Friday, 9 December 2011

Islamic Knowledge:


The Key to Raising
Righteous and Successful Children

By Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya

Teaching Islam to our Children:
An Important Islamic Duty

Islam teaches us different ways to
attain success. One best way is to seek Islamic knowledge based
on the Qur'an and the Sunnah. We need to spend time, money, efforts,
emotions and patience to learn authentic knowledge of Islam not
only for our own success but also to be able to share it to others,
especially to our children.

The most important and lasting gift
or inheritance that we can give to our children is knowledge of
Islam. It is a must that we should educate our children with Islamic
knowledge since as parents we are accountable to their success and
failure. The Prophet (saws) makes it very clear that we are accountable
to our respective families/children: Abdullah ibn Umar reported
that he heard the Prophet Muhammad (saws) saying:

"Every one of you is a guardian,
and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian
of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian
of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of
her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant
is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for
it. A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible
for it so all of you are guardians and responsible for your wards
and things under your care)." (Bukhâri 3/592)

Malik bin Huwairth narrated: "I
came to the Prophet (saws) with some men from my tribe and stayed
with him for twenty nights. He was kind and merciful to us. When
he realized our longing for our families, he said to us: "Go
back and stay with your families and teach them the religion. And
offer the prayer and one of you should pronounce the Adhan for the
prayer when its time is due. And the oldest one amongst you should
lead the prayer." (Bukhari 1/601)

The above authentic Ahâdîth clearly
show how the Prophet (saws) commands us Muslims to be responsible
to our respective families. The best way to perform our duty to
our children is to teach them Islam. Allah tells us that our children,
just like our wealth and possessions, are but a trial from Him.
Allah the Most High says:

"And know
that your possessions and your children are but a trial:

and that it is Allah with whom lies your highest reward."

[Qur'an 8:28]

"Your riches
and your children may be but a trial:

whereas Allah, with Him is the highest Reward."

[Qur'an 64:15]

Since our children are but a trial
and that the highest reward is with Allah the Almighty, it is then
our responsibility to guide our children to Islam. It is only through
Islam that they can become righteous and be of service to Allah.
We pass Allah’s trial once our children worship and please
our Creator.

The best thing that we can give to
our children is knowledge of Islam. It is the best education and
the best means to fight ignorance and drive away evil. The Prophet
(saws) says in the following Ahâdîth:

Amr bin Sa’id or Sa’id
bin Al-‘As t narrated that Allah’ Messenger (saws) said,
"A father gives his child nothing better than a good education."
(Tirmidhi 4977 and Baihaqi)

‘Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated
that Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: "A single scholar
of religion is more formidable against Satan than a thousand devout
people." (Tirmidhi 217 and Ibn Majah)

Raising Responsible Children

When we teach Islam to our children,
we raise them to be righteous and responsible Muslims who will subsequently
treat us with kindness and respect. Islam is the only religion that
clearly raises the status of the parents to a high degree and honor.
In fact, Allah in many ayat of the Qur’an has commanded us
to please our parents after pleasing Him. After our firm belief
in Him, our Creator has enjoined us to treat our parents with kindness
and respect:

none but Allah and be dutiful and treat with kindness your parents
and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people;
be steadfast in prayer; and give Zakat..."

[Qur'an 2:83]

"Serve Allah,
and join not any partners with Him; and do good to parents, kinsfolk,
orphans, those in need, neighbors who are of kin, neighbors who
are strangers, the companions by your side, the wayfarer (you meet),
and what your right hands possess: for Allah loves not the arrogant,

[Qur'an 4:36]

"Say: `Come,
I will rehearse what Allah has (really) prohibited you from: join
not anything with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children
on a plea of want, We provide sustenance for you and for them; come
not nigh to indecent deeds, whether open or secret; take not life,
which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus
does He command you, that you may learn wisdom.’"

[Qur'an 6:151]

In line with the above Qur’anic
injunctions is the commonly quoted Hâdîth, which shows how the true
Muslim must be more dutiful to his parents than any other person
in the world:

Abu Hurairah narrated that a man
came to Allah’s Messenger (saws) and said, "O Allah’s
Messenger! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship
by me?" The Prophet (saws) said, "Your mother." The
man said, "Who is next?" The Prophet (saws) said, "Your
mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The
Prophet (saws) said, "Your mother." The man asked (for
the fourth time), "Who is next?" The Prophet (saws) said,
"Your father." (Bukhari 8/ 2 and Muslim 4/ 6180-6183)

Allah the All Knowing and Most Merciful
knows that parents especially mothers bear hardships in rearing
their children. Thus, He commands children to show gratefulness
to their parents. Every man, therefore, is expected to be good to
his parents, especially when they attain their old age where they
need most his care, service and respect:

"Your Rabb
(Cherisher and Sustainer) has decreed that you worship none but
Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them
attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt,
nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness,
lower to them the wing of humility and say: O my Rabb (only God
and Sustainer) (Only God and Cherisher)! Bestow on them (my parents)

Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."

[Qur'an 17:23-24]

And We have enjoined
on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did
his mother bear him and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the
command), "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me
is (your final) Goal." But if they strive to make you join
in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, obey them
not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration),
and follow the way of those who turn to Me. In the End the return
of you all is to Me. And I will tell you all that you did.

[Qur'an 31:14-15]

"We have enjoined
on man kindness to his parents in pain did his mother bear him,
and in pain did she give him birth." [Qur'an 46:15]

Islam teaches us that it is for our
success that we must obey Allah by showing our utmost kindness and
respect to our parents. We must also obey them for as long as they
do not command us something that disobeys Allah. We have to remember
that if we please them, we please Allah. This means, that through
our parents we can attain Allah’s rewards in the eternal world:

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud narrated:

"I asked the Prophet (saws)
which deed is the dearest to Allah? He replied, "To offer salaat
(the prayers) at there early fixed times." I asked, "What
is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and
dutiful to your parents." I again asked, "What is the
next (in goodness)? "He replied, "To participate in jihad
(religious fighting) in Allah’s Cause." (Bukhari 1/505)

Abu Hurairah t narrated that Allah’s
Messenger said:

"Let him be humbled into dust;
let him be humbled into dust." It was said: "Allah’s
Messenger, who is he?" He said: "He who sees either of
his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he
does not enter Paradise." (Muslim 6189)

Abu Darda narrated that when a man
came to him and said, "I have a wife whom my mother commands
me to divorce." He replied to him that he had heard Allah’s
Messenger (saws) say, "A parent is the best of the gates of
Paradise; so if you wish, keep to the gate, or lose it." (Tirmidhi
4928 and Ibn Majah)

We learn further that in Islam for
every Muslim it is a blessing from Allah if he has parents who are
old as it gives him the opportunity to serve them and thus earns
Allah’s pleasure. He will receive success, especially the supreme
success in Paradise if he follows Allah’s commandment to be
dutiful to his parents. This means that if we can raise our children,
teach them knowledge of Islam or give them proper Islamic education,
by way of Home Education or sending them to Islamic schools, we
will be expecting them to take care of us especially during our
old age and at the time when we will be needing them most. They
will to take care of us when we are weak and old as important members
of their families and not to let us just stay in other’s houses
or at any home of the aged. Most of all, they will include us in
their daily prayers, which is the best thing that they can give
us. If we raise them to be righteous and they pray for our salvation
then we attain ultimate success in the Life-Hereafter.

Therefore, we must give importance
to the acquisition of Islamic knowledge and impart the same to our
children so that they will pray for our success. We must know that
Islam teaches us to show goodness to our parents by including them
in our daily prayers that Allah will forgive them and grant them

"O my Rabb!
Make me one who performs prayers and (also) from my offspring, our
Rabb! And accept my invocation. Our Rabb! Forgive me and my parents,
and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established."
[Qur'an 14:40-41)]

"O my Rabb!
Bestow on them (my parents) Your Mercy even as they cherished me
in childhood."

[Qur'an 17:24)]

"My Rabb!
Forgive me and my parents and anyone who enters my home as a believer.

And to the disbelievers, grant no increase but destruction."

[Qur'an 71:28]

When we guide our children to Islam,
they become righteous Muslims whose prayers, to Allah I for our
own benefit, continue to reach us even when we die. The Prophet
(saws) says in the following Hadith:

"A man will be raised some degrees
in Paradise and he will say, ‘For what reason I am receiving
this?’ He will be told, ‘Because of your son asking forgiveness
for you.’" (Bukhari 1613)

Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’
Messenger (saws) said, "When a man dies, accrual of merit in
his favor from good deeds ceases except from three actions: 1. A
charity which continues after his death; 2. Knowledge left behind
from which men continue to benefit, and 3. Righteous offspring who
pray for him." (Muslim 4005)

Knowing the importance of Islamic
knowledge, it is imperative that we encourage our children to spend
time acquiring it. We must remember that one of the characteristics
of a believer is love for the search of knowledge.

The following Hâdîth should inspire
us and our children to continuously seek for Islamic knowledge:

Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated: Allah’s
Messenger (saws)said, "A believer is never satiated with gainful
knowledge; he goes acquiring it till his death and entry into Paradise."
(Tirmidhi 222)

We must also guide our children to
be prompt in doing good deeds, which will increase our faith and
subsequently enable us to gain Allah’s pleasure and mercy.
We have to remember that on the Day of Judgment we shall be asked
how we spent hour lives, wealth and knowledge. In other words, we
will be questioned on how we spent everything that Allah has given
us as implied in the following Hadith:

Abdullah Bin Mas`ud narrated that
Allah’s Messenger said,

"A man shall be asked concerning
five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how
he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his
wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and
what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had." (Tirmidhi

Abu Barzah Nadlah ibn Ubayd al-Aslami
narrated that the Prophet (saws) said: "A servant of Allah
will remain standing on the Day of Judgment till he is questioned:
about his age and how he spent it; and about his knowledge and how
he utilized it; about his wealth from where he acquired it and in
what (activities) he spent it; and about his body as to how he used
it." (Tirmidhi 407)

With Islamic knowledge that we acquire
and subsequently share to our children, Insha Allah, we will be
able to answer whatever questions on the Day of Judgment. We and
our righteous children will pass the real tests on the Day of Reckoning.
This is because Islam teaches us to believe and to do deeds of righteousness
and Allah the Almighty promises us everlasting life in Paradise.
Our Only Rabb says:

"But those
who believe and do deeds of righteousness We shall soon admit them
to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, to dwell therein forever.
Allah’s promise is the truth, and whose word can be truer than

[Qur'an 4:122]

Conclusion and Recommendations

Knowledge of Islam tells us that
by guiding our children to Islam, we do not only respond to the
duty that Allah and His Messenger (saws) enjoin upon us i.e., to
be accountable to our children; but also, we expect subsequent rewards
for raising righteous children. If we want our children to be righteous
and be successful Muslims, we must learn and teach our children
authentic knowledge of Islam, which is one that is based on the
Qur’an and the Sunnah (and/or the authentic Hâdîth of the Prophet

For those of us who can not teach
our respective children for some reasons, who find no time or incapable
to teach our own children, it is a must that we send them to standard
quality Islamic schools where boys are separated from girls. If
such schools are not available in our area, then we can opt for
Islamic distance schooling or Home Education. This alternative to
formal schooling is less expensive. It even gives parents and children
to be closer (i.e., binds the bond of relationship with mutual love,
respect and understanding) as the parents are expected to give more
time to supervise or at least guide their children’s study.

Children learn more from their
parents as they are spending their full time at home. They avoid
mixing with the opposite sex. They also avoid the company of friends,
classmates and schoolmates who may have bad influences on them.
In this manner, they avoid the recurring problems prevalent among
the youths such as school delinquency, drug addiction, smoking,
drinking liquor, gambling, illicit sex and other social problems.

Another alternative is for us parents
to hire competent Muslims teachers who can teach our children Islam
during weekends. To minimize cost, we can organize weekend Islamic
schools within our community by making use of the existing public
schools. All we need is to make a request to the school administrator
for the use of some rooms of the school buildings. If this is not
possible then, we can make use of the existing mosques in the area.

Aside from the formal (English and
Madrasah) and/or weekend Islamic schools, we can encourage our children
to seek knowledge of Islam by any of the following means:

1) attendance to Islamic lectures,
forums and seminars,

2) reading books and other reading
materials on Islam,

3) listening to radio and television
programs on Islam,

4) buying books, booklets, magazines
and other reading materials on Islam,

5) purchasing other learning media
(e.g., CDs, Videos and cassette tapes) on Islam, and/or

6) giving them proper access to the
Islamic reading materials available in the Internet (i.e., Islamic
websites). All these various opportunities to acquiring knowledge
of Islam are blessing from Allah, Who bestows knowledge to whom
He guides to Islam.

Indeed, Allah is Most Gracious, Most
Merciful, He has opened for us various ways and means to learn Islam.

It is for us Muslims to learn authentic
knowledge of Islam so that we please Allah the Almighty. It is only
by knowing Islam that we know our Creator and how we can worship
Him to the best we can and therefore attain His rewards and be successful
in the eternal world to come. Islam teaches us to be accountable
to our respective children. The best way is for us to share our
authentic knowledge of Islam with them. Let us remember that their
success means our ultimate success too.

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