Don't Be Too Strict With Your Children
Posted by: "
Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:59 pm
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Don't Be Too Strict With Your Children
| Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|
We should exercise caution in raising our children, but we must be careful not to take things too far. Being excessively strict is no way to raise children. People need to be able to make choices. Children need to develop decision-making skills by having choices available to them, even if some options are far better than others.
We should be careful to safeguard our children from falling into sin. Restricting them from certain things in order to protect them is certainly a part of this. At the same time, imposing drastic restrictions on our children and negating their ability to make choices is not the way to do it.
We should consider the Prophet's example, when he said: "Do not prevent your women from attending the mosque." He followed this by saying: "But their homes are better for them." [Sunan Abu Dawud(480)]
We can see how, using the language of Islamic Law, the Prophet (peace be upon him). He leaves the choice to the woman, though he clarifies that a woman's home is the better place for her to perform her prayers. He goes so far to prohibit others from preventing the woman to attend the mosque.
People need to be able to make their own choices. They need to have numerous options available to them, even when some of those options might truly be better than others.. It is not always good to restrict people to what we feel is best for them.. It is not the way to raise children and develop their personalities.
Restrictions should be treated like medicine - a remedy of last resort. Our goal should be to develop the moral sense of our sons and daughters so that they are able to restrain themselves from wrongdoing. Our goal is to make our children confident within themselves and deserving of our trust.
This applies to our small children just as much as it does to our adolescents. We need to start with our small children. They need to fear Allah and develop their God-consciousness from and early age. This requires that we speak to them about their religion in a positive way, and cultivate first and foremost their love of Allah and of His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Children, young and old, need to be educated, provided with cultural awareness, and instilled with values. They need to have an inner sense of right and wrong which will protect them when faced with life's temptations. When Joseph (peace be upon him) was tempted by the noblewoman, he was able to save himself, saying: "Indeed, I fear Allah."
Today, thanks to advancements in communications technologies, those who wish to find sin can do so easily. This means that it is more imperative than ever to develop a strong moral sense in our children's hearts that will protect them throughout their lives. They need to be fortified with faith, and a strong sense of self, if they are not to succumb to the myriad temptations of our age.
A strong sense of right and wrong can keep us from falling into sin. It is certainly best to stay as far away from sin and temptation as possible. At the same time, a person might come close to sin but still avoid falling into it, due to the faith in his or her heart.
We see this in the story of the three men trapped in a cave, where each relates his virtuous deeds to the others, beseeching Allah to free them. One of them recounts his mad love for his cousin, whom he maneuvered into agreeing to have sex with him. When he was between her legs and about to engage in intercourse, she pleaded: "Fear Allah. Do not break the seal except with its marital right. I have only been brought into this position with you due to my desperate needs." At that moment of greatest desire, his God-consciousness was awakened by hers, and he abstained from fornication, giving her the wealth he promised her anyway. In this case, both of them were on the verge of fornicating, but their God-consciousness saved them from it.
Our goal as parents should not be merely to issue commands and prohibitions and seeing that they are duly carried out by our children. This is not parenting. As parents, our goal should be to cultivate God-consciousness in our children's hearts. If need be, we can impose restrictions on our children to keep them safe and out of trouble, but this should be our final step, not our first step.
As parents, our success in not measured in how effectively we restrict our children by force. We see that in the critical matter of belief itself, Allah, our omnipotent creator, does not force humanity to believe in Him. Rather, He says: "Whoever wishes shall believe and whoever wishes shall disbelieve." [Surah al-Kahf: 29]
Allah merely calls us in the name of faith and establishes the proof to us, commanding us to look into His signs in the heavens and Earth. He sent the Prophets to us with the scriptures, and he provides us with our every need. He then shows us His divine patience until those of us who will be guided are guided.
As parents, we have essentially to take the same approach with their children, in carrying out our duty of saving our families from the Fire. Cultivating and nurturing the faith in our children's hearts is ultimately the only effective way to protect them from the Fire.
Allah says: "O you who believe, safeguard yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones. Attending it are angels severe and stern who never disobey Allah's commands and who carry out what they are commanded to do." [Surah al-Tahrim: 6]
This verse, in fact, is telling us to call our families to faith. All other commands and prohibitions in Islam are built upon faith.. Obedience to Allah stems from faith. We only obey Allah because we believe in him.
When Allah says: "Safeguard yourselves", He is commanding us to protect ourselves from the Fire by fortifying our faith. He then commands us to strive to protect our families from the Fire by taking the measures which will make them, in and of themselves, unlikely to fall into sin.
"‚Ä¶but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say, ‚ÄúTruly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.‚Ä� They are those on whom are the blessings from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones." [2:155-156].
"And seek help in patience and the prayer." [2:45].
"And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah." [42:43]..
"The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel
(the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers
to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly),
then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though
he was a close friend." And then said about this virtue, "But none is
granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is
granted it except the owner of the great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter,
"O Allah. Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power.
"Thou causest the night to gain on the day, and thou causest the day to gain on the night; Thou bringest the Living out of the dead, and Thou bringest the dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure." (3: 26-27)
Connect with others.
††† ((( Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem )))
~ Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success.(Qur'an, 3:104)
~ They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous.(Qur'an, 3:114)
~ If you avoid the serious wrong actions you have been forbidden, We will erase your bad actions from you and admit you by a Gate of Honour.(Qur'an, 4:31)
~ Help one another in birr (righteousness, virtue), and taqwa (piety, fear of Allah, God-consciousness), and do not help one another in sinning and transgression. And fear and revere Allah; verily, Allah is severe in punishment.(Qur'an, 5:2)
~ You who believe! Have fear of Allah and seek the means of drawing near to Him and strive in His way,so that hopefully you'll be successful. (Qur'an, 5:35)
~ Ask your Lord for forgiveness and then repent to Him. He will let you enjoy a good life until a specified time, and will give His favour to all who merit it. But if you turn your backs, I fear for you the punishment of a Mighty Day.(Qur'an, 11:3)
~ Strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has selected you and not placed any constraint upon you in the religion-the religion of your forefather Ibrahim. He named you Muslims before and also in this, so that the Messenger could be witness against you and you could be witnesses against all mankind. So perform prayer and give alms and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector-the Best Protector, the Best Helper. (Qur'an, 22:78)
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