How To Raise Your Kids Islamically•
Posted on January 30 2021
Alhamdulillah, Allah (SWT) has blessed me to be a mom to eight beautiful children, MashaAllah. I always get asked: “How do you do it?” How do I raise my kids to be good kids and especially good Muslims?
The first thing is I recognize two truths of being a mom:
1- That my children are a gift from Allah (SWT), and I am privileged to have them, Alhamdulillah.
2- That I am responsible for how I raise them, in front of Allah.
That being said, it is definitely not easy to raise kids. In this electronic age, it is harder to protect them from all the evil in the world while also helping nurture and create the best environment for them to flourish into the individuals we hope for them to become.
The parenting challenge is how to balance protection versus control. How to prevent unnecessary exposure versus when is an appropriate teaching opportunity. When to be their friends versus when to set limits. There must be an organic balance that changes with their needs and age.
Recently, I was asked how I raise my kids Islamically. These are a few principles that I have followed with my children.
- The ultimate goal is to raise your children with a God-centered mentality.
You want them to relate everything to Allah (SWT) and make everything a form of worship to Allah (SWT). It starts with you, how you integrate the deen into your life and be that example to the kids. How you take those opportunities to show them how you are grateful to Allah (SWT), how your daily mundane actions are a form of Ibadah, and how nothing matters except that which pleases Allah (SWT).
- SALAH, SALAH, SALAH.
It is the core of our ibadah and we must instill it in our children and protect it at all costs. One of the best duas I love is from Surat Ibrahim:
“My Lord! Make me and those ˹believers˺ of my descendants keep up prayer. Our Lord! Accept my prayers.” [14:40]
- Celebrate your child’s unique qualities.
Every human is born with their character strengths and weaknesses. You never want to “break” a child. In fact, those behaviours that parents tend to complain about are usually those found in leaders. Instead of eliminating certain behaviours or characteristics, guide them to use it for good.
Speak to them as you would wish to be spoken to. Take the time to explain and discuss, and even get their input so that you get the best buy-in from your kids. Many times, they don’t understand why you have certain rules, but with a little bit of explaining they will appreciate your care and love.
Never use hurtful words. When you are frustrated, give yourself a time-out to compose and reframe what you want to say.
- Put your kids in an Islamic School or homeschool them. Or move.
Living in the West, we are a minority. We need to do our best to protect our identity and that of our kids. How better than to protect the environment around them, so that they safely learn who they are and what their Islamic principles are. If you are financially struggling, but your intention is to put your children in an Islamic school to please Allah (SWT), He will provide for you to achieve it.
If you have tried and it is not possible for you to do, then consider homeschooling your children and protecting them with the many tools available to you to accomplish. MashaAllah, there are many other Muslim families that have successfully homeschooled their children and you can reach out to those networks for support.
If neither of these options are available for you, then move to somewhere that can allow you to do. And if this is outside of your control, send them to a public school in a heavily-populated Muslim area and work really hard to be very active in that school. Recognize that the dynamics in a public school are so much more different as teachers, systems and peers will be pressuring your child in numerous ways.
- Nurture an Islamic environment at home.
Recognize that even if you send your kids to an Islamic School, you are not home-free. Two things are important: you should still be very involved with your kids' school because there are still many of the same fitnas within Islamic schools, and the environment at home is as important as the school one. You need to be centred around the deen, prayer times are a family event, hold daily or even weekly halaqas with everyone. Read the Quran everyday. Even if you focus on the daily duas when waking up, eating, sneezing, entering/exiting the washroom, and before you sleep. Are you and your husband on the same page? This is a very important point that many times causes marital issues.
- Friends are everything.
Who are you surrounding yourself with, who are you surrounding your kids with. Even family plays a big role. If your contacts are not of the same mind-set, it places you and your kids in tough situations when “everyone else” is doing something and you won’t allow your kids. Usually, you will rather give up than stand your ground, because most people don’t want to be the bad guy. Find like-minded people. Become friends with other parents that send their kids to islamic Schools and families that attend the masjid, etc.
- Educate yourself.
You need to increase your own understanding of the deen and knowledge so that you can teach your kids. No one will do it better than you.
- Be involved in the masjid.
Go and attend unapologetically. Take that screaming baby and plant yourself in the masjid. That is your right and the right of your kids. Make it a weekly occurrence to connect to the masjid, outside of Jumaa prayers. If you connect when your children are young, it becomes easier for your kids to connect when they get older.
The problem is that many moms, including myself, don’t attend when they have babies or toddlers due to the noise they cause and the dirty stares we get from the uncles and aunties at the masjid. This gives us an excuse not to go to the masjid and then by the time the kids are older, they don’t want to go and don’t have their hearts connected to the masjid.
This is one of the main reasons I am working on the Tawheed Community Centre in Mississauga. I am passionate to create a safe space for moms in the masjid and create a space/masjid/community centre that everyone can participate in and grow up in.
If you didn’t go when your kids were younger, sit down as a family and together decide to start and agree that this is something critical to protect your deen and connect you to the House of Allah (SWT).
- Give back to the community.
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Not only is this a sadaqa, but it instills values in your children that you cannot get elsewhere. Volunteer for the sake of Allah (SWT) and see how drastically everything gets better.
- Prioritize Online Safety in today’s world.
I have to add this point because of the great role it plays in our daily lives and almost everything we do. This is a juggling act: how to give your kid the tools to make good choices. When is your child strong enough to protect themselves against a multi-billion dollar industry? Obviously the main problem is pornography addiction which currently affects a large portion of our community members (young and old). It is in everything, where tv shows/movies, games, books, social media and the internet. My best advice is be engaged and interested in everything your kids are doing. Don’t assume that your kids are safe and will never see anything bad. You need to recognize that the systems in place are meant to desensitize and lead your kids to inappropriate materials.
But you need to be open with your kids about these topics and explain why EVERYONE needs to protect themselves. Let them know that they need to talk to you if they see something and that you will help them, not get them in trouble.
- Always pray, make dua and ask Allah (SWT) to protect your kids, your spouse and yourself from the evils of this world.
And ask Him to bless your actions, help you raise righteous children and reward you with Jannat al-Firdaws for taking care of your Amanah.
Because at the end of the day, you will be asked: “What did you do to take care of your gifts and responsibilities in this world?”
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