Good parenting is like being a good Muslim
Source : Navedz.com / 24 Apr 2013
“A father cannot give a better gift to his child than a good education.” (Tirmidhi)
Becoming a parent was an amazing experience. Good parenting is like being a Good Muslim – both require continuous struggles to stay focused on our goals (that is, if we take the time to even set them in the first place), being conscious of the consequences of our choices, an ongoing and honest evaluation of ourselves, and the best efforts to improve our condition.
“Allah does not change the condition of people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran, Surah Al Ra’d, 13:11)
The struggle is real but Allah is the best facilitator and He, out of His infinite mercy, has made His deen (religion) easy – ad-deenu yusrun(Bukhari) – and many times I find that it is our lack of knowledge, or a structured routine to bring that knowledge to practice that prevents us from moving forward. Therefore, we need to reflect on and plan ways and steps to take in raising ideal children by the enabling grace of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified is He). And the key to success, I feel, is in starting in a small but consistent, meaningful and qualitative way – making the foundation of these deeds strong and grow from there.
We should work on to become a student of knowledge. Read books and scholarly research on Parenting in Islam. We should find guidance from the beautiful examples of our beloved Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent as a mercy to the whole mankind (Quran, Surah Al Anbiya, 21:107), sent to perfect human character (muatta) in every role including that of the father and indeed Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has kept the best examples in his conduct (Quran, Surah Al Ahzab, 33:21).
We have to serve as a role model to our children. Action speaks louder than words—and this is where we seem to fall short in today’s intellectual era where a vast amount of knowledge is easily available but only a small fraction of conforming ideals and character traits are seen in people. Rather than telling our children not to be on the iPod or watch too much TV – we can show them through our actions and read a book together!
Model the best character. Always advise with kindness. Teach patience by practicing patience and perseverance. Delay gratification and focus on teaching them routines. Stay silent and never discipline when angry. Verily anger destroys faith as aloe spoils honey (Baihaqi). Behave with your spouse, parents, relatives and friends kindly and courteously as our elders and scholars have recorded many incidents of people not respectful to their parents or spouse and they reaped the ill consequences of their actions by similar and unpleasant treatments from their children later in life.
Be a friend. Always make sincere effort to understand your children’s perspectives and do not force yours. Show love and empathize. Be easily approachable. Shall I not inform you about the person who is forbidden from the Fire and for whom the Fire is forbidden? Anyone who is close to people, soft and lenient (Ibid).
Create a balance between work and home—Our child’s education is equally or more important than work and hence, the need for our commitment to spend quality time with the family. Invest time in establishing an ideal learning environment at home.
Train Your Child in the Best Character and Etiquette. Keep Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in mind wherever you are; follow a wrong with a right that offsets it; and treat people courteously (Tirmidhi). We find three great qualities from this hadith (prophetic narration) that we can inculcate in our children:
God Consciousness– Our children need to be trained to be conscious of their actions and learn the consequences of good and bad choices.
Accountability– You make the mess, you clean the mess. From a young age, always give them choices and do not be afraid to let them make a mistake, as that will provide an opportunity to impart a valuable lesson on responsibility, which they will hopefully always remember.
Courtesy– This character trait should be part of an early training we provide our children. They should always be kind and courteous to their parents, teachers, peers, siblings and to all of God’s creation. Courtesy is rooted in mercy for others and this is a required characteristic of a true Muslim – courtesy must be extended to the teacher, to knowledge, and to the environment of learning.
We must learn to pray to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala regularly for our children, learn the du`a’s (supplication) from the Book of Allah and the examples of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), recite them from the heart to attract the mercy, guidance and acceptance of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as he is the true Murabbi (Nurturer) and can make up for our shortcomings in guiding and shaping our most valuable trust—our children. Indeed whomever Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala guides is truly guided, and whomever He Subhanahu wa Ta’ala misguides no one can guide him.
Our Lord! And make us submissive towards you and from our offspring a nation obedient to You – and show us the ways of our worship, and incline towards us with Your mercy; indeed You only are the Most Acceptor of Repentance, the Most Merciful. (Quran, Surah Al Baqarah, 2:128)
“Our Lord, soothe our eyes with our wives and our children, and make us leaders of the pious.” (Quran, Surah Al Furqan, 25:74)