Fourth Rule: Tarbiyah of our Families
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan:
O you who have Imaan! Save yourselves and your families from the fire (of Jahannum).
We understand from this aayah the importance of the proper Islaamic tarbiyah (nuturing) of our families.
The main cause of children being spoilt is our lack of interest in their tarbiyah. It is the incumbent responsibility of both the parents to bring up and nurture their children Islamically. However, a greater responsibility lies upon the mother, since the children grow up mainly in her care.
Parents should try and gain the maximum out of their children by moulding their behaviour in accordance with the Shariah. Besides benefiting the children it will also benefit us. Whatever good accrues from them, we will also have a share in the reward they attain. Every Salaah they perform, every aayah of the Qur’aan they recite and every other good deed that they may perform, a share of the reward will also be reserved for us as well.
Definition of Tarbiyah: The word tarbiyah means to nurture, rear or to take care of a child from stage to stage until he / she becomes obedient and righteous.
Definition of a Murabbi: One who makes the tarbiyah of others.
Object of Tarbiyah: One of the most important objectives of tarbiyah is to nurture someone till they reach a stage whereby they can fulfil all their duties towards Allah Ta'ala and live a practical life of a Muslim as shown to us by our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
Qualities of a Murabbi (Mentor)
As far as upbringing and spiritual rectification is concerned, certain attributes are vital in the life of a murabbi. Some of these are listed hereunder:
Sincerity: This is the key feature in any work of Deen. Without this, no action can be of any value. Always keep in mind the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala. Our objective should never be any gain other than the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala. Every facet of our upbringing should reveal only sincerity. Whether it is admonition done with sternness or counselling done with love, all our actions have to be based on complete sincerity.
Tolerance & Patience: This is the fundamental attribute of an ideal murabbi. Without this no person will be able to execute an obligation as sensitive as tarbiyah (upbringing) effectively. The gist of tolerance is that a person refrains from angry outbursts. Don't be hasty in looking for results. This may agitate you and lead to frustration. Generally we get frustrated when there is no apparent change taking place. Maintain trust in Allah Ta'ala and continue working conscientiously and with persistence. Bear in mind the mubaarak manner of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Look at how he nurtured his Sahaabah despite the difficulties and hardships. Historians say that the group of people that he had to work with were at that time the worst group of people on the face of the earth. Yet in the most trying times he never lost his temper. He thus transformed them into the best group of people on earth.
Politeness: Undoubtedly, a person's speech, tone, manner of conversation and style leaves an impression upon his / her children. If you are unsympathetic, repulsive and speak in an angry tone, your children will distance themselves from you. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) spoke in a tone that was neither too loud, nor too soft. He spoke in a moderate tone that would leave his audience with a striking impression.
Good character: Before attempting to nurture others, we should first spiritually nurture ourselves. The beautiful character of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) played a key role in his Sahaabah adopting a most excellent character.
The following three aspects should be instilled into the hearts of every child
Greatness of Allah Ta'ala
Our most important function is to create an awareness of the presence of Allah Ta'ala at all times. The recognition, greatness and the attributes of Allah Ta'ala must be firmly established in their hearts. Every opportunity should be used to educate them in this regard. This should be done on a daily basis. For example, let them observe the creation of Allah Ta'ala such as the sky, sun, moon, mountains, oceans, etc., which all show the greatness of Allah Ta'ala. The awareness of Allah Ta'ala can also be achieved by continuously making zikr of the first kalima and reciting the masnoon duas on the appropriate occasions.
Love for Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
The second most important aspect is to instil the true love and admiration of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), his family and the Sahabah (Radi Allahu Anhum) in their hearts. This can be achieved by explaining to them the seerah and life of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). They should be made to understand the hardships and suffering that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) experienced to propagate the Deen of Islam. The recitation of Durood daily will also help in this regard. Practicing and reinforcing every Sunnah will help to instil the true love of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) into their lives. If our child does any action against the Sunnah, rectify him / her immediately. For example, drinking water with the left hand, boy's having their pants below their ankles, girls not covering their hair properly, etc. even if they are minors. They should thereafter be praised and rewarded for acting on the sunnah. Remember the sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) are for men, women and children. Ask ourselves whether we have introduced the use of the miswaak to the women and children in our families or has it been restricted to the men only. Similarly sitting on the floor and eating is a sunnah practice for men and women although practiced mainly by men only.
Good character and morals
The third most important aspect is to encourage good character and morals in our families. We are living in a society which is morally bankrupt and becoming worse by the day. Modesty and Shame have vanished. Bad habits and Evil Character are common. Good qualities such as truthfulness, kindness, respect and other virtuous traits must be introduced to them. The bad habits such as lying, vulgar language, theft, etc., must also be discussed, so that it could be shunned. The harms of television, music, drugs, illicit relationships, etc., should be emphasized firmly but with affection and concern. Children must be discouraged to hero worship kuffaar sportsmen. Parents should not purchase T-shirts with "Bekham and Ronaldo" written on them.
How do we make the tarbiyah of our children?
Win their confidence.
Firstly we have to win the confidence of our children. This can be obtained by adopting the characteristics mentioned above. By winning their confidence, they will take their parents to be role models and take to heart whatever advices are given to them.
Narrate to them incidents of the pious.
Stories play a vital role in moulding the mind of a child. Whatever a child hears in the form of a story is more impressionable than just mere facts. Daily fix some time to read an incident from the lives of the Ambiyaa, Sahaabah, Taabieen and the Salaf-e-Saaliheen (pious predecessors) before putting them to bed. This is extremely beneficial. Experience bears testimony that this method is very effective for tarbiyah. The greatest benefit of narrating stories to children is that it instils the value of Deen into their minds and hearts. After narrating the incident, enlighten them of the moral or the lesson learnt therefrom.
Ta’leem (Daily kitaab reading)
Our pious Ulama e Kiraam and elders have mentioned that among the most powerful tools for the tarbiyah of any household is daily ta’leem at home. They have advised the reading of the fadhaail kitaabs viz. Fadhaail e Aamaal and Fadhaail e Sadaqaat. This should be fixed as a daily practice. The entire family should be gathered at a suitable time when everyone is free and spend approximately 5-10 minutes in reading the incidents and Ahaadith from these books.
Be extremely particular about their dressing. From a young age, get them into the habit of dressing according to the sunnah. Children should neither be made to wear clothing that resembles the west nor should they be made to wear clothing resembling that of the opposite gender (e.g. girls wearing jeans and boys wearing earrings). This impacts negatively upon the tarbiyah of our children.
Cell Phones and Computers
Be extremely cautious about giving them cell phones and allowing them free usage of the computer. If under extreme circumstances you are forced to use the cell phone or the computer, then this should be allowed only under your strict supervision. These modern day tools are like dangerous weapons which can be detrimental to the child’s Imaan.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has commanded us to encourage our children to perform salaah from the age of seven. It is thus the duty of the parents to ensure that this greatest form of Ibaadah is instilled deeply in the hearts of our children from a young age.
Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat, Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (R.A.) has strongly advised that young children of an understanding age should be introduced to pious, righteous Ulama. Sitting in the company of these Ulama will provide wonderful guidance for them in the most positive way possible.
Also encourage them to go out with the tableegh jamaat during the school and madrasah holidays. This will indeed prevent them from much negative interference which is prevalent in society. Those in charge of the Jamaats have much experience and are tolerant with children, moulding them into good practicing Muslims.
Daily make dua for them. Allah Ta’ala readily accepts the dua of a parent for his child. Many a great scholar of Deen flourished as a result of the duas of his parents.
Entrust them to Allah Ta’ala
Keep in mind that Allah Ta’ala is the Murabbi e Haqeeqi (The True Mentor) and it is only with His help that our children’s tarbiyah can be made. Therefore entrust them totally in the care of Allah Ta’ala and beseech Him to nurture them correctly.
May Allah Ta’ala assist us all in the upbringing of our children. Aameen.