Children are a bountiful blessing from Allah , but they are also a test for us!
The Messenger of Allah says:
“Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them; a slave (‘Abu) is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Since they are a major responsibility, the question we need to ask is: how to raise children in a way that is pleasing to Allah , and a way that helps them live the best version of themselves and actualize their purpose in life?
Many parents focus on the physical work needed but might neglect the spiritual nourishment of their children. However, if children are founded adequately in their deen and have a clear/satisfactory understanding of it, this will help them deal with everything else in life wisely since the soul that carries their body is strong, nourished and satisfied. To do that, here are some points to consider in this the journey of nourishing your child.
1. Groom yourself first
Yes, your own self is the first action point. You must have the basic principles of tawheed, aqeedah, and fiqh. If we don’t know the basic elements of our deen, how are we going to respond to our children when they ask us, and they WILL ask at some point? Our deen presents a clear and beautiful foundation that governs all aspects of life in a way that brings purity and goodness in this life and the next.
We must remember, learn and live this in order to help our children see the beauty of their deen.
So, make sure to seek knowledge; enroll yourself in online or offline institutes that help you with that. This is an essential foundation, not a secondary pursuit or a luxury.
2. Be in harmony with your spouse
Spiritual and physical cleansing work must also be extended to your spouse. The best is to, first, choose the right partner.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said:
“A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religious commitment. Seek the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Always pray and work assiduously on changing yourselves for the better. Let your spouse see the need to be strong, devoted, and exemplary. This (and the first) is the basic groundwork for a sound Muslim child. When both parents have the same vision and goal, the child will have a healthy upbringing.
3. Wisely cut what’s harmful
Two basic things which can easily influence your children must be cut down wisely; television and using gadgets.
Television can damage your children’s creed and belief. Do not simply submit them to the screen without knowing what they’re watching. You must monitor what your children watch on television or on any other gadget. Work on finding alternative programs that will not harm their aqeedah, belief, and sight. You can monitor them to watch innocuous views such as halal children’s cartoons, documentaries, upright Islamic channels, etc. You’ll have to restrict some channels so as not to serve as a temptation for them. Also, try to get them busier with learning and being engaged in useful activities than idly sitting and watching something purposelessly.
On this note also, you need to make sure your child has the right environment that surrounds him/her with good companions. You won’t be able to cut everything or protect them from everything, but this doesn’t mean you should just be completely negligent or you avoid taking the means that brings them what’s best into their lives.
Abu Musa reported that the Prophet said:
“Verily, the parable of a good friend and a bad friend is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
So, while you can, at least assist your child to have this blessing.
4. Do not neglect your child’s aqeedah
The science of aqeedah or pure monotheism and solid knowledge of Allah Almighty is absolutely crucial. The knowledge of Allah is the most essential of all knowledge, it is the purpose of creation. When children know Allah adequately, they have peace and clarity and hope.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
When the Prophet sent Mu`adh to Yemen, he said to him, “You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tauhid of Allah (pure monotheism). If they learn that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
Imparting good creed into your children will aid many other things. When they have the proper creed, they will play, watch, and relate with people without you worrying. This is because they would have known what is right and wrong. You can do this by yourself (if you have the required knowledge), or by enrolling them in a sound learning center.
5. Teach them Islam through your good example
You must teach your children how to worship Allah , by you practicing and learning and growing in your deen as well with them. Teach them the five pillars of Islam through how much you are committed to them and in full comprehension of their meaning and blessing. Also, let them learn and memorize the Qur’an. but be part of this journey as well. Be their companion and their role model instead of making them feel that you want them to be something unrealistic/unattainable.
6. Teach them to speak up
Do not raise your children with fear of speech as this will cripple the child’s mind. Making your children free to talk will ensure a transparent mind. So provide your children with a healthy environment for discussion and learning.
7. Shower them with mercy
Raise your children with love just as the Prophet had done. Abu Hurairah reported:
“Al-Aqra ibn Habis saw the Prophet kissing his grandson Hasan . He said, ‘I have ten children and I do not kiss any of them.’ The Prophet said, ‘Verily, whoever does not show mercy will not receive mercy.’” [Sahih Muslim]
Love should also be shown towards your spouse. The love between you and your spouse will radiate to the children consciously or subconsciously.
8. Supplicate to Allah constantly for their sake
Pray to the Most High to bless and protect your children. As Allah taught us in the Qur’an to supplicate:
My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 40]
“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]
When you pray, you are submitting to Allah and handing your children’s care to the All-Powerful.
What other tips you’ve found to be most successful in helping the children grow in a way that nourishes them spiritually, physically and socially? Share with us in the comments.