I often read books and articles for teenagers, and about supporting or raising teenagers, even though those years are long past for me and my children’s teenage periods are several years away.
I found my teenage and early twenties years to be intense periods of self-reflection and learning, and, while I rarely need to be as self-absorbed as I was during that time, I still benefit from admitting I want to develop maturity in several areas insha’Allah.
Often times, when I newly discover that I have allowed a negative behaviour cycle to undermine my character, I look into my teenage years and find a struggle to overcome the same behaviour was present there too. Sometimes this behaviour is a small habit like biting away dry skin on my lip, other times it is more serious, like emotionally self-abusing through condescending self-talk. Some of the skills I used as a teenager can be useful skills to conquer my detrimental behaviour – I just need a little time out to focus and remind myself that I can do it insha’Allah.
For me this book has facilitated a welcome period of reflection. Although I especially recommend it to teenage and twenty-something Muslimahs, I also recommend it to anyone older who is experiencing relationship troubles because its relationships analysis has life long relevance. This book isn’t just for teenagers or people in marital relationships.
Hameen takes the reader through important material about treating ourselves and others with responsible humanity. By answering her simple comprehension exercises at the end of each short chapter – even in your head – the reader can access awareness of how much of this information she has already learned, what is new knowledge, and any points she feels uncomfortable to admit. So the workbook process helps you know your strengths and weaknesses. And the content teaches you, plainly, that yes you do need to maintain self-awareness as well as awareness of what humanity looks, sounds, and acts like, in order to maintain good relationships.
Latifah Hameen is very clear about how to recognise abuse and its dangers and that a victim must strengthen herself with inner resolve to rise above helplessness and choose to end abusive cycles. This stopped me for a while. A shaky pause of temptation to regress from thriver to survivor to victim. I kept momentum, however, and read on and on, letting Hameen guide me to where I want to stand firm – a place of accepting full responsibility for my relationships alhamdulillah.
I asked my husband to join me using two tables from the book to review our relationship in terms of ‘equality’ and ‘abuse’. We discussed each point, voiced concerns, celebrated achievements, and made some solo and duo goals. We then brought the session to a close by agreeing to meet again for relationship discussions and by simply reading out the lists of dating rights and responsibilities to help us consolidate our good intentions.
I had thought I’d read this book, note it for later use with my teenage children insha’Allah, and then pass it on to someone else. I don’t like to hog things that others could use. And I have a weakness for keeping books. However, insha’Allah I plan to get a lot of use out of this book while my children are too young for it. So I’m just passing on a recommendation.
Masha’Allah, something great about the book is that its advice never judges the decision to have a relationship, since it is not targeted at Muslims. It is not only about ‘love’ relationships. So I think it would equally be an excellent gift for someone considering marriage as it would be a non-judgemental, ‘concerned’ gift to a young Muslimah in any stage of her iman journey. It would also make good learning material for someone who has experienced bullying, as the victim or the oppressor…. We all have the capacity to make abusive mistakes, and to overcome them insha’Allah.
If you are looking to avoid abuse, and to develop numerous life-long positive relationship skills insha’Allah, I can’t recommend Latifah Hameen’s Teens/Young Adults How To – Not Relationship Abuse Workbook highly enough masha’Allah.
And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, “Strike with your staff the stone.” And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people knew its watering place. “Eat and drink from the provision of Allah , and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”
The Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (the cow), 2:60
Maria Limehouse is an aspiring novelist, sometimes frequent-sometimes quiet blogger, and slow reader … probably in reverse order.