There are many great duties and trusts that the slave must take heed of in regards to children. It is a major responsibility of parents to raise, educate, discipline, advise and direct their children. Allaah (Ta’ala) says:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَخُونُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوٓاْ أَمَـٰنَـٰتِكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ

 وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّمَآ أَمۡوَٲلُڪُمۡ وَأَوۡلَـٰدُكُمۡ فِتۡنَةٌ۬ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡرٌ عَظِيمٌ۬

“O you who have believed, do not betray Allaah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence].

And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allaah has with Him a great reward.” [Surat al-Anfaal (8:27-28)]

This indicates that Allaah (Ta’ala) has given parents their children as a test and trial. Parents have been entrusted with their children, and Allaah gave children rights over their parents. If they (parents) fulfil them as ordered, then they will have a great and abundant reward from Allaah that they deserve. If they are negligent, then they expose themselves to punishment according to their negligence.

Therefore, Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat at-Tahrim (66:6):

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَأَهۡلِيكُمۡ نَارً۬ا وَقُودُهَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱلۡحِجَارَةُ عَلَيۡہَا مَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ۬ شِدَادٌ۬ لَّا يَعۡصُونَ ٱللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمۡ وَيَفۡعَلُونَ مَا يُؤۡمَرُونَ

“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.”

This verse is a great foundation for disciplining and educating children, the obligation of which is the responsibility of the parents.

Shaikh As-Sa’di (Rahimahullaah) said: “Saving oneself means to compel oneself to abide by the Commandments of Allaah, adhere to His orders, avoid His prohibitions, and repent from what angers Him, and will bring about torment. Saving one’s families and children means to teach and nurture them, and to compel them to abide by Allaah’s Commandments. The slave cannot attain safety unless he first establishes the Commands of Allaah within himself and in those who are his responsibility, meaning wives and children, and others under his authority and control.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]

Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care. The Imaam (i.e. ruler) is the guardian of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the guardian of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5200] I thought that he also said: “A man is the guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it. All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care.” [Muslim, no. 1829d]

The significance of “being responsible” (here) is that:

When the slave stands before Allaah (Ta’ala), He will ask him about that. Some scholars have said that on the Day of Resurrection, Allaah (Ta’ala) asks the parents about their children before the children are asked about their parents.[[1]] As He (Ta’ala) advised the children to be dutiful to their parents, treat them well and be good towards them, He (Ta’ala) advised the parents to bring up and educate their children. He (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-‘Ankaboot (29: 8):

وَوَصَّيۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٲلِدَيۡهِ حُسۡنً۬ا‌ۖ

“And We have enjoined upon man, goodness to parents.”

And He (Ta’ala) says in Surat an-Nisaa’ (4:11):

يوصيكم الله في أولادكم

“Allaah commands you as regards your children”

Shaikh As-Sa’di (Rahimahullah) said in his interpretation: “O parents, your children are entrusted to you by Allaah and He commands you to take good care of all their worldly and spiritual needs. You should educate them, teach them good manners, save them from evils, order them to be obedient to Allaah, and to always observe Taqwa.

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat at-Tahrim (66: 6):

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَأَهۡلِيكُمۡ نَارً۬ا وَقُودُهَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱلۡحِجَارَةُ عَلَيۡہَا مَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ۬ شِدَادٌ۬ لَّا يَعۡصُونَ ٱللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمۡ وَيَفۡعَلُونَ مَا يُؤۡمَرُونَ

“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.”

Thus, parents have been provided with the best advice concerning their children. It is their choice to either follow this advice and gain Allaah’s Pleasure and Reward, or neglect it and become deserving of severe torment and punishment. This offers clear evidence that Allaah is kinder towards His creation than parents are towards their children. He has given the parents this counsel in spite of the fact that they already have great love and affection for their offspring.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]

It is a huge responsibility and a great trust; and every parent should fear Allaah regarding his children and work towards disciplining, educating and raising them upon religious creed, Islamic duties and great manners. They should work towards raising them up well, based on piety towards Allaah (Ta’ala) and establishing His (Ta’ala) rights.

Raising children is based on building important foundations that should be taken care of so that the slave can achieve this great aim and honorable task.  This is attained by abiding to the following cornerstones:

First Cornerstone: Du’aa

Supplicate for them before and after their arrival by asking Allaah (Ta’ala) -before their arrival, to be granted with good righteous offspring; -and after it, with guidance and righteousness. Then if they remain on guidance and righteousness, supplicate to Allaah for their steadfastness and uprightness.

Among the supplications of the Prophets was the supplication of the Khaleel (greatly beloved) i.e. Ibraheem [Abraham (‘Alayhis-salaam)]:

رَبِّ هَبۡ لِى مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

“My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous” [Surat as-Saaffaat (37:100)]

Another supplication of his was:

وَٱجۡنُبۡنِى وَبَنِىَّ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ ٱلۡأَصۡنَامَ

“And keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” [Surat Ibraheem (14:35)]

And:

رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡنِى مُقِيمَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى‌ۚ رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلۡ دُعَآءِ

“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” [Surat Ibraheem (14:40)]

 

Among the supplications of Zakariya (‘Alayhis-salaam) was:

رَبِّ هَبۡ لِى مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً۬ طَيِّبَةً‌ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ ٱلدُّعَآءِ

 “My Lord, grant me from Yourself, a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” [Surat Aal-‘Imraan (3:38)]

One of the supplications of the slaves of the Most Merciful is mentioned in Surat al-Furqaan (25:74):

رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٲجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٍ۬ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring, who will be comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”

It should be known that the supplication of the parent for the child is answered and not rejected. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Three supplications are accepted; there is no doubt about them being accepted: the supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the father against his son.”[2] This stance should be taken with great caution so that the parent does not hasten in his supplication with evil to come upon his son, especially in the state of anger, lest that supplication is answered. It is possible he will be greatly saddened by that and feel deep regret and sorrow. The Prophet warned us about that, saying: “Do not pray against your own selves, nor against your children, nor against your wealth lest that coincide with the hour when Allaah is asked and He answers your prayers.” [Muslim, no. 3009]

Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Israa’ (17:11):

وَيَدۡعُ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ بِٱلشَّرِّ دُعَآءَهُ ۥ بِٱلۡخَيۡرِ‌ۖ وَكَانَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ عَجُولاً۬

And man supplicates for evil as he supplicates for good, and man is ever hasty.”

Second Cornerstone: Justice

Be fair with your children and stay away from injustice and oppression. If the father is not fair between his children, then enmity, envy and jealousy will arise among them.

If he is fair between them, then his fairness will be among the greatest causes for kindness and love between them and will be among the main means for their dutifulness towards him.

An-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “My mother asked my father to present me a gift from his property; and he gave it to me after some hesitation. My mother said that she would not be satisfied unless the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was made a witness to it. At that time I was a young boy, so my father held me by the hand and took me to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He said to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): ‘His mother, bint Rawaha, requested me to give this boy a gift.’ The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Do you have other sons besides him?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Do not make me a witness for injustice.’ Ash-Sha’bi narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I will not become a witness for injustice.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 2650]

An-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) also narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: “Take back your gift then.

In another narration, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: “Have you given a similar gift to all your children?” He said: “No.” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Then ask someone else to bear witness to this.” Then he said: “Would you not like them all to be dutiful to you equally?” He said: “Of course.” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Then do not do it.” [Muslim, no. 1623j]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is warning against being unjust among the children, which could lead to un-dutifulness and the severing of relations among the siblings.

Third Cornerstone: Gentleness and Mercy

Treat your children with kindness, gentleness and mercy, and keep away from harshness and strictness. If gentleness is found in anything, it beautifies it, and when it is removed from anything it damages it. This mercy, kindness and gentleness of the parents with their children should begin when they are babies and should remain upon their children always.

Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) kissed Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali while Al-Aqra’ ibn Haabis at-Tamimi was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra’ said: “I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.” Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) cast a look at him and said: “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5997]

Umm Mu’mineen (Mother of the Believers) ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) narrated that a bedouin came to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: “You (people) kiss the boys! We don’t kiss them.” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I cannot put mercy in your heart after Allaah has taken it away from it.” [Al-Bukhaari, no. 5998]

O believers, this mercy and gentleness with children is a reason to bring children nearer to their parents and their love for them. If this nearness is found, then the father (parents) will be able to guide, advise and explain with full acceptance from the children, who will pay attention to the guidance of their parents.

In part 2 of this article, we will present the last three cornerstones for raising and educating children.

——-

[1] Ibn Al Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) mentioned some of the people of knowledge without their names in “Tuhfat Al-Mawdood” pg. 229.

[2] Reported by Ahmad (10196), Abu Dawoud (1536), At-Tirmidhi (1905) and Ibn Maajah (3862). Al-Albaani authenticated it in Saheeh At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (3132)

 

Sources:

📚 Cornerstones for Raising and Educating Children, by Shaikh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq al-Badr

📚 Tayseer al-Kareem by Shaikh As-Sa’di

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