As Muslims, we often hear about the virtues, blessings and rewards of motherhood in Islam. And while it seems Muslim men can never quite reach such lofty heights, fatherhood still comes with a plethora of goodness. In this article, we will briefly examine a few areas that can help Muslim fathers appreciate the immense blessings and opportunities for personal growth that come with fatherhood.
For all the new fathers, the fathers-to-be and those who have been on the job for a long time and need some motivation, here are a few of the many tremendous blessings and opportunities for increased productivity that Allah has granted you through your role of being a father:
1. A Personal Sign and Trust
To start, the simple act of observation can bring one closer to Allah . Intellectually, we know that Allah is the Creator, Cherisher, Nourisher and Sustainer of everything. But this knowledge is brought to life in a very personal way when you see your child grow from a little ‘bean’ in the womb, to a foetus, then an infant, a toddler and beyond — thereby increasing you in submission to Him .
Beyond observation, the fact that Allah has given you a child means He trusts you and deems you worthy enough to raise another human being. By accepting this responsibility and proceeding with the right intentions, every moment spent in fulfilling this trust can become an act of worship.
2. Character Development
Children can bring out the worst in us, but also the best. Being a father gives you ample chances to develop noble qualities that assist not only in parenthood, but life in general.
For example, you can develop tremendous sabr (patience) when day after day, you have to burp a difficult infant, rock your baby to sleep or deal with a toddler’s tantrums. And in the course of raising your kids, you learn to apply self-sacrifice when you have to give up your time, energy, wealth and even sleep for the sake of your kids.
Aside from developing good qualities, fatherhood also helps you to suppress bad qualities. As an active, helpful father, you simply don’t have time to be lazy. There are far too many demands on you and if you shirk your responsibilities, you’ll face the wrath of your wife — who will let you know that you are not pulling your weight. Pressure and necessity can bring out the best in us and fatherhood comes with plenty of this! At the same time, helping your wife with the baby develops your sense of empathy and also builds in you a work ethic — a habit of serving others.
So, when things feel tough, look at the bigger picture: Through your children, Allah has given you character-building challenges. Embrace them as opportunities rather than problems.
3. Spiritual Benefits
On a personal level, fatherhood can help you to develop in your deen. For example, we know the value of worshipping Allah in the middle of the night. When your child is very young, he or she will probably wake up at these times for the night feed. If you handle that feed or if you help your wife with it, you will develop a habit of waking up in the middle of the night. Feeding the child (or helping) is an act of worship in itself, but you can double your reward by also making dua and dhikr in those late night hours. Once your child outgrows the night feed, you are already in the habit of waking up in the night — so you have a golden opportunity to make Tahajjud a habit in your life.
For new fathers, you also have the chance to develop your wife’s spirituality. If your wife is breastfeeding, you’ll notice how long and frustrating the process can sometimes be for her. While some mothers counter the boredom with spiritually unproductive activities (TV, music, etc, while breastfeeding), you can give her alternatives that will feed her soul and mind. For example, put Islamic lectures (audio or video), Quranic recitation or any other beneficial items on her mobile phone, which is convenient enough for her to operate while feeding. Such alternatives also expose your infant to the deen from an early age, which is a bonus.
Fatherhood also prompts you to study effective da’wah techniques: The most important person you can guide to the deen is not another adult, but your own child. So it pays off (especially in the Hereafter In sha Allah) to learn how best to call to Islam on a one-to-one level.
4. Appreciation for Your Own Parents
Being a father can also help to improve your relationship with your own parents. As you raise your own child, you experience the struggles your parents went through in raising you. Hence you can appreciate their efforts so much more. Practically, this can draw you closer to them and spiritually, it can inspire you to make dua for them in a more heartfelt way:
“My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they cared for me when I was little.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 24]
Aside from these, there are many, many other blessings and opportunities that come with fatherhood in Islam. In the comments section below, feel free to add to the list – either speaking from your own experience or that of others.
May Allah help today’s and tomorrow’s Muslim fathers to always remember the blessings that come with this great status and guide us to make the most of the opportunities at our disposal before it is too late. Aameen.