Before I start writing, I am not claiming that I am an expert on parenting or on Islam. When it comes to parenting, there really isn’t a “manual” to help us figure things out.
Hopefully, this can be beneficial for all of us, including myself.
As Muslims, we definitely want our kids to grow up in the best environment with the hope that they will become good Muslims. Everyone wants that. But how do we actually do it?
#1 Continuously increase your knowledge on Islam
My father always reminds us that knowledge is the essence of Islam because it helps us navigate this confusing world and helps us in the Hereafter. It’s a continuous responsibility not just for yourself but for our children as well.
The Prophet SAW is reported to have said: “Take care! Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock; a leader is a shepherd of his people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd of the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd of the house of her husband and over their children, and she shall be asked concerning them.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
#2 Be a good role model
Children learn very quickly from their surroundings. Their minds are like sponges, they observe and absorb everything surrounding them. If you utter good things, then they will follow. If you say bad words, then they will also pick it up.
It’s tough being a parent as our every move is being observed by our children. We always need to be reminded that if we really want to educate our children to become good Muslims, then we will need to be a good role model to them.
If we want them to pray five times a day, then we too need to take care of our solat and pray on time, especially when we go out.
If we miss our prayers when we go to the mall for example, then that would make it seem as though we do not consider our prayer as the foundation of Islam.
#3 Invite them to pray with you, at home or at the mosque
Sometimes, as parents, we think that our children may be too young to solat.
I remember joining for solat jemaah (congregational prayers) with my family at three years old. At that time, I didn’t have proper prayer clothes but my father invited me to join anyway.
Getting our children used to prayer at a young age even before they reach puberty is a great way for them to familiarize with the movement. If you only teach them to pray once they reach puberty, they might not want to do it because the idea of praying seems foreign to them.
One more thing! Children will feel accomplished and happy that they are a part of something bigger.
#4 Provide them good Islamic education
If you are unable to educate your children Islamically, then it is your responsibility to send them to one. They need to learn Islam alongside with other subjects. Think of this as a good investment not just for them, but for you as well. A good Muslim son or daughter who makes doa for you will help you in the Hereafter, insyaAllah.
#5 Invite them in religious gatherings and affairs
When I was growing up, I remember that my father would always take the whole family to gatherings that were beneficial. This of course, included religious gatherings or talks.
Did I understand what was going on at the age of 4? Probably not. Did I get cranky at times? Most likely. Your children may go through the same experience and that’s okay.
The idea here is to get the children exposed to a good and healthy environment since young. They may not understand exactly what the talk is about because they are young but they will understand later on in their lives, that you emphasize the importance of Muslim gatherings.
#7 Be a good listener and confidant
We often want our kids to be problem-free but let’s be realistic: children and teens definitely have their own issues, worries and challenges. According to Sound Vission’s columnist Sahar el-Shafie, it’s important for parents to be like a friends to their children. Instead of expecting them to be perfect and have no flaws, we need to accept that humans always have inner challengers because of the nafs.
Open up your doors and talk to them, ask them how they are, what’s bothering them. Help them solve their problems based on Islamic principles (read the full article here). They need to be able to talk to one you.
Think about it, t’s much better for them to confide in you than their friends alone.
#8 Praise them when they do good
You should always encourage them to do good and to become better individuals. Try not comparing them with their siblings, friends or cousins. Children will normally feel discouraged and down when parents compare them.
#9 Have fun with them
Just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean that you need to be serious all day long.
There are times when you need be to be strict and stern but there are times when you need to have fun and be fun with your kids.
#10 Create a special space for your children
According to Mufti Menk, parents should create a special corner or area for their children so that they have their own “place”. It not only gives them a sense of pride but it will also make them feel special in their own home. Hopefully, they won’t feel like they only belong in the shopping malls (read Mufti Menk’s full article here).
#11 Instill their love in Allah SWT
According to the Productive Muslim, if your children asks you for something, you can also ask them to pray to Allah SWT first and seek His help to give them whatever they need. That way, they will know that Allah SWT is the One who determines everything and that we should always seek His help (full article can be read here).
#12 Remind them that all actions will be recorded
While I was growing up, there would be times when I would try to trick my parents so that I would not get into trouble. But of course, my mother always knew when I wasn’t telling the truth and she would always say, “The angels will record all your deeds”.
And that would make me burst into tears.
Similarly, we should all try to instill the love of Allah SWT in the hearts of our children and remind them that He sees everything we do and what’s in our hearts. That will also remind them that they cannot hide anything from Him, even though they may be able to hide it from us parents.
#13 Make doa to Allah
Raising good children is not easy. We always want the best for them and so we will try our best to provide for them. Don’t forget to seek Allah SWT’s help in providing righteous children and so that He guides us to the right path and protects us from any harm.
Ayeina provides a good compilation of doa list for righteous children. Click here to download the free doa list.
Let’s all strive to become better people, better parents.