Raising Muslim Children
Children are easily influenced by their surroundings. These days, it is extremely difficult to expose our children to an ideal Islamic environment given the influences from media, friends and even other members of the family.
With television, radio, Internet and forms of media mostly touting un-Islamic values, it is up to parents and adults close to the children to set the correct example. It is impossible to shield our children from all the negative forces that can shape their minds and, ultimately, their behavior.
However, by our own example and showing them better options, we can set them on the true path, which is to obey the commandments of Allah (SWT) and our Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Him).
Parents must be conscious and take an active role in guiding their children and families on the path of truth.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“Every one of your (people) is responsible, and everyone is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them”
(Bukhari and Muslim).
- Recite the Adhan when your child is born. Whisper the call to prayer in his/her right ear.
- Give a beautiful and meaningful name to your child.
One of the hadith in this context is the one narrated by Naafi’ that Ibn ‘Umar said:
The Messenger of Allah (Sallal’lahu Alaihi Wa’Sallam) said:
“The most beloved of your names to Allah are ‘Abd-Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan”
(Narrated by Muslim, 2132).
Teach Kalimah Tayyibah.
When the child begins to speak, teach them Kalimah Tayyibah. It is
La ilaha illalLah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Ullah”
which means, There is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s Prophet. Encourage them to memorise it and recite it. Teach them its meaning and what this short statement entails.
Understand how the children of the culture you’re in are raised
There will be cultural differences between countries. These differences will also be between how you were raised or how children back home were raised and how the children in the new culture are raised. This will happen whether you move to a non-Muslim country or another Muslim one. These differences create certain expectations and ideas, which your children will be exposed to, whether from other parents or from other children.
If you do not know what these expectations and ideas are, then there is a good chance they will blindside you. For that reason, be aware of them. Try to understand them. Discuss them with your Imam in necessary to find out what is okay and what is unacceptable.
Spend appropriately on your children
Parents, and especially fathers, have the responsibility to spend on their children in ways that can help their proper upbringing. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“It is sufficient sin for a man if he neglects those on whom he is obliged to spend”
(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1692; classed as sahan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4481).
Another hadith in this context states that ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (s), said: A woman came to me with two daughters and asked me for food, and I could not find anything except one date which I gave to her. She shared it between her two daughters, then she got up and went out. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) came in and I told him what had happened. He (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“Whoever is in charge of any of these girls and treats them well, they will be a shield for him against the Fire”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5649; Muslim, 2629).
Most of the problems of teenagers come from the early period of childhood; therefore, children need love from the early years of their childhood to have stable lives ahead.
“Anyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us.”
The guiding of children should be done in a loving way as possible. Quality time and personal attention should be given to them. Lines of communications should be developed with them, not just a brief passing time, but real time so as to ensure an effective and a healthy parent-child relationship.
Be Kind to Them
When dealing with children, one should know what to focus on and avoid being harsh. Soft and kind approaches should be adopted when dealing with the children even in situations where they fall short rather than using harsh and ugly words on them. It is important to bond with the children and to develop a strong bond with them.
It was narrated that Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), said: “Some Bedouin people came to the Prophet and said: ‘Do you kiss your children?’ He said: ‘Yes’. He said: ‘But we, by Allah, never kiss (our children)’. The Prophet said: ‘What can I do if Allah has taken away mercy from you?’
Parents have been given the noble duty of guiding the future generation. It is their task to ensure that their children get a sound religious education. In this way they are carrying on the work of the Prophets, who guided the people.
The Holy Qur’an says:
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is man and stones.”(Holy Qur’an 66:6).
In today’s society, a lot of emphasis is placed on secular education. A child is pushed to strive for excellence in academics. A college or university education is a necessity, both for boys and girls. Education is indeed very important, but the significance of religious education for a balanced personality must not be over-looked. The world is producing a generation that knows a lot, but is greatly deficient in moral and spiritual values.
Points on Interacting with your Child
- Give gifts to your daughter(s) first.
- Play with your children.
It is narrated from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) :
“The person who has a child, should behave like a child with him.”
Do not hit your child when they cry, because it is narrated from the
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) : “Do not hit your babies since their crying has a meaning.
- Kiss your child
- Do not ridicule the actions of your child, nor call them silly
- Do not order or forbid your child too much
- Build your children’s chracters by respecting them.
- Keep your promises.
- Mothers should be careful that when tending to the cleanliness of their children (e.g. giving them baths), even newborns, other children are not present, especially those who are of a different gender.
- Never leave children alone or in private for long periods of time
- Do not let girls of 6 years sit on a non-maĥram man’s lap or be kissed by non-maĥram men.
- Do not let girls be naked in front of others. In particular, their chests and thighs should be covered.
- Create love for Ŝalāt in your child, as Allāh (SwT) clearly states in the Noble Qur`an that Ŝalāt makes one far from ugly acts.
“Indeed the prayer prevents indecencies and wrongs.”
- Pray for your children, both during pregnancy and afterwards.
- Reminders and requests should be given with gentleness and softness so as not to create a barrier between parents and child.
- It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Teach traditions to your children as soon as possible, before opposers (to your beliefs) reach them before you do.”
- Do not use fear as a method of raising your child, as this causes damage to their personality and leads to psychological problems.
- Cuddling and kissing a child is one of their soul-foods, and it is necessary that enough of this is given to them. One of the reasons that a child is crying may be that they are thirsty for this expression of love. Children who grow up with plenty of love have confident personalities which are not swayed by the difficulties that crop up in life.
- The beds of children of 6 years and above should be separated from each other, even if they are both daughters or both sons.
- When instructing your child, don’t mention the names of other children constantly, or compare them with others.
- Make your children perform Ŝalāt from 7 years
- Find out about your child’s talents and develop these as much as possible.
- It is important that the parents give freedom and independence to their children according to their capabilities, so that they develop their initiative, innate independence and self-trust.
Memorisation of the Noble Quran
Start memorisation of the Noble Qur`an with children at a young age, as it is said that what is learnt in the early years is never forgotten.
Muslim Parents must realize that a child is blessing of God. If you provide your children with a good upbringing in the way that Islam teaches us, then you are being thankful to God. Contrarily, if you neglect your child and their proper upbringing, then you are being ungrateful to God.