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The Role of Listening in Family Shura
by Sound Vision Staff Writer
Whether it's community affairs (42:38) or family issues (2:233), Shura is a blessing for all members of the Muslim community.
In a family setting, Shura is a beautiful tool for building family closeness and cohesion. It allows all family members to voice concerns and opinions in an open and honest manner; it teaches young and old the proper etiquette of communication, and most importantly, it allows all members to feel that they are part of a team that shares common values and goals for the sake of Allah.
But Shura doesnt just happen. It requires time, commitment, and skill. One of these skills is good listening.
In our culture, listening tends to be devalued in the face of talking. A person who speaks well is highly regarded, but a good listener is rarely praised. Communication is clearly a two-way street, and Shura without proper listening skills cannot succeed.
Here are seven tips for better listening that can strengthen Shura in your family.
Busy parents, especially moms, are excellent multitaksers: doing the laundry while talking on the phone, while getting dinner ready, while preparing for a meeting. But in the case of Shura, multitasking is clearly a liability, not an asset.
When the family settles down to conduct Shura, all distractions must be removed. The television and radio must be off, the computer put in sleep mode, the answering machine on, and newspapers, games, and magazines put away.
This way, everyone's full attention can be given to paying attention to what is being discussed.
In some families and cultures, what women and young people have to say is ignored or devalued. This attitude is a sure way to kill good listening, and by extension, family Shura from the start.
If we remember the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, he consulted his wives and was very attentive to the needs of children. He respected all, and this is the attitude that we must adopt if we want to become good listeners who will succeed in implementing Shura in our families.
Making eye contact with the person speaking is critical in showing that you are paying attention, which validates the speaker's need to feel you are really listening.
As with eye contact, gestures like nodding your head, smiling or frowning (depending on what's being said) also show the speaker that you are paying attention.
How many of us are notorious for finishing other people's sentences? This bad habit is not only rude, it is also a sure way to annoy a speaker. When you interrupt, the message you give the speaker is: 'what you have to say doesn't really matter, so let me take over the conversation'.
Wait until the speaker is finished talking, then raise your hand or start speaking if no one else is to responding.
deji egberongbe, nigeria -
wrote on 7/23/2003 11:23:20 AM
Moulana Habeeb, Guyana -
wrote on 7/23/2003 8:18:59 AM
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