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Loving our children

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Our children are a precious gift from Allah. But like
everything else we possess, they do not belong to us in the absolute sense. They have been
loaned to us.

We, as Khalífatulláh, Ambassadors of Allah, are merely trustees of what we have. And
therefore, we are answerable as to how we bring up our children, just as we must account for
everything else that is loaned or entrusted to us.

So often, a pregnant woman and her husband become very pious and God-fearing, especially
in the last few weeks before their child is born. They are anxious and fearful that she may not
survive the stress of childbirth, or the child may die, or be born handicapped and abnormal.
So they turn to Allah and they are very submissive to Him. When the child is born normal and
healthy, they are so overjoyed that sometimes they even forget to thank Allah properly.

God said; “It is Allah who created you from a single person and made his mate of like
nature in order that he might dwell with her, in love. When they are united she bears a
light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy they both pray to
Allah their Lord (saying); if you will give us a goodly child, we promise we shall
(forever) be grateful.
But when Allah gives them a goodly child, they ascribed to others a share in the gift
they have received; but Allah is exalted, high above the partners they ascribed to Him”.
Sura Al-A’raf 7; 189-190.

Our children are a special gift from Allah…but this special gift comes with a special
responsibility… to offer them constant care and guidance. Little children are great imitators.
Just watch any child, how they imitate their parents.

Allah has programmed them to learn from us. We are their role models. We must be ever
mindful of the personal example we set for our children. It is this example that they emulate
and which will form the basis of their own adult life in years to come.

Our Nabi Muhammad SAWS made it clear that there must be no difference between our
words and our actions. On a certain occasion he told a group of his Sahába:

“Learn what you will; but Allah will not reward you until you do it.” He regarded
education as being essentially the learning and living of Islamic values, the adab of
Islam. He said: “My Lord educated me and made my education most excellent.”

What we teach our children at home we must believe in and do ourselves. We cannot tell our
children to be honest and trustworthy while we tell lies, behave dishonorably we cannot insist
that our children perform their salaah regularly while we are seldom home to lead them in the
salaah.

We cannot teach them the meaning of peace and human dignity, while we allow them to
watch movies that degrade and deprave human beings in the name of entertainment. We
cannot have two sets of values: one that is pure and good for our children and another that
we think, is good enough for us. Such values our children will not accept, and rightly so.

They are our children; they love us and want to be like us. And is that asking too much? So,
let us not fool ourselves into believing that we can produce good Muslim children while we
ourselves remain less than good Muslim parents. We must realize that, good, Islamic values
do not flow from our mouths but from our deeds.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Prophet Luqman many thousands of years ago was
urging his son towards justice, patience, firmness, humility and moderation. When we urge
our children towards these same values, we can see just how timeless and universal is the
message of Islam. It is just as relevant today to our situation, as is ever was.

In our homes, our children need a disciplined framework, with a set of house rules that is fair
and consistent. Sometimes we punish our children for watching TV during Maghrib while on
another day; it may all right to do so.

This inconsistency makes the child unsure of himself and creates confusion. Once we have
set down home rules, they should be strictly observed by everyone: mother, father and
children.

Such limits may be set for performing salaah; how we speak to each other; at what time we
read Qur’an; sharing what we have; doing home chores; going to bed at night; and so on.

Occasionally we can deviate from these rules, but then it will become the exceptions.
Remember, our home is our community in miniature form. The limits we set ourselves in our
homes are the laws which we are expected to obey in the community. We are busy building a
bridge for our children to their community.

Let us now make a little du’á, a prayer, and ask Allah SWT to accept it from us as the parents
and teachers of our children:
O Allah, the Wise, the Bestower of Wisdom.

Help us to remember that we care for the most precious of all your creation, the Innocent
Children. Help us always to remember that we are leaving our marks on them, which Time will
never erase. Give us patience with those who are slow to learn, and tolerance with those who
don’t want to learn.

When we have to discipline our children, help us to do so with firmness, and yet, with Love...
Help us to let the children not only store things in their memories, but create things with their
minds. And, help us to remember that the future of our community and our ‘Ummah is with
our children.

Help us all, to follow in the footsteps of the best of parents, and the best of teachers, the best
of examples for all humanity, Prophet Muhammad sallall láhu ‘alayhi wa sal lam. O Allah,
Help us, and help all our children!