Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And those who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqûn (the pious)."
The previous Ayah included the qualities of high spiritual energy which seek high goals in regard to religion. It does not want you to be only a righteous person, but also wants you to be a leader to the righteous.
To me, I may be a good example for others in clothes, dealings with the people, and dealing with my husband, but did anyone of us ask herself: Am I a good example for others in regard to rearing my children? If I am not, so what should I do to be a role model? What are the means which help me achieve that? These are the questions which we are going to answer in the following dialogue with Iman Al Harby, one of the educational researchers and one of those who are concerned with the Muslim women's affairs.
* Does the greatest burden of rearing lie on the mother only or both parents are involved?
Rearing of children is the responsibility of both parents, but the greatest burden lies on the mother. The Messenger of Allah say (peace be upon him) said: "All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care. A woman is the guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it." Moreover, a mother is nearer to her children more than a father, especially in this time where a father is trying to provide an honorable life for the children.
* If we want to rear our children properly, we need more effort; so are there benefits for rearing?
Of the virtues of rearing is: Having righteous children who are the output of a great rearing that contains patience and persistence. A righteous child will be an extension to its parents after their death. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: [of which] a virtuous descendant who prays for him (for the deceased)." A person will come on the Day of Recompense while he has as huge deeds as mountains in his scale, then he asks: From where these deeds came? It will be said to him: By the forgiveness of your son to you.
Good rearing is a reason for increasing the reward: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who calls others to follow the Right Guidance will have a reward equal to the reward of those who follow him, without their reward being diminished in any respect on that account." When a mother teaches her children Salah, ablution, Adhkar, Sujud-ul-Shukr (Prostration of Thankfulness to Allah) when something good happens, invocation, resorting to Allah, and the Salah of fulfilling the demands before going to exams, all these will be in the scale of her good deeds.
* Why did Islam exhort to showing benevolence to daughters?
Because in the Pre-Islamic Period, they were buried alive, oppressed, and were given along with inheritance like pieces of furniture. However, when Islam came, it raised their status, honored them, and commanded Muslims to respect them starting from their birth to their death. Islam commanded parents not to feel upset when they deliver girls and if they do, they shall be sinful and rebellion against the destiny of Allah. Moreover, Islam encouraged Muslims to take care of girls in particular and set the reward for rearing one or more girls is Paradise.
* What are the qualities of a successful mother who deserves good treatment?
One day, Abu Al Aswad Ad-Du'aly gathered his children and said to them: I have done well to you when you are young and likewise I did when you grow up and even before you are born. They said: You have done well to us when we were young and old, but how did you do well to us before we are born? He said: I chose your mother well.
Of the qualities of a righteous mother are:
* Showing sincerity to Allah.
She rears her children for the sake of Allah because children are a trust given to her by Allah to take care of them.
* She should be a good example for her children in her dealings, morals, acts of worship, following the regulation, and in her food and drink. A child is like a sponge that absorbs all around it and when a mother behaves well, Allah will protect her children because of her good rearing to her children. Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says: "And their father was a righteous man."
The important thing is to always remind them of our good example, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), because all people err except him.
Observing patience and forbearance: This quality is barely existent because when your children come back from school, they find their mother yelling, fighting, and nervous.
Indeed, rearing needs efforts, and it is enough for you to listen to the saying of Allah (may He be Exalted): "Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning."
There is an important point which I want to draw your attention to, which is: Not to compare them with yourselves when we were at their age. Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Rear your children and know that they were created for a different time than yours.
* Mercy and love: I advise every mother to replace punishment with love because unfortunately in many houses the parents have become tools for torturing the children. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Hang the whip, but did not say: Hit with the whip. A mother may use the reward method, but she should start talking about the reward and the ranks of Paradise. She should explain that between every degree and the next is like between the heavens and the earth, so a mother should choose the proper method of punishment and do not resort to hitting as an only choice. There is a great rearing rule which Ali ibn Abu Talib laid down, which is: Play with them for seven years, rear them for another seven years, befriend them for another seven years, then leave the matter to them. In the first seven years, one should play, show tenderness and kindness provided that a child is not spoiled. In the second seven years, rearing and education should be direct. "Command your children to offer Salah when they reach seven years old and beat them if they do not offer it at the age of ten." As for the third seven years, dialogue and discussion should take place. If this great method is applied, many problems shall be solved.
* Equality and justice: Justice should be applied in everything because the heavens and the earth are created on justice. Even in praise and thanking, beware of comparing children to one another because this generates envy. One should equate between children in gifts and presents; and there is a wrong concept that boys should be given more money than girls because a male has the double share of a female, which should only be applied in inheritance, otherwise Islam equated between them.
* Wisdom: "And he, to whom wisdom is granted, is indeed granted abundant good." A mother should be wise in her dealings with her children which requires that she reads more and consults the specialists more.
Of the wise methods of education is education through situations and practice. For example, when she hears the Adhan (call for Salah), she tells the children to listen and repeat the Adhan.
* Invoking and beseeching Allah: Rearing will not be effective except by invocation. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked: How far is between the heavens and the earth? He replied: An answered invocation [he means that a sincere invocation will raise the ranks of a person high, so righteous actions cancels distances and lift a person high]. So, a mother should invoke Allah for her children with guidance and she should despair if she sees that one of her children is not righteous. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbad the parents to invoke Allah against their children. I recall that once a mother invoked Allah against her young daughter because she always provoked her. The child suffered many diseases until she got married and did not beget children. Another story: A woman entered a masjid while she was crying. The one next to her asked her about the reason of her crying. She said: I have a disobedient boy. The other woman said to her: I had a disobedient boy like him and I used to seize the times of answering the invocation to invoke Allah for him with guidance, do you know who is he? He is the imam of this masjid.
* Rearing children for good manners: A person should rear himself for good manners then rears his children. The most important is reinforcing their relationship with Allah (Glory be to Him) and instilling creed in them. Speak with them about the favors of Allah, devotion, and fearing Him. Be a model for them by keeping to Salah and make them memorize the Glorious Qur'an and Adhkar so as to have blessing in sustenance and health. A mother should exert efforts and seek the reward from Allah, for Allah does not waste the reward of those who do righteously.
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