Dr. Umme-Talhah Zareena
If we do not work on our children and if we do not equip them with right information and fail to give them firm footing at young age, someone else is working on them, influencing them, moulding them already.
What is the worst tragedy that can happen to your children? Poverty? Long term illness or even Death?
NO! There is something much worse and abhorrent and that is—Apostasy.
Yes, you read it right! It’s no longer an unimaginable or an improbable act.
Terms such as “ex-muslims”, “faith to faithless” do exist. Most of the apostates are the youth or teenagers especially in the western countries.
Girls in subcontinents readily give up Islam in order to get married to non-Muslims as they do not know what blessing being a Muslim is.
Why is the real threat? Why should it concern us?
Because dear parents, even if we are true to our religion, even if we guard our prayers, even if Islam is inherent part of us, but:
- If we fail to instill love of Islam in our child at a tender age.
- If we do not introduce him/her to the goodness and perfection of Islam.
- If we do not make this beautiful deen a way of our child’s life.
- If we do not address our child’s curiosity and confusions.
To summarize it in simple words: “If we do not work on our children and if we do not equip them with right information and fail to give them firm footing at young age, someone else is working on them, influencing them, moulding them already.”
Who/what is that someone else?
Subtle sources like: The entertainment media, cartoons, movies, the newspapers, social media, society and missionary schools!
Children are most receptive at young age. They are gentle, naturally curious, fast learners and have impressionable minds. We have their full attention starting from when they are 3-4 years old till they are 10-12 years old.
These 8-10 years is our golden period. The period of responsibility as parents, if we truly are concerned about our children’s hereafter, prayer alone is not sufficient, we have to put in efforts, tie our camels, play a role in their education, make time for them no matter how busy we are.
If we let go this phase of their life thinking they are too young, then we are doing them great injustice. They are soaking in wrong information from everything they come across. By the time you try to teach them they become moody and preoccupied with other things in life.
With no conscious effort in nurturing them in matters of deen over years and as soon as they hit puberty if we expect them to become epitome of modesty, we expect them to become punctual in prayers, we want them to don hijab, we want them to sport beard, we want them to be conscious of the rights of Allah. We try to overwhelm them with rules and expectations, think of them as troubled teens if they give us hard time, it is unrealistic of us. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Teenage is the age where children have their first taste of independence, rebelliousness, overwhelming hormones, fiesty courage to make choices which could be right choice or very very wrong choices.
With little or incomplete information, with no firm basics they will be unsure when they come across accusations against Islam and feed on wrong information, they get misguided.
If we do our duty as parents by constantly seeking Allah’s help at their tender age, we can be rest assured that even if they stumble a little during the phase of rebellion they will get right back up because they have the firm platform, to draw strength from right information, to rely on Allah, to seek His guidance.
Think children as intellectuals not as blind followers, be gentle with them, introduce them to the mercy of Allah, names and attributes of Allah, the book of Allah, love of tauheed, love of Prophet (peace be upon him) and companions of the Prophet, tell them stories from Quran, daily supplications, how to react when faced with adversity. Make Islam their way of life.
Introduce the blessings of Allah first, describe the paradise and it’s bounties, do not just scare children with fire of hell or Allah’s punishments.
Incorporate the knowledge in them gently, make most of opportunities when they arise. Make them appreciate the blessing of being a believer.
Every day is a teaching ground for us parents without being overly strict and if we start early we will have much time on our hands to cover many aspects and make Islam inherent part of their life.
We should be exemplary, empty talks do not affect children unless we practice it ourselves from day to day. Islam is extremely beautiful and we should make our homes beautiful by living according to it.
With this background, even if somebody casts doubts on Islam by giving them misinformation or if media displays Islam as something barbaric, if they come across missionaries inviting them to other religions by beautifying their talks, even if presented with the concept of athiesm, our children will know right from wrong, they will know how to deal with those situations (bi’idnillah). No matter where life takes them, they will be proud of Islam as their religion.
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him. In the Hereafter he will be among the losers.” (Surah Al-Imran)
Dr. Umme-Talhah Zareena is an MBBS Doctor, and a resident of Saudi Arabia. She often writes on medical as well as moral sciences affairs.
Featured Image taken from HufftonPost.