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The Prophet (saw) said: “Instruct your children to pray when they are seven years of age, and hit them if they do not pray when they are ten.”(Ahmad) 

The above hadith tells us that the parents who do not teach their children to pray when they reach seven or hit them when they do not do so when they reach ten, are failing in their duty and neglecting their children. These parents are sinners who are responsible before Allah for this failure and neglect. 

The home is the first environment in which these little ones grow; it is the milieu in which their inclinations, attitudes and personalities are formed. This explains the importance of the parents’ role in nurturing their young ones and paying equal attention to their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. 

Children are the apple of a man’s eye, the source of great joy and companionship. They make life sweet and, after Allah, they are the ones on whom he pins his hopes. Their blessing brings sustenance, mercy, and abundance of reward. But this depends on the children having a good, solid upbringing, which will make them respectful, kind and a source of happiness. If a man’s children have these good attributes then they will truly be joys of this life as Allah described them in the Qurán: “ Wealth and sons are allurements (joys) of the life of this world.”(Al-Kahf: 46) 

For this reason the Prophet (saw) used to pray for those whom he love, that Allah would grant them wealth and children in abundance. Anas (ra) reported that he went to the Prophet (saw) with his mother and maternal aunt. The Prophet (saw) led them in prayer, and then he prayed for them. Ummu Anas said:”O Messenger of Allah, your little servant, pray for him.” So the Prophet prayed for him, at the end of his duáa said: “O Allah, grant him wealth and children in abundance, and bless him.”(Bukhari and Muslim).

But if the parents neglect their children’s upbringing, the results will be disastrous. Their children will be a source of annoyance, frustration and constant concern, not to mention nights of lost sleep and days of worry. 

The parents should understand their great responsibility towards the children they have brought into this world, as Allah tells us in the Qurán: “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your family from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones……”(At-Tahrim: 6). The Prophet (saw) also said:” Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock…..”(Bukhari and Muslim) 

Islam has placed a burden of responsibility on the shoulders of all people, from which none may be excused. Above all, parents are responsible for providing their children with a sound Islamic education, based on the noble characteristics which the Prophet (saw) mentioned that he had been sent to complete and spread among people: “I have only been sent to make righteous behaviour complete.”(Bukhari). 

The smart parents should keep their eyes open as far as their children are concerned. They know what their children are reading and writing, the hobbies they have chosen or which they have encouraged them to follow, without them realizing it, the friends with whom they spend most of their time, and the places they go in their spare time. The parents should know all of this without their children feeling that they are watching them. 

If the parents find anything objectionable in their reading-material or hobbies, or find that they are hanging out with undesirable friends, or going to unsuitable places, or taking up bad habits like smoking, or wasting time and energy on haram games that make them accustomed to trivialities and idle pursuits, they put their children straight in a gentle and wise manner, and persuade them to return to straight. 

Parents should take notice of their children’s books, magazines, hobbies, school, teachers, clubs, media interests and everything that may have an impact on their personalities, minds, souls and faith. They should intervene when necessary, either to encourage or to stop to something, so that the children’s upbringing will not be affected by corruption or sickness. Children would not have turned against their parents if their parents had kept to the right path, recognized their responsibilities towards their children and done their duty as they should. Wallahu a’lam.

(Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)