- Motherhood in Islam by Aliah Schleifer
- The child in Islam by Norma Tarazi
- The Ideal Muslima by Dr Mohamed A Al-Hashimi
- Several manuscripts by Dr Aisha Hamdan
- Our children and Qur’an memorization by Shawana A. Aziz
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels, stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (Surah At-Tahrim 66:6)
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for his flock.”’ ‘And I think he said, “A man is the shepherd of his father’s wealth and is responsible for his flock. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”’ [Bukhari and Muslim]
For most women, the subject of motherhood is one that is very close to our hearts. The dream of having children starts when we are still children ourselves and we ‘practise’ with our dolls, an expression of the nature with which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has blessed women.
For many of us this dream of having children is a very personal one, and we imagine what our children will look like, how many we would like to be blessed with, how they will interact with other relatives such as their grandparents, aunties and uncles, the things we would like to do with them etc. Some of us even go as far as to picture a certain career for them. In other words, we all have our own ideals when it comes to our children.
However, as Muslim mums, we desire both the good of this world and the good of the hereafter for our children, and it is essential to realize the great importance of raising children from an Islamic point of view. Although the father’s role in the upbringing of our children is more than paying the bills and engaging in a little consultation, usually the day to day care of the child is mostly the responsibility of the mother as she spends the most time with them. Raising children is something that has an effect beyond the four walls of our homes and influences the whole society. How we raise our children will, to a great extent, affect what the next generation of Muslims will be like. Therefore, a sound moral upbringing is necessary to provide children with optimism, trust, hope, and ambition.
At the same time, raising righteous Muslim children and teaching them about Islam as a way of life, is an act of worship for which we will be rewarded, insha Allah, both in this life and the next.
CHILDREN: A BLESSING AND A TEST
Our children are a trust given to us by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), and as the above mentioned Hadith indicates, we will be questioned about this responsibility which weighs so heavily on our shoulders.
Having children is a blessing from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) for which we should be grateful. The Qur’an tells us:
“To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able to do all things.” (Surat Ash-Shura 42: 49-50)
This life is a place for testing, and not being able to have children surely is a big test from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). At the same time, when Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) does bestow us with children, that is also a test for us. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) says in the Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, they are the losers.” (Surat Al-Munafiqun 63:9)
It is easy to see how the mother might become distracted from her worship of and service to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and she must guard herself against that. The Qur’an also states:
“And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely, with Allah is a mighty reward.” (Surat Al-Anfal 8:28)
Ibn Kathir says in reference to this verse, that having children is a trial and a test from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) to see if we will thank Him for them and if we will be obedient to Him, or if we will become preoccupied with them and substitute them for worshiping Him.
So, with having children comes the responsibility of raising them; not only by feeding them and clothing them, but more importantly, by raising them in Islam. In Islam, every child is born a Muslim, i.e. in a natural state of submission to the Creator, known as fitrah. Every human being has inside him this innate nature that makes him capable of knowing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and accepting His religion; in other words, submitting to Him. It happens naturally in every human being (and those that reject this faith are in fact going against this fitrah). The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “No child is born except on the fitrah (innate nature), just as the animal gives birth to a perfect offspring. Do you find it mutilated? Then his parents make him a Christian, a Jew or a fire-worshipper.” [Bukhari]
Through this fitrah, given to the child by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), the child can recognise his Creator and will have no difficulty in recognising the Truth of the Prophet’s Message. This true faith which corresponds with the basic fitrah of the human being is Islam. It is the task of the parents, and more specifically the mother because she is usually the main source of guidance for the child, to work with this pure nature. When a parent guides the child to recognize his Creator, and teaches him a correct understanding of the world around him, the child’s mind and understanding develop in a clear, straight manner, without distortions and complications.
It is important to mention here that, according to Islam, there is no such thing as ‘original sin’ which many Christians believe in. Original sin stands for the concept that through our forefather Adam (‘Alayhissalaam), who sinned by eating from the forbidden tree, all human beings are born sinful. As Muslims however, we believe that as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) stated in the Qur’an, both Adam (‘Alayhissalaam) and Eve asked Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) to forgive them and Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) accepted their repentance. Every baby comes into the world in an absolutely pure state, untainted by anything such as ‘original sin’; its original nature (fitrah) submits to its Lord.*
It is also very interesting to note that, in Islam, the pain of childbirth is not seen as a punishment for the so-called original sin. The Muslim woman sees it as a chance to accept pain for the sake of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). She hopes to be rewarded for her suffering, insha-Allah, by having her sins washed away. Motherhood has even been compared to being a martyr, and it has been claimed that the Arabic terminology which is used to describe pregnancy and childbirth in the Qur’an is the same that is used to describe the one who goes to fight Jihad.
We read about childbirth in the Qur’an:
“His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship.. …”
(Surat Al-Ahqaf 49:15)
Then in Surat Al-Baqarah (2:216) it says about Jihad:
“Jihad (holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it ..…”
In both of these ayat the Arabic word [Kurhan-Takrahu] used for hardship and something that is disliked, is used for the meaning of something that is done under compulsion (that one would ordinarily not do willingly), i.e. one does it for the sake of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). Both the martyr on the battlefield and the woman experiencing labor are going through something that is extremely frightening and difficult, something which, if they had a choice, they would rather not go through; it is a hardship. Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said that the woman who dies with a child in her womb is a martyr. [Ahmad, Malik, Abu Dawud, and others]
This means that the woman who dies during childbirth will be included with the martyrs, which is a very high status with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). In the Qur’an Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) mentions that the martyrs are in the company of those on whom Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has bestowed His Grace. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) describes them in Surat An-Nisa (4:69):
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam)), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”
Considering the mother a martyr then, of course places her in the highest of categories with respect to Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) blessings and is quite the opposite of the idea that a woman faces childbirth as a punishment for ‘original sin’!
FATHERS MENTIONED IN THE QUR’AN AND THEIR ADVICE FOR THEIR CHILDREN
In the Qur’an we find narrations of the advice that some of the Prophets (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) gave to their children. These noble Prophets (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) did not ask for worldly success for themselves and their descendants. Instead they asked that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) would accept their service, and that they and some of their descendants might be acceptable, surrendered servants, worshiping their Lord according to the rites of worship which He had revealed to them. What finer goals than these for one’s children can we ever imagine for a Muslim parent?
* The concept of original sin even contradicts the Bible itself. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 18, verse 20, it says: “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.” Even Prophet ‘Issa, (Jesus) (‘Alayhissalaam) said (in Matthew 16 verse 27) that each person will be rewarded according to what he has done. This agrees with what the Qur’an states:
“..… No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” (Surah Al-An’am 6:164)
Let’s take a look at Prophet Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalaam). When he settled his wife Hajar and their son Isma’il (‘Alayhissalaam) in the barren desert of Makkah without any visible provision, he prayed for his descendants thus:
“O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah), one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols. O my Lord! They have indeed led astray many among mankind. But whoever follows me, verily he is of me. And whoever disobeys me, You are indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivated valley by Your Sacred House in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. … O my Lord! Make me one who performs As-Salat, and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation. …” (Surat Ibrahim 14:35-40)
In this du’a, we feel the complete devotion of a man to his Lord. Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalaam) saw himself and his sons Isma’il and Ishaq, and his grandson Ya’qub (‘Alayhissalaam) as his Lord’s agents, living only for His worship and service, (and remember, we have been created to worship Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and he asked that at least some of his later descendants might follow the same path. Years later Ibrahim and Isma’il (‘Alayhissalaam) prayed together:
“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our religious rites, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger* of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses, and instruct them in the Book (this Qur’an) and Al-Hikmah, and purify them. Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:128-129)
*And indeed Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) answered their invocation by sending them Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam)
A final word of advice was given by Prophet Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalaam) to his sons, and it was later repeated by his grandson, Prophet Ya’qub (‘Alayhissalaam)
“O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims).” (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:132)
Here, the Prophet Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalaam) did not advise his sons to work hard, to become wealthy, or to succeed in this life as many of today’s Muslims do. Instead, he emphasized to them that the primary, most essential goal of their lives was to be true to the faith that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), their Lord, had appointed for them, and not to die except in a state of surrender to Him. May Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) help us to follow his noble example when we give our children advice.
In the story of Prophet Ya’qub (‘Alayhissalaam) and his son Yusuf (‘Alayhissalaam) we find the finest example of a Prophet/father’s relationship with his son. In Surah Yusuf, Ya’qub (‘Alayhissalaam) repeatedly gives wise advice, first to his son Yusuf (‘Alayhissalaam) and later to his other sons. Although his ten rebellious sons had betrayed his trust and separated him from the one he loved best in this life, he did not turn away from them, hate them, or speak to them harshly. Instead, he continued steadfastly on the path of ‘beautiful patience’, treating them with undeserved kindness and forbearance. Finally, when they came to him repenting of their terrible misdeeds and asking him to beg Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) for forgiveness, he turned to them in fatherly love, saying:
“I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily, He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (Surat Yusuf 12:98)
Another well-known father mentioned in the Qur’an is Luqman, who most likely was not a prophet, but who was well-known as a wise and learned man in Arabia. In the Surah named after him, he gives advice to his son:
“…O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed. … O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of a mustard seed, and though it is in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle (in bringing out that grain), Well-Aware (of its place). O my son! Perform As-Salat, enjoin (on people) Al-Maruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (disbelief in the Oneness of Allah and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments…. And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk with arrogance through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.” (Surat Luqman 31:13, 16-18)
Here, the first piece of advice of Luqman to his son is not to commit the worst of all sins, that is, to deny the One Who created him and worship others beside the Lord of the universe. The next is to acknowledge Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Lordship by establishing prayers, enjoining what is good and forbidding wrong and practicing patience in all matters. Luqman then counsels his son against behaving with arrogance and pride, and encourages him to be moderate in his manners.
All these fathers that are mentioned in the Qur’an of course had their children’s best interest at heart, for no one would be insincere to his own children. Out of all the ways that these pious people could have advised their offspring, they all advised them with regards to their religion.
THE ROLE OF MUSLIM MOTHERS IN HISTORY
Muslim women have always understood their responsibility in raising their children, and they have a brilliant record in producing and influencing great men and instilling noble values in their hearts. There is no greater proof of that than the fact that intelligent and brilliant women have produced more noble sons than have intelligent and brilliant men, so much so that you can hardly find any among the great men of our Ummah who have controlled the course of events in history, who is not indebted to his mother. For example: Al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam was indebted for his greatness to his mother Safiyyah bint ‘Abdul-Muttalib (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha), who instilled in him his good qualities and distinguished nature; ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) received wisdom, virtue and good character from his distinguished mother, Fatimah bint Asad (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha)) ,‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), the master of Arab generosity and the most noble of their leaders lost his father at an early age, but his mother Asma bin ‘Umays (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha)took care of him and instilled in him the virtues and noble characteristics by virtue of which she herself became one of the great women of Islam; Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) inherited his strength of character and intelligence from his mother, Hind bint ‘Utbah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) ) not from his father Abu Sufyan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)). Known to all of us is Imam Ash-Shafi’I (Rahimahullaah) who never saw his father, as he died while his son was still a baby; it was his mother who brought him up and guided him on the path to become a scholar.
There are many such examples of brilliant women in our history; women who instilled in their sons nobility of character and the seeds of greatness, and who stood behind them in everything they achieved of power and status, by the Grace of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).
HOW TO RAISE RIGHTEOUS CHILDREN
How then, can we apply the example of the Prophets (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and these great women in our own lives, to our own children? First of all, we have to go back to the fitrah that was mentioned earlier. This fitrah is the foundation upon which everything else is built, and it is already present at birth. It is like a seed planted within each of our children, that needs to be nourished in order to produce a beautiful flowering plant. With this understanding, the approach to parenting becomes more positive and hopeful. What we, as Muslim mothers, need to do is to nurture this inborn tendency of the fitrah, look after it and protect it from corruption. We do this by teaching our children about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and Islam from the moment of birth.
In order to do this, it is a must that we ourselves seek correct Islamic knowledge because we cannot teach what we do not know. It has been said that the mother is a school; if you prepare her properly, you will prepare an entire people of good character. The mother is the first teacher, foremost among them (her children), and the best of teachers. This does not mean that we all have to go out and get a degree in Islamic studies. No, but what is required is that every Muslim mother knows at least the basic fundamental principles of her religion. We can do this by attending classes, by reading books that teach correct Islamic knowledge, and maybe even building up a library at home for further reference. Gaining knowledge not only helps us in our daily lives and increases our own iman when we apply it, but it is also extremely important in raising our children (the next generation of Muslims). It may even influence the future course of the whole Muslim Ummah. So we need to seek knowledge for ourselves and for our children, and then we need to apply this knowledge in our daily lives by instilling in them (the next generation) a solid Islamic background for their chance of a better future.
So, armed with faith and knowledge, we can now set to work; here are some pointers:
- Bringing our children up in Islam starts right at birth, when we perform certain traditions that were done by the Prophet Muhammad (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and are considered acts of worship for which we will be rewarded insha Allah. Following the Sunnah in regard to a new baby is our duty and our pride as well, for it marks us and our newborn as members of the Ummah, the community of Prophet Muhammad (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), the best and noblest of mankind. It is Sunnah to do tahneek with dates for the child. The dates should be chewed until they become soft enough to be swallowed, then the child’s mouth should be opened and a little of the dates put in its mouth. (This may seem strange, but in many hospitals they do something similar and give newborns a little sugar water before the mother’s milk comes in.) The child should be given a good name, called tasmiyah; we can do this on the 7th day as quoted in the Ahadith, but there is also evidence for doing it on the 1st day or we can do it in between. It is also Sunnah to shave the baby’s head on the 7th day, and to give the weight of the hair in silver, in charity. On the 7th day it is preferred to do the ‘aqeeqah, which, it is said, ransoms the child just as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) ransomed Isma’il with the ram. We slaughter 2 sheep for a boy and 1 sheep for a girl. This meat should be cooked and eaten from and some should be given to relatives, friends, and neighbours and in charity to the poor. Lastly for boys we do the circumcision. It will be easier to do this soon after birth and the wounds will heal quickly. It may be interesting to note that the circumcision is not done as a symbol of a covenant that is mentioned in the Bible with regards to Prophet Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalaam); it is related to the Sunnah of the fitrah (practices related to the pure and natural inclinations of a person) and is connected to matters of purity which are essential conditions of the prayer. It is also beneficial for hygiene purposes.
- As our children grow, we have to be compassionate with them, and we should not be stern towards them or treat them in a rough or mean way. We should be filled with love and care towards them and be willing to make sacrifices and do our best for our children.
It is important to teach and train our children from a young age. They should be taught good manners (adab) and characteristics towards Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), His Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), the Qur’an and also their parents and everyone they know. They need to be guided toward everything that is generally good.
- Respect and obedience to the parents and those in authority should be taught, as well as the basic teachings of Islam and everyday etiquette/manners, i.e. saying ‘bismillah’ before we eat and using the right hand, and saying ‘alhamdulillah’ when we finish. They can be taught different dua’s for different occasions and they should be taught not to lie or backbite. They should be taught to have patience when they get angry, etc. Make sure you use lots of praise and positive encouragement!
- Also (from a young age) our children can be taught some short Surahs of the
Qur’an. According to one of the scholars, “Teaching the children the Qur’an is a fundamental from the fundamentals of Islam. By teaching them Qur’an, the children will grow up on the fitrah, and the lights of wisdom will rush to their hearts before the desires are able to settle in them and darken them with the cloudiness of disobedience and misguidance.” [As-Suyootee]. Don’t make excuses that your child is weak or does not have a good memory or he is not gifted.
- Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in the Qur’an:
“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember.” (Surah Al-Qamar 54:17)
- Besides, if it is difficult there will be double reward! The mother who guides her child to this good act and instils in his heart the love for Islam and the love for the Book of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), will also receive reward equal to the amount the child receives, insha-Allah. In addition, the child will, insha-Allah, carry these good habits with him for the rest of his life, which means that the mother who taught him in those early years, will be reaping the harvest of what she sowed even after she has passed on to the next life.
- As we know, As-Salat is one of the pillars of Islam which, if absent, may take a person out of the religion. It is therefore of utmost importance to train the children to perform prayer regularly so that they will have made it part of their lives by the time they reach adulthood.
- The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Order your children to observe salat when they reach the age of 7 and spank them for not observing it when they reach the age of 10, and arrange their beds (for sleeping) separately.” [Abu Dawud]
This does not mean that, all of a sudden when our children turn 7, we introduce them to the prayer. If our home is an Islamic home, then our children would have observed and copied us from a very young age, so the prayer is not something new to them. We can playfully invite them to pray with us from very early on and then, when they turn 7, it will be very easy to encourage them more seriously and we won’t have to resort to spanking them at all when they do turn 10. However, if other methods of discipline fail, that is the time when this extra step is needed. After all, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim (Compassionate and Merciful), but He is also infinitely Just, and Hell does, after all, exist. The main purpose of spanking is to demonstrate to the child the seriousness of his mistake and his parents’ displeasure. It is not intended to hurt the child but rather to embarrass him with the knowledge that his parent had to resort to this most severe step. The Islamic guidelines that the scholars have taken from this Hadith, regarding the method of spanking, are the following:
1. Do not hit on the face, head, or tender parts of the body;
2. Do not hit hard enough to leave a mark on the skin;
3. Do not spank when you feel you might lose control. When the parent, who is normally kind and in control, has to resort to spanking a child if he refuses to pray, it will have a very strong impact without requiring a hard-handed approach.
- Although it may seem strange to non-Muslims, children in the families of practicing Muslims often beg to be allowed to fast with the rest of the family! When they are small, from 4 to 6 for example, they can ‘practise’ fasting for part of the day, as it is desirable to let them have some experience of it before it becomes an obligation. In the time of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) the children were taught how to fast from a young age and distracted with toys if they found it difficult. [Bukhari and Muslim]. According to the Shari’ah, children are not obliged to fast properly until puberty; however many children indicate that they are ready to fast the whole day at a much younger age and thus should be encouraged and praised for it. The fasting of a child is sometimes harder for the mother than it is on the child!
- Zakat is the responsibility of the parents, but at a suitable age the child can be informed that the payment of the zakat that was due for the past year has been paid, in order to give them an understanding of this obligation. Of course a child at any age can participate in sadaqah or voluntary charity, whether at home in a money box for the poor or at the masjid in a collection box. In addition, the child can be taught that giving sadaqah is not only with money, but any sort of good deed or useful action with which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is pleased.
When we take our children for Hajj or Umrah, both the parents and the children will be rewarded for it, as the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said in a Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim: “The Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) met some riders at ar-Rawha and asked who they were. They replied that they were Muslims. They said, “Who are you?” He said, “The Messenger of Allah.” A woman lifted up a boy to him and said, “Will this child be credited with having performed the Hajj?” At that, he (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Yes, and you will have a reward.” However, making Hajj does not fulfil their obligation unless it is done after they reach puberty.
It is very useful for children as they are growing up, to be allowed to sit in with gatherings of adults, rather than being separated. How else are they going to learn how to interact with others in a mature, responsible way?
We should tell our children the stories of the Companions of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) as well as the history of Islam, so that they will say, “I wanna be like Abu Bakr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)” instead of some cartoon character or sports figure.
Another important matter which is one of the rights of children, to which attention must be paid, is to treat our children fairly. It is not permissible to show preference to one child over the other. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Fear Allah and treat your children fairly.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
We have to show our love and affection to them in an equal way and be fair in giving gifts to them.
Any woman who has ever been pregnant and given birth, nursed and tended to children, knows that if it is to be done properly, this task is enough, and much more than enough, for one individual, without adding the additional burden of having to be responsible for earning the living for the family. However, few careers offer so great a reward as guiding little people when they are growing up. A woman who leaves her children to spend her time in a career in order to “find herself” or make a reputation as a “modern woman” (i.e. not out of necessity), has probably misunderstood and undervalued the importance of her role in the home and her relationship with her children. But while mothers are guardians and are responsible for their children, they are not slaves to them or prisoners in their homes. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) surely rewards a woman for the time and effort she devotes to her children, but she has her own personal needs, talents and wishes as well, and she too needs to be fulfilled as a person. Her husband and family should help and support her in this area.
Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the seriousness of our responsibility as Muslim mums, especially at this difficult time in history. We pray that Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Mercy and Forgiveness is greater for those of us who are bringing up our children in this day and age. But for all the care required and worry that childrearing includes; we are also promised that the task will not be beyond us.
The Qur’an states:
“No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear.” (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:233)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) knows the task He sets before us with each child. We will surely find within ourselves the patience and love needed. We will find the wisdom, the resources, and all that is necessary to care for any child that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) might bless us with. This is part of faith; it is what we should believe.
“My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favor which You have bestowed upon me ….and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my offspring good.” (Surat Al-Ahqaf 46:15)
Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise is to You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You.
Check out these related posts:
- The Attributes of the Successful with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah
- Truthfulness (Part 5) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 4) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 3) : The Merits of Truthfulness
- Truthfulness (Part 2) : The Importance of Truthfulness
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