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  1. (bismillah) (salam) I hope you are all in the best of health and Imaan (faith). So, I have recently seen people being very concerned about the allegation some non-Muslims make against the Holy Prophet (pbuh) , in regards to the age of his wife Aisha at the time of their marriage. Many a Muslims are shocked when they hear of the narrations regarding her age (there are, of course, differing accounts but I am talking about the accounts which age her fairly her young, at around 6 when the marriage took place and 9 at the time of consummation). Many non-Muslims try to raise this as an issue to malign the Prophet (pbuh) as immoral and a man who is controlled by carnal desires - I am not even going to mention the names they call him because of how lowly they are. This is why I decided to give a few points which helped me out on this matter, mainly the age of Lady Fatima (peace be upon her), when she was married. Although I, myself, am not really sure and do not have a concrete view on what really was Aisha's age at the time of the marriage because I have seen conflicting theories and I can't seem to decide which one is right, at least, not at the moment. I did, however, come up with something that makes me very comfortable, even if she was 9 at the time of consummation, as those who like to malign the Prophet (pbuh) would like and I would like to share this with you. Before I delve into the point which occurred to me, I want to give an example. I remember a member of Shiachat creating a thread recently, explaining how his/her (I don't want to give too many clues about the identity of that person because the member may not like it) father had this addiction for pornography and how he overcame it. One of the major reasons this person gave for his/her father leaving this nasty habit was that he could not accept his daughter doing "something silly with stupid men" and, so, the women in those magazines/videos were also the daughters of someone and if he disliked his daughters doing such acts, he should also take into account that these women were also the daughters of someone. Now, the only reason I brought up this whole thing was to show one thing: in these cases of immorality, no matter how vile and immoral the person is, he/she would still be very uncomfortable with his own daughters performing the acts of indecency that he was so used to. The point, in a nutshell, is that a person may do all sorts of morally corrupt actions but when it comes to their own children, they don't like the idea of their own children doing those acts, no matter how much of it they, themselves, do it. Coming to the Prophet (pbuh) , the thing I want to point out is that, according to the Shi'i narrations, the age of Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) at the time of marriage was 9 (according to the Sunni narrations, she was a bit more older, at around 11, but would still be considered a child by the standards of those who try to malign the Prophet (pbuh) and, so, the age we take does not matter - she was a "child" at that time). It is said that she had her first-born when she was 10 and, so, it is reasonable to assume that the marriage was consummated when she was still 9, or at most, 10. Now, if the Prophet (pbuh) was an indecent man who married Aisha at such a young age because of whatever reasons the opponents give, trying to make it look like immoral, I want to ask, keeping in mind the example I gave above, even if he was so immoral, why would he let his daughter also marry at approximately the same age as his marriage was consummated with Aisha? Even the most vile person would not allow his daughter to undergo oppression, which is what they say the Prophet (pbuh) marriage to Aisha was, to Aisha. The Prophet (pbuh) 's decision to let his own daughter marry at this "young" age clearly shows that he did not find it immoral for a woman to marry at this age and, therefore, he cannot be criticised regarding his marriage to Aisha. The concept of morality he had did not make it immoral to marry a 9 year old and, so, we cannot use our standards on him! I wonder why those modernists who even support homosexuality simply on the premise of multiculturalism, tolerance and accepting the differences within cultures are so eager to attack the Prophet (pbuh) when the same reasons apply to his case? Some do try and purport that the concept of morality in his time was different but his actions, being those of a Prophet, should be moral for all ages and times. This is, perhaps, the most ludicrous arguement one could make in this regard. There are two very basic flaws in such an arguement: 1. He is the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) , the Messenger of God who teaches us what God deems right and wrong and, so, morality should be predicated upon his commands and actions. We should appraise the morality of our actions using him as the model and not the other way round, evaluating his actions on our conceptions of morality. Such a thing is extremely outrageous and ridiculous because according to social dynamics, the what is perceived as moral or immoral with society is always changing and, so, we cannot judge his actions on a scale that is not even constant. He is the yardstick and, so, we can't judge the yardstick based on the specimen because that is totally opposite logic! 2. Like I have said above, conceptions of morality are always changing within societies and, so, we can't expect someone's actions to fulfill the requirements of all these differing concepts. Sometimes, we may find the conception of what is moral regarding a certain issue being contradictory to what is conceived as moral in another society. How can we expect - or, indeed, ask - a person to be moral using both definitions when, obviously, they are antithetical? Insha'Allah, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt anyone! :D May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance, increase our knowledge and Imaan and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and the Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, verily, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners, except in Allah (SWT) .
  2. Extended Adolescence: When 25 Is the New 18 It is a common grumble that children grow up too fast. No more. Teens are in no hurry to embrace the putative joys of adulthood By Bret Stetka on September 19, 2017 Especially now, with society’s deepest depravities freely available online, youngsters seem to grow up quickly: barreling toward adulthood, iPhone in hand, while they Snap Chat racy photos along the way. But new research suggests otherwise. An analysis by researchers at San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College reports that today’s teenagers are less likely to engage in adult activities like having sex and drinking alcohol than teens from older generations. ADVERTISEMENT The review, published today in the journal Child Development, looked at data from seven national surveys conducted between 1976 and 2016, including those issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Together, the surveys included over eight million 13- to 19-year-olds from varying racial, economic and regional backgrounds. Participants were asked a variety of questions about how the they spent their time outside of school and responses were tracked over time. Beyond just a drop in alcohol use and sexual activity, the study authors found that since around 2000, teens have become considerably less likely to drive, have an after-school job and date. By the early 2010s, it also appeared that 12th graders were going out far less frequently than 8th graders did in the 1990s. In 1991 54 percent of high schoolers reported having had sex at least once; in 2015 the number was down to 41 percent. What’s more, the decline in adult activity was consistent across all populations, and not influenced by race, gender or location. “I’ve seen so many articles in which experts said they didn’t know why the teen pregnancy rate was going down or opining that teens were behaving in a more virtuous way…or that they were lazy because fewer were working,” recalls Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State and the lead author on the study. “Our results show that it’s probably not that today’s teens are more virtuous, or more lazy—it’s just that they’re less likely to do adult things.” She adds that in terms of adult behaviors, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds of the past. Twenge and her co-author, Heejung Park, assistant professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College, initially thought the findings meant teens today are doing more homework or engaged in more extracurricular activities. Yet their data suggest the frequency of these activities has been stable for years, if not on a slight decline. The fact teens (not unlike many adults) are glued to their computers and smartphones for much of the day may have contributed to the results the authors suggest. Perhaps their socializing and more salacious interests have simply gone digital via texting, sexting and online pornography. (Today’s teens watch more porn than their predecessors.) Yet virtual vice isn’t the whole story because the dip in adult activities began before internet usage became common. The more likely explanation for this new extended adolescence its relationship to affluence. The analysis found adolescents were more likely to take part in adult activities if they came from larger families or those with lower incomes. This mirrors so-called “life history theory,” the idea exposure to an unpredictable, impoverished environment as a kid leads to faster development whereas children who grow up in a stable environment with more resources tend to have a slower developmental course. ADVERTISEMENT In families with means there is often more anticipation of years of schooling and career before one necessarily has to “grow up”—there’s plenty of time for that later. As Twenge and Park conclude, despite growing income disparities, a significant percentage of the U.S. population has on average become more affluent over the past few decades and are living longer. As a result, people are waiting longer to get married and have children. We’re also seeing a higher parental investment in fewer children—or, in the parlance of our times, more “helicopter parenting.” This concept of extended adolescence is not new. It was first made famous by psychologist Erik Erikson, who in his theory on the different stages of human development termed this stage a “psychosocial moratorium.” Yet many child psychologists believe today’s children seem to be idling in this hiatus period more so than ever before. “I'm keenly aware of the shift, as I often see adolescents presenting with some of the same complaints as college graduates,” says Columbia University psychologist Mirjana Domakonda, who was not involved in the new study. “Twenty-five is the new 18, and delayed adolescence is no longer a theory, but a reality. In some ways, we’re all in a ‘psychosocial moratorium,’ experimenting with a society where swipes constitute dating and likes are the equivalent of conversation.” Some experts caution against reading too much into the new findings, because asking a bunch of teenagers to accurately recount their behavior has its obvious statistical flaws. “The new work highlights how vital it is to do careful, methodologically rigorous research,” says Robert Findling, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine who also did not take part in the new research. “Working from impressions, opinions or individual experiences can lead to spurious conclusions.” But presuming some degree of truth to the new findings, what might postponing adulthood mean for society? Are we headed toward a culture of helpless, coddled teenagers unwilling to work? Or given that we’re living so much longer than past generations, maybe there’s nothing wrong with a few extra years of innocence? Twenge sees both upsides and downsides: “It's great to protect young teens, but parents should realize that older teens need some experience with independence before they go to college or start working.” Domakonda adds that although parents can play a role in indulging extended youth, they are not the root cause. “Most are responding to their own anxieties about the new norm,” she says. “They recognize that now, in order for their children to succeed, they can’t simply get a job at the local factory, but may be faced with 10-plus years of postgraduate education and crippling student debt.” ADVERTISEMENT She feels that instead of pushing young adults to mature faster, we should embrace the cultural shift and develop ways to both meet the psychological needs of modern teens while also setting them up for future success. Domakonda suggests one such strategy might be expanding mental health services for adolescents, particularly because 75 percent of major mental illnesses emerge by the mid-20s. She also feels we should stop arbitrarily defining 18 as the age of adulthood and recognize that psychosocial development occurs differently in different people. “Researchers need to recognize that emerging adults are a unique developmental cohort and stop lumping them in the 18- to 65-year-old category for studies of adults,” she says. “That will help us learn about their specific needs so we may develop targeted prevention and treatment strategies [for mental illness] Time will tell how extended adolescence influences American culture and character. But in the words of basketball legend Charles Barkley, there is one clear upside: “Kids are great. It’s a shame they have to grow up to be regular people and come to the games and call you names.” Rights & Permissions ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S) Bret Stetka Bret Stetka is a writer based in New York City and an editorial director at Medscape (a subsidiary of WebMD). His work has appeared in Wired, NPR and the Atlantic. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2005.
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