Bringing up Upright Muslim Children
A family is the most basic institution which forms a society. Strong and cheerful bondings within it result in better individual personalities of each of its members. The most impactful in a family are parents who can influence the environment within the household and the developments of the children.
Since Islam is not only about worshipping the only Creator but also about living a balanced life in this world, it has clear instructions about the rights and duties of each member of the society. Parents have their duties, too, while bringing up their children. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said:
“The best gift to children from parents is their correct training” [Tirmidhi]
This duty takes years of hard work, patience and a lot of trials and errors but there are a few things that all Muslim parents should keep in mind while training their children.
Teachings of Allah and Islam:
Every Muslim parent must impart religious knowledge to his children. Starting at an early age, children should be told about the existence of Allah, His powers, His mercy, and His compassion. Such teachings help lay the foundations of the firm belief in Allah as well as develop a love for the Creator.
As they grow up, children should be introduced to Islamic teachings according to their age. All about faith, prayers, fasting, charity, and pilgrimages should be taught by parents.
It isn’t all about worshipping but also about one’s moral values. Children should be taught about the importance of truthfulness, honesty, kindness, respecting others and their differences, generosity, and fairness. These virtues should be indoctrinated at a young age.
Love and Compassion:
Yes, we know you love them already but it needs to be expressed. Children should be treated with love, care, and gentleness and spoken to politely. Allah’s Messenger (P.B.U.H) was kind and loving towards children and instructed the believers to be the same:
“He is not one of us who does not show compassion to our little ones and recognize the rights of our elders.” [Tirmidhi]
These are not the times when children obey very strict parents. Instead, they become rebellious and become disrespectful because they feel disrespected, too. Be respectful and kind to them; they deserve it.
Appropriate spending of money:
Your children depend on you for their financial needs and it is their right that they get their basic requirements fulfilled by their parents. If you can afford, bring them gifts and pamper them with small things to make them happy.
“Money you spend for the sake of Allah, money you spend to free a slave, money you give in charity to the poor, and money you spend on your family… The greatest in reward of all of these is the spending on your family.” [Bokhari, Tirmidhi]
But moderation should be kept in mind. The parents should know what is good for them and not to spend on things which might become destructive for their personalities. Also, material gifts cannot be a compensation for the presence of the parents.
Your own affordability should also matter. One must not go overboard and be indebted for mere luxuries.
Worldly Education and Skills:
Islam teaches us to be moderate and live a well-balanced life. Worldly education is as important as Islamic education. Parents should try their best to provide the children with the best of it so they can learn the skills for halal earning and are able to face the challenges of life more confidently.
A balance between worldly and Islamic education also strengthens one’s ability to be moderate and opens his mind.
A true Muslim is graceful. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was an epitome of beautiful mannerisms and disliked wild behavior. We should teach our children how to speak, eat, treat others, and other such small behavioral aspects.
You can look at a very common example of how Islam teaches us to sit down while drinking and drink in two to three sips. This seemingly small act exhibits an individual’s personality. When you compare someone who follows it with a person who just wildly drinks a bottle in one sip while standing, you will understand the difference and be able to appreciate it.
Parents as the role model:
This is the most important one. You must first practice yourself all that you want your children to learn. Children learn what they see and will never accept an order if your behavior is opposite to what you ask of them. Be the wise and upright role model for them to follow.