AMAANAH FROM ALLAH
Children, no doubt, are a Blessing of Allah SWT. From the time a baby is conceived, we start planning ahead for their future, and the joy that comes with its arrival has no bounds. The love for our child in our hearts is something so natural and it comes with no strings attached.
But we must remember that children are an amanah (trust) from Allah SWT, and therefore, we have certain duties and responsibilities towards them, and Allah SWT, for He is The One who blessed us with them in the first place. Allah mentions wealth and children together, many a time in the Quran. Both, wealth and children is a test to us, to test how we deal with this Blessing. Allah Azza wajal tests some people with wealth, and some without wealth. Similarly, Allah tests some people with children, and some without. We should always keep a check on ourselves that both of these do not take us farther from Our Deen, and therefore, it is our Duty as a believer to bring our children up, in a fashion that pleases Allah SWT. It is our responsibility to give them Islamic Guidance and instill in them values of love, fear, hope, Submission, Worship of Allah SWT.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds that last, are better with your Lord for reward and better for hope.” (Surah-Al-Kahf: 46)
As concerned parents, we are all worried about how our kids will turn out in this world, if they will get a good paying job and marry a beautiful/handsome, rich/noble spouse but how often do we wonder about what kind of muslims will they grow up to be? Will they be an asset or a burden to the Ummah? Are we raising regular, ‘confirming to the norms’ kind of children or do we aim to raise leaders of the Ummah?
To raise exceptional children we should begin by bearing in mind that as parents we need to be willing to admit our shortcomings and not discount that which is “inconvenient” as being impractical (such as keeping children away from indecent content on screens or teaching them to shun mainstream singing/dancing entertainment).
Lets begin by reminding one and all of what a great responsibility raising children really is. Realizing this should drive us to making a greater effort. Responsibility is a word many like to avoid, but we simply cannot. Islaam teaches us responsibility. In the following ahaadeeth the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ draws our attention to the great responsibility of bringing our children up correctly.
Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) reports that he heard the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ say: “All of you are (like) shepherds and all of you will be asked about their flock (i.e. are responsible for them). The Imam (leader) is the shepherd of his subjects and he is responsible. A man is the shepherd for the people of his home and he is responsible (will be asked about them). A woman is the shepherd of the home of her husband and she is responsible. Each of you is (like) a shepherd and each is responsible for his flock.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Furthermore, the Prophet ﷺ more or less states that a child will grow up on the religion/way (deen) of his parents as they are the strongest influences over him. Al-Bukhaari reports from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet ﷺ said: “There is no child born except in the state of fitrah (pristine disposition, natural state of Islaam) then his parents make him Jewish or Christian or Magian. Likewise, the animal gives birth to a fully formed calf. Do you see in it the least disfigurement?” Then Abu Huraryrah recited (what means): “The fitrah of Allaah upon which He has created [all] people.” [30:30]
Allaah has ordered parents to raise their children well and placed this huge responsibility on their shoulders for He says (what means): “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” [66:6]
‘Ali (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said regarding the (meaning of the) words of Allaah: “protect yourselves and your families from a Fire” that it means teach yourselves and your families good. Al Fakhr ar-Raazi said in his tafseer that it means protect yourselves by abstaining from what Allaah has forbidden. Others said it means to protect yourselves by abandoning sin and working righteousness and to hold your families accountable as you hold yourselves accountable.
Clearly then, a great deal of effort is required and the process of correcting and training is an ongoing one. It is certainly a serious and important responsibility. It starts in the very early years of life and continues through the stages of discretion and adolescence, until he becomes fully mature. No doubt that when an educator accomplishes his task in its full scope, a righteous person will be brought up. Hence, a righteous family will be established and will contribute to building up an ideal society. This is the starting point of Islam towards reformation. The Qur’an and Sunnah call on people to fulfil the duty of education. Among the Qur’anic verses are,
Every father and mother should train their children in praiseworthy characteristics and good manners, whether towards Allaah, His Prophet the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ, towards the Qur’aan and their ummah (global community of believers), and with everyone whom they know and who has rights over them. They should not behave badly with those whom they mix with, their neighbours or their friends.
Al-Nawawi said: The father must discipline his child and teach him what he needs to know of religious duties. This teaching is obligatory upon the father and all those in charge of children before the child reaches the age of adolescence.
Al-Shaafa’i and his companions said: This teaching is also obligatory upon the mother, if there is no father, because it is part of the child’s upbringing and they have a share of that and the wages for this teaching may be taken from the child’s own wealth. If the child has no wealth then the one who is obliged to spend on him may spend on his education, because it is one of the things that he needs. And Allaah knows best. End Quote. Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim, 8/44
The father should bring them up with good manners in all things, eating, drinking, dressing, sleeping, going out of the house, entering the house, riding in vehicles, etc, and in all their affairs. He should instill in them the attributes of a good man, such as love of sacrifice, putting others first, helping others, chivalry and generosity. He should keep them away from evil characteristics such as cowardice, stinginess, lack of chivalry, lack of ambition, etc.
Always keep in mind that you, the parent, will be asked about your child(ren). Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullaah) says that the father will be asked about his child before the child is asked about his father. So for a parent to neglect teaching their child(ren) that which is beneficial is indeed a great wrong. Most children are corrupted due to their parents’ shortcomings in raising them well (and neglect in teaching them their religious responsibilities and duties).
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Whoever neglects to teach his child that which will benefit him, and leaves him without any guidance, has wronged him gravely. Most children’s deviance is because of their parents and the parents’ neglect and failure to teach them the obligatory religious duties and the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, so they neglected them when they were small.…
How many are the parents who were the cause of their children’s misfortune and suffering in this world and the hereafter, because of their negligence and failure to discipline the child, and their encouraging and helping him to pursue his whims and desires. By doing that, they think that they are being kind to the child, at the time when they are disgracing him, and they think that they are showing mercy to him at the time when they are wronging him. Thus the child will be of no benefit to his parent, and the parent is the cause of the child’s misfortune and of his missing out on opportunities for success in this world and the hereafter…
If you think of the causes of children’s misguidance and corruption, you will see that it is mostly the fault of the parents.
O parent, understand well that raising your child upon the true religion (al Islaam) in accordance with the Quraan and Sunnah is your duty and the right of the child; it is not a favour you extend to the child! Allaah will ask you about how you raised your child and what you taught him. Therefore, keep this in the forefront of your mind always. Ask yourself, when I am brought before my Lord on that inevitable Day and asked about my child, what will my response be?
Let’s hope we fullfill our duties of raising of our children; so that inshaa Allah, on that great Day, we will have an answer to Allaah’s questions which we will not regret.
START FROM BEFORE THEY ARE BORN
Among the rules laid down by Islam for choosing a spouse, is to choose your spouse from a family known for their righteousness, morals and honor.
Many hadeeths direct the attention to the necessity of choosing someone of religious commitment and good character, so that we can have moral, pious, and righeous children. In accordance with this meaning, Uthman Ibn Abi Alc As Ath-Thaqafi advised his sons to select their wives, and avoid ill-bred families. He advised them saying: “O sons, the man who seeks marriage is like one who plants, so, everyone should see where he is putting his seeds, and it is quite rare to get noble offspring from the ill-bred, so select your wives even if you have to wait for a while.”
Such a selection, that the Prophet ﷺ has advised us of, is taken as one of the greatest scientific facts, and educational theories in modern times. Genetics proved that the child inherits his parent’s moral, physical, and intellectual characteristics. So, when the selection of a spouse is based on righteousness & honor, children grow up bearing these same qualities, and when a child combines inherited righteous qualities and virtuous breeding, he attains the climax of religion, morality, and piety.
Dua before intercourse
بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ، اللَّهُمَّ جَنِّبْنَا الشَّيْطَانَ، وَجَنِّبِ الشَّيْطَانَ مَا رَزَقْتَنَا
Bismillaah, jannibnaa al-shaytaan wa jannib al-Shaytaan ma razaqtana
(In the name of Allaah. Keep the Shaytaan away from us and from what You bestow upon us).
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When any one of you wants to have intercourse with his wife, let him say, (the above) Then if it is decreed that they should have a child, the Shaytaan will never be able to harm him.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
SETTING AN EARLY EXAMPLE
The parents must first of all adhere themselves to the attitude and behaviour that they are trying to instil in their children. As children grow, we see that they pick up a great deal from their surroundings. It is therefore crucial that their parents are there for them and have very clear roles within an Islaamic household and the day we chose to ignore those roles, we began seeing a change in our children.
Hence one of the early generations said to his children’s teacher: Let the first thing you do in setting my children straight be mending your own ways, for their faults will be connected to your faults; in their eyes, what is good will be what you do and what is bad will be what you refrain from. End quote.
The mother and father both have to work hand in hand in setting good examples for their children and protecting them from harm from an early age. Besides being on our best behaviour, we now also have to be proactive in practically teaching them right from wrong, manners/etiquettes and steering them away from immorality. Let me give a few simple examples here:
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We cannot emphasize enough how one needs to lead/teach by example. So besides practicing what you preach, be sure to teach the child du’aas taught from a very early age. Before feeding the child, always say Bismillah audibly, then Alhamdulillaah when they’re done; say Alhamdulillaah audibly when you sneeze in front of the child and when they sneeze try to make them say it too; say maashaa Allaah when they do something good, say the du’aa for leaving and re-entering the home audibly, say the du’aa for entering the vehicle audibly and so forth. You will be amazed how they pick up bits and pieces of each du’aa from this early age. Parents actually notice how kids learn jingles from certain ads at a very young age.
As they grow, you can eventually teach them our ‘aqeedah (belief system) in a slightly more “formal” way. For example, when you see beautiful trees, ask your child, “Who made these?” The same with the sky, the mountains etc… When it snows or rains, ask the child who caused it to snow and rain and so forth. When eating, ask who provided us with the food and make them understand why we say Bismillaah and Alhamdulillaah when we begin eating and finish eating respectively. If you teach your child these matters from an early age, you are providing them with a solid foundation. We will learn more about imparting religious education in the coming classes.
Children are born pure and will learn from their environment. To raise good Muslim children, we need to start being good Muslims ourselves. Do not lie and expect the child to be truthful. Do not use abusive language and expect your child to be kind and empathetic. The beginning of a child/s correct upbringing starts with self-reflection and self-correction. Be the role model you’d want your child to copy. Provide them with a safe and healthy environment to flourish. Keep any negativity out of your homes. If you see any undesired quality in your child, see if you are your spouse had displayed such behaviour in front of the child.
The early years are extremely important and as a parent you need to make certain that your child has a solid foundation to build upon. Never assume the child is too young to be imparted good values and religious education, as the adult will be raised only upon the type of foundation you have laid in the early years. If sin is normalized in the early years, it will be very difficult to teach them to hate the same sin later on.
The perfect time to start establishing a good Muslim household is now and it starts with you!
CONSTANTLY MAKE DUA FOR THEM
You have to offer du‘aa’ constantly, especially at times when supplications are answered, such as the last third of the night, when prostrating and on Fridays. Call upon Allah, may He be exalted, a great deal and ask Him to make your children righteous and guide them to the straight path. Supplications for their children is one of the characteristics of the righteous slaves of Allah. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqoon (pious)” [al-Furqaan 25:74].
Dua Prophet Ibrahim (AS) Made for Pious Descendants
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) made the following dua for his descendants to be pious and those who submit to Allah. This dua encompasses his own children and the future generations as well. It’s a great dua to make for our children as well. This ayah is in Surah Baqarah, (2:128).
“Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful”.
Dua Made by Adults for Their Children
One dua Allah mentioned in the Quran for pious children is made by those who are obedient to their own parents. This dua is found in Surah Al-Ahqaf (46:15).
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Another Dua of Prophet Ibrahim (AS)
Allah SWT mentions some beautiful dua Prophet Ibrahim (AS) made for himself, his children and his progeny in Surah Ibrahim. One such dua is for pious children. This dua is mentioned in verse 40.
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.”
Prophet ﷺ said: “There are three prayers that are not rejected: the prayer of a father for his child, the prayer of the fasting person and the prayer of the traveller.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi
TIPS FOR THE TEST