Monday, 26 July 2010

Issue Of Raising Children in Islam

The issue of raising children is very important, the interest of both parents and children depends on it; the interest of the Ummah (Muslim society) as well as the community’s future is directly impacted by our ability to succeed in this. Islam takes great interest in it, and so do the educators, the first of whom is the Messenger Muhammad [Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam (SAWS) / peace be upon him] whom Allah sent as a teacher and guide to parents and children to ensure their happiness in both worlds.

Let us first establish those children in accordance to the Islamic concept means both male and female. Some anti-Islamic concepts accuse Islam by differentiating between male and female children

claiming that it does prefer boys over girls in terms of inheritance, ‘Aqeeqa (slaughter of two lambs upon the birth of a male baby, and one lamb only for a baby girl) and other matters. In accordance with the true Islamic teaching, both male and female are alike in the sight of Allah, the Almighty. Each, however, is physically prepared and equipped to perform certain tasks and duties that are suitable to his/her nature. All, again are equal in religious duties, except for certain exceptions that are defined and illustrated by Allah, the Almighty, in the Glorious Quran, or declared and specified by Allah’s Apostle, PBUH. Only these differences are to be acknowledged and honored only in accordance with Islam and its teachings.

Children, in accordance to Islam are entitled to various and several rights. The first and foremost of these rights is the right to be properly brought up, raised and educated. This means that children should be given suitable sufficient, sound and adequate religious, ethical and moral guidance to last them for their entire life. They should be engraved with true values, the meaning of right and wrong, true and false, correct and incorrect, appropriate and inappropriate and so forth and so on. Allah, the Almighty stated in the Glorious Qur’an:

“ O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones.” 66:6

Allah’s Apostle, PBUH also said: “Every one of your (people) is a shepherd. And every one is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them. “ This Hadith is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim.

Children, therefore are a trust given to the parents. Parents are to be responsible for this trust on the Day of Judgement. Parents are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and the basic and essential religious teachings of their children.

If parents fulfill this responsibility, they will be free of the consequences on the Day of Judgement. The children will become better citizens and a pleasure to the eyes of their parents, first in this life, and in the hereafter.

Allah, the Almighty stated in the Glorious Quran:

“ And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.” (52:21)

Moreover, Allah’s Apostle, PBUH said: “Upon death, man’s deeds will (definitely) stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously pray Allah, the Almighty, for the soul of his parents. “ This Hadith is reported by Muslim.

In fact, such a statement reflects the value of proper upbringing of children. It has an everlasting effect, even after death.

Unfortunately, many parents from every walk of life, in every society, regardless of creed, origin, social and economical status, etc., have neglected this very important this imposed right of their own children unto them. Such individuals have indeed lost their children as a result for their own negligence. Such parents are so careless about the time their children spent with no benefit, the friends they associate with, the places they go to, etc. Such parents do not care, are totally indifferent about where their children go, when they come back and so forth and so on, causing the children to grow without any responsible adult and caring supervision. Such parents neglect even to instruct, direct or guide their children to the proper way of life , behaviour or even right attitudes towards others. Yet, you may find these parents are so careful about their wealth. They are extremely concerned about their business, work and otherwise. They exert every possible effort to lead a very successful life in terms of materialistic gains, although all this wealth is not actually theirs. No one will take wealth to the grave.

Children are not only to be well-fed, well-groomed, properly dressed for seasons and appearance, well-taken care in terms of housing and utilities. It is more important to offer the child comparable care in terms of educational, religious training, and spiritual guidance. The heart of a child must be filled with faith. A child’s mind must be entertained with proper guidance, knowledge and wisdom. Clothes, food, housing, education are not, by any means, an indication of proper care of the child. Proper education and guidance is far more important to a child than his food, grooming and appearance.

One of the due rights of children upon parents is to spend for their welfare and well-being moderately. Over- spending or negligence is not condoned, accepted or even tolerated in Islam. Such ways will have a negative effect on the child regardless of the social status. Men are urged not to be miserly to his children and household, who are their natural heirs in every religion and society. Why would one be miserly to those who are going to inherit his wealth? Children are entitled to such an important right. They are even permitted to take moderately from their parent wealth to sustain themselves if the parent declined to give them proper funds for their living.

Children also have the right to be treated equally in terms financial gifts. None should be preferred over the others. All must be treated fairly and equally. None should be deprived his gift from the parents. Depriving, or banning the right of inheritance, or other financial gifts during the lifetime of the parents or preference of a parent for a child over the other will be considered in accordance to Islam an act of injustice. Injustice will definitely lead to an atmosphere of hatred, anger and dismay amongst the children in one household. In fact, such an act of injustice may, most likely, lead to animosity amongst the children, and consequently, this will affect the entire family environment. In certain cases when a special child may show a tender a care to his aging parent, for instance, causing the parent to grant such a child a special gift, or issue him an ownership of a house, a factory, a land, a farm a car, or any other valuable items. Islam, however considers such a financial reward to such a caring, loving and maybe obedient child, a wrong act. A caring child is entitled only for a reward from Allah, the Almighty. Although it is nice grant such a child something in appreciation for his dedication and special efforts, but this must not lead to an act of disobedience to Allah, the Almighty.

It may be that the heart and feelings of such a loving and caring child may change, at one point in time, causing him to become a nasty and harmful child. By the same token, a nasty child may change, at any given time, as well, to become a very caring and kind child to the same parent. The hearts and feelings are, as we all know, in the hands of Allah, the Almighty, and can be turned in any direction at any given time and without any previous notice. This, indeed, is one of the reasons to prevent an act of financial preference of a child over another. On the other hand, there is no assurance or guarantees that a caring child can handle the financial gift of his parent wisely.

It is narrated by Abu Bakr, RA, who said that Allah’s Apostle, PBUH was informed by one of his companions, al-N’uman bin Basheer, who said: “O Prophet of Allah! I have granted a servant to one of my children (asking him to testify for that gift).” But Allah’s PBUH asked him: “Did you grant the same to each and every child of yours?” When Allah’s Apostle, PBUH was informed negatively about that, he said: “Fear Allah, the Almighty, and be fair and just to all your children. Seek the testimony of another person, other than me. I will not testify to an act of injustice.” This Hadith is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim. Thus, Allah’s Apostle, PBUH called such an act of preference of one child over the others an act of “ injustice ”. Injustice is prohibited and forbidden in Islam.

But, if a parent granted one of his children financial remuneration to fulfill a necessity, such as a medical treatment coverage, the cost of a marriage, the cost of initializing a business, etc., then such a grant would not be categorized an act of injustice and unfairness. Such a gift will fall under the right to spend in the essential needs of the children, which is a requirement that a parent must fulfill.

Islam sees that if a parents fulfill their duties towards all children in terms of providing them with necessary training, educational backing, moral, ethical and religious education, this will definitely lead to a more caring child, a better family atmosphere and better social environment and awareness. On the other hand, any negligence in that parenthood duties can lead to the loss of a child or ill treatment to a parent at a later age.

Treating children nicely and kindly. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that practically. When he was praying as an Imam with the people, his grandson Al-Hasan, son of his daughter Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with them rode his back while he was bowing. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, lengthened his bow. When he finished his prayer, some attending Companions said, “You lengthened your bow?” Then the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, answered, “My grandson rode my back and I hate hastening him”

After mentioning that one must confess His Oneness, worship Him with sincerity, and remain upright in obeying Him, Allah follows that by giving instructions regarding the parents. These appear together in many places of the Qur’an, such as Allah’s saying,

    (Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents.) (17:23)

Allah says,

    (Be grateful to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.) (31:14)

There are many other Ayat like this as well. Here Allah says,

(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents.) (46:15) meaning, `We have commanded him to treat them well and show compassion towards them. Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded from Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him, that his mother said to him: “Hasn’t Allah commanded that you obey your parents Then I will not eat any food or drink any drink until you disbelieve in Allah.” Thus she stubbornly abstained from eating and drinking, until they had to open her mouth with a stick. Then this Ayah was revealed,

(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. ) This was also recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers, except for Ibn Majah. Allah continues,

(His mother bears him with hardship.) which means that the mother suffers hardship because of her child, such as fatigue, sickness, vomiting, heaviness, distress, and other forms of hardship that the pregnant women suffer.

(And she delivers him with hardship.) meaning, she also delivers him with hardship, suffering the pains of labor and their severity.

(And (the period of) his gestation and weaning is thirty months,) `Ali R.A., may Allah be pleased with him, used this Ayah along with the following two Ayat to prove that the minimum period of pregnancy (gestation) is six months:

(And his weaning is in two years.) (31:14) and

(The mothers suckle their children two complete years — for those who desire to complete the term of suckling. ) (2:233) This is a strong and valid conclusion, and it was approved by `Uthman and a number of the Companions. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Ba`jah bin `Abdullah Al-Juhani that a man from his tribe (Juhaynah) married a woman from Juhaynah. She delivered a baby after six months. So her husband went to `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, and told him about that. Thus, `Uthman summoned her. When she was getting dressed, her sister started crying. She asked her: “Why do you cry By Allah, no one has ever approached me (for sexual relations) of Allah’s creation except him (my husband). So let Allah decree (for me) as He wills.” When she was brought before `Uthman, he commanded that she be stoned to death (for adultery). `Ali heard of this, came to `Uthman, and said: “What are you doing” He (`Uthman) said: “She delivered after six months! Can this ever happen” `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Don’t you read the Qur’an” He said: “Yes, of course!” He (`Ali) then said: `Haven’t you heard Allah’s saying,

(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months), and;

( two complete years) (2:233) (Subtracting the two numbers) we are only left with six months.” `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “By Allah, I did not see that! Bring the woman back.” But they found that she had already been killed. Ba`jah continued: “By Allah, no two crows and no two eggs are more similar than that child turned out to be to his father! When his father saw that he said, `By Allah! This is my son without any doubt.’ Later on, Allah afflicted him with a skin abscess in his face (because of his false accusation to his wife). It kept eating him up until he died.” Ibn Abi Hatim related from his father that Farwah bin Abi Al-Maghra’ told them that `Ali bin Mushir narrated to them from Dawud bin Abi Hind, who narrated from `Ikrimah that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When a woman delivers after nine months, the baby will only need twenty-one months of suckling. When she delivers after seven months, the baby will need twenty-three months of suckling. When she delivers after six months, the baby will need two full years of suckling, because Allah says,

(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months, till when he attains full strength).” meaning, he becomes strong, youthful, and attains full ability.

(and reaches forty years,) meaning, his complete intellect, understanding, and patience reach the level of maturity. It has also been said that usually one will not change his ways once he reaches the age of forty.

(he says: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability) meaning, `inspire me.’

(that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You,) meaning, in the future.

(and make my offspring good.) meaning, my offspring and descendants.

(Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.) This contains an instruction for anyone who reaches forty years of age to renew his repentance and turn to Allah with strong resolution. Allah then says,

(Those are the ones from whom We shall accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise.) meaning, those to whom applies the above description — those who repent to Allah, turn back to Him, and rectify their shortcomings through repentance and seeking forgiveness - those are the ones from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. Many of their errors will be forgiven and Allah will accept from them a modest amount of deeds.

(among the dwellers of Paradise.) which means that they will be among the dwellers of Paradise. That is Allah’s ruling concerning them, as He has promised for those who repent and turn to Him. Thus, He says,

(That is the promise of truth that they had been promised.)

(17. But he who says to his parents: “Uff to you! Do you promise me that I will be raised up when generations before me have passed” While they invoke Allah for help: “Woe to you! Believe! Verily, the promise of Allah is true.” But he says: “This is nothing but the legends of the ancient.”) (18. They are those against whom the Word (of torment) has justified among the previous generations of Jinn and mankind that have passed away. Verily, they are ever the losers.) (19. And for all, there will be degrees according to that which they did, so that He might fully recompense for their deeds. And they will not be wronged.) (20. On the Day when those who disbelieve will be exposed to the Fire (it will be said): “You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein. Today, you will be recompensed with the torment of extreme humiliation, because you were arrogant upon the earth without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allah’s command.)

The Qur’an contains many examples of good character such as the story of Luqman, the wise, who gave his son valuable advice.

Luqman’s advice

1. Luqman had advised his son, and Allah the Exalted disclosed his words:

    “O my son, do not associate partners with Allah. Verily, Shirk (polytheism) is a grievous sin.” (31:13)

Therefore, beware of committing Shirk in worshipping Allah such as supplicating to dead or absent people. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Du’a (supplication or prayer) is worship.”

2. Allah the Exalted says:

    “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years, give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” (31:14)

It is clear that Allah the Exalted has connected worshipping Him Alone with kindness to parents due to the seriousness of their rights. The mother suffers during pregnancy, while the father takes it upon himself to earn a living for the family. Because of this it is incumbent upon a Muslim to be grateful to Allah then to his parents.

3. Allah says in the next Ayah (verse):

    “But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (31:15)

4. In the next Ayah Allah the Exalted again informed us with the words of Luqman:

    “O my son, even if it is the weight of a mustard seed deposited inside a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, Allah will surely bring it out. Verily, Allah knows all subtleties, All-Aware.” (31:16)

Ibn Kathir said: “The offence or the error even if it is as minute as the weight of a mustard seed, Allah will judge it on the Day of Resurrection when He sets (the Scales of justice) so that He requites it be it good or evil.”

5. In the next Ayah the advice is continued:

    “O my son, perform Salat.” (Prayer) [Observing it on time with all of its requirements humbly and conscientiously]. (31:17)

6. Another good advice:

    “And enjoin the good and forbid evil, (gently and without harshness).” (31:17)

7. Luqman further advised his son, as quoted in the Qur’an:

    “Bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allah with no exemption).” (31:17)

The believer is enjoined to be patient. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “The believer who consorts with people and endures their harm is better than a believer who does not consort with people nor does he endure their harm.”

8. Allah the Exalted continued Luqman’s advice in the next Ayah:

    “And do not turn away from people through pride.” (31:18)

When talking to people, or when they talk to you, do not show disrespect to them, or show arrogance, rather face them pleasantly, and smile at them. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Smiling at your brother is an act of charity in your favor.”

9. In the next Ayah, another advice: “Nor walk haughtily on earth, surely, Allah does not love any arrogant boaster,”(who admires himself, and despises others). (31:18)

10. Another general etiquette: “And walk at a moderate pace,” (neither quick nor slow). (31:19)

11. Allah the Exalted says:

    “And lower your voice,” (when there is no need for raising the voice. That is why, Allah said:) “Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the asses.” (31:19)

Mujahid, a great scholar, commented on the above Ayah saying: “The most offensive of sounds is that of donkeys. This means, he who raises his voice resembles donkeys; Allah abhors it. If our voice resembles this sound, it requires us to stop talking loudly.”

The Parent's Consent for Jihad

Pleasing one's parents is considered so important in Islam that the son is forbidden to volunteer for jihad without his parent's permission, in spite of the fact that fighting in the cause of Allah (jihad fi sabeel Allah) has such great merit in Islam that the merit of a person who spends his nights in prayer and his days in fasting falls short of it.

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-'As, A man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and asked his permission to go for jihad. The Prophet (peace be on him) asked, 'Are your parents living?' 'Yes,' he replied. The Prophet (peace be on him) then said, 'Then strive in their service,' (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) meaning that taking care of parents is a greater obligation than '`had in the cause of Allah.

'Abdullah also narrated, A man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and said, 'I take the oath of allegiance to you for hijrah (emigration to Medinah) and jihad, seeking reward from Allah.' The Prophet (peace be on him) enquired whether either of his parents were living. On his replying that both of them were, the Prophet (peace be on him) said, 'Are you (really) seeking reward from Allah?' 'Yes,' the man said. The Prophet (peace be on him) then said, 'Go back to your parents and be a good companion to them.'(Reported by Muslim.)
'Abdullah further narrated, A man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and said, 'I have come to swear allegiance to you for hijrah, and I have left my parents weeping.' The Prophet (peace be on him) said to him, 'Return to them and make them laugh as you made them weep.' (Reported by al-Bukhari and others.)

Abu Sa'id reported that A man from Yemen migrated to Madinah to be with the Prophet (peace be on him). The Prophet (peace be on him) asked him, 'Do you have any relatives in Yemen?' He answered, 'My parents.' 'Did you get their permission?' the Prophet (peace be on him) asked. On his replying that he did not, the Prophet (peace be on him) told him, 'Go back to them and ask their permission. If they agree to it, go on jihad. Otherwise stay and serve them.' (Reported by Abu Daoud.)

Non-Muslim Parents

It is one of the beauties of Islam that, with respect to the treatment of parents, it forbids the Muslim to be disrespectful to them even if they should be non-Muslims who are fanatical to the point of arguing with him and putting pressure on him to renounce Islam. Says Allah Ta'ala: ...Be grateful to Me and to thy parents; to Me is (the final) goal. But if they strive to compel thee to associate with Me that of which thou hast no knowledge, do not obey them; but keep company with them in this life in a kind manner and follow the way of those who turn to Me. Then to Me will be your return and I will inform you (of the meaning of) all that you did. (31:14-15)

In these two verses the Muslim is commanded not to obey his parents in what they try to tell him to do in this regard, since there cannot be obedience to a creature in sin against the Creator—and what sin could be greater than associating partners with Allah. At the same time, he is commanded to treat them honorably in this world, unaffected by their stand against his faith, and to follow the path of those righteous Believers who turn to Allah and to leave the judgement between himself and his parents to the Most Just of Judges, on a Day when the parents will not be able to benefit the child nor the child the parent. Indeed, such tolerant and beneficent teachings are not to be found in any other religion.

The protection of yourself and your family from Hell-Fire won't be with anything but good education, the practice of good morals, and the guidance to nobility.

Islam does not distinguish between male and female with regard to the education requirements. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “Whoever has a daughter, tutors her on good morals, educates her well and feeds her properly; she will be a protection for him from Hell-Fire.”

What do we mean by good education. The good education means the physical, mental and moral preparation of the child so he can become a good individual in the good society.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said:

'Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.'"

 "Have fun praying and getting ready for the Day of Judgment coz that day will NOT be fun :) P.S.: don’t forget to make dua for me.

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