The Wonders Of Parenthood
Parenthood brings a lot of positive changes in one’s life. For one, when you become a parent, not only do you have someone who will always be there for you, inshaaAllah, but you will also have someone who will remember you even after you die (if you die before your child/children, that is).
As wonderful as parenthood is, the challenge and responsibility that comes with it can be overwhelming. You have to put in a lot of time, effort and energy to raise active, healthy children who are responsible and pious. All parents, no matter where they live in the world, have similar challenges and struggles with raising their children.
For those of us who are Muslim and live in a country where the majority is non-Muslim, like the U.S., the challenges, struggles and worries we go through as mothers and fathers are even more pressing.
The moment your little one comes into this world, you begin to ask yourself many questions.
How can I protect my child from the environment we are currently living in? An environment which no matter how hard we try, is extremely difficult to avoid.
As soon as you step out of your house, you will see women who are wearing next to nothing (especially in the summer), you will hear loud music coming from the car next to you and you will see men and women smoking and drinking.
In other words, you will come across everything that Islam prohibits and you will find it difficult to see everything that Islam encourages. This is the reason that protecting your children from these things while they’re living in it and witnessing it on a daily basis becomes really difficult.
As your children grow up, your efforts to protect and safeguard them from their surroundings will become even more challenging.
Why? Because the older the child becomes, the more things she will be exposed to.
So as a Muslim parent, you need to understand how your child can be influenced and where your child’s influences come from.
There are two major things that influence children, especially when they are young.
Most, if not all, public schools are administered and taught by non-Muslims. At a young age (if you decide to take your child to a public school) he or she will learn about non-Muslim holidays and see non-Muslim teachers who dress nothing like his/her parents.
From the time they are just five years old, they will be exposed to things which are not liked or permissible in Islam, for example music.
Just observe any Muslim preschooler or kindergartner. Before they started school, their favorite thing to recite all day was Surah Al-Fatihah. After a couple of weeks of going to school, they come home singing nursery rhymes and kids songs.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot know what your children hear, see or even learn about in school. Some things are just out of your control.
Why do I say this? Because…
- After preschool and kindergarten, your child will be in school for eight or more hours.
- When your child goes to school, you are not with him.
- Your child goes to school with other children—children who may have bad manners and use foul language (the things that come out of some children’s mouths are unbelievable!)
- The majority of children will no doubt be non-Muslim
- They may see or hear other children doing or saying things which are forbidden in Islam (some kids will talk about alcohol and smoking and all types of other crazy things their parents do at home).
For the listed reasons, your child may be highly influenced by things he hears or sees and learns about while in school.
After school, the next place which can have a big influence on your child’s behavior and mannerism is what you, the parent, do at home.
We’ve all heard of the saying, ‘action speaks louder than words.’
You can advise and tell your children to be good Muslims all you want, but if you, Mom and Dad, are not actually showing what it means to be a good Muslim, your advice is nothing. Your child will do exactly as you do.
- If the children don’t see you praying, guess what, they will not pray either.
- If they don’t see you reciting and learning the Quran, most likely, they will not bother with it either.
- And yes, if you use bad language, they will too.
That is why it is important to be an example for your child/children. It’s better to combine advice with action. Show them what it means to be Muslim.
Another major influence on children is what they watch on TV. As many Sheikhs say, TV – especially with 100 plus channels of everything from movies to music – can be a big Shaytan in your house. Know that what you allow your child to watch will no doubt influence the way they think and act.
A child who watches television even for just an hour can see things which are bad for his eyes, and mind. Even commercials are filled with filthy things such as half-naked people and sexually explicit scenes.
Your Responsibility As A Muslim Parent
Your child/children are a blessing. When we are given these beautiful little blessings, we have to be fully aware of what we teach them at home. We must also make sure we try to protect them from the obvious harms in the environment in which we live.
That means making tough decisions.
You have to put your child/children first. If you think something will harm them in any way, especially in their deen (religion), try your very best to protect your child from that thing.
Always open your eyes and pay close attention to your children. Do your best to shield them from harmful influences.
Sister Um Ibrahim Ali is a regular guest blogger on Islamic Learning Materials. She discusses her adventures as a Muslim mother on her blog Sweet Mama Loves You.