FOR a lot of parents, one of the biggest responsibilities of having a child is to raise them righteously. While they draw on their own childhood and what they may read or hear from others, a major part of it is simply a lot of du’aa.
A righteous child is one of the biggest blessings, as they are sadaqah jariyah for the parents – Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When the human being dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.” [Muslim] – but when they are simply children, it is hard to know quite how they will turn out, when to start teaching them their deen, and how much is too much.
Islam is not just the religion we follow but a way of life, so here are a few ways to establish Islam in your home to ensure that the little things go a long way, bi’idhnillah!
Praying Or Reciting out Loud
One of the biggest tasks of being a parent is understanding that children do as we do, not what we tell them to do.
Simple acts like praying where they can see you, reciting Qur’an openly rather than in your room during their quiet time, and saying your du’aas loudly have more of an impact than we realise.
It might be easier to perform acts of worship when they are not around so that you can concentrate more, but in doing them openly where children see them constantly, they become normal acts for them to follow through themselves, and this is the foundation to raising a righteous child. [Also read: How To Raise And Discipline Boys]
Making A Big Deal Out Of Islamic Milestones
We, as parents, cultivate the idea of secular education and a career being the ultimate goal in life when we celebrate the small milestones in that journey – getting good marks, graduating, getting the job they wanted, etc.
These actions of ours are the subtle clues that tell our children that these are the goals to work for. There is nothing wrong is praising an achievement, but we need to balance it out by accolading accomplishments in deen too – if not more so.
So memorising a portion of Qur’an, praying on time, remembering to implement something they have learnt, sharing, etc. are all moments to be celebrated too.
Frequently Using Islamic Words
When it comes to teaching kids to speak, it is not very difficult to teach them to say “please”, “thank you”, “hello” and “bye”.
We tend to delay the use of “Bismillah”, “Alhamdulillah”, “SubhanAllah”, “JazakAllah khair”, “Assalamu Aleikum” and so on for later because we feel that the phrases are too long for them to say.
The reality is that children vocalise a lot of words they hear in whichever way they can, and the ones they hear more frequently are the ones that come out in any which way. It is important for a child to know the circumstances in which the different phrases are to be used – and to know that this is a part of their identity – so don’t hold back!
Keeping Your Word
One of the hallmarks of a believer is that they keep a promise when they make it, and whether that be signing a contract to buy a house or telling your child that you will let them play outside once they finish their homework, it requires sticking to your word.
Most people undervalue what they promise children, passing it off as “they are too small to understand”, but when you want to raise an honest child who tells no lies, it starts with you.
Not acting on your promise tells them that it is okay if they do not act on theirs either. This also applies to respect, patience, modesty, and so on. [Also read: How To Overcome The Modern Challenges Of Parenting]
Making The Deen Appealing
Yes it is important that children start praying by the age of 7, and without fail by the time they are 10, but rather than imposing it on them, create a love for it.
It starts when they are much smaller – and with the first point mentioned above – where the parent does it openly, and shows love for the action.
Give them their own prayer mat, spread out next to you while you pray – and give them the freedom to pray if they wish (or not) when they are younger.
Recite the Qur’an with them while giving them your undivided attention, talk to them about simple things that Allah says in the Qur’an that might spark their curiosity, and read to them about children who were righteous, to help build role models.
With love for something in our hearts, there is no burden when it comes to implementing it.
Have Family Time With Something Islamic
Depending on the age of the children, you can range from games to reading to watching something. Make it interactive and fun, a time where everyone learns something.
This is beneficial because the family bonds over deeds that are blessed, whatever is learnt at these times can be used as reminders when any member of the family requires it, and the family grows together in their learning of Islam. [Also read: Why Families Should Spend Quality Time At Home]
When children are small, try to take over their game stash with as many Islamic games as possible!
There are plenty of options out there – from card games to board games – and since children learn more from play, dominating this area with fun, Islamic-related games builds their Islamic knowledge considerably.
Whether it is reading as a family or reading to your kids, opening them up to the world of books has multiple advantages – it is a better use of time, it enhances imagination, and there is so much to be learnt from books! With the growing number of Islamic books for children out there, kids can learn hard to- explain concepts through simple stories.
Reading opens children and adults alike to new worlds beyond what they can see, so be prepared to answer their questions of why people are of different colours, and why some women cover their heads and some don’t!
Always respect the questions children ask, as silly as they may appear to be. You’d rather have a right answer come from you than a wrong one from elsewhere.
Sharing And Generosity
While it is hard to get children to share – what is it about getting kids the exact same thing and them still fighting for what the other has?! – a simple way to get people to care more about others is to openly practice empathy.
That might be breaking your piece of chocolate in half so that your kids can have some, or clearing out their toys to give it to children in need. This act of physically giving things away, and if possible, seeing the smiles of the recipients, makes people feel good about the act which, in turn, makes them want to do it more.
Have Reminders Where Possible
In addition to getting your children to memorise du’aas, having cute visuals stuck around the house serve as great reminders as well.
Actually seeing it in print multiple times causes it to stick in their heads that much faster, and it’s great if visitors happen to recite it too!
These are just some of the things we can do to establish Islam in our homes – whether we have kids or not.
There may be many more little tasks that you practice, so we’d love your feedback on how to make our homes more Islamic!