe until [we] want for [our] brother (or sister) what we want for ourselves”, a hadith from our beloved messenger (pbuh). This is a reminder to every one about the importance of respecting and wishing well for our brothers and sisters in humanity. Sheikh Ali made the distinction that all of humanity are our brothers and sisters saying that there are three types of brotherhoods: blood brotherhood, brotherhood of faith and brotherhood in humanity. We should wish all well and pray for the guidance of all people. If practiced widely, this mindset could change the world. Every human being can be an agent of that change for the sake of pleasing our Maker.
Following Sheikh Ali was Dr. Halim Naeem a Limited License Psychologist specializing in Substance Abuse and Youth counseling. Dr. Halim was the perfect candidate to discuss ‘why we use’ to youth. Having seen addiction first hand through his treatments with his clients, he was able to give a realistic portrayal of addiction and how it comes about. He asked the youth what drugs were and various answers spurted across the room. Some said that it was something needed to help you function while others maintained that it was something that makes you feel better. Dr. Halim stressed that drugs are things that trigger a chemical response in a person that alters their state of reality making them feel temporarily better. He mentioned that drugs and substance abuse are a cry for help from a person who is failing to deal with other real issues in their life. He ended by advising the youth to turn to Allah swt for counsel first and foremost because a sincere relationship with our Lord can protect us from falling into addiction and despair.
Br. Osama Odeh, the brothers Youth Director for MCWS in Canton, MI was up next. Br. Osama’s segment was about ‘Relationships and Social Diseases’. Being a Youth himself, Br. Osama was able to speak to the youth about the dangers of illegitimate relationships and sex outside of marriage. He started by sharing the story of Prophet Yusuf (AS). With Prophet Yusuf being an incredibly beautiful and attractive man, he faced a many trials that he overcame due to his sincere iman (faith) in Allah (swt). He faced one of the most difficult test that a young attractive man could face—that was the advances of a seductress. The gorgeous, powerful queen of their city came to his sleeping quarters and locked the door behind herself. She invited Yusuf to come to her and that she was his. With the circumstances being as they were: a beautiful woman and private quarters with just the two of them, many men may have fallen into the sin of fornication (zin’aa). Nevertheless, Allah (swt) saved Yusuf (AS) through his deep faith and taqwa (God-consciousness; balance of fear and hope in Allah (swt)). Yusuf (AS) sought refuge in Allah (swt) from the evil of what this seductress queen was inviting him to and was in the end triumphant. He also reminded all youth to be careful about the messages regarding life and relationships that we take in through media forms such as movies, music and television. Though seemingly harmless, many of these forms of media implant subconscious messages in our heart and minds. If we listen to and watch things that tell us that dating and premarital sex are ok, then we will eventually become desensitized to these acts. Br. Osama showed the youth that staying strong, even in times of severe difficulty, is the way towards a happy and beneficial future relationship. Allah (swt) wants happiness, love and blessings for us; we just have to seek these things in the right way and inshAllah, Allah (swt) will bless our relationships.
Next up was Br. Omar Malik of Youth of Ummah-Hamtramck and IONA Youth. Br. Omar’s segment was on Youth Leadership. He started his segment off by having all youth write down their Strengths and goals. He then shared a story in which the shaytan led some enemies of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) further into their evil plot of killing RasulAllah. He mentioned that the goals that you set for your self will inspire you toward good leadership of bad leadership. If we set a good plan for ourselves and make every step a good one towards fulfillment of our plans, then we are more likely to be successful. The way to do this is to study the lives of successful leaders like our blessed prophet (pbuh). Emulating the best will help us become better.
Sr. Tahira Khalid, the Head Counselor at MFS, spoke about ‘building a lasting bond and good relationship with parents’. She stated that Allah swt has blessed each and every one of us to be born to a specific set of parents. It is therefore our duty to respect, love and cherish these parents that were given to us as protectors and teachers. She acknowledged that some homes do not have parents their but stressed the importance of building a good relationship with one’s guardian as well. An open, honest and loving relationship with parents or guardians makes for more well-rounded youth. This is due to the fact that youth know that they have someone, whom they trust, that they can go to for advice when they are confused about something. Respecting and honoring ones parents is ordered in the Quran and the Sunnah. She ended encouraging youth to get to really know their parents and where they are coming from. This understanding will lead to more respect and mercy between parent and child.
Last but not least was Sr. Jumana Abusalah, MCWS Canton’s Sisters Youth Coordinator. Jumana was speaking on the subject of Good Character and Manners. No doubt about it, good character will get any individual further in life. The way that we behave and interact with others determines how we are treated in return, our reputation with others and with Allah (swt). The Prophet (pbuh) urged us to deal with our brothers and sisters with compassion. This goes back to the reminder that Sheikh Ali gave us from our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ‘want for your brother and sister what you want for yourself’. Jumana stated the importance of following the advice of the Quran and Sunnah in regards to our dealings with people. What we give eventually comes back to us.
Overall, this workshop was a success, Alhamdulilah. The guest enjoyed a lovely breakfast and lunch in good company in a gather intent on remembering Allah swt. If all youth and adults alike took the advice from these wonderful speakers, then inshAllah we could improve our ummah. MFS intends to hold more workshops like this in the future, inshAllah. If you are a community organizer or speaker and would like to partner with MFS on a workshop, please contact us with more details.
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Muslim Family Services (MFS) is pleased to announce our upcoming interactive youth workshop. The workshop is scheduled to take place Saturday October 18th from 11:00am-3:00pm inshAllah.
Our aim for the workshop is to bring cross-community youth together to discuss pertinent issues plaguing their demographic in an interactive and engaging way.
All middle school and high school youth are encouraged to attend and bring a friend. Parents are also welcome. FREE breakfast and lunch will be provided inshAllah. Registration starts at 10:00 am sharp. Breakfast will also be served then as well. Since this workshop is in a 3 hour window, we plan to start on time inshAllah.
Topics discussed at this seminar will be:
- Drug-Substance Abuse
- Developing good relationships with Parents
- Relationships and Social Diseases
- Good Character (Akhlaq & Adab)
Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali (MFS Director & MCWS Canton Masjid Imam)
Sr. Tahira Khalid (MSW, CSW)
Br. Osama Odeh (MCWS Youth Boys Director)
Sr. Jumana Abu Salah (MCWS Youth Girls Director)
Br. Halim Naeem (PHD, LLP)
Registration is absolutely FREE. Please register online by reserving your eventbrite ticket here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/stronger-youth-greater-tomorrow-interactive-youth-workshop-tickets-13680399443
If you have any questions about this event, please contact us at(313) 366-6800 or respond to this email.
We hope to see you all this Saturday InshAllah!
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On Saturday September 20th, we at Muslim Family Services (MFS) held our very first youth workshop. The workshop was titled “Akhlaq and Adab: Building Good Character and Manners”. This workshop aimed at inspiring self-reflection and ultimately self-improvement. On the panel was Br. Suleiman Salem of ICD Youth, Dr. Nadeem Siddiqui, Sr. Maimuna Habeebulah and Sr. Saniyah Shahid, LLMSW.
The workshop was opened up by Br. Suleiman Salem, a very active youth leader and speaker both in the Michigan Muslim Community as well as nationally. Br. Suleiman began by defining the term akhlaq as one’s character or way of dealing with society and those around them. He stated the virtues and importance of having good akhlaq and adab citing the famous hadith “The most beloved of Allah’s servants are those with the best manners”, found in Sahih Al-Bukhari. The great rewards that one will attain if sincerely striving to have good akhlaq and adab for the pleasure of Allah swt are unimaginable. Br. Suleiman did an excellent job of highlighting these rewards and virtues.
Upon discussing the contributing factors to one’s character, Br. Suleiman narrated a story of a young sister who took a turn and started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Her association with these people of bad influence caused her to abandon hijab, good gatherings and caused negligence in her practice of Islam. One day, this girl had a nightmare in which she saw the dajjal being followed by many people; her friends were amongst that group of people. She felt an inclination to join them in following him because she wanted to accompany her friends. As she was following this evil group, she felt several tugs at her from behind. Finally, she turned around and saw who she recognized to be Issa (AS) although she could not see his face. He asked her why she was following this group; she replied that she wanted to accompany her friends. Issa (AS) responded ‘you do not belong here (to this group)’. Upon hearing that, the young sister woke up in tears and immediately began repenting to Allah swt. After that frightening nightmare, the sister began turning her life around and striving in her deen, Alhamdulilah.
Br. Suleiman’s segment served as a reminder of what can happen if a person chooses to abandon good character. By sharing both sirah and personal examples, he successfully made the point that the struggle to develop and maintain good akhlaq and adab is something that all human beings can relate to. Br. Suleiman ended advising us all to apply the knowledge that we have been blessed with, in our lives. He reminded us that knowledge without application is ultimately useless.
During the interactive segment led by Sr. Maimuna and Saniyah, the audience was split into 4 groups and given a scenario. Each group was to dissect the scenario and come up with a solution that demonstrated the best of akhlaq and adab for that particular situation. One of the scenarios involved an employee plagued by her co-worker’s foul language and discussions in the workplace. The employee needed to find a way to escape the awkward situations and discussions she was being put in without reciprocating their insulting and rude language out of frustration. The assigned group decided that the employee should have courage and be honest with her co-workers by letting them know that their language and subject matter is offensive and to advice towards better and more productive conversations. The lesson stressed the fact that though others may not share your beliefs and values, one should never compromise their own values to appease others.
The audience was also shown a ‘what would you do’ video where a stranger had fallen on the street and was at the mercy of onlookers. Majority of the onlookers kept walking while few stopped to help. After the video had ended, the audience was encouraged to always do the right thing no matter how difficult or inconvenient helping may be at that time. We should be there for others when they need us according to the best of standards.
The audience enjoyed delicious sandwich wraps for lunch as Dr. Nadeem Siddiqi educated us all on the importance of a Personal Development Plan (PDP). He stated that in order to have tangible evidence of your everyday doings and dealings, it is best to set goals and log your efforts along the way. Small steps lead to big changes and inshAllah efficiency. He gave examples of some of his students’ progress from being unaware of their everyday task up until having developed the habit of keeping track of their actions. All of this recording ultimately helps individuals become more organized and self-aware of personal strengths and weaknesses.
All of these segments tied together very well and stressed the point that the time for self-reflection is now. With reminders from the best of generations, video evidence of what selfishness causes and a tangible PDP set forth, inshAllah we can all improve our lives. This workshop was a success by Allah swt’s permission. InshAllah, MFS will offer more beneficial workshops in the future.
Speakers: (From left)Br. Suleiman Salem, Sr. Maimuna Habeebulah, Sr. Saniyah Shahid LLMSW, Dr. Nadeem Sidiqqi
Group Activity: Recognizing Akhlaq and Adab
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