We all want to raise our children to grow up into adults whose center is Allah , to love and fear Him, find peace in salah, look for their answers in the Qur’an, try to live their life according to the Sunnah of the Messenger , be patient during trying times and not lie or cheat, and the list goes on. There are so many attributes we want our children to have when they grow up. But what are the most important attributes that we must try our best to inculcate in our children?
As I studied the ayahs in Quran, Surah Luqman, I realized how wise Luqman’s advice was to his son. He did not give a long list of dos and don’ts like I would have done! If we try our best to work on the advice that Luqman gave his son, for ourselves and our children, In sha Allah, we would save ourselves from delivering long lectures and awkward scenarios.
In sha Allah, this 3-part Parenting Lessons series based on lessons from Quran, Surah Luqman aims to explore the qualities we must strive to inculcate in our children, and at providing tips and resources to help accomplish them.
According to Ikrimah on the authority of Ibn Abbas , Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who worked as a carpenter. The majority of scholars are of the view that he was a wise man and not a prophet and a righteous servant of Allah whom He blessed with wisdom and told him to be thankful. Moreover, he was mentioned in the Qur’an and was highly praised by Allah .
Surah Luqman begins by telling readers that the Qur’an is a “wise” book that holds “guidance and mercy” for those who do good deeds. It tells us about paradise and then mentions Luqman . It ends with reminding the readers of Paradise and motivating them to contemplate on the creation of Allah .
Requisites for Good Parenting
To achieve any objective successfully, planning and acquiring all essential tools is important. Successful parenting also requires a lot of planning and there are some crucial prerequisites. Not only do we find these example in the Qur’an and but also in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.
In the Qur’an, Allah chose Luqman , Yaqub and Ibrahim to show us what is primarily needed to observe proper tarbiyah (education and upbringing) of our children in a manner that is pleasing to Allah .
1. Dua: A Parent’s Most Powerful Tool
As parents we must make great use of the power of dua. Make abundant dua for your children: for their protection, as well as for them to be an immense source of benefit and delight to you and the world. It is one of the best things you can do for them.
In fact, we must begin praying for our children even before becoming parents! Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger said:
“If anyone amongst you intends to go to his wife he should say: ‘In the name of Allah, 0 Allah protect us against Satan and keep away the Satan from the one that you have bestowed upon us’, and if He has ordained a child for them, Satan will never be able to do any harm to him.” [Sahih Muslim]
When we plan or expect a baby we may follow the footsteps of Zakariya who called upon Allah , saying:
“My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 38]
We can and indeed must make dua for our children’s protection at all times. Ibn ‘Abbas said:
The Prophet used to seek refuge in Allah for al-Hasan and al-husain, saying: “I seek refuge for both of you in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every poisonous thing and from the evil eye which influences.” He would then say: “your father sought refuge in Allah by them for Ismail and Ishaq.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
During my course of study and research, I have come across numerous successful children whose parents said they always prayed for them even in times when their patience was thoroughly tested.
Shaytan is our biggest enemy and he does not leave alone our children either. Hannah , the mother of Maryam sought refuge in Allah from the Shaytan for her child and her progeny by supplicating:
“...I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled from the mercy of Allah.” [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 36]
Hence Maryam and ’Isa were the only two children who were not touched by Shaytan as mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir.
Another beautiful Qur’anic dua parents can make for Allah to make their children the coolness of their eyes and a source of benefit and peace to them is:
“And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”” [Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verse 74]
All these duas are recommended to be made regularly by us parents with a conviction that Allah is the Answerer of all our duas and if He accepted these before then, In sha Allah, He will accept it from us too.
2. Walk the Talk
We are the best role model for our children. Fatima used to walk and talk like her father, the Messenger of Allah. We will always need to “walk the talk” with our children to make it easier for them to understand and follow the commandments of Allah .
If you regularly take your child to the masjid for Qur’an classes, let the child see you reading the Qur’an too. If you tell your child to stop lying, well, do not do it yourself. If you want your child to learn to repent, then let him see you repenting to Allah . If you want your child to pray five times including the Fajr salah, sleep early as a family and tell them you sleep early to be able to get up for Fajr.
Do not lose your temper at traffic jams or when the milk boils over. Let your child see you cry as you contemplate the meaning of Allah’s words in the Qur’an.
3. Build Your Patience and Perseverance
Walking on the path of deen along with our families invites Shaytan, the accursed to come after us even more. He comes with devious plans and insinuations to distract us and go astray. One area he attacks parents the most is patience and perseverance.
Yaqub presents us with the most beautiful example of patience in parenting. He choses to be patient when his sons come to him with Yusuf’s shirt with a wild story. He knew they were lying, but he held on to his patience and trusted Allah to take care of Yusuf in order to keep the family together. And Allah rewards him for his patience by bringing them all under His mercy in the end.
Despite our many best attempts, there will be times when our children will not behave the way we would hope them to. They might even resist our attempts to draw them closer to deen, such as getting them to read Qur’an regularly, taking the weekend Islamic schools more seriously, memorising more of the Qur’an or even fasting during the long summer months. Be patient and do not give up! Make dua for patience for yourself:
“Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims [in submission to You].” [Quran: Chapter 7, Verse 126]
Discussing with other parents about their strategies can also give you more ideas, In sha Allah.
4. Read Up on Parenting
From the moment Allah tells the angel to breathe life into a mother’s womb, the ever lasting job of parents begins. For as long as they live, they will be parenting their children, no matter how old they become. Strategies and roles change, but the basic foundation of parenting does not. Therefore, reading up on the very basics of bringing up children from when they are in the womb onwards is indispensable.
It is important to invest time and energy in learning essential facts of good nutrition and habits during pregnancy, child psychology, parenting in the digital age, etc. There are also various techniques on parenting that help us understand our children and help us tailor our parenting style to suit our children and circumstances the best. Here are a few useful resources to begin with:
Hope you enjoyed this introductory article on productive parenting based on lessons from Surah Luqman. In the next part, In sha Allah, we will explore and learn about the first and most important quality we must aim to inculcate in our little ones: The Oneness of Allah and Avoiding Shirk.
Please share your thoughts on parenting productively in this day and age by posting a comment below.