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I was at the masjid today before Fajr and I observed that some of the fathers had brought their children with them throughout the whole night. There was one particular sight which caught my attention. There was one father who had assigned his son pages from the Qur’an to read during the last part of the night. Even though I could tell that his son was tired and sleepy, nevertheless, he sat in the corner of the masjid quietly reading his father’s assigned pages. I found this as a beautiful thing because this father was literally applying the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) about waking up the family to worship the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
These are some of the best ways to instill strong Islamic values into your children. By making your children experience Islam through acts of worship leaves a deep impact on the child. I know one other father who drags his son to Fajr and Isha prayers almost every single day. I’ve seen with my own eyes his son sometimes is half asleep but his father still drags him out of bed to bring him to the masjid to pray Fajr. He is connecting him to his faith and the Muslim community. And this kid has one of the most gentle personalities I’ve ever seen. Some people may see this as a little too strict, but many kids react the same way when they’re awakened for school. I certainly used to be. So isn’t that a bit too strict as well?
The point being that we need to set our priorities straight. Just as we wake our kids up everyday and force them to go to school so that they can have a better future, similarly, we should enforce religious values into our children at a young age so that they can have a better future and afterlife. Unfortunately, most Muslim parents pass on baseless superstitions that have no textual evidences in our religion. Worst of all, they pass this off as “Islam” to their children. So things which are clear as day, such as the five daily prayers, are neglected while made up superstitions are passed on as religion.
I’ve also observed that in most cases sons tend to be, more or less, a reflection of their fathers, whereas, daughters tend to be a reflection of their mothers. So if the the father is religiously apathetic, then in many cases the son follows suit. Similarly, if the mother is apathetic, then so is the daughter. Of course, there are always exceptions to this general rule. Children learn best by example not lecturing. Fathers should do their best to be the best role models for their sons not just in the worldly sense but also in spirituality and religiosity. The same goes for the mothers for their daughters and of course both spouses should support and help each other. Kids grow very fast and you do not want to lose that window of opportunity to instill proper moral and religious values into your children. After a certain age, your kids are not really going to care what you have to say. So teach them proper religious values and practices while they still care and internalize what you have to say.
May Allah grant us righteous children and family members.
“And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein.” [Qur’an 20:132]
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” [Qur’an 66:6]