In the Name of God, the Most Gracious; The Most Merciful.
Alhamdulilah – All praise is due to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the One to whom we turn to for hikma (wisdom), hidaya (guidance) and rahma (mercy).
This past Ramadan, I witnessed something truly amazing and inspiring. This all took place between the Taraweh and the Qiyyam al-layl prayers, at time when most of the brothers in itikaf tried to catch a few hours of sleep. I noticed a young brother, around ten years of age sitting alone in the masjid reciting the Qur’an. He was under the very wings of the angels who descend upon those who mention the dhikr of Allah. His voice had turned hoarse from the length of rehearsal of the verses of the holy Quran. I thought to myself, masha’Allah, this scene is truly amazing. As a person in my twenties, I decided to try and speak with this young brother’s father to see if I might gain some knowledge about parenting; with the hope that I might learn how to raise righteous children such as this young brother, insha’Allah.
The following are some lessons I was taught by that father, which I share here because of their importance – May Allah reward him abundantly, for every single that person that benefits from and acts upon this knowledge.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “The best of you is the one who is best with his family, and, among you, I am the best to my family”
(1) Take your boys to the masjid everyday for salaat ul fajr. I would like to mention one thing at this first point which comes from my own personal experience: I was not a person who attended fajr in the masjid when I heard this advice; I even clarified if he meant fajr in the masjid or home. Alhamdulilah, since that day I have been attending salatul fajr in the masjid and it has already had many positive impacts on my life. For example, now I study after fajr, I sleep earlier and I have found fajr prayer in the masjid to be the best experience to begin each day with.
(2) Pray Isha in the masjid if it does not get too late for children. Otherwise take them with you to the congregational Maghrib Prayer. Make it a habit to take your entire family to pray to the masjid from time to time. The mothers of our children are their first teachers in life, so let our sons and daughters learn the importance of seeking knowledge and prayer from our women!
“And enjoin prayer on your family, and be constant in offering it.” (Qur’an 20:132)
(3) Pray as a family. When prayer is done in the home, let it be done as a family. Your wife and daughters ought to pray – this will demonstrate to your children the importance of prayer. And, this will encourage our children to pray. The greatest of role models for children are their parents.
(1) Islamic school. Even if you can’t afford it, look for scholarships, sponsorship, or sadaaqa so that your children can attend an Islamic school. Children will learn to read and write just as at a public school; however one of the greatest things that children learn in an Islamic school is the adab (mannerisms) from their teachers and peers. A child attending public school learns the adab found there, in contrast a child attending an Islamic school learns the Islamic manners from his teachers and peers.
(2) Eating together. Everyday, regardless how busy one’s schedule is, one should try to make time for dinner with the family. In turn, the children should also try to wait for the father to return from work and eat dinner together. This should become a set family time to get together occurring on a daily basis to ensure that this mubah (normal everyday deed) becomes an ibadah: done in a way that is pleasing to Allah that has proper intentions of remembrance for the sustainer of life, subhana wa ta’ala.
It is reported that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I have never seen anybody who is more merciful with children than the Prophet, peace be upon him.”
(3) Fatherly time. Set aside time to spend with your children. We do all have busy schedules, but we have to make sure our children are a priority and receive their right from us. Also, it is crucial that we engage our children at their level – we ought to treat a three year old as a three year old child not as if he were twelve. This pertains to how we act and talks with them.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said “And whoever has a child should act like a child with him or her” (Narrated by Ibn Asaker)
(4) Proper Aqeedah. Children gain, grow, and learn from their parents. Learning and teaching correct Islaamic Aqeedah is the greatest investments a parent can make for himself/herself and for the future of his/her children.
“Certianly Allah is with those who exercise taqwa and those who do ihsan” (Qur’an 16:128).
“Allah loves those who do ihsan” (Qur’an 3:134)
(5) Do not despair. Despite the fact that a patch of land might receive the same amount of irrigation and care, parts of it might produce higher harvest than the rest. One might observe the similar results in children who are being raised by the same parents and in the same atmosphere, but each child might respond differently to the input of the parents. If you see a child of yours not heeding to your advices and deviating from the correct path do not despair for the guidance of the heart is from Allah wa ta’ala. At the end of the day what a person as a parent needs to be certain of is that he/she did thier best to raise the child upright and with the highest morals, the result is in the Hands of Allah azza wa jal. On the day of reckoning, a parent has to be able to say in front of his Lord that he did all humanely possible to raise his children upon the command of Allah, the All-Mighty.
This is where our hero, the father, concluded his advice.
Dear reader, I wished this advice found its place within my heart so that I could relay it exactly as it was passed on me. Thus if anything good and righteous has been mentioned, then know it is from Allah alone, who deserves all praise, and if there has been any forgetfulness or anything wrong has been mentioned then know that Allah is free from all imperfections, and it is from me and Shaytan alone
And Allah knows best.
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ، وبِحَمْدِكَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوْبُ إِلَيْكَ
‘How perfect You are O Allaah, and I praise You. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.’
(Supplication for the expiation of sins said at the conclusion of a sitting or gathering)