Upbringing and Education of Children

22nd June 2008


O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) (S 66,v6)

Hazrat Ali (ra) used to state when translating the above Ayat. ‘To safeguard your family from the fire means to make them cautious and aware of their Faith, to teach them respect or give them a good education.’ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

In this day and age many people do not give any attention towards the upbringing and education of their children. Rather they are preoccupied in their own works whilst their children roam the streets. Verily, there is the concern for the food and clothing of the child; however, the internal aspect of the child (character, morals etc) is not given priority.

In this group of neglectful people, there are also those people who do not have the understanding even of what to teach their children and what to teach them and how to educate them in regards to the religion of Islam.
There is another group of people who themselves perform salat and have some understanding of respectful conduct and character. In saying that, they spend so much time in business and trade that they have no spare time for their children. To earn a living is for their family and children in particular. However, if in earning more money the children are spoilt and go to wrong avenues…what is the point in earning so much more money?

Amar bin Saiy (ra) relates a hadith that RasulAllah (saw) said: ‘No father has given a better gift to his child than respect and a good education.’ (Mishkaat al Masabih)

The word of respect has a very broad meaning; within this ‘the rights of Allah’ and ‘the rights of creation’ are included. For example: if a person has the correct understanding of the laws ordained by Allah (swt) and performs the duties ordained by Allah (swt). These are the rights of Allah (swt), which keep the correct connection between the creation and their Creator.

Jabir bin Samarah (ra) relates a hadith that RasulAllah (saw) said: ‘If a person teaches his children respect and gives them a good upbringing, then this is better then giving sadaqah’ (Jami Tirmidi)

Here RasulAllah (saw) has highlighted a very important point in the above hadith. This is that there are many people who care for the poor and give alms etc…but are not attentive towards the upbringing of their children. Verily the giving of sadaqah is a great form of worship, even so, to teach our children, respect and good character in the way of Islam, is an even greater form of worship.

It is incumbent on the parents that they educate their children with religious knowledge above all else, for it is this knowledge that will ultimately cause benefit in this world and the next. Many people have a great deal of love for their children. However, this love and concern extends only to the needs of this finite world and its comforts. The true need of the child being the success in the hereafter and a death on Iman is often neglected.
For the pleasure of their children they spend money in the wrong avenues and on impermissible items, with no effort to instill in them the understanding of Islam. This is indeed a great enmity towards the child; if there is no religion it will lead to nothing but destruction in the hereafter.

The most worthy parents are those who teach their child about Islam and encourage them towards doing righteous deeds. This is of benefit to the child and also the child in this life, the grave and the hereafter.

Hazrat Buraida Al-Aslami (ra) relates that RasulAllah (saw) stated: ‘that person who reads the Quran, and learns its injunctions through it, and then acts upon it. On the day of Judgement he will given a crown to wear made of light. The light of which will be like that of the Sun, his parents will be given a pair of clothes to wear that the entire World cannot compare to them. They will say: ‘for what reason were we given these clothes to wear?’
It will be said: ‘For the reward of your child reciting the Quran.’ (Mustadrak Al Hakim)

Remember, the child’s first madarassah is the lap of their mother and the character of the parents reflects on to the child. At this tender age it is the nature of the child that it is ready to accept and adopt any form of character that is displayed before them. Their condition is like that of a white piece of clothing, that whatever colour you wish you dye it, you can. Therefore, at this time it is fundamental that the parents discharge their very first obligation of giving the child a wholesome Islamic upbringing. As explained in the hadith where a basket of dates where given as sadaqah to the family of RasulAllah (saw) from which the young Hasan (ra) took a date and put it in his mouth. RasulAllah (saw) forcefully removed the date from his mouth and explained to the young child that it is not permissible for the family of the Prophet (saw) to eat of Sadaqah. This is the manner in which he (saw) brought up his grandchildren in the most perfect of ways.

May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to bring our children up in accordance to the way shown by RasulAllah (saw) and start the training of our children from the very first day, rather than waiting until later on in their youth when it is inevitably too late, May Allah (swt) grant us understanding of his deen and make us act upon it to the best of our abilities Ameen.

Mufti Yusuf Danka