Raising Pious Children – A Sadaqah Jariyah (continuous charity)
In Islam, the approach to parenting is very important. Our religion teaches parents to try their best to raise their children as Muslims who understand and practise their faith well. The reward for raising a pious child is something that continues even after the parent passes away. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:
“When a man dies, his action discontinues from him except three things, namely, perpetual sadaqah (charity), or the knowledge by which benefit is acquired, or a pious child who prays for him.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
We believe that parents should keep in mind that their ultimate intention should be to please Allah (SWT). Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:
“No child is born except on al-fitra (Islam or primordial human nature) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated?” (Sahih Muslim)
Therefore, we should understand that telling a child off for something they have done wrong without properly explaining to them why it was wrong will not be effective in the short-term or the long-term.
Children learn from their surroundings, so they often imitate what they see other people doing. Our religion teaches that parents should discipline their children effectively but also remember that children are born innocent and they learn a lot from their environment.
Children, especially when they are very young, have only just begun to learn the difference between right and wrong. We should remember that it is the parent’s duty to teach their children this difference.
We often do not realise that from a very young age, the behaviour a child learns is directly influenced by what they are surrounded by. We read in a hadith that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them; a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them; a slave is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” (Sahih al Bukhari)
We believe that we should be kind and merciful to others, particularly in the case of raising children.
As well as being kind and merciful towards our children, we are also taught to discipline them correctly. Establishing rules gives children the opportunity to learn what is right and what is wrong. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Verily Allah the Almighty has laid down fara’id (religious obligations), so do not neglect them. He has set boundaries, so do not overstep them. He has prohibited some things, so do not violate them; about some things He was silent, out of compassion for you, not forgetfulness, so seek not after them.” (An-Nawawi)