7 Must-Have Values Every Parent Should Teach Their Child – To Raise a Firm Believer
Is my child going to be a good Muslim?
Will she put hijab on when she grows up?
Can I trust him with a cell phone at the age of ten?
I doing my job as a parent? Should I go back home?
What if…. How will I… What’s the best way to…
All of the above thoughts and questions come to the mind of a concerned Muslim parent. When a couple decides to have a baby, they know that having a child is a blessing but the magnitude of the challenge as a parent does not cross their mind at all.
To answer all of these questions and more will require a course to cover every little detail, but that is not the point of this post. As a mature man and woman, you know that life comes with lots of excitement and challenges. And if you had to write a book or even a cheat sheet for someone who is about to come into this world, there is no way you would be able to cover everything in a few pages. You would have to write an encyclopedia and that would still not be sufficient.
Parenting is one of those areas of your life that requires a lot of attention as it is about fulfilling the responsibility that was given to you by your creator. After discussing this with many fathers and mothers of different generations, there are some core values that we need to make sure we equip our children with.
We will be taking a brief look at 7 core values which, if they are tightened up and not left loose, will enable you to raise a sound and firm believer. We need a generation that can bring change and add value to our society. As you are reading about each of these seven core values, you’ll be asking yourself, what can I do to instill this value in my child? My advice is to ask yourself, do I have the nuts and bolts of this value tightened up? Because if you forget about yourself and only concentrate on your child, it would be a bigger loss as you and your child are going to come alone on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah.
This is not an overnight solution, but if you are looking for a way to bring change to yourself, your children, family, and society around you, then read on. Let’s get started!
Seek Honor in Islam Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, left on a journey to Syria and with him was Abu Ubaida. They came upon a creek, so Umar dismounted from his camel, took off his sandals and placed them over his shoulder, and then led the camel over the creek. Abu Ubaida said, “O commander of the faithful, are you doing this? You have taken off your sandals and placed them on your back and you led the camel through the creek yourself. I do not think it will be easy for me to get the people of this country to honor you.” Umar said, “If only someone else had said this, O Abu Ubaida! I have made this a deterrent for the nation of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Verily, we were a disgraceful people and Allah honored us with Islam, so if we seek honor from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us.”
We tend to skip our daily prayers or even Friday prayers because we are worried we’ll get fired from our job. We will call ourselves Abe instead of Abdullah because we are shy to have a name that is not common in society. Sometimes we don’t wear hijab or grow a beard, knowing it is from our religion, because we are afraid that the guy or girl that we want to get married to might leave us if we associate ourselves with such “backwards” traditions. As a Slave who is trying to please Allah, we should be seeking honor in Islam and not in anything else, like the way our role model Umar bin Al-Khattab advised us. This value is important for us to instill in our kids so they are not seeking recognition in any other way. But remember, if they are seeing you as a hypocritical personality, where you tend to be Abdullah at the masjid and Abe when meeting neighbors, this could have a negative impact on your child’s personality. One of our goals as parents should be to not give mixed messages to our children. Otherwise, they’ll seek honor and attention somewhere else.
Blame and excuses are the hallmarks of an unsuccessful life. In some of our Muslim cultures, and I can speak for myself, from a South Asian community, if something goes wrong in our lives, we blame our Chacha and Phupo (Uncle and Aunt) for doing black magic on us!
One responsibility that we have as a parent is to have our kids take responsibility for their actions. I will emphasize the point that we need to practice this ourselves. If our kids see father doing something wrong, but he never takes responsibility for it, then they will also have the trait of blaming everything on others.
It is a pattern in the lives of unsuccessful people to blame others and not take responsibility for their own actions. This type of attitude forces you to look at your life as a failure because you allowed yourself to be blown here and there, by any passing wind. And, you blamed the wind for how things turned out.
If you start taking responsibility for your own actions, you’ll start to do something about it. In fact, that is the mindset of an idol worshipper; one who doesn’t want to submit to Allah and make a change, so he or she turns to an idol hoping it will talk to Allah for his or her shortcomings.
It is enough for us to know what will happen on the Day of Judgment. Allah tells us in the Quran:
“And Shaitan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: ‘Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers).’ ” (Quran, Ibraaheem: 22)
So start taking responsibility for your own actions. Otherwise you’ll find yourself blaming others all of your life for your own laziness and shortcomings, while even Shaitan is telling us, “Don’t blame me, but blame yourselves.”
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’ ”
Positive thinking is a great quality of any human being. In order to be stress-free and be more effective, you’ll have to start thinking positively. Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you ignore life’s less pleasant situations. It means that your attitude towards unpleasant situations will be more positive and you’ll deal with them in a more productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
There is a negative attitude that has spread across the Muslim world. If we have trouble finding a job, we will blame society around us for being racist. If someone is going through hard times, we’ll assume Allah is punishing them because they are bad Muslims.
Allah is teaching us that we should always expect the best of Allah, meaning he will have mercy on you and will relieve you of hardship. He will forgive you if you seek forgiveness, will accept your repentance if you repent, will answer you if you supplicate, and will suffice you if you ask for something. We should call upon Allah while we are certain that we will be answered by him.
The mindset for us, and for our children, must be to fulfill his or her obligations while he or she is certain that Allah will accept his actions and forgive his sins and make his matters easier for him. So, whoever performs such a deed and believes and expects that Allah will not accept it and that it will not benefit him, this is despair from the Mercy of Allah, and is from the greatest of the major sins.
Most people assume the worst. Most people believe that they are deprived of their rights, have bad luck, deserve more than what Allah gave them, and it is as if they are saying: ‘My Lord has wronged me and deprived me of what I deserve,’ and his soul bears witness to this while his tongue denies it and refuses to openly state this. So ask yourself, are you protected from this type of mindset? This type of attitude is very destructive and we should try our best to keep our children from negativity and always think positive in all situations.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhu) said: “By the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, the believer is not given anything good better than his good expectations of Allah, and by the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, no servant of Allah expects good of Him except that Allah gives him what he expected, since all good is in His Hand.”
When the word “slave” is heard, immediately Muslims think about Guantanamo Bay or some Indians building tall structures for the Arab world! But have you thought about the time when you learned the first pillar of Islam which says, “I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Prophet Muhammad is his SLAVE and his messenger.”
If you pray five times a day, this phrase is repeated twice in each prayer. Let’s define what a slave truly is. In a nutshell, a slave is someone who does whatever his master tells him. He works for him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He doesn’t take time off or ask for compensation from his master. An employee, on the other hand, works for his or her employer, takes time off on weekends, takes vacation days, demands a salary, and can quit if he finds a better employer who will pay him more. A slave on the other hand can only be freed at his master’s will. A slave doesn’t own any property and doesn’t plan for himself.
It is an honor that Allah created us and gave us the opportunity to serve him as his slave. We can be a slave of Allah or a slave of his creation. We can write on and on about the topic of slavery in Islam, but always know that you are living your life according to the terms of your master. Your part is to find out what he wants from his righteous slaves. That can only be done by following his guidance from his book and the messengers he sent down. If we can correct this concept in our minds, life will be a lot easier, happier, and more satisfying. We will always be grateful for what our master has given us. And if he takes something away from us, we as slaves will know that it wasn’t ours to begin with, and if our Master has taken it away from us, then he is the one who created us and knows what is best for us.
A slave always gives his best to please his master, whatever the circumstances may be. If you want to raise a firm believer who is dedicated to bringing change in society, then you need to mold him or her to have the mindset of a slave; a slave of the creator of the heavens and the earth and not a slave of this world.
A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer – Prophet Muhammad
This might be hard for me to say but I am sure you wouldn’t disagree – Most of our religious leadership is not even close to following this hadith. That is why it is not mentioned much in our seminars, sermons, and conferences. In fact I would argue, most of them are not just of descent or of average strength, but are victims of the lifestyle disease of obesity.
Our goal is to be closer to Allah and Prophet Muhammad is teaching us to be a strong person. We tend to look for easier ways such as attending conferences and reading the Quran, but it’s is much harder to gain physical strength.
It’ll require us to change our whole life; what activities we do, spending thirty minutes to an hour out of our day to exercise, and eating right, which would mean controlling our habits during iftaars and wedding parties.
As parents, we need to make sure that we have a culture of active lifestyle at home. We revolve our family gatherings around outdoor activities instead of sitting in front of a screen.
If there is one quality that a Muslim who wants to bring change must have, it would be having strength. You can talk all day and make beautiful speeches, but action requires you to have a body with strength.
For those of us who were not born in the West and migrated from the Middle East, South Asia, or any other parts of the world, our hearts are usually attached back home. We’ll always be talking about how great people were back home and how this society is so bad, but we also don’t want to leave this society. It’s obvious that your life is a lot more comfortable here than it was back home. Then why the double standards–that you will be living in the so called “the land of Kuffar” and always talk down the society where you live, but you also don’t want to leave this society and go back home?
Prophets mentioned in the Quran, when they are calling their nations towards good and leaving the evil, they address them by saying “Oh My People” – meaning I am part of you. Don’t you see, I grew up amongst you, you have never seen me doing anything wrong. I am always thinking good for you. I am a prophet, so listen to me because I want to see good for you – “Oh My People.”
If you want change in society and you have been living here and know that this is home for you and your future generations, then start thinking like you are a part of the society. The only way you’ll be able to bring change to “Your People” is if you start considering yourself as one of them.
You cannot be a leader when you believe that you are an outsider. Wherever you live, have a mindset of leadership and encourage your kids to have a sense of leadership in their role as well. Always look for opportunities to make the lives of people around you better. That is what true leadership is about and our children must learn this attitude.
When we consider ourselves spiritual and being the “men of God,” we think we need to become monks who sit on their prayer rug and prayer beads and do dhikar/remembrance of Allah. All of that is fine as long as you are spending your time making sure you have done your part. It is one thing to put your trust in Allah, but as long as you have tied your camel.
This term comes from a story where a companion of Prophet Muhammad left his camel without tying it. Prophet Muhammad asked him, “Why don’t you tie down your camel” – The man said, “I put my trust in Allah”; to which Prophet Muhammad responded, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah.”
The meaning of this story is that we need to do our part first and then put our reliance in Allah. Part of our faith is to know and teach our children to trust Allah in every situation. But we need to do our part and our children must know that. They should not be spoon-fed everything and they should take ownership of their matters as they mature in age.
We need to study for our test, and then put our trust in Allah to pass. We need to take the pill, and then put our trust in Allah to cure us. We need to work out and eat healthy, and then put our trust in Allah to give us health and strength. We need to work hard, make a living, spend in Allah’s cause, and then put our trust in Allah to eliminate poverty. We need to buckle up and drive safely, and then put our trust in Allah to keep us safe. I think we get the point! Let’s move on…
Haroon Malik is a father of three children and happily married for over 11 years. Haroon had the opportunity to lead AlMaghrib Institute’s Windsor tribe; attend the first batch of 10-month Bayyinah Institute’s Arabic intensive program; and lead multiple outreach campaigns for GainPeace (ICNA’s outreach) of billboards, buses, and booths. Since early college days, Haroon has been counseling youth from tweens, teenagers to University students. By profession, Haroon Malik comes from a Financial Reporting background and currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.
He is the founder of Camp Salam which is an organization whose mission is to bring a fun and active environment for families to get together and to empower them with strategies and tools for mastering and living life fully; everything from how to be motivated, change your mindset, being healthy and physically fit, being happy and productive, time management, cultivating relationships, spirituality, and much more! He strives to be a strong believer in making continual progress in each area of his life, to have lasting growth, and a strong relationship with Allah.
Camp Salam is an environment where you will learn confidence, leadership, and how to contribute to your community. Camp Salam is mainly targeted for families and young children. We believe in empowering you with the motivation and skills to stay physically fit, teaching you love for healthy food, nature and the outdoors, while connecting with our creator - all amidst the fun of camp fires, fitness boot camps, educational activities, sports, and meaningful relationships.