Investment or Liability

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When a father gazes adoringly at his newborn baby in his arms, it is not a mere child that he sees. Rather, many parents see a Haafiz of the Quraan who will cause them to be crowned on the Day of Qiyaamah, or they see an ‘Aalim of Deen who Allah Ta‘ala will use to dispense guidance among people. The least is that they see an upright and pious man or woman with sound values who will succeed in both worlds. In their young children, they envision different dreams, desires and aspirations, chief among them the desire for their children to be an investment for their Aakhirah. They hope that their children will be a genuine asset and profitable investment that will assist them and prove beneficial after their demise.

As noble as the dreams and aspirations of parents may be, in order for these dreams to materialize and reach fruition, the correct procedure will have to be followed. The children will have to be raised correctly and given the correct upbringing. If this is not done, then despite the best wishes of the parents, it is very unlikely that the children will live up to their expectations.

Instilling Imaan

The very moment the child is born, the effort to give him imaan commences. Hence, the azaan and iqaamah are called out in the ears of the newborn infant, serving as the child’s first introduction to Islam. However, the effort of imaan does not terminate here. Rather, it has just begun and must continue until the child leaves the world with imaan. Since imaan is the very basis of Deen and the ‘ticket’ for the child to enter Jannah as well as become an asset to his parents, the imaan of the child must be constantly strengthened and protected.

Darwinism?

Among the greatest threats to the imaan of children today are the various ‘isms’ which have surfaced. Many children are taught the theory of ‘Darwinism’ at school. The children are then left believing that they descended from apes. Although this directly clashes with the explicit teachings of the Quraan Majeed, many people remain silent and do not confide to anyone that they are confused. In this way, decades sometimes pass before they ask someone to clear their doubts. What was the state of their imaan through the years that had passed? If they pass away with their basic beliefs eroded and corrupted, what is the state of their imaan? What about those who never ask anyone at all?

Many parents feel that they have provided the best upbringing to their children. The reality is that merely feeding them, clothing them, sending them to school, providing them with toys and devices and entrusting them to the care of an employee does not constitute ‘parenting’. Parents have to bond with their children and interact with them. They have to speak to their children, spend time with them and also remain vigilant and constantly monitor them. This will help to instill the correct values in them.

Instilling the Correct Values

It is the values that are invested in the child that will bring value to the child as an investment for the Hereafter. Does the child value the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) or does he value the ways, fashions and styles of the kuffaar? Once the children come of age, do they perform all their salaah on time? Does the son perform his salaah in the musjid with jamaat? Is he inclined towards righteous deeds and repulsed by acts of haraam and sin?

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has encouraged the ummah to instill the correct values in their children mentioning, “Raise your children with the following three traits as part of their upbringing; love for your Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), love for his Ahlul Bayt, and the recitation of the Quraan Majeed, for indeed the bearers of the Quraan will be in the shade of Allah (His throne) with His Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) and selected servants, on that day when there will be no shade besides His (throne’s) shade.” (Ithaaful Khiyarah #7753)

All these together with the other values of Deen have to be instilled in the child from a very young age so that they will be firmly entrenched in them by the time they become adults. Unfortunately, we sometimes neglect instilling these values in them saying, “They are still small.” Thereafter, when they are older, they have already developed a liking and affinity for the wrong clothing, ways and habits. At that point, the effort to instill the correct values in the child becomes an uphill battle.

Leading by Example

Allah Ta‘ala commands us in the Quraan Majeed, “Save yourselves and your families from the fire” (Tahreem v6). Explaining this verse, Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) said, “Do that which will please Allah Ta‘ala, refrain from His disobedience and command your families to remember and obey Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala will save you all from the fire of Jahannum.” (Ibnu Katheer vol. 7, pg. 321)

Parents may speak to their children and advise them all they want, but the most eloquent and effective advice is the conduct and character of the parents themselves. Sadly, the opposite is equally true as well. Many children are raised in homes where there are ‘double standards’. The father may be particular regarding salaah, but he is dishonest and deceptive in the business place, or he displays excellent character to people, but is lax in performing his five daily salaah with jamaat in the musjid. Perhaps purdah is strictly observed at home, but when on holiday, the standards drop and another type of ‘Deen’ is seen. Hence, the child is indirectly given the impression that Deen is something which we practice as and when it suits us. When this lesson is being learnt from the parents, how do they expect to pass the values of Islam and Deen to their children?

Company

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “A person will be on the Deen of his friend (i.e. he will follow his ways, mindset, etc). Hence, beware of whom you befriend.” (Abu Dawood #4833)

Many parents closely monitor the people with whom their children associate. However, a new type of ‘company’ has entered the scene. A company so subtle that it is with the child, even while they are in the confines of the home and tucked into bed, with the parents being none the wiser. This is the company and association that accompanies technology. Through the cell phone and social media (internet), every foreign and alien influence can easily be ‘streamed’ and ‘downloaded’ into the home. To the parent, it may seem as if his child is merely holding a tablet or phone or typing away at a keyboard. However, what the child is actually up to is another issue altogether. Hence, strict control MUST be exercised over all devices through which the child can fall into vice.

Investment or Liability? 

If a child is raised correctly and the correct values are instilled in the child, he will become an invaluable asset to the parents. They will have a share in all his good works and righteous deeds, and he will make du‘aa for them and convey reward to them regularly. Conversely, if the parents neglect to raise the child correctly, and his Deen is spoilt as a result, the parents will be held accountable. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned, “Every one of you is a shepherd, and every one of you will be questioned regarding his flock… and a man is a shepherd in his household, and he will be questioned regarding his household…” (Saheeh Bukhaari #893)

If we truly wish the best for ourselves and our children, and wish to save them and ourselves from difficulty in the Hereafter, we have to make a consistent and concerted effort to raise them correctly. May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with pious, obedient children who will be the coolness of our eyes and a very profitable investment in both worlds.

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