Lately, I have noticed that the volume in our house has been going up. Here I was complaining about how loud our children were yet not realising I was also shouting when I spoke. It was my husband who pointed out to me these kids shout because you shout when you speak. 😕 Can you Imagine! Me? Shouting?
For as long as I can remember I have always been conscious about the volume of my speech. You see I was raised by a traditional Somali Mother I was always reminded by her to speak in a gentle and soft manner. Whenever we shouted, she would say (caab hoos oo hadlaa) meaning how embarrassing talk in a small (or low) voice. She would remind us of this again and again ( may Allah reward her) not only did she instruct us but she also practised what she preached. So from the outset, been loud was not a good thing.
This notion was challenged when I entered both public highschool and the workforce. I constantly saw that the most “popular” person were the loud ones. You know those characters when they walk into the room their presence is felt by their volume. It seemed that people thought loudness of this type showed that someone was confident in themselves. So I wanted to be loud too because I wanted to be confident in myself. In addition to this like all average teenagers I was exposed to mainstream shows on television, and again I would hear phrases like “loud and proud”, so and so is bubbly and loud. There seemed to be a contradiction between what my mother had taught me and what everybody else was saying and doing. Hmm what to do?
There was a few things that stopped me from becoming the loud and “confident” person everybody seemed to admire. I genuinely felt shy to be that way. Alhamdulilah during my teenage years, I came across the hadith,
If you feel no shame, then do whatever you wish.” (Bukhari)
At the time my reflection on this hadith lead me to believe that it meant whatever I felt shy about then I should not do that thing. To me, this shyness I felt was like a defensive mechanism that protected me from un-Islamic behaviour. Later I came to learn that shyness is an integral part of what is known in Islam as Haya. So if I was shy to be loud, to scream, then I should not be so? Right? The other factor that made me so conscious about the volume of my voice and would eventually settle my confusion came in verse 31:19 also known as the advice of Luqman to his son. This verse sealed the deal for me alhamdulilah. It’s a long verse, but the part that resonated with me reads…
and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the asses.” (Quran 31:19)
Ass as in Donkey? No, I do not want to sound like a donkey thanks nor do I want my children to sound like one. So you see this is why I don’t like the phrase loud and proud because to me it says two things. One not only are you not shy about your loudness you are proud of it. Proud to sound like a donkey? (loud and proud might have other connotations but not in my teenage mind, so innocent) As a young lady, I took this to mean disapproval for loud speech and laughter. As a parent I have extended this meaning to mean shouting at my kids out of anger, raising my voice in groups to get my point across and yelling across a hallway or street when speaking to someone.
So you see right now with four kids under the age of seven included in this a preschooler and two infants the noise in this house at times stresses me out. For one it goes against all that I had held to be true all these years. The other thing is I am genuinely concerned that my children will grow up to be the loud. I want them to have Haya, I want them to be gentle in speech, soft-spoken yet confident. Homeschooling for me is not just about the A B C’s and 1 2 3’s it’s about good character according to Islamic principles. Just as my mother did with me I will be instructing my kids to talk softly. To enter a room with a smile but not with a loud laughter or tone. So I’ll be off figuring out where all this noise is coming from in the meantime please share ways in which you keep the noise down in your home?
**Please understand that in no way am I qualified to interpret Hadith or Aya of the Qur’an I’m only sharing my reflections that come from a limited place. I do not understand Arabic Quran just an English interpretation. Nor is this an attempt to insult anyone’s personality type.