Upbringing (Tarbiah or Tarbiat) And
Education Are Obligatory In Islam
Schooling Starts At Home
Are We Good Role-Models?
Your Kids Are Your
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِٱلْعَدْلِ وَٱلإحْسَانِ وَإِيتَآءِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ
“Lo, Allah enjoins justice and kindness,
and giving to kinsfolk …”
We are not alone in this world. Others, who are sharing this planet, have rights over us; the same way we have rights over them, though there is a limit to those rights. In Islam it’s called ‘Haqooq-ul-Ibaad’ – the rights of the people. On the basis of hardship and poverty, the ‘needy’ in the order of preference are the family and the relatives, then the neighbors, friends and the community, etc. We have to treat them all with kindness and mercy, because everything we do, will come back to us one day.
Before complaining that kids don’t listen today,
think of what you have passed on to them! It’s
your upbringing which is reflecting in them. If
you didn’t instill any discipline and manners
in them, don’t expect a disciplined behavior
and good manners from them. Simple!
You must have heard the comparison ‘like father, like son’ at some point in your life. In most of the cases, it’s very much true. The children are very good observers and they copy their parents or the people around them. This is a natural instinct. We laugh when we see a 3-year old boy walking in his father’s big shoes in the house, and we are filled with affection for the child. This is the instinct I am talking about.
Kids copy almost everything and if the parents are not careful in what they are doing, they can destroy their children’s lives by being bad role-models. Home is the first school before schooling and parents are the first teachers. It is at home where the foundation of a child’s life is laid. A good foundation makes the building solid and secure. It is called ‘Tarbiah’ or ‘Tarbiat’ or upbringing.
Tarbiah (upbringing) is an obligation in Islam. All parents are REQUIRED to impart this training to their children, male or female. This is the duty of every Muslim parent. They are responsible for their children’s education and good upbringing. Generally, the conduct of the children resembles the conduct of the parents.
إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
“… Lo, the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the
one best in conduct. Lo, Allah is Knower, Aware.”
Your children’s conduct shows how educated, well-mannered, civilized and responsible the parents are. Education and Tarbiah of children is compulsory in Islam. This teaches our children how to talk to the elders, how to respect others, how to behave in different situations and how to treat other human beings; not to mention how to perform religious duties. It is at home that they learn how to react to certain actions of others. Pass on to your kids the best lessons you have learned from life. Above all, teach them how to be compassionate, forgiving, merciful and respectful to others. How not to react in anger and not be revengeful. Teach them love, not hate!
وَبِٱلْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً وَبِذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَامَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَاكِينِ
وَٱلْجَارِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْجَارِ ٱلْجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلجَنْبِ
وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ
“… Show kindness unto parents, and unto
near kindred, and orphans, and the needy,
and unto the neighbor who is of kin (unto you)
and the neighbor who is not of kin, and the
fellow-traveler and the wayfarer and the slaves
whom your right hands possess…”
Home is the very first school and offers real
education. Parents are the first teachers and
role-models for children who often copy them.
You can make or break your child’s life! So,
be nice, honest, just and a good role-model!
Let me tell you a beautiful story. A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and a 4-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. You will also get old one day (smile)!
The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. He spilled food off his spoon onto the floor, milk spilled often on the tablecloth, and so on. The son and daughter-in-law used to watch patiently but then later on they became irritated with the mess.
‘We must do something about grandfather,’ said the man to his wife. ‘We’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.’ So, the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner-table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
Sometimes, when the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, he had tears in his eyes as he ate alone. Still the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
One evening while having dinner, the wife was handing over a plate to her husband but they fumbled and the plate fell down and broke creating big mess. The four-year old child watched it all in silence.
One day, when the man came home from work, he noticed his son playing with wood- scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly: ‘What are we making?’
Just as sweetly, the boy replied: ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama. When I grow up I’ll give you food in that.’
The 4-year old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were shocked and speechless. Tears started rolling down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what needed to be done.
That evening the husband and wife took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, the grandfather ate every meal with the family and nobody cared any longer when a fork was dropped or food spilled.
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُوۤاْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً
إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلاَهُمَا
فَلاَ تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّ وَلاَ تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيماً
وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل
رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيراً
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none
save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents.
If one of them or both of them attain to old age with
you, say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but
speak unto them a gracious word. And lower unto
them the wing of submission through mercy, and say:
My Lord, have mercy on them both as they did
care for me when I was little.”
Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes always observe, their ears always listen, and their minds always process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives.
We should be careful about one thing though. We should not create a scene (fighting with each other, cursing, screaming, throwing or breaking things, waving fists, etc., etc.). Even if you are angry, try to calm down in front of your kids.
When you impart awareness, guidance or education by telling your children, your family members, your friends, neighbors and others what is good and what is bad; what they should be doing and what they should not be doing, you are not only doing your duty to Allah (Amr bil maaroof wa nahi-a anil munkar). You will be rewarded for that. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said that telling somebody something good is also charity. So, you get rewarded for charity.
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Enjoining
all that is good is a Sadaqa."
(Bukhari, Book 73, No. 50)
In today’s world, it is very difficult to teach your children something good the way you want to teach. They are under a lot of foreign influence and external pressure due to the media and internet. Still, we should try our best because it is an obligation. Try being a good role-model to them in your day-to-day affairs and conduct. The wise parents realize that every day the building-blocks are being laid for the child’s future. It all begins at home – the very first school offering real education!
Narrated Abu Sulaiman and Malik bin Huwairith:
“We came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and we were (a few) young men of approximately equal age and stayed with him for twenty nights. Then he thought that we were anxious for our families, and he asked us whom we had left behind to look after our families, and we told him. He was kindhearted and merciful, so he said, "Return to your families and teach them (religious knowledge) and order them (to do good deeds) and offer your prayers in the way you saw me offering my prayers, and when the stated time for the prayer becomes due, then one of you should pronounce its call (i.e. the Adhan), and the eldest of you should lead you in prayer.”
(Bukhari, Book 73, No. 37; and Book 11, No. 601, 604 & 653)
Note: Modern scholars (Ulema) unanimously agree that it should be the "one with most knowledge of the Quran" who should lead the prayer. That makes sense and the Hadith above meant the same, because generally the elders had more knowledge. But 'Fitnah-promoters' of today deliberately put a 10-year old boy (Hafiz) as Imam to lead the prayer and then post such pictures all over the internet. A 10-year old boy has no 'KNOWLEDGE' of the Quran. He has just MEMORIZED it. Educate yourself, people! It's for your own benefit!
(From my book “You Are Special”, pub. 2010)