بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Upbringing of Children: A Crucial Responsibility

Generally we aspire to have children because they are a source of happiness and strength in our lives. On the other hand, a childless person feels lonely in his life. Children are also a source of support and strength in the old age whereas a childless is deprived of that in his old age. Children are a source of comfort and contentment whereas the life of the childless is empty of this sunshine and joy. More than these, children are our impressions after our death. Suffice it to say that alongside being a remarkably significant bounty bestowed upon us by Allah, children are also vital adornments to our worldly life as stated by Lord Almighty, “Wealth and children are the adornment of worldly life” (Surah Al-Kahf, verse no. 46). Prophets (AS) even prayed to Allah for offspring. So Prophet Ibrahim (AS) prayed to Allah, “My Lord! Grant me a son from the righteous. So we gave him glad tidings of a forbearing boy” (Surah Al-Saaffaat, verse nos. 100 & 101). Prophet Zakariya (AS) prayed, “And I fear my paternal cousins after me and my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir who shall inherit from me and also from the progeny of Prophet Yaqub (AS). Oh Lord Almighty! Make him one You Yourself are well pleased with. (Allah said) O Zakariya! We give you the glad tidings of a son whose name will be Yahya…(Surah Al-Maryam, verse nos. 5, 6 & 7). Allah has also mentioned prayer of virtuous and pious people regarding their children: “Our Lord! Bestow on us comfort of our eyes from our wives and children” (Surah Al-Furqan, verse no. 74).

The aforementioned verses of the Holy Quran inform us that children are an extremely vital bounty bestowed on us by Allah. Therefore, we must be grateful to Allah for this favour and we must not leave any stone unturned in their education and upbringing. Allah has mentioned in the Holy Quran, “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your family members from a fire whose fuel are men and stones” (Surah Al-Tahreem, verse no. 6). In relation to the detailed explanation of this verse the reputed commentators of the Muslim community have written that it is obligatory on each and every person to instruct his wife and children in relation to things that are mandatory in Islam, educate them about what is permissible and what is forbidden and must strive to make sure they act in accordance to that instruction/education. Highlighting this aspect only Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Each one of you is answerable for his/her subjects and he/she will be held accountable for the same. The leader/king is responsible for his people, man is responsible for his family members, and a woman is responsible for her husband’s house and her children” (Bukhari and Muslim).

Be mindful of few things in relation to children’s education and upbringing:

Educate children on Oneness of Allah (Tawheed):

For the right upbringing of children it is required on the part of parents that before anything else they educate their children on Oneness of Allah. Right from the beginning children should be raised or trained in such an Islamic manner that they remain believers in Oneness of Allah till their last breath. In the lives that they live, their belief in Oneness of Allah should not wave at any point in time. Right from their early childhood days parents must cast this impression on their children’s minds that the Being we worship is Allah, He is alone in his Being and Attributes, there is none like Him, there is no partner in His kingdom, profit and loss, life and death, health and sickness of the entire universe are in His Hands. He is Self-Sufficient and we all are infinitely dependent on Him. The moment a child learns to speak, before anything else we must make him/her learn the Holy name of his/her Creator and Master i.e. Allah. After that we should teach him the Kalimah Tawheed (Word of Oneness) “There is no god but Allah”. Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) narrates that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Open the tongue of your children with La ilaaha illallaah (There is no god but Allah). And when the child starts understanding things a little, educate him about the permissible and the forbidden as per his grasp” (Hakim). Alongside educating them about the Oneness of Allah children should also be informed about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last prophet and should be categorically told that until the Day of Judgement, only by following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) can they achieve success and prosperity in both the worlds.

Children should be taught the Holy Quran:

The Holy Quran is the Divine word of Allah that He revealed upon His last Prophet (PBUH) for the guidance of each and every jinn and human being that is to inhabit this world. First and foremost, parents should teach their children how to read the Holy Quran and then they should be made to memorise by heart small chapters of the Holy Quran. If the parents succeed in making their child a Haafiz (one who has memorised by heart the whole of Holy Quran) then it nothing but Light for them. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) repeatedly commanded the Muslim community to read the Holy Quran because on the Day of Judgement the Holy Quran will intercede for those who read it regularly its intercession will be accepted (Muslim). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The one who reads the Holy Quran and lives life in accordance with it, his parents will be given a crown whose shine and brightness will be more than that of the sun” (Abu Dawood).

Keep a watchful eye on children’s prayer (Salah):

It is obligatory on the part of every Muslim that alongside remaining sincere about his own obligation towards establishing prayer (As-Salah) he should keep a watchful eye on his children’s prayer too. The way parents remain thoroughly worried about looking after their children’s worldly education and fulfilling their other requirements, in the same manner (in fact more than that) they must feel concerned about their Hereafter, as in what all can be done to ensure that they escape the Fire of Hell and become the eternal inhabitants of the Paradise. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When children turn seven they should be asked to offer prayer and when they turn ten they should be beaten in case they demonstrate insincerity in relation to offering prayers. When they attain ten years of age their beds should be made separate” (Abu Dawood). Generally speaking, it has been found that children acquire reasonable understanding by the time they turn seven. At that very age they should be introduced to worshipping Allah and they should be encouraged to offer prayer. By the time they turn ten their consciousness/awareness acquires a certain grounding. This is the time when they are on the verge of attaining puberty. This is why a certain strictness must be exhibited in relation to prayer. Moreover, once they acquire that age (are about to attain puberty) they should be given separate beds to lie down. If they are allowed to share the bed there is a possibility of them getting corrupted. Along with the prayer, children, from time to time should also be made to observe fast so that by the time they attain puberty they become habitual of fasting.

Allah says in his Holy Book, “O Muhammad (PBUH)! Enjoin the prayer on your family and you too should remain steadfast in offering them” (Surah Al-Taaha, verse no. 132). In this address the entire Muslim community is to follow Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It means that for every Muslim it is required that he should himself remain regular and steadfast in offering prayer and he should also urge his family members to offer prayers. Allah has quoted Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) prayer in the Holy Quran, “O my Lord! Make me one who consistently offers prayer and also from my offspring (it means that Allah should make him and his children steadfast regarding offering of prayer)” (Surah Al-Ibrahim, verse no. 40). Alongside praying for himself Prophet Ibrahim (AS) also prayed for his children’s steadfastness in relation to offering of prayer. This informs us that each and every Muslim should not only be concerned about his own obligation to pray but also his family members’.

Children should be acquainted with the fundamental teachings of Quran and Hadith:

These days, generally speaking, our children to go school and college. Verily we should strive for our children to become doctor, engineer or lecturer but before any of that we must make sure they become true Muslim. Therefore, alongside introducing them to important information related to fundamentals of Islam, they must be familiarised with the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islamic history. In case our child becomes a doctor or an engineer but remains totally unaware of the fundamental commandments of Islamic Shariah, on the Day of Judgement Allah will hold us (parents) accountable for this. Making use of summer vacation etc. we should make special arrangements for educating our children in relation to Quran and Hadith. Alongside making them learn prayers that a Muslim is to recite at different occasions in day to day life, we should also ensure that our children develop a habit of reciting those prayers at the required occasions. In the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) special significance is mentioned in relation to memorising forty traditions (Ahadith) of the Prophet (PBUH). Therefore, we should make our children memorise small traditions of Prophet (PBUH) in Urdu, English or Arabic. In India, attempts are made to distort and manipulate history which is why we must see to it that our children read history texts penned down by the respected scholars of the Muslim community.

Girls must be dressed in modest clothes:

These days the attire of Muslim girls, even girls who come from religious families, is becoming more and more un-Islamic. In various gatherings the girls of our community are seen in such revealing and objectionable attires that no learned scholar of this world can issue a fatwa of its approval. Therefore, right from the beginning we should make sure our daughters do not wear body hugging clothes so that by the time they attain puberty they become habitual of wearing clothes that imply a certain modesty, as mentioned by Allah in the Holy Quran in verse 26 of Surah Al-A’raaf that believers should cover themselves with the raiment of righteousness. Only that raiment will be of righteousness which is not in contradiction with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), for instance the attire should not be so body hugging or transparent that the body parts are revealed. Moreover, the attire of women should not be like that of men.

Children should not be allowed to indulge in misuse of television and internet:

Numerous problems in the society are spreading because of misuse of television and internet. Therefore, alongside refraining themselves from watching objectionable and adult programmes parents should make sure that their children and family members stay away from that so that, with reference to our subjects, in the Hereafter these new gadgets do not become the source of their failure. We will also be held accountable for our subjects as mentioned in the Holy Quran and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Children should not be allowed to waste their time in watching cricket:

In recent times, our children invest a lot of time in watching cricket and all kinds of information associated with the game. It is necessary on our part to keep a watchful eye on our children’s time so that it is not spent on something that yields benefit neither in terms of this-worldly life nor life in the Hereafter.

Children should be trained well in manners and etiquette:

Parents should encourage their children to respect their elders, be kind to their younger ones, speak in the best possible manner, look after the neighbours, orphans, relatives and widows, and render services to people in general. With respect to eating, drinking, sleeping etc. children should be encouraged to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They should be instructed time and again to stay away from lying, usage of foul language, slandering, stealing, bribery and smoking of cigarette. Parents themselves should rely on none but Halal means of sustenance and children too should be encouraged to stick to sustenance that is Halal. They should be reminded of the life in the Hereafter (and their mind must be made up accordingly) by occasionally reminding them of death.

In the end, it is my humble request to parents that we must carry on with our best possible efforts to improve the worldly life of our children but we must keep this in mind, “The Day when neither wealth be of any use nor sons, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart (clean from polytheism)” (Surah Al-Shu’raa, verse no. 88-89). This means that only that person will find salvation and be successful in the Hereafter who performs good deeds in this world. In case we spend this worldly life of ours in solving the issues of our and our children’s worldly life at the cost of the preparation for life in the Hereafter, then we have nothing to face but failure. Therefore, it is required on our part that we spend this worldly life of ours keeping in mind the Hereafter. In case we have managed to raise our children in the right manner then after our death, subject to Allah’s will, we will get rewards for the good deeds committed by our parents.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (http://www.najeebqasmi.com/)