Helping Our Children to Become Good Muslims, Students and Citizens

Helping Our Children to Become Good Muslims, Students and Citizens

Parents have a great responsibility regarding helping their children become good Muslims, good students and good citizens. Allah tells us to make this Du’a’.

ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذرياتنا قرة أعين واخعلنا للمتقين إماما
Our Lord! Grant us wives and offspring that will be a comfort to our eyes and make us leaders of the pious and righteous.

All children are born innocent, and if they are raised well, they will In Sha’ Allah become righteous and pious. But if, Allah forbid, they are raised in a bad environment, then their future will be dim.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said:
كل مولود يولد على الفطرة فأبواه يهودانه وينصرانه ويمجسانه
Every new-born baby is born upon the Fitrah, but his parents make him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian.

إذا مات الإنسان انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاثة: علم ينتفع به ، و صدقة جارية ، وولد صالح يدعو له
When a person dies, all his good deeds are stopped, except for three: knowledge that he benefited others with, continuous charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), and a righteous son or daughter who prays for him.

There are several ways in which we can help guide our children to become good Muslims, good students and good citizens.

Any parent who professes Islam is required to practice the Islamic Akhlaq or ethics and morals in his or her life. If they do not, then they are not setting the correct example for their children. This will lead to an adverse and detrimental effect on the character of the children. Let us not follow the ways of the Jews, to whom Allah says:
أتأمرون الناس بالبر وتنسون أنفسكم؟؟
Do you dare to command the people to do good, while you forget yourselves?

The parents must also understand that any conflict and tension in the life of the husband and wife will directly reflect on the development, psychology, and education of the children. Furthermore, the children may inherit those problems and be misled as a result. Therefore, it is the first and foremost responsibility of the parents to create a harmonious and peaceful Islamic marriage in which both husband and wife willingly and enthusiastically fulfil the duties and obligations laid upon them by Allah (s.w.t.).
هن لباس لكم وأنتم لباس لهن
They (your wives) are like a garment for you, and you are like a garment for them.

In this city, only about 5% of parents send their children to the local Madrasah, in which the child is exposed to only a few hours a week of Islamic learning. We must understand that the concept of the Madrasah is not confined to the four walls of the Madrasah building, or to a few hours per week.

A child’s Madrasah extends far beyond the Madrasah building itself and the few hours spent there each week. The things that the child learns in the Madrasah will be beneficial and fruitful only if the parents take an active interest in what the child has learnt that day. The parents should help him with his lessons and encourage him further.

In order for the child’s knowledge to develop further and benefit him for the rest of his life, the parents must equip themselves with the knowledge of effective educational techniques. The more educated parents can easily monitor and evaluate their children’s progress and their activities.

Most Muslims in Australia are likely to be bilingual, speaking English as well as their native language, usually Arabic, Turkish or Urdu. Being bilingual is a definite asset here in multi-cultural Australia.

According to the 1995 census, 90% of Muslim parents are bilingual, their first language being the language of their homeland. On the other hand, most of the Muslim youth have declared English as their first language.

This means that their own languages, whether they are Arabic, Turkish, Urdu or anything else, are becoming dying languages.

It is very important not to deter our children from learning our languages, especially Arabic, the language of the Qur’an.

Therefore, it is vital to keep our languages active and alive by using them in our homes.

The home environment and the moral support of family members are very important in these anti-religious surroundings.

Parents’ cultural backgrounds, peer pressure, media, school environment and society in general often provide a confusing and conflicting picture of the role expectations of students.

It is therefore the parents’ need to provide a higher level of sympathy, understanding and tolerance.

We must ask ourselves: Do we bear in mind our child’s individual strengths and weaknesses, or do we compare him with others? Are we aware of the special needs of adolescents? Have we taught them what they need to know regarding the Islamic rulings on the various aspects of life that they are now beginning to experience, such as Ghusl, Janabah and Hayd?

We must realise that the self-esteem of the child is the corner stone upon which to begin the development of the child’s Islamic character and identity. Excessive criticism is counterproductive and leads to the child becoming so afraid and unsure of himself that he might lose the enthusiasm to learn. A child needs to be praised every now and then. Remember the Prophet’s words (s.a.w.):

من لم يرحم صغيرنا … فليس منا
Whoever is not merciful to our children … is not from among us.

In Christian theology, the idea of “Original Sin” ensures that every child is born condemned for the unworthy behaviour of Adam and Hawwa’. Only after the child has been baptised can the guilt be absolved. This Christian theology asserts that the child is inherently evil from the moment of its birth.

This perverted notion has resulted in shocking statistics of child abuse in modern times.

• 1 in every 1000 children in England dies at the hands of its parents, and half a million suffer regularly from physical abuse.
• In the USA, 5 million children have been severely affected by child abuse, and 1 million by sexual abuse. The rate of child neglect is very high also.

This is not to say that child exploitation and abuse is exclusively confined to Western society. Traditional societies also have a great deal to account for. But while in many traditional societies the children are usually victims of ignorance or absurd dogma, in the West they are the victims of meaninglessness, unlimited individualism, and countless other modern-day invented ideas.

Every child is born on the Fitrah, the pure and innocent human nature that Allah created him with. But it is his upbringing and environment that shape his character and impose error and corruption onto his framework of thinking. This concept is of fundamental importance in establishing any Islamic theory or policy regarding a child’s pedagogical and cognitive development. While nature indeed plays its role, nurture has its own role to play as well.

The responsibility, therefore, is upon the parents, and the Muslim community altogether, to protect the child and to nourish his natural and nurtural potentials that are contained within his Fitrah.

Our children should be a joy and comfort to our eyes, as Allah says in the Qur’an:
ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذرياتنا قرة أعين واخعلنا للمتقين إماما
Our Lord! Grant us wives and offspring that will be a comfort to our eyes and make us leaders of the pious and righteous.

And let us remember the words of the Prophet (s.a.w.):
إذا مات الإنسان انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاثة: علم ينتفع به ، و صدقة جارية ، وولد صالح يدعو له
When a person dies, all his good deeds are stopped, except for three: knowledge that he benefited others with, continuous charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), and a righteous son or daughter who prays for him.

He also said (s.a.w.) that if a daughter is born to a man and he raises her, educates her, and teaches her the knowledge that she needs to know, he himself (s.a.w.) will intercede for that man on the Day of Resurrection.