In Part 1 we discussed different definitions of success and having the correct intention for wanting to have successful children. But, how can we as parents actually facilitate this success?
Worshipping Allah (SWT)
Allah (SWT) told us that worshipping Him (SWT) is the true purpose of life (Adh-Dhariyat:56). Linking our children to worshipping Him properly is one of the best gifts and strengths we can pass on to them. Worshipping Him (SWT) alone is the essence of Islam. This involves making Allah (SWT) the most important factor in our child’s life, and judging ourselves and everything surrounding us according to the criterion that He has revealed and taught.
If we find our hearts lost, confused and drowning in sins, it indicates our deviation from the original purpose we were created for. Without worshipping Allah (SWT), our systems come crashing down and we fall into traps, temptations, calamities and eventually our own failure. This worship is the most essential food for the survival of our souls; it benefits, nurtures, nourishes and strengthens our souls, bodies and hearts.
Some parents don’t practise what they preach. Children emulate what they see, and the environment or people they are surrounded by have a major effect on their hearts and lives. We have to set a good example for our children to follow and realise that we are their role models – whether we like it or not.
Parents and children should never give up on each other no matter what age or stage they are at. Talking freely and discussing our concerns can make drastic improvements in our lives. Every child is born with a pure natural fitrah. Whatever the child is taught through example, teaching or experience is what determines his or her belief system. We shouldn’t expect that introducing our children to faith when they have become rebellious teenagers can somehow miraculously rectify them overnight. The seeds of faith have to be planted and nurtured from a young age, so that the child can gain understanding and guidance. Although it is never too late, it is never too early either.
Children and parents are not just a joy or adornment of this life but they are also a major test. Allah I chooses our families, and this is a trial for us. That beautiful perfect bundle of joy that we are handed at birth should be regarded as a responsibility and test for ourselves from Day One. Those who are deprived of children are tested with that. But those with children are also tested, alhamdulillah.
Children are a gift and blessing for us. They can also be an excellent opportunity for us. Many of us dream of ambitious da’wah projects and converting the whole of humanity to Islam overnight. We forget what is right beneath our eyes though; our children yearn for our time whilst we are focused on saving and teaching others. If each of us took care of our own children and families, this would gradually translate to a change in the condition of our Ummah. How well we looked after our own flock is also something we will be held accountable for. We should remember ‘charity begins at home’.
Allah (SWT) has chosen our families and He can put us in whichever situation He chooses. Sometimes we may feel the test is simply too much. We should humble ourselves by remembering the tests that others have gone through: the suffering of Bilal (RA), the striving and imprisonment of Prophet Yusuf (AS) and the starving children in impoverished nations or war stricken widows around the world today. Do we really have much to complain about? Being happy with the decree of Allah I can be the crux of complete submission to His will that many of us lack. We should replace our ingratitude with thankfulness and dispel our negativity with patience and perseverance.
After making our best efforts and exhausting our options in helping our children to the right paths, we may reach a point where the best thing to do is step back. We have to ditch our emotions and accept that we cannot guide anyone if they themselves do not wish to be guided. Nagging and constant pressure usually pushes people away.
Blessed are the children who appreciate their parents and attain their pleasure and paradise via them. Blessed are the parents who understand the gift of a child and attain paradise by raising them in the best manner. Respect and love between parents and children is a key aspect of Islamic teaching. We may not be able to control the fate of our children, but we should strive to raise them to the best of our own potential. Ultimately though, they are individuals in their own right, and they belong to Allah (SWT). They are not our possessions. They have a right to make their own choices. It is their life after all. We have no right to impose our will or attitude on them. We shouldn’t believe that we deserve to expect something perfect from them.
Even prophets were unable to save their families who disobeyed their Creator. Lut (AS) couldn’t save his son or wife. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) couldn’t save his father. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) couldn’t save his beloved uncle. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t try though. They still showed them kind treatment and devotedly advised them. We cannot question the justice and wisdom of Allah I, because in the end, the choice lies with the individuals themselves.
Supplicate for a pious legacy
Every human being leaves a legacy on this planet and leaves their future generations and communities behind. Fir’aun (at the time of Prophet Moses (AS)) and Abu Jahl (at the time of Muhammad (SAW)) are still remembered for their legacy, and the prophets and sahabah (companions) are still remembered for theirs.
Why do we not analyse ourselves, our company and loved ones? How are we contributing to the deen of Allah (SWT)? What will be written about in our book of deeds? There’s no point waiting till the Day of Judgement to think about our legacy – rather, it is now that we should be making preparations for that day. If we strive to better ourselves and our children, we can reduce our future regrets that will be read out to us by the angels on the Day of Judgement.
Allah (SWT) guides whom He wills and protects whom He wills. But, the Prophet (SAW) taught us to ‘tie our camel’ and then also trust in Allah (SWT). How many of us make du’a to Allah (SWT) to protect ourselves and our future generations from Shirk and disobedience? Shirk or disbelief is the greatest downfall and failure. How many of us even consider it a possibility that it could be our child that could be the next apostate? Out of our complacency or heedlessness, we sometimes forget that making these du’as is crucial.
Du’a is a very powerful avenue that many of us neglect. We should instil the habit of du’a in our children and use this in the smallest and greatest of matters. If we don’t ask Allah (SWT), then we may not get what we need because we didn’t ask in the first place.
We should look deeply at our actions and pinpoint where we are falling short or going wrong – constantly asking Allah (SWT) for forgiveness whilst doing so. We should remember to make the effort to supplicate and turn to Allah (SWT). He is the one that can relieve us of any difficulty. His mercy is unimaginably vast – He just has to say “Be” and it is.
May we all leave a legacy of knowledgeable practising believers who aspire and strive to attain paradise, envisaging the pleasure of our Lord as the highest most precious ‘success’. Ameen!
Hina Qazi is a wife and mother from the UK and an Analytical Chemist by profession, currently residing in the UAE. She enjoys writing about social and societal issues from an Islamic perspective.