How to raise good Muslim kids: Giving birth is the easy part, parenting is the hardest job ever. It really would have helped if babies come with an instruction manual. Children are an Amanah from Allah SWT. The best gift you can give to your child is giving them a proper upbringing.
How to Raise Children in Islam?
There is no such thing as a perfect parent or perfect parenting. All you can do is give it your best and pray Allah SWT makes it easy for you as you go along.
It’s easier to focus on your parenting strategies if you divide your child’s life into three parts:
First 7 years (0-7)
Let them play and enjoy to their heart’s content, but keep a firm grip on the parenting reins as well, light reprimanding is needed now and then. Children are born pure, they are learning, observing, and being guided by their surroundings, give your child the best influential atmosphere possible. Children imitate their parents more than anyone, if you see your child exhibit unacceptable behavior, instead of scolding your child, immediately check with your spouse or the family members that your child spends most of his time with, where did your kid pick up the habit from. These 7 years are very important where the foundation is being laid and needs to be rock solid. The rest of the years will stand strong on this foundation. If the base is wobbly the coming years might be a bit of a challenge. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
Next 7 years (7-14)
Once your child reaches the age of 7 he is now ready for Islamic principles that will bring more order into his life. Your child is ready to soak up anything you teach him. Their learning is still in progress, now is the time to teach them the difference between halal and haram, instill religious knowledge like stories of the Sahabahs, enlighten them about Salah, fasting, and anything they can absorb on their level. Now is the time to set boundaries and explain why they are needed, the slight discipline that was incorporated in the first 7 years will make staying within and respecting boundaries much easier. It should be binding upon all family members to follow the guidelines set, be it as simple as going to bed on time, so that they know limits are meant for everyone, not just children.
At The End ( Age 14-21)
Puberty not only brings physical changes but kids are faced with social, emotional, and mental changes as well. Physical changes can be seen happening, but the emotions become more intense and stronger. Mood swings become more frequent. Your child can be angry, frustrated, confused, and not know why. As a parent, you need to understand your child is in transition from child to adult. They have no idea what is going on but you have to be very calm and supportive, the mood swings can tend to get on your nerves. These critical years, befriend them, motivate them, advise them. Your goal should be to become their most trusted person, the person they go to for advice, the person they can confide in and ask for help. According to Islam, when they reach puberty they are complete adults. They now have a personality of their own, it is now you have to polish what they have become. Remember the time to enforce anything on your children has passed you just have to be their friend from now onwards.
Tips To Raise Good Muslim Children:
Parenting won’t be a piece of cake, here are some tips to make the journey easier.
1-Their Role Models Should Be Realistic
Bedtime stories should be regular custom at your house from an early age. Batman, Superman, and wonder woman aren’t real don’t let your child fantasize about them. The real superheroes are the sahabah, the kids might not be able to understand how they put down their lives in the path of Allah SWT but they can easily understand all the good that they did.
Tell them about how selfless they were. It is never too early to teach children about Allah SWT. Little tidbits now and then should be incorporated into their daily lives. The best role models are the parents themselves. If you want your child to learn something do it yourself pretty soon, he will follow in your footsteps. If you spend all day singing and dancing and expect your child to sit on the musallah, that’s unfair and won’t happen. Set an example. Especially boys need male role models they want to grow up and be like them, let that person be the father.
2- Let Them Participate In Sports
This is not just important for their physical development, children learn sportsmanship, leadership, how to play as a team, they learn to challenge themselves. Sports teach them it is ok to lose. They learn how to handle their defeat and move on.
It teaches them to achieve goals and never to give up. It teaches them time management, hard work, working under pressure, and commitment. All these are life skills that they will need in their path of life and you won’t have to go the extra mile to teach them that separately. By default participating in sports will teach them all the mentioned traits. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
Teach your children swimming, archery, and horse riding. -BUKHARI
3- Curiousity Is The Origin Of Knowledge:
We were from a time when told to something we had to obey, no questions asked. But as time went by every generation has grown more curious than the previous. Kids will constantly ask questions, it is their thirst for knowledge they are not trying to irritate you. Their appetite for knowledge will grow with each passing day and you can expect a steady increase in the number of questions.
Never shut them out or ask them to keep quiet, they might try to find another source that will give them answers but no one can guide them better than their parents. If you have taught them something is haram, they would want to know why is that so. Or why are there only 5 prayers and not 10? Why are we supposed to fast only one month of the year and not all 12 of them?
The questions will be never-ending once you start instilling Islamic principles in them. They will ask before they start something during it and in the end as well. Be patient and remember this is another type of natural learning process, with every answer you give them they learn something and your communication is becoming stronger with your child as you go along. Ali Ibn Abi Talib said:
Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you, they were born for a different time.
I would also recommend that you go through these Best Islamic Youtube Channels for Kids to Watch & Learn.
4- Give Them Responsibilities
It is not always what you do for the children that matters, but what you have taught them to do for themselves also counts. Placing responsibilities on their shoulders from a ripe age does not count as child labor. Many parents frown upon it and feel that they have their whole lives ahead of themselves to take on responsibilities, why start so young? When a child starts school he isn’t just handed a book and expected to read on the first day he is gradually taught how to read.
You as a parent are doing the same thing prepping your child for the real world. Give your child responsibilities according to their age we don’t want to burden them. It makes them feel useful, gives them a sense of being independent. Kids will feel proud that you trust them enough to give them this chance, and they will try their best not to let you down. Start with small household chores, make sure all the lights have been switched off before bedtime, or set the table, bringing their dirty dishes to the sink when finished. Tell them Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did his work and helped around the house as well. And helping others is a Sunnah.
“The best gift to children from parents is their correct training”- TIRMIDHI.
5- Apologize Even If You Make A Mistake
To err is human is a famous saying, yes it is part of human nature to make mistakes. Everyone can make mistakes but how you handle them is what matters. Apologize if you make a mistake, it will show them only kids aren’t made to apologize adults have to do the same. It will also teach them to ask for forgiveness from Allah SWT when they make a mistake. It will teach them to be humble and they will know making mistakes isn’t the end of the world.
Tell them Allah SWT loves it when a person asks for forgiveness after making a mistake. Ask them to do a good deed that might take over where they have gone wrong. Children will make mistakes you can’t stop them from doing that but you can be there to guide them, don’t punish them if they do it the first time explain to them why it is wrong and give them a second chance.
The trust that you place in them will make them feel happy and safe and they wouldn’t want to do it again. God forbid if they do it again, punishing or scolding them won’t solve the matter. Make them rectify their mistake and take away a privilege that they enjoy. If your toddler messes up tell them no more screen time for 2 days, something they will miss and would make them wonder they have messed up. If your daughter has misbehaved with her mother tell her not just to apologize but bring her a glass of juice or candy to take away the discomfort it might have caused. Explain to them this is Sunnah.
6- Keep Your Promises
A habit taken very lightly, it is normal for mothers to promise something to children and then back out later saying it was just a joke or they weren’t serious. If you promise them candy after they have cleaned their room, give it to them, or else they will think it is a lie and it is ok to lie now and then. Every small commitment you make and keep is teaching them the value of honesty. It might seem small not giving them candy or extra screen time you promised, but for them, it is conveying the message that it is ok to back out of commitments. If you cant keep your word, then don’t commit to it in the first place. It is mentioned in the Quran
And be true to every promise, for verily you will be called to account for every promise which you have made. (17:34)
The mother of Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr once called him to come near to her, promising that she will give him something in return. The Prophet ﷺ commented by saying
“If you did not give him anything (upon calling him) it would be recorded on you as a lie. ABU DAWUD
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also said:
7- Family Meetings And Decision Making
Parenting is a full-time job, mothers spent most of their time with the children but it is equally important fathers pitch in as well. Parenting is not the sole responsibility of the mother, it is a common misconception everything is left on the shoulders of the mothers and the father is just the money-making machine. Fathers need to know what is going on in their children’s life.
Every day it should be the father’s responsibility to call a family meeting and ask each and everyone about their day, start by telling them how your day was at work. Ask for their input in making decisions, be it as simple as what to make for dinner the next day, don’t shun their ideas try to incorporate them as much as possible. They will feel important and valued.
8- Reward Them
Once you have taught them Islamic morals and ethics, have a reward system when your children do good. They could be rewarded at the end of the week or month however you want it. Have a separate check for Salah and Quran, let them know it is very important that it is a part of their daily life. Never insult them on something they do wrong, insulting them isn’t the way to correct them it causes more damage than good.
9- Physical Affection Never Grows Old
Hugs and kisses can do great amounts of good for children, moreover kissing your child is Sunnah. Hugs have amazing benefits, never underestimate them. Hugs help kids grow, it makes them feel happy, secure, and safe. Hugs can stop temper tantrums, calm down a frustrated child. Hugging an angry child doesn’t mean you accept his behavior it just shows you want to calm him down to hear him out why he is so agitated, to begin with.
This kind of physical contact can take you to the depth of a child’s heart what they are thinking, what they might want to do. Children will spell it out, this, in turn, will strengthen the bond with your child. The hugs and kisses will get limited as the children grow older but never put an end to it. Aisha RA said a Bedouin man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said:
You people kiss your children and we do not kiss them
So the Prophet ﷺ said:
Is there anything I can do once Allah SWT has removed mercy from your heart? – BUKHARI
10- Instill The Love Of Allah SWT
Start when they are still young, any good deed they do, tell your children, has made Allah SWT very happy. As time goes by make it a habit to share a hadith or recite a few verses of the Quran and tell them what it means. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a separate sitting, you can do it when you drop off your kids at school, or before starting dinner, or before they go to bed.
May Allah Make This Journey Easy For Every Parent