by Anila A
What is an orphan? A child with no father, a child with no mother, or both?
An especially informative talk given by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed at the AlKauthar Institute* on parenting matters gives very interesting food for thought.
In this section I look at extracts from the talk and we will talk about the obligations parent(s) have on their children. What part they play in a child’s life and upbringing. There are many texts in the Quran that relates to family and the protection of oneself and their families from the hellfire. In surat al-Nisa, chapter 4, it talks about not breaking family ties, and the importance of not leaving behind weak offspring. In Surat al-Baqarah, chapter 2, in the Quran it specifies to ask Allah for pious offspring. So we should all strive to pray for this in our duas for Allah is the all listener, the most giving and generous.
With regards to the Sunnah, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh has given advice on the upbringing of children for all parents. Following the Prophet’s advice known as the tarbiyah al-nabawiyyah is the best of all guidance given by the Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
To have a main goal of giving your children the right tarbiyyah(guidance) is a form of sadaqa jariya. Righteous children are the ones that will pray for you after you have died. One should therefore pray for righteous offspring. Having children are glad tidings, a comfort to one’s eyes, a means of affection and mercy and a source of pride and adornment in life. Children are a gift from Allah and we should cherish, nourish and look after them carefully. ‘Be good to your children and perfect their characters’ (Ibn Majah).
Parents aspire for their children to be better than them and ‘to have what I couldn’t have’. This can be shown by buying them anything they ask for, taking them for tuition, to after-school clubs, to friend’s parties and basically the parents living their lives around their children’s and devoting everything to them. The Quran mentions the infinite mercy of parents towards their children, so what of the mercy of Allah towards us? We should in turn also remember to pray for our parents and elders.
Ultimately caring for and nurturing your child is a religious obligation and because they are beloved to Allah and a gift from Allah, it brings you closer to him. Some positive aspects of nurturing your children correctly and with love are mentioned here. Righteous children give happiness to parents and peace of mind; this is not dependent on money and can be taught with little money also. In the Quran children are mentioned abundantly and as the comfort of our eyes. The best of earnings for a man/woman is a righteous child.
Our children should be treated with equality between their siblings regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. I found this very interesting: A man came to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh to ask him to witness a gift to his son. Prophet Muhammad pbuh asked do you have other children? The man replied, Yes. Prophet Muhammad pbuh then asked:”Did you give them all the same?” The man said: “No”. Our Prophet Muhammad pbuh told the man to go away saying: “Ask someone else to witness because I cannot be a witness to injustice”. Subhanallah.
Similarly, Al Numan ibn Bashir narrated that the Prophet of Allah has said: “Fear Allah and be fair to your children” (Al Bukhari/Muslim).
I’m sure you can relate to many stories that relate to this and if you think about it, a sibling may have turned out the way they have as their parents treated them differently right from a young age. Children are very smart and can pick up on these things and it may be to a detriment in the future. And Allah knows best.
In the same way neglecting your children is as if you have killed them. If you do not raise your child correctly then they will go through life without guidance. It is as if they are an orphan. In this context, the definition of an orphan is not one with no mother or father but one with no etiquettes or manners. Such children are not equipped to deal with the daily fitan (afflictions, trials and test) of daily life. It should be noted that although in child bearing some things do not change, similarly a lot of things change with time so they should be raised according to the current environment, rules and situation.
Finally, angels supplicate for righteous parents and their righteous offspring. Each family is reunited in paradise and if you made it to a higher heaven and your child didn’t then they would come to you and vice versa. So to love one another, to be kind and not break family relations is very important and a path to paradise.
* Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed in September 2014. Link to course information: http://www.alkauthar.org/coursecontent.php?course=58