REARING AND TRAINING CHILDREN
An article by Moulana AS Desai
A mother is the most favourably positioned person who can direct and determine the role and character of her children. Speaking about her role of responsibility as the guide and overseer of her children, our RÄSŪLÛLLĀH ﷺ said:
“And, the woman is the Shepherdess of the home of her husband and of his children. All of you will be questioned about their flock”.
Many famous men of Islam attained wilayat (sainthood) at the hands of their mothers. As a result of the sublime maternal efforts expended in the moral and spiritual training of children, they attained the lofty ranks of spiritual elevation.
The Deeni Ta’leem of a Muslim child commences from the day it has entered into this ephemeral world. The Athaan and Iqaamah are proclaimed in the ears of the infant, arousing in its mind the Pledge of Imaan which was taken from it long before it or its parents were created.
While most mothers nowadays believe that their maternal duties are confined to feeding and clothing their children, Islam expects and commands much more – of greater importance than physical care, is the spiritual care of the children. It is her incumbent and sacred duty to direct her full attention towards the Deeni, spiritual and moral training of her children.
The Lôvē which most parents nowadays show their children is no true love. Such love is in fact a fatal poison. A lôvē which leads children to Jahannum is cruelty and injustice of the highest kind. Parents should submit and bend their love in whatever direction the Shariah points.
Children are a wonderful treasure and an amaanat – a sacred trust which dare not be abused. Parents who abuse this amaanat by failing to carry out their parental duties and obligations in the way Islam requires, are among the worst criminals and perpetrators of treachery, for they pave the way for the future ruin of their own offspring.
Some important advice with regard to rearing and training children will be enumerated here.
• Remember well that habits acquired in childhood are enduring. Good or bad traits and attributes acquired by the child will remain with him/her lifelong. It is, therefore, imperative to maintain a diligent eye on the habits which a child picks up and develops in his character.
• Never frighten a child. Some mothers, in order to induce obedience in the child, scare the child by speaking of ghosts, etc. This is exceptionally bad. The child will grow up with a weak heart. Instead of inculcating courage, parents very ignorantly induce cowardice in their children.
• Have fixed times for their eating. Do not spoil their habits and their health with irregular eating habits.
• Let them use a miswaak from an early age. Let them wash their mouths after everything they eat, even after having drunk milk.
• Teach them to wash their hands before and after meals.
• Teach children all the Islamic etiquettes of eating, drinking, sleeping, wearing garments, entering and leaving the toilet, etc.
• When the child is able to talk, teach it first the Name of Âllâhﷻ Even long before it can talk, parents should recite Qur’anic verses, the Names of Allah and the Kalimah to the child. The infant’s mind is receptive and it retains what it sees and hears.
• Parents should not become nude in the presence of even a six-month baby.
• Do not create in the child the love for luxury and adornment. Styles and fashions should be banished. Imbue in them simplicity.
• Now and then clothe children with patched garments even if you are wealthy.
• Until a girl has not attained the age of puberty, do not adorn her with jewellery. The Lôvē for adornment and luxury will be spawned in her from childhood.
• Inculcate generosity in children. Let them give food, etc. with their own hands to the poor.
• Share things among brothers and sisters. Let the eldest of the children arrange the division under your supervision.
• Always speak derisively of over-eating to them.
• Do not succumb to the obstinacy of children. To do so is fatal for their moral and spiritual development.