In our second Islamic Parenting course that took place on Friday the 25th of January 2013 we discussed and learned more about “How to instill the love of Allah in children”
We have first started discussing this question in pairs. Alhamdulillah, most of our moms gave the same response as the counselors on the website and suggested what steps should be taken to prevent this from happening. But, ultimately, everything happens according to the will of Allah swt, and this could be a means of test for those parents. May Allah keep all our children on the straight path always, amin.
So, how to instill the love of Allah? First, as with everything else, by example. The love of Allah is one of the basic requirements of being a Muslim. As parents, we must instil a healthy dose of Love and Fear of Allah in our children. In order to do that, we must first have that dose of Love and Fear in ourselves so children can observe and imitate us.
Allah has made His love obligatory on the believers. To attain the love of Allah, we have to do the things that pleases Him and stay away from things that He forbid for believers in the Qur’an. As the scholars have stated if we don’t strive to achieve His pleasure then most likely we will be following our desires and temptations for temporary life. And Allah said in the Qur’an “That is because they followed that which angered Allah, and hated that which pleased Him. So He made their deeds fruitless” (Surah Muhammad: 28)
Once we say we love Allah, then we have to back the statement up with our actions. What do we have to do to love Allah? Again, Allah gave the answer in the Qur’an “Say, (Oh Muhammad saw to the mankind) If you really love Allah then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah Al-Imran: 31). So, the first thing we have to do in order to instill the love of Allah in our children is to accept Islamic Tawheed with our heart, and follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah in our everyday life with our actions. Children will learn most things by example and imitation.
If we look at child development in age-range, from birth-6 years old, most children absorb what they see and hear. Copying and imitation is their way of learning. So, we have to give them great things to imitate by setting the example ourselves. With children of this age group, we have to emphasize the understanding of Aqeeda, Tawheed, one’s purpose of life and memorize as much Qur’an as possible by active listening.
And to show and prove that we-adults of the household- love Allah, we have to follow the prophet Muhammad saw in our everyday actions as prescribed in the Qur’an. Simple things like always sitting down to drink, saying Bismillah before eating, entering the house with the right foot, entering the bathroom with the left foot, always saying the daily adiyah (duas like when entering/leaving house) will give them initial training as children will be establishing habits during these early days. In other words
They will also find memorizing verses from the Qur’an and other Learn By Heart tasks so easy at this age as their brain does not make extra effort at those. They just absorb what they hear and listen, whatever the language the piece might be. So, it is best to listen to the Qur’an around the household, when travelling in car etc by using every possible technology we have at hand (Alhamdulillah, most of us can use IQur’an apps on our smart phones, Ipads, Tablets, digital Qur’an players, laptop/PC etc. Just make use of anything at hand for the hifdh of Qur’an. Remember, we do not have to do anything else except just getting our children listen to Qur’an by playing it in the background at all times/sometimes)
In addition we have to start explaining the reason behind our actions. For example, “I want to pray on time because this is what makes Allah happy”, “Let us say Ghufranak now because the prophet saw always said this when leaving bathroom. We have to follow the prophet saw if we want to go to Jannah” etc.
From age 7 years onward, we have to start somewhat more formal training of our children. We have to ask them to start praying with us, making wudu, be more strict and regular with their everyday manners through habit-training. For example, everyday eating habits would include- sitting down to eat, eat with the right hand, eat from your own side of plate, wait patiently for the elders take the 1st serving, eat slowly by chewing properly, say alhamdulillah on finishing etc; Everyday dressing habits would include generally start dressing modestly, covering awrah, wearing hijab every now and then for the girls etc;
Boys should start attending masjid at this age and boys and girls should start praying salah at least once a day. Also, most scholars have taken the understanding that age 7 is kind of turning point in child’s training from the hadith of the prophet saw “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.”
As we do not believe in the notion of “Teenagers/Adolescents”, we have to start giving our children responsibilities around the household and start treating them with respect and maturity they deserve. Our aim is to raise morally responsible and integrated individuals who can truly understand that one’s purpose in life is to seek the pleasure of Allah swt for the attainment of Jannah in the HereAfter. Our children have to fully understand that upon hitting puberty they become Young Adults rather thanTeenagers.
We know that Qur’an states ” (Remember!) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions). Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (Qaf: 17-18)
According to statistics, most girls will begin puberty at 8-14 years of age, with the average age being 11. And most boys start reaching puberty at 10-15. In today’s society, in the case of both genders most would have definitely reached puberty by 15 years of age.
So, 8-14 years of age is crucial point in our children’s lives and in our parenting style. We have to do lots of talking and ‘connecting’, doing things together in and out of household, let them explore and understand the world with our guidance. We have to stop treating them like a child, but rather start consulting with their opinions when deciding on important household/financial/other matters.
Today, a lot of girls and boys of that age group want to be ‘independent’ and yet depend on their parents in so many ways. I have seen girls as old as 15-16 years old (from a very respectable Muslim families) who can not even make a cup of tea for themselves. Mother still does all their laundry and ironing not to mention cooking and cleaning for the whole family. All because the girls are studying and have exams. I do not mind them being excused on the day of exams, and few days before to get ready for it. But, asking the mother to do absolutely everything and anything for them is not accepted in my terms. Several occasions I have asked the girls Why? questions and was answered that they do not know how to use the washing machine, the iron, the microwave etc.
On the other hand, Alhamdulillah, I have also come to know families in which girls as young as 12 has been given the task of cooking for the family once a week and boys as young as 8 being responsible for household tidiness on certain days of the week. MashAllah, these ‘teenagers’ have so much more to do than just studying and on such friendly terms with their parents due to participating in full family life.
In conclusion, we should not be scared of giving our children responsibilities between the ages of 8-14. We expect them to conduct themselves like an adult and start feeling accountability for their actions as soon as they reach puberty. In order to achieve this, we have to respect them, treat with maturity and give them tasks and responsibilities regarding all aspects of our family life/their own life.
Anyway, I will finish have to finish off with this video of the sheikh. Food for thought inshaAllah