In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

The Role of the Family in Raising the Children

1- Giving a good practical example

(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center or Raleigh, NC on May 12, 2000)

Allah (S.W.T.) has entrusted parents with their children. Parents bear the responsibility to raise their children in the Islamic way. If they do that they will be blessed in this life and in the Hereafter, and if they don't, they will get bad and harmful result during their life and in the Hereafter.

The role of the family in raising the children is one of the most important roles. It is the first factor that influences the behavior of the children in their early childhood. For this reason, the family responsibility toward its children is great and the family will be accountable for them. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Each and everyone of you is responsible and accountable for your responsibility. So the man is responsible in his house and accountable for his family, the woman is responsible in her husband's house and accountable for her husband's family." {Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim.} The prophet (S.A.W.) did not relieve anyone from responsibility and everyone will be accountable for it in this life and in the Hereafter.

The prophet (S.A.W.) told us that, "Every newborn is born on the pure nature (Fitrah, which is Islam), and his parents would either make him a Jew, a Christian, or a fire worshipper." {Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim.} So, the first influence on the children is the parents, then the older brothers. This is a reality, which we can not escape. This influence starts in the early life of the child.

Allah (S.W.T.) has put in every person the good tendencies and the bad tendencies so choice and testing will be performed, so parents must encourage and neuter the good tendencies in the child so he can become a useful person that helps himself and people. Allah (S.W.T) says in surat At-Tahrim, (verse 6), which is translated as, "O you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones." And the protection of yourself and your family from Hell fire won't be with any thing but the good education, the practice of good morals, and the guidance to nobility.

So, one of the greatest duties of the Muslim family is to raise its children based on Islam and will not be considered a Muslim family until it does this task properly. Raising children based on Islam will occur only when Islamic values are manifested in the way the family conducts all its affairs.

Raising children based on Islam does not occur with wishful thinking, sincerity, and the will only. Nor does it occur through advice from the parents to their children that they should be holding onto Islam and good morals. This alone is not enough. Rather, it is a must that you present the good practical example while you give advice to the children.

The good practical example from the parents and the older brothers and sisters is the most important effort they make after they give advice about holding onto Islam and good morals. In many situations, the good practical example is enough.

Due to the importance of the good practical example, the great messengers of Allah (S.W.T.) were a practical example for their followers; they demonstrated in their lives what they called for. The prophet (S.A.W.) was the best practical example for the Muslims to follow. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Ahzab, (verse 21), what can be translated as, "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much."

The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) always demonstrated the Islam that he called for, and the Qur'an that he delivered. So, he was a living example of the Qur'an that walks on earth and lives amongst the people. About this, A'eshah (R.A.) replied to the one who asked about the morals of the prophet (S.A.W.): "His morals were the Qur'an." {Reported by Imam Muslim.}

So, the good practical example is necessary to make the upbringing process successful. The parents are the first ones that give the good practical example to their children when they order them to do good and refrain from evil. They are the ones that also give the poor and contradictory example for their children when they advise them to do good but they themselves do not do good, and advise them to refrain from doing evil, but they themselves do evil. When the parents offer the contradictory example, they undermine all what they advised and taught to their children. This is because the children will think that what their parents are calling for are nothing but ideals that can not be implemented in life.

So, to all the fathers and mothers out there, when you order your children to do good and refrain from doing evil, you yourselves should practice what you are preaching, and show your children that what you are calling for are not ideals and that you are already implementing that. Otherwise, you will lose the creditability and affect of your words.

For example:

When you order your children to pray when they are seven like the prophet (S.A.W.) told us, show them that you are promptly praying five times a day. Also, show them the importance of Salah through your deeds. Otherwise, what is the benefit to order them to pray if the children see their parents slacking off their Salah?

To the Muslim father and mother, if you want your children to keep away from the bad company and stick with the good company, you yourselves should do that first, and help them and engorge them to find the good one.

If you want your children to refrain from lying and to be truthful, then you yourselves should be that way.

If you want you children to stay away from prohibitions, you should be away from them first. There are many examples. This is only a few.

Briefly speaking, we must present to our children a good practical example so that they can follow. Raising them any other way will not work because the good example is the only way to implant the values and virtues in the individual's life.


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Last Updated December 18, 2000 at 2:00 A.M. / ema