Advice on Raising Children

Shaykh Muqbil, the Muḥaddith of Yemen, was asked his advice on the upbringing and nurturing of our children. The following was his reply, which should be written in gold:

All praise be to Allāh and may the peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. To proceed: The upbringing of children is from the important affairs and is problematic. As for it being important, that is because the child takes from whomsoever he mixes with. If his father is a singer, then he will not hear except that his father singing. And if his father is an author, then from the very start, he will have a sheet of paper and pen drawing in a notebook until he fills up the notebook.

We say it’s like this: if his father is a officer and you were to say to him: “What would you like to be,” he will say, “I would like to be a officer,” and if his father is a scholar and you were to ask him, “what would you like to be,” he would say “I would like to be a scholar.” This is in his childhood before he begins to mingle in the streets.

Then after that, you have the story of Luqmān, and in it is guidance for the children.

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
O my son! Aqim-is-Salat (perform As-Salat), enjoin (people) for Al-Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief in the Oneness of Allah, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befall you. Verily! These are some of the important commandments ordered by Allah with no exemption. (Soorah Luqman: 17)

In Bukhāri and Muslim, the Ḥadīth of Abu Huraira who narrated on the Prophet ﷺ that he said: Every child is born upon a natural disposition (i.e. to worship none but Allāh Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism (Fire Worshipping), as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated? [1] And in Sahīh Muslim, the Prophet (ﷺ) said narrating on his Lord (ﷻ), “I have created all of My servants naturally inclined to worship one God but it is the devils who turn them away from their religion” [2]

It is binding upon one to be cautious of evil companions for your son and your daughter.

وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا ﴿٢٧﴾ يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا ﴿٢٨﴾ لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا
And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need. (Soorah al-Furqan 27-29)

The affair of sitting with the people of goodness aids the person himself and his children. In Bukhāri and Muslim on the authority of Abu Mūsā رضي الله عنه:

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالسَّوْءِ كَحَامِلِ الْمِسْكِ وَنَافِخِ الْكِيرِ، فَحَامِلُ الْمِسْكِ إِمَّا أَنْ يُحْذِيَكَ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَبْتَاعَ مِنْهُ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَجِدَ مِنْهُ رِيحًا طَيِّبَةً، وَنَافِخُ الْكِيرِ إِمَّا أَنْ يُحْرِقَ ثِيَابَكَ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَجِدَ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً ‏”‏‏.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.” (Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5534)

Perhaps a child will not return from the streets except with foul speech. Even teaching the children is exhausting; you (might) beat him severely, yet he forgets quickly and returns to playing just like he was (before his beating). It is a problem from the many problems but it is OBLIGATORY upon an individual to give importance to the upbringing of his children.
I feel remorse for many people; you will find one going from Masjid to Masjid, city to city, not caring about the upbringing of his children; he leaves his child until his mustache appears. Then he begins to clash with him at that time. It’s obligatory to to give it importance from the very beginning and strive in keeping company with the righteous.

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖنَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ
And enjoin As-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salat (prayers)]. We ask not of you a provision (i.e. to give Us something: money, etc.); We provide for you. And the good end (i.e. Paradise) is for the Muttaqun (pious).
(Soorah Ta-ha: 132)

It is obligatory for you to take the responsibility of nurturing your children and that you set aside for them time and that you are good to them and that you better your manners; you play with them sometimes and show them affection and this is something very important. Perhaps the enemies of al-Islam may show them affection and take them from a person’s very hands.

Like this you remove them from evil companions; Allah ﷻ says in the Qur’an:

فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ﴿٥٠﴾ قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ إِنِّي كَانَ لِي قَرِينٌ ﴿٥١﴾ يَقُولُ أَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُصَدِّقِينَ ﴿٥٢﴾ أَإِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَإِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ ﴿٥٣﴾ قَالَ هَلْ أَنتُم مُّطَّلِعُونَ ﴿٥٤﴾ فَاطَّلَعَ فَرَآهُ فِي سَوَاءِ الْجَحِيمِ
Then they will turn to one another, mutually questioning. A speaker of them will say: “Verily, I had a companion (in the world), Who used to say: “Are you among those who believe (in resurrection after death). “(That) when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed (be raised up) to receive reward or punishment (according to our deeds)?” (The man) said: “Will you look down?” So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. (as-Saffaat-50-55)

Meaning in the middle of the Hell Fire. a righteous man said

قَالَ تَاللَّـهِ إِن كِدتَّ لَتُرْدِينِ
He said: “By Allah! You have nearly ruined me.” (as-Saffaat-56) 

you have nearly destroyed me with [along with] yourself…

وَلَوْلَا نِعْمَةُ رَبِّي لَكُنتُ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ
Had it not been for the Grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell). (as-Saffaat-57)
الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except Al-Muttaqun (pious). (az-Zukhruf-67)

It is obligatory to stay away and for your children to stay away from evil companions because they will busy an individual (with evil things) and enter doubts upon him, and Allah’s aid is sought.

Then after that, you occupy your son with good. Either by memorizing the Qur’an, and if he attends school, then by occupying him with something from the short Ahadeeth like:

خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ
The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.
(Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5027)

or the likes of when a man said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَجُلاً، قَالَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَوْصِنِي‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ تَغْضَبْ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَرَدَّدَ مِرَارًا، قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ تَغْضَبْ ‏”‏‏.‏
A man said to the Prophet (ﷺ) , “Advise me! “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (ﷺ) said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.”
(Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6116)

and also like:

الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ
The worldly life is a prison for the believer and paradise for the disbeliever.
Saḥīḥ Muslim 2956)

… so like this, short narrations will aid a person in his memorization.

In the very beginning we use to have about ONE HUNDRED students and ONE teacher. What did he use to do? Busy them like this: “O children write the Hadeeth:”

الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ
The worldly life is a prison for the believer and paradise for the disbeliever.
(Saḥīḥ Muslim 2956)

and after they write it (and then the teacher says) “Who memorized the Hadeeth?” They stand up up saying, “I memorized it! I memorized it!” The children stand, the Hadeeth is still visible in their minds (from writing it).

Indeed we are responsible for them in front of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّـهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded. ( Soorah at-Tahreem: 6)

It is obligatory upon the mother, the father and the family to cooperate in upbringing all of their children. The righteous mother is preparing and aiding you and unburdening you when you are preoccupied from teaching your chil;, she is teaching and cultivating him.
From where do you choose the Ahadeeth (Narrations)? From Kitaab ul-Adab in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and Kitaab ul-Adab in Sunan Abi Dawud and something amazing from Kitab ul-Adab in Sunan Abi Dawud, Adab al-Mufrad of al-Bukhaari, Lu’ Lu’ wal-Marjaan [and the like]. A person should choose from them narrations which are befitting for the family and after this, it is not befitting that we deprive the women and girls and make them as some of the tribes do in having no care for her (Islamic education and upbringing). Rather it is obligatory that we fear Allah regarding her and cultivate her and do well in choosing a righteous husband for her.

I ask Allah to give us the ability to do that which he likes and is pleased with.

Source: Answered by Shaykh Muqbil ibn Hādī al-Wādi’ī رحمه الله in his book Ākhir Fatāwa, p 382-386

[1] – Hadīth reference:

حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي ذِئْبٍ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ، كَمَثَلِ الْبَهِيمَةِ تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةَ، هَلْ تَرَى فِيهَا جَدْعَاءَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?” (Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1385)

[2] – Hadīth reference:

حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو غَسَّانَ الْمِسْمَعِيُّ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارِ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ، – وَاللَّفْظُ لأَبِي غَسَّانَ وَابْنِ الْمُثَنَّى – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا مُعَاذُ بْنُ هِشَامٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ مُطَرِّفِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الشِّخِّيرِ، عَنْ عِيَاضِ بْنِ حِمَارٍ الْمُجَاشِعِيِّ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ فِي خُطْبَتِهِ ‏”‏ أَلاَ إِنَّ رَبِّي أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أُعَلِّمَكُمْ مَا جَهِلْتُمْ مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِي يَوْمِي هَذَا كُلُّ مَالٍ نَحَلْتُهُ عَبْدًا حَلاَلٌ وَإِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ كُلَّهُمْ وَإِنَّهُمْ أَتَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِمْ وَحَرَّمَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحْلَلْتُ لَهُمْ وَأَمَرَتْهُمْ أَنْ يُشْرِكُوا بِي مَا لَمْ أُنْزِلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ نَظَرَ إِلَى أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ فَمَقَتَهُمْ عَرَبَهُمْ وَعَجَمَهُمْ إِلاَّ بَقَايَا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَقَالَ إِنَّمَا بَعَثْتُكَ لأَبْتَلِيَكَ وَأَبْتَلِيَ بِكَ وَأَنْزَلْتُ عَلَيْكَ كِتَابًا لاَ يَغْسِلُهُ الْمَاءُ تَقْرَؤُهُ نَائِمًا وَيَقْظَانَ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أُحَرِّقَ قُرَيْشًا فَقُلْتُ رَبِّ إِذًا يَثْلَغُوا رَأْسِي فَيَدَعُوهُ خُبْزَةً قَالَ اسْتَخْرِجْهُمْ كَمَا اسْتَخْرَجُوكَ وَاغْزُهُمْ نُغْزِكَ وَأَنْفِقْ فَسَنُنْفِقَ عَلَيْكَ وَابْعَثْ جَيْشًا نَبْعَثْ خَمْسَةً مِثْلَهُ وَقَاتِلْ بِمَنْ أَطَاعَكَ مَنْ عَصَاكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَأَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ ثَلاَثَةٌ ذُو سُلْطَانٍ مُقْسِطٌ مُتَصَدِّقٌ مُوَفَّقٌ وَرَجُلٌ رَحِيمٌ رَقِيقُ الْقَلْبِ لِكُلِّ ذِي قُرْبَى وَمُسْلِمٍ وَعَفِيفٌ مُتَعَفِّفٌ ذُو عِيَالٍ – قَالَ – وَأَهْلُ النَّارِ خَمْسَةٌ الضَّعِيفُ الَّذِي لاَ زَبْرَ لَهُ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِيكُمْ تَبَعًا لاَ يَتْبَعُونَ أَهْلاً وَلاَ مَالاً وَالْخَائِنُ الَّذِي لاَ يَخْفَى لَهُ طَمَعٌ وَإِنْ دَقَّ إِلاَّ خَانَهُ وَرَجُلٌ لاَ يُصْبِحُ وَلاَ يُمْسِي إِلاَّ وَهُوَ يُخَادِعُكَ عَنْ أَهْلِكَ وَمَالِكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَذَكَرَ الْبُخْلَ أَوِ الْكَذِبَ ‏”‏ وَالشِّنْظِيرُ الْفَحَّاشُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ أَبُو غَسَّانَ فِي حَدِيثِهِ ‏”‏ وَأَنْفِقْ فَسَنُنْفِقَ عَلَيْكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

‘Iyad b. Him-ar reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), while delivering a sermon one day, said:
Behold, my Lord commanded me that I should teach you which you do not know and which He has taught me today. (He has instructed thus): The property which I have conferred upon them is lawful for them. I have created My servants as one having a natural inclination to the worship of Allah but it is Satan who turns them away from the right religion and he makes unlawful what has been declared lawful for them and he commands them to ascribe partnership with Re, although he has no justification for that. And verily, Allah looked towards the people of the world and He showed hatred for the Arabs and the non-Arabs, but with the exception of some remnants from the People of the Book. And He (further) said: I have sent thee (the Holy Prophet) in order to put you to test and put (those to test) through you. And I sent the Book to you which cannot be washed away by water, so that you may recite it while in the state of wakefulness or sleep. Verily, Allah commanded me to burn (kill) the Quraish. I said: My Lord, they would break my head (like the tearing) of bread, and Allah said: You turn them out as they turned you out, you fight against them and We shall help you in this, you should spend and you would be conferred upon. You send an army and I would send an army five times greater than that. Fight against those who disobey you along with those who obey you. The inmates of Paradise are three: One who wields authority and is just and fair, one who Is truthful and has been endowed with power to do good deeds. And the person who is merciful and kind hearted towards his relatives and to every pious Muslim, and one who does not stretch his hand in spite of having a large family to support. And He said: The inmates of Hell are five: the weak who lack power to (avoid evil), the (carefree) who pursue (everything irrespective of the fact that it is good or evil) and who do not have any care for their family or for their wealth. And those dishonest whose greed cannot be concealed even in the case of minor things. And the third. who betray you. morning and evening, in regard to your family and your property. He also made a mention of the miser and the liar and those who are in the habit of abusing people and using obscene and foul language. Abu Ghassan in his narration did not make mention of” Spend and there would be spent for you.” (Saḥīḥ Muslim 6853)

Translated by Nasir Mahmood
3rd of Safar, 1437 AH (11/16/2015)
Masjid Nur Allah, Queens, NY