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Empty nesters: Now that the kids are off to college what do we do?

Each year, parents across the country help the last of their young-adult children begin their own journey in life, be it settling into college, moving into an apartment with that first job, or seeing them off to the military. This life phase is commonly called the empty nest period, or the second half of the marriage.

In many ways, the departure of a couple’s children opens the door to looking at their marriage in a new light. Unfortunately, many couples find that during their active parenting years they had less time for each other and have unmet expectations because the majority of their energies were devoted to their children. As a result, their marriage received the “left-overs.” So while many couples seemed to communicate adequately during their active parenting years, once their children are gone, they discover that their communication style does not work. For these couples, they may feel like the light, or intimacy, has faded.

Reconnecting with your spouse can be difficult during the second half of marriage. However, it is vitally important to redevelop interpersonal skills, so that each of you can share your deepest concerns and feelings of joy, rebuild a deeper friendship, and become close companions again. This transitional time can be a rebirth of the marriage if couples are willing to talk through their past marital disappointments and look for solutions or compromises. To accomplish this task, most couples find they have several things to work through.

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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).