Alhamdulillah, we have launched a much needed project on Islamic Parenting at Raising Explorers. From the start, it has been our aim to work closely with parents. My experiences of teaching has convinced me long ago that educating children would be much more effective if parents understood some basic principles about training a child and how to engage them in learning.
Our first Islamic Parenting Course took place on 21 December 2012. It was titled “Meeting the challenges of parenting in the West, an Islamic Perspective”. Much of what was delivered through an interactive presentation was taken from the book which has the same title.
Parenting, in general terms, refers to caring for a child, helping him/her to be spiritually and mentally healthy at different stages of child development and help him/her reach their full potential as an individual in life. From an Islamic perspective, however, the first notion of parenting that sets the difference is that WE DO NOT OWN OUR CHILDREN. Our children are entrusted to us by Allah swt and we will be responsible for their well-being until they reach maturity.
Allah swt said in the Qur’an “Verily we shall give life to dead and We record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken into clear account” (Yasin 36:12). Most commentators derive from the phrase “what they leave behind” is one’s offspring/how they are brought up and other continuous charity. They cite the following 2 hadiths in the tafsir. First, the Prophet stated the two ways of pioneering which will continue to influence and affect others separately: “Whoever pioneers a good practice is given thawab both for that work and for people who will take it as an example for themselves till the end of time. And whoever pioneers an evil practice is given the sin of both for that work and for people who will take it as an example for themselves till the end of time.” Second, “After one dies, his book of deeds is closed. Yet, rewards for these three things continues: freeing a slave, a useful knowledge that is permanent and a good son/daughter who prays for the good of the dead person.” (Muslim). So, based on these and several other hadith, Children are our sadaqah jaariya- continuous charity. They are the blessing from Allah swt and could be the means for us entering Jannah if we nurture their soul in the right way.
Children have been created by Allah swt with an individual soul and pure fitrah (nature) to worship Allah alone. First and foremost, parents have to help them understand the purpose of one’s life through the worship of their Creator.
Children have 3 rights over their parents. In other words, Islamically all parents are responsible for providing the following three for their children: good name upon birth, good tarbiyyah and get married when they become man/woman of age (Muslim). Very often we give our children good names and majority of Muslim parents do help their children to get married. But we often struggle what comes between these two: giving them the right tarbiyyah.
In the first Islamic Parenting Course, we covered some basic principles for tarbiyyah including
- Understanding a child
- Family atmosphere
- Linking child to Allah swt, incalculating the concept of ’La ilaha Illallah’
- Instilling the love of the Prophet saw
- Favoritism is not allowed in Islam
- Setting age-approporiate tasks
- Showing love and compassion
- Disciplining without disrespecting
Unfortunately I can not stop in detail about each point here but each is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Those who have attended the course had the privilege of finding out that precious information, discussing each point in detail and enjoyed the company of sisterhood and motherhood (hint-hint, try to come to the next session). Alhamdulillah, we had really good feedback from all mothers who have attended.
I will soon be typing up the contents of our 2nd Islamic Parenting Circle inshaAllah but off to a class now.