By Shaykh Saleem Bhimji,
Courtesy of Ahlulbayt TV
Lesson 3: Teach your Children the Essence of Faith!
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, has said, “Acquaint your children with religious teachings (of Islam) before the disbelievers get to them.”
When you learn and review your faith and how you worship, especially its rituals and traditions, then review with your spouse what is of particular importance to you. Remember that your younger children will not understand many theological concepts of your faith, but they will develop their faith through words and actions and conversations with you and your spouse.
It is of vital importance that we instill Islamic teachings into our children as soon as possible – even before they come into this world when the mother is pregnant; however the “first” madressa lesson of our children should come when they arrive into this world and the proud parent recites the Adhan and Iqamah in the child’s right and left ears respectively.
Sadly however, from this day forward, the teachings of the faith are left to the “community leaders”, the Madressa or others, as the parents are either too busy or do not have the prerequisite knowledge to teach even the fundamental basics to their children – and this is something which needs to stop.
Granted that parents may not be religious authorities of the faith, however they need to know enough to teach their children and to get them on the path of learning and wanting to delve deeper into Islamic knowledge.
For many, this will not be done through books or magazines, but just “living Islam” on a daily basis; for example, ensuring that the children are made aware of prayer times either through an Adhan alarm clock, computer software or the father/mother giving the Adhan; making sure that the children perform wudhu or at least go through the motions and are then encouraged to stand and make the salat in Jamaat AT HOME on a regular basis; helping the children learn the recitation of the Qur’an and different supplications; taking the children to Umrah, Ziyarat, etc… to further acquaint them with the religion – these are all simple ways that the family can grow together in Islam – and remember that, “The family that prays together, stays together.”
We close with a stern warning from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family, in a statement which he made which should make all fathers and mothers think very carefully about their role as parents and guardians of children.
The Prophet, peace be upon him and his family once looked towards some young children and said, “Woe be upon the children of the latter days from that which their fathers will do (to them).” It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! From their fathers who are polytheists? He replied, ‘No! From their fathers who are believers however they do not teach them anything from the (religious) obligations and whatever they teach their children from the (transient) world, they only teach them that amount which will allow them to “get by” with ease. Indeed, I am not from them, nor are they from me.”
This powerful statement of the Prophet of Mercy is important for numerous reasons as he focuses on both aspects of life – this transient world and also the spiritual teachings. He shows us in this short saying that it is not enough for the father (and mother) to only focus on “spiritual teachings” – although these are extremely important and all parents must ensure that they impart the religion and its comprehensive nature to the next generation, but also that the Prophet was looking at fathers who did not even give their children knowledge of the world which we live in!
We know that our societies are extremely complex and day after day, governments enact laws and change parts of the system to such an extent that it is sometimes impossible to keep up – them knowing fully well that the masses do not have enough time to constantly review these, and will be easy prey for bureaucracy, however those things which we can do to help our children in this world and to give them that head start are things which we need to take into consideration to teach them.
There are many life skills which are not taught in the public school system; there are even many more things which need to impart to our children but are not done in a Madressa system – so where can our children go to find such gleams of wisdom? Do we expect them to Google everything for an answer!?
Most likely they will go to their friends – some of which may not have the correct moral system and may teach them things but not necessarily thing which we would like for them to engage in – and this can result in the spiritual destruction of their souls.
Thus, we need to ensure that we do our best to teach our children about the world we are living in and how to maneuver around the system and its intentionally designed pitfalls and caveats.
At the appropriate times, we should teach our children the basics of the economic policy, banking specifics so that we can gear them to understand such things which they will require when they are on their own; we should talk to them about the taxation laws, etc… and in summary, all of the things which we have used in our lives and continue to require on a daily basis, so that they are never caught in the quagmire or trying to swim through the legal jargon of life.
Granted that things change from our generation to the next generation and what may hold true today may not be the same for our children, however we can do our best to equip them with the prerequisites to be able to enter into the spiritual and temporal worlds with both feet firmly placed in the footsteps of the Qur’an, the Prophetic traditions as expounded upon by the noble Ahlul Bayt, peace be upon all of them.
May Allah help us all in this journey of life.