9 Islamic Habits to Establish for the Welfare of Our Children
Not for the faint-at-heart. Unlocking a bundle of challenges to make legends out of our children is not supremely comfy, nor easy.
Yet, because this life is their and our last chance to get to the highest of places in the Hereafter, it is worth doing whatever we can to drag our children there. Children are blank pages – yet, we cannot ‘Undo’ and start over and over again. We cannot wreck this parenting chance we have and then try to mend broken children.
When it comes to good habits, whatever we focus on grows. For example, if our focus is to make sure that our children pray on time, we will be able to help them with this. But if our focus is diluted and spread across numerous things at once, it might be difficult for children to follow. If they or you have trouble keeping up with everything that needs to be done, slow down, make a list of your most important goals and focus on them before moving on to the next ones. You can do this!
Also, don’t be that person. You know, the one who lectures their family members to boredom. No matter how much we give our children a lecture about everything they need to do, our words won’t have as much of an impact as our actions. Our actions speak louder. Children look at and imitate what we do more than what we tell them to.
Some good habits that we can observe and encourage our children to keep up with are:
1. Prioritise congregational prayer. If the mosque is nearby, take your son there often. Initially, you could take him to pray Jumuah with you. Once that becomes a habit, you can take him every day for whichever salaah is easiest on him. Once that also becomes a habit, you can take him for the next easiest salaah and so on. It might take him a year to habituate to praying each salaah. In 5-6 years, he should be able to pray all 5 in the masjid, in sha Allaah.
If the mosque is not nearby, you could pray in congregation at home. And if you might be moving home sooner or later, you might want to pick a home as close to the mosque as possible. It’s totally worth it.
And the girls can pray in congregation at home, whether the masjid is nearby or not.
2. Eat at least one meal together every day. Islam encourages us to eat together. But now, even Western parenting experts think it’s a good idea for the family to have dinner together. Dinnertime is a good time to talk to each other.
3. Don’t allow children to watch immoral movies and shows. This topic deserves its own blog post. So, I’ll write one later, in sha Allaah. For now, it suffices to say that our children absorb everything they see and hear into their personalities. So it is best to filter what they watch and spend time on.
4. Don’t allow them to stay overnight at others’ homes. Generally, it is a good practice to go to bed after Ishaa. Partying into the night even in our own homes is not the recommended way to spend the night. And our children are too precious to risk allowing them to stay overnight in their friend’s or anyone else’s home.
5. Eat only halal food and avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Our children are watching and they are quick to imitate. They’re watching and learning how we earn our livelihood and spend it. If you’re smoking, how would you be able to teach them not to do the same?
6. Send them to an Islamic school. If they have a good Islamic foundation, upbringing and education, they will be better equipped to distinguish right from wrong. If the Islamic schools in your community are not affordable, ask other Muslim parents for suggestions for good public schools. Even if our children are studying in an Islamic school, we still have to pay attention to their Islamic education and etiquette. For example, schools won’t know whether our kids pray on time and it is up to us to remind our children to pray and perform their obligatory duties.
7. Try to take them for Hajj and Umrah, if you can afford it. Hajj can be difficult even for adults; so, take their age into consideration and think about whether you can handle them. Umrah should be considerably easier.
8. Teach them to lead others in prayer. We need to bring up our children to be leaders in whatever they do. Don’t be fooled by their tininess or their innocence. They’re more capable than we think. We need to expect more from them and encourage them to have outstanding traits and habits. Being able to lead others in prayer is an important skill to have and can also boost their confidence.
9. Think about getting them married early to protect them from the fitnah of this dunya. Maybe the Master’s degrees and PhDs are very important. But after talking to a few teenagers, I understand that the temptation of zinaa is closer to our children than we think. And teenagers feel like we don’t understand the issues they’re facing. We’ll need to put ourselves in their shoes and be empathetic. If our son/daughter is finding it difficult to resist the fitnah around them, we could think about helping them get married early while we support them until they’re able to support themselves. Or, we could come up with a more creative solution.
Education and learning is a lifelong thing. Marriage and life shouldn’t stop anyone from learning. Should learning stop our children from marrying and leading a normal life? Nope. Not that either.
This kind of decision to marry early or not varies greatly from person to person depending on their circumstances and this requires a lot of thinking and istikharah.
Being a perfect Muslim parent is impossible. Perfection belongs to Allaah Alone. And it is not easy to establish too many good habits at once. But if we can take on one good habit each month, that’s over 10 good habits in a year. Doable, right?