The major challenge of a modern Islamic society is to raise children in an appropriate Islamic environment. It is more a distinct dream for Muslim parents in today’s highly undesirable culture. Negative effects of television, internet and other forms of media have spread their tentacles deep and wide into our families. It is rather an uphill task for Muslim parents to shield their children from these vices. Raising and educating children is one of the fundamental duties required of parents. ALLAH SWT has enjoined in the Holy Quran “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from ALLAH SWT, but do that which they are commanded.” [Tahreem 66:6] In the commentary of this verse, Imam Al-Tabari said “and your families against a Fire” connotes to educate your families towards acts of obedience to ALLAH SWT so that they may safeguard themselves from the Fire.
Ibn Al-Jawzi narrates about a very wealthy King who had only one daughter. The girl was pampered to core with luxurious upbringing. A devout worshipper who happened to be the king’s neighbour, whilst reciting Quran one night, raised his voice upon the verse, “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones” [Tahreem 66:6]. Taking notice of this recitation, the girl ordered her servants, to “Stop!” But they could not pause him. The staunch believer continued to repeat the verse, and the girl kept on insisting to bring that to a halt, but the worshiper didn’t. She put her hands to her collar and tore her garment. The servants who witnessed the scene rushed to her father and revealed the matter. The king went to his daughter and said, “My dear, what happened to you tonight? What made you weep?” and he hugged her. She said, “I ask you by ALLAH SWT, O my father, tell me, does ALLAH SWT has created a Fire and the fuel of which is men and stones?” He said, “Yes.” She asked him, “Why did you not enlighten me? By ALLAH SWT I will not eat any good food or sleep on any soft bed until I know whether my abode is in Paradise or Hell.” [Safwat Al-Safwah, 4/437-438]
In another verse ALLAH SWT mentions “And enjoin as-Salaat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salaat (prayers)]” [Ta-Ha 20:132]. This ayah further substantiates the approach towards constitution of family and emphasizing the importance of Salaat. The Messenger PBUH shouldered the mammoth responsibility of fostering children on parents and made it obligatory on them. It was narrated that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of ALLAH SWT PBUH say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock” [extracted from Agreed upon hadith].
It is one of the obligations of parents to up bring their children in best prescribed manner so that they develop love for ALLAH SWT, HIS messenger PBUH and towards the teachings of Islam. It is the responsibility of the parents to advice their children that ALLAH SWT adjudicates every action, the reward for good deeds being Paradise and Hell for misdeeds.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of ALLAH SWT PBUH said: “Hang your whip where the members of the household can see it, for that will discipline them.” [Tabaraani classed hasan by Al-Haythami and Shaikh Al-Albaani]. Parents ought to protect children from immorality and misguidance and ensure they grow up evil free. Such should be the upbringing that the offspring differentiates between Halal and Haram and decide to choose the path of ALLAH. Once this is guaranteed, parents can then expect the children to be righteous; for whoever sows thorns cannot harvest grapes. This model of upbringing should be conceptualized and implemented in the initial stages of upbringing so that it is deeply rooted in their lives.
One should bear in mind that the child should not be reprimanded excessively, because it makes the child immune to condemnation and scolding and increases in him the courage to commit wrong, thereby gradually diminishing the value of admonitions from the heart of the child. Similarly, it’s necessary for the father that when he talks to the child, he maintains his awe and fear [in the heart of the child] and should rarely rebuke him. And the mother should make him fear the father when the child is being stubborn and should strictly stop the child from misdeeds. Undoubtedly man’s real wealth is his children and if they are nurtured with care, love, affection and protected from evil, they will inshALLAH be a source of rewards here and hereafter.