1 - Raising children is complex, as they are in need of patience and management.
Some children are in need of gentleness, kindness, not raising your voice at them; such children should be dealt with without stubbornness. Other children are in need of sternness, but this sternness should not exceed the limit. If it is exceeded, then the child will become stubborn and non-compliant towards his parents’ guidance. We ask Allah to provide us with good protection and care since there is an immense responsibility around the necks of the parents.
Allah, the Exalted, said, “O you who possess Eemaan (faith), save yourselves and your families from the Fire.” [Surah Tahreem (66):6]
And in the Saheehayn (i.e. Bukhaaree and Muslim) from the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Each one of you is a shepherd and each one of you is responsible (for his flock). So the ruler is a shepherd and he is responsible, the man is the shepherd of his family and he is responsible, the woman is the shepherd of her home and she is responsible, and the slave is the shepherd of his owner’s wealth and he is responsible. Each one of you is a shepherd, and each one of you is responsible (for his flock).”
It is imperative that the parents co-operate in raising their children. If one of the parents is negligent of their responsibility then one side will become deficient except for what Allah ('azza wa jall) wills.
The child should be taught according to his level and understanding. For example in the first stage, you teach the child about Allah by pointing with your fingers up towards the sky.
2 – When you give your child some food, be it a piece of bread or something similar, direct him to eat with his right hand.
3 – If the food is hot, then do not blow on it. The Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prohibited blowing into vessels. If the child sees someone applying this, then you will find him quick to also do the same, as with other matters. This is confirmed by the statement of the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam), “Everyone is born upon the Fitrah (natural disposition), but the parents make him (i.e. the child) a Jew, Christian, or Magian.”
And in Saheeh Muslim from the Hadeeth of ‘Iyaad bin Hummaar that he said: The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah, The Exalted, said: ‘I created my servants Hunafaa’ (upon pure Tawheed), but the devils pre-occupied their attention.''
4 – When your child is a year and a half, if he/she wants to eat or drink, then teach them to say, ‘Bismillaah’ (In the Name of Allah). Thereafter, it will become a norm and the child, himself, will say, ‘Bismillaah.’
5 – When you find that the child is ready and can comprehend the pillars of Islam, Eemaan (faith), and the pillar of Ihsaan (perfection in worship), then teach them them. Do not set a specific age teaching him, because the fluency and intellect of children differ.
The pillars of Islaam are:
On the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, that he said: The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Islam is founded on five (pillars): (i) Bearing witness that Laa ilaaha ill Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, (ii) to establish the prayer, (iii) to pay the Zakaat, (iv) to fast Ramadhaan, and (v) to make the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House (i.e. the Ka’bah in Makkah).” (Related by Bukhaaree and Muslim)
The pillars of Eemaan (Faith) are:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, (radiyAllahu 'anhu), that he said: The Messenger of Allah, (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Eemaan (Faith) is to believe in Allah, the angels, the Books, Messengers, and the Final Resurrection.” (Related by Bukhaaree and Muslim and Muslim is unique with this wording from the Hadeeth of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (RA).)
The pillar of Ihsaan (Perfection in worship) is:
“It is to worship Allah as though you see Him and if you are not able to (worship Allah as though you) see Him then He sees you.” (Its reference has proceeded in the prior Hadeeth.)
6 – Teach him the legal rulings of Wudhoo’ (Ablution).
7 – When he eats from a vessel, say to him that he should eat of that which is closest to him.
In the Saheehayn (i.e. Bukhaaree and Muslim) from the Hadeeth of ‘Umar bin Abee Salamah that he said, 'I was eating and my hands were moving frivolously around the dish, so the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “O young boy, say the name of Allah, eat with your right hand, and eat what is closest to you.”'
8 – Make him accustomed to good and excellent (actions). When he reaches the age of seven then train him to make the Salaah (Prayer).
Abu Daawood has said (1/ no. 495): The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Order your children to make the Salaah (prayer) when they reach the age of seven. Beat them about it when they reach the age of ten and separate their beds.” (The Hadeeth’s chain of narration is Hasan.)
9 – Separate the children’s’ beds when they reach the age of ten; the Hadeeth that proves this has already proceeded.
10 – Train your child to fast, so long as it does not weaken him/her, so that when he matures he will be used to this noble and righteous act.
Bukhaaree entitled a chapter of his Saheeh (4/200) as, "Chapter The Fasting of Children". In it he said, 'It has been related to us by Musaddid that it was related to us by Bashr bin Mufaddal on Khaalid bin Dhikwaan on Rubai’ bint Mu’awwidh that she said,
The Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) sent a message to the towns of the Ansaar on the morning of ‘Aashuraa that whoever woke up without fasting, then he should continue the rest of his day (without fasting), and whoever woke up fasting then, he should fast. She said,
“So we would fast it (i.e. the day of ‘Aashuraa) thereafter, and we would have our children fast. We would give them a toy made of wool, and when one of them began to cry for food, we would give it to him (and continue like this) until it was time to break the fast.”
11 – Teach your child the authentic ‘Aqeedah (creed and belief).
Say to your child what the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiallahu 'anhu), “I am going to teach you some words. Be mindful of Allah, Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah. If you seek aid, then seek aid in Allah. Know that if the entire Ummah were to gather in order to benefit you with something, they could not benefit you with anything except that Allah has written it for you. And if the entire Ummah were to gather in order to harm you with something, they could not harm you with anything except Allah has written it against you. The pen has been lifted and the pages have dried.”
12 – Advise your child with the admonishment that Luqmaan ('alyhis salaam) gave his son.
This advice has mentioned in the Qur'aan, “And (remember) when Luqmaan said to his son whilst he was advising him: O my son! Do not commit Shirk with Allah. Surely, committing Shirk with Allah is a great oppression. 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 two years. Give thanks to Me and your parents, the final destination is to Me. But if they both strive hard to make you commit Shirk with Me others that you have no knowledge of, then do not obey them. But behave with them kindly in the world, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and obedience. Then your return will be to Me and I shall tell you what you used to do. O my son! If it be anything equal to the weight of grain of a mustard seed even if it be in a rock or in the heavens or the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle and All Aware. O my son! Establish the prayer, enjoin the good, forbid the evil, and be patient with the calamities that befall you. Truly, these are some of the important commandments. Do not turn your face away from men in arrogance nor should you walk through the earth in insolence. Surely, Allah does not like the arrogant boaster. Be moderate in your walk and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the donkey.” (Surah Luqmaan (31):13 – 19)
13 – Teach him to seek permission before entering:
Alah, the Exalted, said, “O you who believe! Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they enter) on three occasions: Before the Fajr (morning) prayer, while you remove your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the ‘Eshaa (night) prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you. After these times, there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other. Thus Allah makes clear the verses to you. And Allah is All Knowing, All Wise.” (Surah Noor (24): 58)
14 – Teach your children what are the prohibited affairs so that they can abstain from them.
In the Saheehayn (i.e. Bukhaaree and Muslim) we find the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, 'Al-Hasan bin ‘Alee took a date from the dates set aside for charity and put it in his mouth. So the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu' alayhi wa sallam) said, “Take it out of your mouth. Take it out of your mouth and discard it. Have you not learned that we do not eat from charity?”
15 – Explain to them the meanings of any Aayah (verse) or the Hadeeth (Prophetic Narration) that you convey to them.
16 – Fasten your child's heart to Allah, the Almighty, the Majestic. Some children, their hearts are fastened to the Dunya (i.e. the life of this world), diplomas, and degrees. Their hearts are filled with delusions, and it is feared that these darknesses may overtake them (i.e. their hearts).
17 – Concern for memorizing the Qur’aan:
Make your child memorize something light everyday even if it is only one verse. Those that busy themselves with the Qur’aan are the most excellent of the people. There has come in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree from the Hadeeth of ‘Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said (that) the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “The best of you are those that learn the Qur’aan and teach it.” And in a narration of al-Bukhaaree, “Surely the most virtuous of you” in place of “the best of you.”
The Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) advised placing importance on the Qur’aan. Imaam al-Bukhaaree has stated (vol. 9 #5022): It has been relayed to us by Muhammad bin Yoosuf that Maalik bin Mughawwil relayed to us, that Talhah relayed to us that he said, I asked ‘Abdullah bin Abee Awfaa, “Did the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) give an admonishment?” So he said, “No.” So I said, “How did he prescribe the admonishment on the people? He ordered them with it and he did not admonish them?” He said,
“He admonished and advised with the Book of Allah.”
Al-Haafith (i.e. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaanee) stated,
“The intention (behind ‘Abdullah bin Abee Awfa's saying) ‘...admonished and advised with the Book of Allah,’ is memorizing it, following it, acting in accordance with it, abstaining from its prohibitions, constantly reciting it, teaching it, and the likes.”
The Virtues of the Qur’aan and Its People
Abu Umaamah al-Baahilee said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying, “Read and recite the Qur’aan since, on the Day of Resurrection, it will come as an intercessor for the one who memorizes it.”
The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The Qur’aan will come and its people, those (who) worked in accordance with it, will be preceded by Surah al-Baqarah [chapter 2] and Aali ‘Imraan [chapter 3] interceding for those that memorized them.”
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “The one who recites the Qur’aan and is fluent in that he will be amongst the ranks of the noble and pious scribes. The one who recites it stuttering and it is difficult for him will have two rewards.” (Related by the two Shaykh’s i.e. Bukhaaree and Muslim.)
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) also said, “The example of the Mu’min (believer) that recites the Qur’aan is like a citrus fruit. Its fragrance is fine and its taste is delicious. And the example of the Mu’min (believer) that does not recite the Qur’aan is like a date. It does not have a fragrance but it tastes sweet. The example of the Munaafiq (hypocrite) that recites the Qur’aan is like a Rayhaanah (sweet basil). Its fragrance is fine but it tastes sour. The example of the Munaafiq (hypocrite) that does not recite the Qur’aan is like a Hanthalah (Colocynth). It has no fragrance and it tastes sour.” (Related by the two Shaykh’s.)
The Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah will raise a people by this Book and lower others by it.” (Related by Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “It will be said to the one who memorized the Qur’aan, ‘Recite melodiously as you used to recite melodiously in the Dunya (i.e. the life of this world). For surely, your station and level will be at the last verse that you recite.” (Related by Ahmad (2/192), Aboo Daawood, and at-Tirmidhee. It is a Hadeeth Hasan)
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is no envy except in two (cases): A man that Allah has given him the Qur’aan so he practices it day and night, and a man that Allah has given him wealth, so he spends it day and night.” (Related by the two Shaykh’s)
The person that memorizes the Qur’aan must review it well since if s/he doesn’t it will go away from them swiftly and expeditiously.
The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Attend to and maintain the Qur’aan for by the One in Whose Hand my soul is, it will flee faster than an untied camel.”
18 – Do not allow your children to mix with incompetent foolish children as your child will take from both their repugnant statements and actions and what he your child has learned will be destroyed. As the poet said:
The child will memorize what is given to him and he will not
Forget it since his heart is like a pure gem
Engrave whatever information you desire on his heart
Regardless, he will recall it with a firm memory
Therefore, the child is empty and will accept everything.
And as it is said, ‘Engraving in youth is like engraving in stone.’
19 – Do not allow your children to remain outside at dusk since Satan disperses and goes out at that time, and it is possible that they may harm your child.
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the darkness of the night comes or at dusk, bring your children in since the Shaytaan (Satan) disperses at that time. Then after an hour passes of the night then leave them, and close your doors mentioning the name of Allah since the Shaytaan (Satan) can not open a closed door.” (Related by Muslim)
20 – Sometimes, leave your child to play by himself since if he is constantly prevented from play, his intellect may become inactive and he will be stricken with boredom.
If parents desire to raise their children Islamically, then they should strive hard to cultivate their children with an Islamic cultivation by teaching them the Book and the Sunnah. From the ways by which the parent's ranks will be raised in the Hereafter is by their children being righteous and supplicating for the parents. There has come in Saheeh Muslim from the Hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the son of Aadam dies, his actions are cut off except three: A continuous charity, or knowledge that is benefited from, or a righteous child that supplicates for him.”
The Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said, “A righteous servant will be raised in degrees in Paradise and he will say, ‘O my Lord, how can this be?’ So it will be said, ‘By your son seeking forgiveness.” (al-Musnad)
If the parents are righteous and the children are righteous but have not reached the level of the parents, Allah will raise the level of the children to that of their parents. He, the Exalted, has stated, “And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them We shall join with their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.” (Surah Toor (52): 21])
The child may be a blessing for the parents also when he/she obeys them and listens to them. This is what the righteous request their Lord to grant them. As He, the Exalted, has stated, “And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun (i.e. the pious).” (Surah Furqaan (25):74)
21 – Encourage your child to sit amongst the righteous.
Here is the righteous mother, Umm Sulaym; she brought her son, Anas, to the Prophet (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said,
“Anas is your servant, O Messenger of Allah, so supplicate to Allah for him.”
So he said, “O Allah grant him an Abundance of wealth and children and bless him therein.”
It is binding upon the parents to put forth efforts in raising their children. Then they must realise that guidance is in the Hand of Allah, as a person is not able to guide himself not to mention guiding someone else.
Here is Nuh, may salutation be bestowed upon him, a Prophet from the Prophets of Allah, yet he was not able to guide his son. He implored his son to be with them and to leave the disbelievers. As He, the Almighty, has stated: “And Nooh called out to his son, who had separated himself (apart): ‘O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbelievers.” (Surah Hood (11):42)
His son answered: “The son replied: ‘I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water.’ Nooh said: ‘This day there is no savoir from the Decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy.’ And waves came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned.” (Surah Hood (11):43)
Here is Ibraaheem, may salutation be bestowed upon him. He admonished his father to abandon Shirk (Polytheism) as has come in more than one chapter; his father did not submit to the advice of his son. Rather, he said: “He (the father/uncle) said: ‘Do you reject my gods, O Ibraaheem? If you do not stop this, I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely (before I punish you).” (Surah Maryam (19): 46)
Here is our Prophet, Muhammad (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam). He implored his uncle, Aboo Taalib, to embrace Islaam, but he refused; ultimately he died upon Shirk.
There are many examples of this, and this occurred frequently amongst the righteous before us. Shu’bah ibn al-Hajjaaj (may Allah have mercy on him) would say,
“I have a son and I named him Sa’d, but he has not been fortunate (Sa’ada) nor has he been successful.”
He would say to him, “Go to Hishaam ad- Dustawaa’ee (i.e. to learn).”
So he said,
“I want to go watch the pigeons.” (Refer to Meezaan al I’tidaal [2/122])
Here is Ismaa’eel ibn Ibraaheem ibn Muqassim. He was a righteous man and from among his children was Ibraaheem who was a staunch Jahmee and would say that the Qur’aan is created. Therefore, dear parents, guidance is in the Hand of Allah, the Almighty - though it is imperative to carry out the means. If Allah desires good for your child, s/he will submit to the advice. If Allah desires other than that, he will continue upon what he is upon.
And the poet would say,
If the natural disposition is evil,
Then neither good manners, nor refined education will benefit him.
Some children are a trial for their parents. Due to this, Allah, the Exalted, says, “Verily, among your wives and your children are enemies for you (who may stop from you from the obedience of Allah); therefore beware of them!” (Surah Taghaabun (64):14) And the “among” in the verse means 'some'.
And He, the Exalted, says: “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.” (Surah Munafiqoon (63): 9)
They become a trial when they are a reason for the parents deviance and distracting them from the affairs of the religion. Such examples are:
a) A Muslim father’s son becomes ill, so the father rushes to a magician. This is Kufr (disbelief in Allah) as they claim knowledge of the unseen, and none has knowledge of the unseen save Allah.
He, the Exalted, stated, “Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the unseen.” (Surah Aali ‘Imraan (3):179)
And He, the Exalted, stated, “And with him are the keys to the unseen, none knows them but He.” (Surah An’aam (6): 59)
To the end of other similar verses. So based upon this, the father would have committed Kufr (disbelief in Allah) because of his son.
b) Some people have televisions in their homes in order to distract and amuse their child. The television is Haraam (impermissible) due to the many evils that it encompasses. From them: Images (i.e. of human beings and animals), musical instruments, women looking at the men and visa versa, embracing the ideologies of the enemies of Islam, and much more.
In this way, children can become enemies towards their parents and his child will not benefit him on the Day of Resurrection. Rather, he will flee from him. As He, the Exalted, has stated,: “That Day a man shall flee from his brother, and from his mother and father, and from his wife and children. Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.” (Surah ‘Abasa (80):34-37)
Whoever is tested with a disobedient child, then he should supplicate and call upon his Lord. He, the Exalted, stated,
Love and affection is to be within the boundaries of the legislation. Parents must not commit impermissible acts for their children.