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13 Tips to Strengthen Families

What are your hopes, dreams and expectations of family life? What do you believe about families generally? What are your family’s strengths? How often do you identify and celebrate them?

It is our hope that the following indicators of family strength will not be thought of as “shoulds” — as a set of rules that must be followed or as a checklist by which you grade your own or other families. Rather, they are tools to aid family discussion and interaction and means of learning more about your family.

1. All families can be strong and healthy.

In 1950, the typical family consisted of a working father, an at-home mother and at least two children. But conditions have changed and so have families. Most still have the picture of the “ideal” family as the kind that existed in the 50s. The families of the 80s are different. Today, there are more single-parent, two-worker, step-parent and childless families. What makes a family strong does not depend on who makes up the family but how well they work together to accomplish necessary tasks, such as meeting individual member’s needs, teaching children what is expected of them and how to carry out required tasks, maintaining the family unit, and developing a shared set of meanings, values and goals. Nontraditional families, and that includes most of us, must learn new ways of accomplishing these tasks.

2. Healthy families spend “prime time” together.

Strong families set aside “prime time” to be together. By spending pleasant, positive time together, families build up a reserve of good feelings. When trouble comes it has to be shared with the family and resolved. If the problems are not balanced by shared pleasures, in time, people may come to associate family life with unpleasant rather than pleasant things. So when your life begins to be too fragmented, you might want to cross other things off your list and spend more time:

  • Talking together
  • Planning together
  • Working together
  • Playing together
  • Laughing together

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The Prophet (SAS) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”
(Bukhari).

Guarantee your blessings!

Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).