“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a fire (Hell) wose fuel is men and stones, over which are appointed angels stern and severe, who disobey not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” Quran 66 verse 6.
Parenthood is a blessing from Allah the Almighty. He(SWT) chooses whom to give the burden of bringing into this world another life. It entails taking care of the blessing (which is the child), by providing him/her with all the basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and education. In addition, parents are expected to protect their children, guide them through life, and teach them right from wrong. They should be like a rock for their children. Because this is no easy task, sometimes, parents fail at one part of the job or another. They are human too and so it is ok to make mistakes. However, when these mistakes lead to disobedience of Allah, then it becomes a serious matter. Here are just a few of such dangerous mistakes parents are making today:
1.Prioritising western education over Islamic education
This is one of the most serious problems the Ummah faces today. Parents rush to take their children to school at ages as young as 3, while neglecting Islamic education. When these children grow up, they have little or no knowledge of Islam and they can easily fall prey to misconceptions and lies. In this generation, Muslims more than ever need to know and understand their religion so that they would be better suited to withstand all the pressures of being Muslim. The children should study their religion, alongside western education. That way, they will never forget their purpose in life In sha Allah (If Allah wills)- the purpose being solely to worship Allah.
2.Lack of family time (communication)
The advent of televisions, computers, mobile phones and other such technological devices have had a very negative impact on our family relations today. It is quite sad to see parents and their children losing touch because everyone is busy with technology. That’s not all. Parents have also become so engrossed with making money and more money. To this end, they work longer hours, closing at odd hours and even working weekends. Families are no longer the way they used to be, nor the way Islam wants it. The importance of the relationship between parents and their children is so important it cannot be stressed enough. Children need attention, and when they do not get it from their parents, they seek it somewhere else. Often, they seek it in the wrong places. As Muslims, we must learn to strengthen family ties because Allah has commanded us to do so. Parents should make time for their children. They should always communicate, because through communication a lot of problems can be averted, trust is built, and love is strengthened.
3.No Islamic home setting
We all know that children learn by example. That is, they do what they see their parents do. That is why the home is the most important and the first school of the child. Therefore, a Muslim home should be that- a Muslim home. It should be where the child learns that salah (prayers) is an obligation and must never be missed. It is where the child learns that listening to the Quran is good. It is where the child learns that hospitality and respecting the neighbors ghbours and elders is a norm. The child learns the beautiful Islamic etiquettes from his parents. How can the children avoid pornography if they are exposed to all sorts of bad movies at home? How can the child learn to love Quran if the home is blasting of music every day? How can the child learn to speak good when his parents are so vile in their speech? Parents must think about what they do, especially in front of their children.
4.Living in the wrong neighbourhood
In as much as the home makes or breaks a child, we must not forget the role of society. Sometimes a child’s parents do their best to bring up a child, but the child is not always going to stay at home. That is where society comes in. When that child leaves the house, what type of people does he come across? What school does he attend and what type of friends does he have? Are they Muslims? Are they islamophobic? Is it even safe for the child to be around them? Remember that the child’s security and wellbeing is the responsibility of his parents. Therefore, you must always be very wise when choosing where to stay. Make sure it is a place where you can bring up your children in the best Islamic way possible.
Although divorce is permitted in Islam, it is very disliked by Allah. Yes, sometimes it is absolutely necessary and it is the only way peace can prevail. However, society has changed. Gone were the days when people strived to safeguard their marriages for the sake of their children. Gone are the days when parents bore hardship and made their marriage work. Today, people get divorced over the slightest things, not considering the serious impact that can have on their children. It is difficult enough bringing up children in this generation, but to do it as single parents is on a whole other level of hard. We must go back to the teachings of Islam, and through that we will learn patience, perseverance and forgiveness- the three concepts that could save many marriages today.
6.Ignoring your child’s rights
Parents have rights over their children just as much as children have rights over their parents. Islam has made every one’s rights and responsibilities clear, and in order to achieve success, we must learn to respect the rules. It is rather unfortunate that sometimes, parents overstep their bound because they feel they are the parents. One common example is marriage. In some parts of the world, parents force their children into marrying people they do not want. This is totally against the Islamic teachings and has a lot of negative consequences. In other places (very common), parents discourage their children from getting married early. They expect their children to go through years and years of western education before they consider settling down. This has no doubt led to an immense increase in Zina (fornication) among young Muslims; and we all know Zina is a major sin. May Allah forgive us and our parents. Amin.
7.Lack of monitoring
As a parent, your task is hard so you cannot afford to be lazy or to take chances. You must always be on your toes; watching the children closely and be sensitive especially as they become teenagers. Apart from drugs and pornography, 21st century child can fall victim to so many other things. Take social media or instance- do you know what your daughter is posting on Facebook or Instagram? What types of pictures she is posting? What about your son? What sites is he visiting? Is he exposed to extremist sites? Is he giving free access to things he normally shouldn’t have access to? Many parents are failing at this point and the results are not pleasant.
Whilst trying to digest the above points, you may also want to ponder over these beautiful hadith.
The Prophet (saw) said: “Allah will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household”. (Abu Da’ud)
“Upon death, a man’s deeds will stop except for three deeds: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and a pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously prays to Allah for the soul of his parents” Muslim