A Comprehensive Guide to raise Productive, God fearing Children
Are toys the best gift parents can give to their children?
Proper upbringing is perhaps the best of all gifts parents could give to their child. With a plethora of parenting guides out there, parents might feel it a challenge to nurture their children’s minds.
However, Muslim parents seek guidance from the verses of the Quran, and take examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), the best teacher.
Prophet Muhammad was known for his love and kindness towards children. He would stroke their heads out of love and pray for them.
The Children are, no doubt, gift from Allah (S.W.T) but they are also an Amana for us. We will be asked for our deeds and how we protected this Amana on the Day of Judgment.
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said,
“When a man dies, his action discontinues from him except three things, namely, perpetual sadaqah (charity), or the knowledge by which benefit is acquired, or a pious child who prays for him.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
While raising our kids, our aim should be to raise God-fearing individuals. To make it easier I have compiled a guide, which emphasizes on five principles, and I am sure if we stick to them, we will raise children who will succeed in this life and the hereafter.
- All children are born Muslims
- Children learn best from parent’s actions
- Compassion is the key
- Show Love, but you should know when and where to draw the line
- Raise independent and responsible human beings
All children are born Muslims
The Prophet Muhammad said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426).
This hadith explains that no child is capable of doing evil on his/her own until and unless he/she is imitating or only applying what he/she has absorbed from the environment— what he/she has seen, felt and been told to do.
Today, in this modern age, parents blame their children for showing misconduct. Seldom do parents realize that their child’s mind is akin to an empty slate. It only absorbs and mimics what they see, feel and hear.
What parents can do
Parents must not forget that their child is born innocent and not capable of doing evil, and if the child is displaying wrong behavior then it is a result of either ‘wrong parenting’ or because the environment of the child is not appropriate. However, if the environment is appropriate for the child, wrong parenting can break the child’s inner self and leave him/her astray.
Children learn best from parent’s action not what they tell them to do
We, as parents need to monitor our own actions because our children learn what we do or say.
We are children’s role models, they have no other choice but to see and learn from us. Hence, we have to make an extra effort to do what is good and refrain from evil as children are constantly observing us. Children imitate what they see. This puts us, the parents, in a position where each and every move of ours is being calculated by our children.
However, you must first become good and follow the righteous path before you teach your children to do the same. If you are disobedient to your elders and do not pay heed to laws, rules and regulations your children will imitate your behavior.
You cannot teach them what you are not implying in your own actions, and children are smart enough to figure it on their own.
“Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them; a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them; a slave is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” Sahih Bukhari
What parents can do
Your children are almost your own reflection so it is recommended to watch your actions before you correct them. Try to control your emotions and sudden outbursts that might affect your child negatively. If you tell your child to be honest, you must set a good example, if your child ever finds you lying, he/she will not only stop trusting you but will also make a mental note that it’s okay to lie sometimes.
Compassion is the key
Teach your children to be compassionate and kind towards others.
On many occasions, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) stated
“O Muslims, O father and mother, O my followers, be kind and compassionate towards children, for someone who is not kind to children has no place amongst the Muslims.”
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also stated on many occasions, “He is not of us who does not have compassion for his fellow beings”
These golden rules should not only be applied to outsiders but when it comes to dealing with our own children and family members, we have to apply the same rules on them.
As we have learnt that children learn more from our actions than what we teach them to do, it’s our utmost responsibility to show compassion to everyone we come in contact with to teach our children about compassion.
On one occasion he even made the prostration lengthy that made everyone worried and thought that either something has happened to Him or He was receiving revelation. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied to that ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had had enough.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
What parents can do
Show as much love, care and respect for your children as you can. The more compassion you have towards your children, the more they are likely to show it to others. Kiss them, hug them, and always remind them how much you love them.
Show Love, but you should know when and where to draw the line
Imagine a society with no rules. Such a society will only breed chaos. Our child also lives in a society; it is his/her home. We need to lay down the law for them. And they must be instructed to follow them. Just like Allah (S.W.T) has defined boundaries for Muslims to stay within.
“Verily Allah the Almighty has laid down fara’id (religious obligations), so do not neglect them. He has set boundaries, so do not overstep them. He has prohibited some things, so do not violate them; about some things He was silent, out of compassion for you, not forgetfulness, so seek not after them.” [Hadith Nawawi]
What you can do
We should set boundaries for each family member, including ourselves as parents. Live up to the rules you make for your family and stay consistent. Make sure you explain to your children all the rules clearly.
For e.g., they should know when you expect them to go to bed, and at what time in the evening they have to study. You can even setup an activity chart in your home’s living room or in your room to motivate your children. Your children can add stickers as rewards to the chart for each good behavior they do in a week.
Raise independent and responsible human beings
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1829
A child needs to be taught about responsibility from an early age so he/she could grow into a responsible adult.
You can instill responsibility in your child by asking them to complete small tasks. For instance, asking them to make their bed first thing in the morning, or put all their toys in one place after they have played with them or maybe asking them to switch off the lights when they are the last to leave the room can be taught from an early age.
The child feels accountable and hence becomes productive, dependable and independent to an extent that he/she can look after his needs without relying on anyone else.
The child also develops a sense of belonging and feels obliged to be a responsible citizen of a society. This also negates the feelings of frustration and uselessness in a child, giving him/her a purpose of life.
Following these basic principles of Islam parenting will make your parenting journey less hectic and more meaningful and rewarding, provided you also take action steps mentioned under the article. Parenting is not an easy journey for anyone, but if you are consistent and see the Holy Quran and the Sunnah as your ultimate guide, you will be able to reap fruits beneficial for this world as well as hereafter for yourself and your children.
Saima Masood, is a freelance writer, blogger and soon to be an author. She currently blogs at Living She, a blog dedicated to women, anything and everything about women, be it parenting, relationship or weight loss. She is a procrastinator by nature + coffee lover. Writing and Food are two things that keeps her going.