Many parents, especially Muslims, have the desire to raise their children in line with their faith. As Muslims, the code of conduct of Islam is what guides our daily lives and also what guides us as we raise the next generation.
When we are looking to learn from other people’s parenting experiences, it is good to remember that we have a fine example of successful parenting from Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
From his relationship with his daughter Faatimah to that of his grandchildren, Hasan and Hussain, there are few tips that can help the rest of us on this parenting journey.
Teach them the Deen
Many people nowadays ask when it is best to start to teach your child the deen. They ask questions like when it’s okay for a child to attend a madrasah or wear the hijab or attend the masjid.
From the time of the Prophet (SAW), we see that children are taught the deen right from childhood. The Prophet would go to the masjid with his grandson who was famous for playing around on top of the Prophet (SAW) while he led the prayers.
If we want our children to grow up with an understanding of Islam and a love of the Deen, we should introduce them to the deen right from childhood. Let them accompany you to the masjid, recite the Quran to them, and teach them their first few Quran verses. Enroll them in madrasahs if you can’t teach them yourself and encourage them to yearn for Islamic knowledge.
The Prophet’s Grandsons went on to narrate hadiths from him like many other companions did and they were only able to do that because the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and their parents taught them the deen.
Pray for Them
Many times the Messenger of Allah (SAW) would carry a child playfully and pray for them. He prayed for his grandsons on many recorded occasions and we know that one of the best things that a parent can give to a child is dua.
The Prophet (ﷺ) saw Hasan and Husain, so he said: “O Allah, I love them, so love them.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi)
Even before the Prophet (SAW) himself, people before him were recorded as making dua for their children. The dua of the mother of Maryam (Prophet Isa’s grandmother) is notably the prayer that caused Shaytaan to be unable to touch Prophet Isa and his mother, Maryam.
Every time you make dua for yourself, remember your children. Ask Allah (ta’ala) for everything good for your children. Even when they are older and self-sufficient, a parent continues to pray for a child’s guidance so that they can be successful in this life and the next.
Encourage them Towards Goodness
A parent who teaches the child the Deen is encouraging them towards goodness. But beyond that, we can strive to help our children see the path of goodness especially when they may not readily see it themselves.
Numayr ibn Aws said, “They used to say, ‘Correct action is a gift from Allah, but adab comes from the parents.” (Al Adab Al-Mufrad)
One particular story stands out in this regard. The story of Faatimah when she went to meet the Messenger of Allah (SAW) asking for a maid because she was tired from the housework. The Prophet (SAW) could have given her what she requested for, but instead, he guided her to something that he thought was better for her by telling her to recite the praises of Allah (ta’ala).
Sometimes, our children may go through trials and need our help to hold firm to the rope of Allah (ta’ala), and sometimes, they just need us to encourage them towards goodness even when they do not feel like it.
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Fulfill Your Obligations Towards Them
It is important for any of us who desire to raise children according to Islam, that we should fulfill all our responsibilities on the child. This is one of the most important conditions of being a parent. Such that, scholars have said that it may be considered impermissible (haraam) for a person to have children if they know that they may not be able to give the child his/her rights.
Ibn ‘Umar said, “Allah has called them the ‘dutiful’ (al-Abrar) because they are dutiful (birr) to their parents and children. Just as you have a duty which you owe your parent, so you have a duty which you owe your child.” (Al Adab Al-Mufrad)
Fulfilling our obligations is our first duty to the child. The child has the right to be taken care of to the best of our ability, and for every Muslim parent, no matter how challenging, we should continue to do this.
It is sad to see how our community has become. In cases of separated families, you find many situations where the child’s rights are neglected as the parents move on with other partners or spend their lives bickering on who to take care of the child.
Even when the parents are together, many people these days do the barest minimum when it comes to fulfilling obligations.
This is not to say that all parents do this, but to remind us of the dangers of falling into this category. Our children have a right to be raised properly, to be listened to, to be played with, fed, clothed and protected. And if we want to raise them in line with the Sunnah, we should make sure that all these obligations are met to the best of our human capabilities.
Express Your Love
During the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), many of the companions would testify that he was expressive of his love. Not just romantic love to his wives, but he publicly showed affection to his children, grandchildren, and even other kids around.
It is reported that whenever Faatimah would enter upon the Prophet, that he would stand up to greet her in a show of love.
‘A’isha said, “A bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, “Do you kiss your children? We do not kiss them.’ The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Can I put mercy in your hearts after Allah has removed it from them?’” (Al Adab Al-Mufrad)
Many of us love our children but consider it cheesy or embarrassing to say or show it. Many parents find it weird to kiss, hug or play with their kids. Yes, the kids need us to be firm on occasions, but for the most part, they need us to verbally and physically display our affection for them.
There are many tips out there when it comes to parenting, but for us as Muslims, our best example can still be found in the way that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) related with and raised his children and those of his Companions.