Will she put the hijab on when she grows up?
Can I trust him with a cell phone at the age of ten?
Am I doing my job as a parent? Should I go back home?
What if… How will I… What’s the best way to…?
All the above thoughts and questions come to the mind of a concerned Muslim parent. When Allah blesses a couple with a baby, they know that having a child is a blessing but the magnitude of the challenge as a parent is also no small feat.
As a mature person, one knows that life comes with lots of excitement and challenges. And, if anyone had to write a book or even a cheat sheet for someone who is about to come into this world, there is no way s/he would be able to cover everything in a few pages. S/he would have to write an encyclopedia and that would still be insufficient.
Parenting is one of those areas of our life that requires a lot of attention as it is about fulfilling the responsibility that was given to us by our Creator. After discussing this with many fathers and mothers of different generations, there are some core values that we need to make sure we equip our children with.
As a result, I have come up with seven core values, that, if tightened up and not left loose, will enable parents to raise a sound and firm believer. Ultimately, we need a generation that can bring change and add value to our society. By working to instil these values into our children, we will in sha Allah raise productive humans who are assets to our Ummah.
As you are reading about each of these core values, you will be asking yourself, what can I do to instill these values in my child? My advice is to ask yourself, “Do I have the nuts and bolts of this value tightened up in myself?” Because if we forget about ourselves and only concentrate on our children, it would be a bigger loss as we and our children are going to come alone on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah .
This is not an overnight solution, but if you are looking for a way to bring change to yourself, your children, family, and society around you, then read on. In this article, we will be looking at the first three values. Let’s get started!
1. Confidence: Seek honor in Islam
Umar ibn Al-Khattab had once said: “Verily, we were a disgraceful people and Allah honored us with Islam, so if we seek honor from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us.” [Al-Mustadrak ‘ala as-Saheehain]
We tend to skip our daily prayers or even Friday prayers because of the worry of getting fired from the job. We call ourselves ‘Abe’ instead of Abdullah, or ‘Mo’ instead of Mohammad, because we are shy to have a name that is not common in society. Sometimes we do not wear hijab or grow a beard, even though we know it is from our religion, because we are afraid that the guy or girl that we want to get married to might leave us if we associate ourselves with such “backward” traditions.
As a slave who is trying to please Allah , we should be seeking honor in Islam and not in anything else, like the way our role model Umar bin Al-Khattab advised us. It is important to instill this in our kids so they do not seek recognition in any other way. But, we must remember that if they see us as hypocritical personalities, where we tend to be Abdullah at the masjid and ‘Abe’ when meeting neighbors, this could have a negative impact on children’s personality. One of our goals as parents should be to not give mixed messages to our children. Otherwise, they will seek honor and attention somewhere else.
2. Responsibility: Do not blame others
Blame and excuses are the hallmarks of an unsuccessful life. In some of our Muslim cultures, and I can speak for myself, from a South Asian community, if something goes wrong in our lives, we blame our Chacha and Phupo (uncle and aunt) for doing black magic on us!
One responsibility that we have as a parent is to have our kids take responsibility for their actions. I will emphasize the point that we need to practice this ourselves. If our kids see the father doing something wrong, but he never takes responsibility for it, then they will also have the trait of blaming everything on others.
It is a pattern in the lives of unsuccessful people to blame others and not take responsibility for their own actions. This type of attitude forces us to look at our life as a failure because we allowed ourselves to be blown here and there, by any passing wind. And, we blamed the wind for how things turned out.
In fact, that is the mindset of an idol worshipper; one who does not want to submit to Allah and make a change, so he or she turns to an idol hoping it will talk to Allah for his or her shortcomings.
If we start taking responsibility for our own actions, we will start to do something about it. It is enough for us to know what will happen on the Day of Judgment. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah ] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14: Verse 22]
So, let us start taking responsibility for our own actions. Otherwise, we will find ourselves blaming others throughout our life for our own laziness and shortcomings, while even Shaitan is telling us, “Don’t blame me, but blame yourselves.”
3. Optimism: I am as my Servant thinks of Me
The Prophet said,
“Allah, the Most High, said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’ ” [Hadith Qudsi]
Positive thinking is a great quality of any human being. In order to be stress-free and more effective, we will have to start thinking positively. Positive thinking does not mean that we should ignore life’s less pleasant situations. It means that our attitude towards unpleasant situations will be more positive and we will deal with them in a more productive way. We should think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
There is a negative attitude that has spread across the Muslim world. If we have trouble finding a job, we will blame society around us for being racist. If someone is going through hard times, we will assume Allah is punishing them because they are bad Muslims.
Allah says in the Qur’an at many places that we should always expect the best of Allah , meaning He will have mercy on us and will relieve us of hardship. He will forgive us if we seek forgiveness, will accept our repentance if we repent, will answer us if we supplicate, and will suffice us if we ask for something. We should call upon Allah while we are certain that we will be answered by Him.
The mindset for us, and for our children, must be to fulfill our obligations while we are certain that Allah will accept our actions and forgive our sins and make our matters easier for us. So, whoever performs such a deed and believes and expects that Allah will not accept it and that it will not benefit him, this is despair from the Mercy of Allah and is from the greatest of the major sins.
Sometimes we assume the worst. We start to think that we are deprived of our rights, have bad luck, deserve more than what Allah gave them, and it is as if they are saying: ‘My Lord has wronged me and deprived me of what I deserve,’ and our soul bears witness to this while our tongue denies it and refuses to openly state this. So, let us ask ourselves, are we protected from this type of mindset? This type of attitude is very destructive and we should try our best to keep our children from negativity and always think positive in all situations.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “By the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, the believer is not given anything good better than his good expectations of Allah , and by the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, no servant of Allah expects good of Him except that Allah gives him what he expected, since all good is in His Hand.” [Reflections: Expecting the Best From Allāh, P.No: 6]
So there you have it. Confidence in Islam, optimism and responsibility are three out seven qualities we need to instil in our children, to make them productive individuals of the Ummah. It’s not too late to start – have sincere intentions to establish these values within yourself, and you will slowly see them reflected in your children, in sha Allah.
Do you have tips on how to instil good values in your children? Share them in the comments below! Remember to look out for part 2 to learn about the last four core values to raise firm believers.