Praise be to Allah who promised those who preserve and keep the trust a great reward and threatened those who waste the trust with a terrible torment. I praise Allah for His Plentiful Favors and I thank Him for His Continuous Benevolence, for He granted us children and commanded us to care for them and guard them against deviation and corruption. I send peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, upon his family, his Companions, his followers, and those who follow him righteously until the Day of Recompense.
We have spoken in the previous lesson about a great right which Allah imposed on parents, which is the right of children; and we discussed general rights, of which: A mother and a father should choose each other properly, naming children nicely, offering `Aqiqah (sacrifice for a newborn), breast-feeding them, caring for them, and spending upon them.
In this lesson we shall speak about a great right for children which is connected by their education and rearing which should be based on the instructions of the Shari`ah.
This rearing is based on strong and firm bases from which an educator start with feeling and working to use beneficial means in this rearing. That basis is the feeling of the parents or anyone takes their role of the magnitude of the liability on their shoulder. So, when an educator feels that great responsibility, he increases his concern in searching for useful means to rear his children according to the teaching of the religion and piety. This responsibility is mentioned in Allah's Saying: "O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allâh, but do that which they are commanded." [Surat At-Tahrim: 6].
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) created people and gave them the sound natural disposition. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "So set you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) your face towards the religion (of pure Islâmic Monotheism) Hanîf (worship none but Allâh Alone). Allâh's Fitrah (i.e. Allâh's Islâmic Monotheism) with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq-illâh (i.e. the religion of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism): that is the straight religion, but most of men know not." [Surat Ar-Rum: 30].
An educator is the one who preserves this natural disposition of the children against any confusion. Al Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone), but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Zoroastrianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?" [Reported by Al Bukhari No. (1359) in the book of funerals, chapter on when a child embraces Islam then dies; should we perform Salah on its corpse?, and it was also reported by Muslim No. (2658) in the book of fate, chapter on every child is born on natural disposition].
Moreover, an educator starts his feeling of responsibility from the Prophet's saying: "All of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects." [Reported by Al Bukhari 2/380 No. (893) in the book of Friday, chapter on performing Friday Salah in villages and cities and was also reported by Muslim 3/1459 No. (1829) in the book of princedom, chapter on the virtue of a just ruler].
So, the core of rearing is the huge feeling of responsibility, and strong feeling of its importance. When an educator feels this responsibility, he starts his educational steps firmly and soundly, and perhaps here I should allude to some basic educational features which are better for an educator to remember and act according to them as much as he can:
The first feature is: Keenness to beget righteous children by seeking the proper means even before they exist. So, it is desirable for the spouses to recite before having sexual intercourse [with his wife] the following invocation which was mentioned in the Sunnah: "In the name of Allah, O Allah! Keep Satan away from us, and also protect what you bestow upon us (i.e. the coming offspring) against Satan." [Reported by Al Bukhari 9/228 No. (5165) in the book of marriage, chapter on what should a person say before having sexual intercourse [with his wife], and was also reported by Muslim 2/1058 No. (1434) in the book of marriage, chapter on what is desirable to say when having sexual intercourse]. When the spouses do so, Satan shall not harm their offspring as was authentically reported in the Hadith.
The second feature is: After delivering a newborn baby, the people of knowledge prefer that Adhan (call for Salah) should be recited in his right ear and Iqamah (call for commencing Salah) should be recited in his left ear as was reported in the sound narrations. The wisdom behind that is that the first thing a newborn baby hears when it comes out to the world is the word of monotheism and glorification of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
The third feature is: It is an important feature of rearing that parents should be keen to rear their children from young age and do not let them until they grow up. Accordingly, a father should start sharing his boys and the mother with her daughters their playing and interests, and not to despise their interests and desires even if they are so childish. By doing this, their characters start growing naturally and their capabilities, talents, and potentials start growing. A wise father is the one who tries to discover these talents in his children, develop, guide, and direct his children to goodness and righteousness.
Of the Hadiths reported in playing with young children is what Al Bukhari (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) reported in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to get out his tongue to Al Hasan until he sees the redness of his tongue and Al Hasan liked that.
The fourth feature is: When a child reaches seven years old, which is a very important period and Islam gives it a great care when it urges parents to start training young ones for practical obedience. Abu Dawud reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old;and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately." [Reported by Abu Dawud No. (495) in the book of Salah, chapter on "When a child is commanded to perform Salah?"].
So, the Prophet (peace be upon him) guided his nation to three things which are important to instill in children in this age:
The first is: The command of performing Salah, which indicates its importance, greatness, and necessity of directing children to it early because Salah is a continuous daily work which if a child is trained for, it will become familiar with. So, a child shall not get bored or forget when it grows up. Then, Salah is the second pillar of Islam and the first act of worship about which a person is asked on the Day of Recompense, and if he was diligent to perform them, his entire actions will be accepted, however if he was negligent, his other actions will be wasted either.
Moreover, Salah is a strong sign for good connection with Allah (Glory be to Him), therefore, the Messenger of Allah commanded parents to teach it to their children since young age and even before the maturity age. When Allah is pleased with a person and guides him to keep to Salah, it will be a support for him to keep to all acts of worship.
The second is: Moving from the stage of commanding, encouraging, and exhortation to the stage of beating lightly i.e., a young child should be beaten if it reached ten of age without performing Salah or neglected in performing it. However, beating should not be heavy, harsh, or leaves traces on the child's body, and not to be in dangerous positions; but it should be beaten to feel the responsibility and the importance of what it wasted.
It should be noted that beating should not be applied except after many times of admonition, encouragement and exhortation; but when it fulfills the command, it will be better for it.
The third is: Separating between boys and girls when they reach ten years old because in this age a boy or a girl might reach the puberty age, and taking caution in regard of children is very important because Islam exhorts Muslims to purity and chastity.
After this stage, children should know that they have their privacy which he or she may conceal from others, and each one of them should pay attention to his or her interests and privacy, on the other hand parents should respect that.
Dear Muslim brother, of the most important features of rearing is: Parents should be a good example for their children: A good example in acts of worship, behavior, and dealing inside and outside the house because children look at their parents as their example which they should follow. Accordingly, parents should beware not to do or say anything reprehensible or wrong such as delaying Salah, smoking, or uttering inappropriate words, and so on.
Of these features also is to instill in themselves the connection with Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), believing in Him (may He be Glorified and Exalted), strengthening the link with Him, and recalling the glory and the power of Allah (may He be Exalted) each according to his age and level.
Of the things which help them are: Training them from young age for doing the acts of worship, promoting their manners, behavior, and dealings with the people in a good way.
Of the important education features is the participation of parents to their children in many matters, especially prior joining school. This is confirmed in the prep and high school stage by encouraging children to what is beneficial and good, checking their conditions then directing and guiding them to the things which reform their conditions and fix their behavior.
Of the educational features which should be inculcated in the children is memorizing the Book of Allah (may He be Exalted) in young age, for it is the protector, by the will of Allah (may He be Exalted), against the temptations of Satan and a strong barrier against its attacks, so it cannot tempt them or insinuate to them to do something reprehensible.
Of the educational features especially for elder children to make them feel their importance and making them feel they are reliable, so they are given confidence so as to do things which they master.
Of the things which help them are: Giving them proper gifts, charging them with some works to recognize their importance. If they are on a journey and suchlike, they should call their parents to tell them how are they doing, and setting up parties when there is an occasion such as success and excellence, returning from a journey, and getting promotion at work, and so on.
Dear Muslim brother, these are a set of educational features which an educator should remember and deal with and he should be sure that the fruit is attainable soon by the will of Allah. Perhaps I conclude this lesson with the things which help dealing with these features, of which are:
Choosing righteous friends for the children from young age because a friend affects his friend positively or negatively. Making a small library in the house and fill it with useful books that are suitable for the children. Fill the house with Allah's Obedience, such as Adhkar (invocations and Remembrances said at certain times on a regular basis), Salah, reciting the Qur'an and so on.
I ask Allah (may He be Exalted) to reform ourselves as well as our children, to forgive our sins and the sins of our parents and teachers, and to reform our Muslim rulers; for He is All-Hearing, All-Responding and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.