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Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
29 November 2013 / 25 Muharram 1434
Understanding The Responsibilities Of
Taking Care Of Children
Dear Friday Jemaah,
Let us continue in our efforts to ensure that our families and ourselves remain in a state of takwa towards Allah s.w.t. Let us ensure that we do not ignore Allah’s commands, and neither do we transgress the boundaries Allah has set for us. May Allah keep us in His protection in this world and the hereafter
We are currently in the school holiday period. It is a very valuable time and we should not let it pass just like that. It is an opportunity for us to strengthen our ties with our children and family, and at the same time recall the joy of parenting that Allah has blessed upon us.
Raising children is challenging. That is why Allah has accorded a high status to parents. By granting us children, Allah s.w.t. is giving us the opportunity to have a special standing in His sight. By becoming parents, we are given the authority to shape the life of another human being. But this authority or privilege comes with huge responsibilities, befitting the high status Allah has accorded to parents. Thus, there are several reminders that I would like to share today:
First: We have to try to understand our children, and at the same time help them understand our concerns.
In the Quran Allah s.w.t. tells us of the story of Prophet Ya’qub and Prophet Yusuf a.s, and this story is one of the best examples that reflects the relationship of a father and a child. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Yusuf, verses 4 and 5:
Which means: (Of these stories mention) when Yusuf said to his father, “O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me.” He said, “O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy.”
My brothers, notice how Prophet Ya’qub a.s. always listened to his son’s opinions even though he was still young. However, the love and care of a father towards his children does not mean he is willing to give in to all of his children’s requests. In the consecutive verse Prophet Ya’qub a.s. gave his personal opinion to his son, and thus asked his son to obey his wish by not telling his siblings about his dream.
This is an example in educating our children. At times, as parents we have to listen to them and accept their opinions. When both parents often discuss with their children on daily matters, it will develop the maturity and the personality of our children. However, in educating our children, we have to take a balanced approach. At times, both parents have to be firm by setting out what their children have to obey. Especially if it has to do with religious matters (such as performing their ibadah) and matters to do with their morals and akhlak as Muslim.
Second: We need to be responsible and fully aware of our children’s activities.
Of late, we have seen how some parents give in to all the wants and wishes of their children. Perhaps because they love their children very much, or some will reason that it is because of “mutual trust” between the parents and children; thus the children are allowed – as an example – to sleep over at a friend’s house, a friend of the opposite gender. Or the parents do not mind who their children bring home, or even bother to find out who their children’s friends are and who their children mix with.
Besides that, we should also not allow our children to use the Internet and social media sites without any monitoring on our part, or without any form of guidance from us. Even though we need to give them space to leverage on technology, it is a fardhu ain for every mother and father to ensure that their children understands and applies the proper adab or etiquette when interacting online and in making use of these technology. For example, they need to be constantly reminded and as a family, we should discuss about the information that they read online (through websites, social media platforms and so on). We also need to set a time limit, both for themselves and ourselves, as to the amount of time we can spend online. Take the time during this holiday season to get to know our children better, learn who they are, who their friends are and their newly-found interests, if any.
Share with our children lessons about how Allah s.w.t watches over us and is aware of every deed, actions and intention. As Rasulullah s.a.w. said to a young companion:
Which means: “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be Mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be Mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you”.
[Hadith narrated by Imam Tirmidzi and Imam Ahmad]
When our children can understand and truly feel that Allah always sees them, it will strengthen their sense of taqwa. Thus, what becomes the standard is not whether their parents can know of everything that they do, but that Allah s.w.t. sees and knows everything that they do.
Third: Fill their time with beneficial activities.
Set their schedule with enough time for play, resting, entertainment and at the same time to be able to learn something new through interesting programmes. For example, we can encourage them to memorise supplications (doa) or several surah of their choice, or to read a book and then share with us what they have read. We can also send them to various camps that are being organised, those aimed at developing their confidence, character and leadership. Imam Al-Ghazali wrote in his book Bidayatul Hidayah that the barakah of time comes from good planning.
Our children are our heritage. If we raise them to be obedient towards Allah s.w.t. and diligent in helping others and doing good deeds, we not only groom them to become future dwellers of Paradise Insha’Allah, but hopefully, when the time has come for us to leave this world, the prayers and supplications of our children will accompany us.
May Allah s.w.t. bless our lives and that of our families, with His barakah and grant us with tranquility in this world and eternal happiness in the hereafter. Aamin ya Rabbal ‘Aalamin.