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Monday, December 06, 2004

The Mother's influence on the children

The most prevailing influence anything can have on the child is the

influence of the mother. Hence the mother is required to develop virtuous
morals and character. Don’t underplay any action of the child even if
it seems trivial. You should be well conscious of the child’s activities
within the home and beyond as well. However, the child should not be
aware that he is under surveillance as this would hamper his natural
development and he won’t be able to come out of himself. Similarly, when
you see something in his possession that was not given by you or his
father or any other relative, make sure you delve into the source of that
item. Some parents wholly believe their children when they claim they
found it on the road or obtained it from a friend. The parents avoid the
trouble of making further enquiries and consider their duty done.
Whereas it is a natural instinct that if a child, Allah Ta'ala forbid, stole
the item he is bound to make such false claims to protect himself from
humiliation. It is also natural that when the child realizes that his
parent or guardian is not very meticulous about his inquiries then the
child is bound to plummet further into a life of criminality.

Worse than this is when the child is assisted or encouraged by the
parent to engage in theft. Undoubtedly the child will become more
entrenched in this crime and he is bound to be entangled in a life of vice and
criminality.

A Muslim court once handed down sentence to a thief. As his hand was
about to be amputated, he ragingly addressed the people around him
saying: “Before amputating my hand amputate my mother’s tongue. When I
pilfered an egg the very first time in my life from my neighbour’s house, my
mother failed to admonish me. She didn’t even ask me to return the egg
to the neighbour. In fact, she started chirping in happiness and said:
“I praise the Almighty that today my son has turned out to be a perfect
man.” If my mother didn’t have such a twittering tongue, I wouldn’t
have been a criminal of society today."

An incident pertaining to this topic is narrated in the books of
Hadith. One night, Hadrat ‘Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was on his usual rounds
around Madinah when he came across a house and overheard the following
conversation:
“Daughter! Add on a bit of water to the milk.” On hearing more
closely, he realized that mother and daughter are engaged in a dispute over
diluting the milk with water. Upon the mother asking the daughter to add
water, the daughter replied: “This is an offense. The Caliph has
vehemently forbade such an action.” The mother countered: “Where will the
Caliph be able to see us here?” What a startling response the daughter
offered. She said: “Then where is Allah?” In other words, Allah Ta’ala is
watching us. On hearing this reply, Hadrat ‘Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu)
returned home, went up to his son ‘Aasim and asked him to marry this
girl. He subsequently married her. From the progeny of this union a great
personality like ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Azîz was born – a personality whose
achievements can never be forgotten by the Islâmic world.

On the basis of the aforementioned points we merely wish to drive home
the fact that a mother has dynamic influence over the child. If the
mother is pious the child will also be inclined to piety and if the mother
has mean habits or evil character then these will surely be conveyed to
the child.

How wonderfully a poet puts it when he says: 'The grass that grows in
the orchard is very different to the grass that grows in the jungle.
What hope of excellence can we entertain from children suckled by
deficient women?'

The Sahâbah (Radhiallaahu Anhum) and the Tâbi‘în (RA) who were holders
of exceptional virtues, inherited these virtues from their mothers. Let
us mention a few of them here:

1. Hadrat Zubair bin ‘Awwâm (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is highly indebted to
his mother Hadrat Safiyyah bintu ‘Abdul Muttalib (Radhiallaahu Anha).
She was responsible for moulding his character and morals.

2. Hadrat ‘Abdullâh, Munzir and ‘Urwah (Radhiallaahu Anhuma) all the
sons of Hadrat Zubair (Radhiallaahu Anhu) were the harvest of the seeds
planted by their mother Hadrat Asmâ bintu Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu).
Each one of them turned out to be a distinctive model of perfection.

3. Hadrat ‘Alî (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was trained with outstanding morals
and wisdom at the hands of his mother Fâtimah bintu Asad.

4. Hadrat ‘Abdullâh bin J‘afar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) the most charitable
soul of the Arabs and the most moralistic of the youth was also brought
up by his mother Asmâ bintu ‘Umais (Radhiallaahu Anhu). She shaped him
on the outstanding morals and character she herself possessed.

5. Hadrat Mu‘âwiyah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) inherited from his mother
Hindah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) certain skills and talents which he was unable to
acquire from his father. When Hindah, his mother, observed his
intellectual capabilities during his childhood and someone said to her that
this child will become a leader of his people, she confidently replied:
“May I cry over him (in other words, may he die) if he fails to become a
leader.”

As far as division of responsibility is concerned, Islâm has placed the
bulk of the responsibility of rearing the children on the shoulders of
the parents. They are required to rear the children in such a manner
that they become proficient in conducting their own responsibilities of
life.

So if you want you children to develop the attributes of personalities
like Nûrud-Dîn Zangi, Shaikh ‘Abdul Qâdir Jaylâni, Maulânâ Muhammad
Ilyâs Kândhalwî and Maulânâ Ashraf 'Alî Thânwî (RA) then you and your
husband are required to cast your life in a profile of religiousness and
good morals. Be unstinting in your endeavours. Together with your plans
and strategies ensure that you make sincere Du‘âs for them as well.

Madrassah In'aamiyyah Campendown, South Africa

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN

Parents of Young children (preschool age) should have few expectations
in terms of behavior and acquisition of knowledge due to the cognitive
limitations at this age. This does not mean that children Should be
allowed to run about and do as they please; they still require guidelines
and boundaries. What it ducs mcan is that care should be taken
regarding the methods that are used to raise children and the values that are
instilled from the very beginning. It is interesting to note that the
Arabic term tarbiyah, which is often used to mean teaching or training,
generally refers to growth, increase, nourishment, and cultivation. This
relates to the physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and
spiritual aspects of an individual. When thinking of growth and
cultivation this implies that something has already been planled or is already
present (natural fitrah).

Tarbiyah then refers to the various methods that are used to watch over
and attend to a child until he or she becomes prepared to take
responsibility and behave in complete submission to and worship of Allah,
subhanahu wa ta'ala. The following suggestions are techniques that may be
used for tarbiyah for early childhood.

Play, Play, Play

Play should be the primary emphasis during this time in a child's life
since this is the means through which they gain an understanding of the
world around them. Pretend or imaginative play is the most common type
of play during this stage and this directly impacts cognitive, social,
and psychological development.

Children will often mimic or imitate the behavior of adults or other
children around them in their play, which is their way of preparing for
their particular roles in life. Girls will most often imitate their
mother, and boys will follow in the footsteps of their father. You will see
girls playing with dolls, dressing and feeding them and boys in more
rough-and-tumble physical types of play. These gender roles develop at an
early age and are a natural part of Allah's plan for the
dilterentiation of responsibilities for men and women. These and other types of play
should be encouraged and fostered in young children.

Prevention

The saying "Prevention is the best medicine" is true not only in the
medical field, but also within psychology. There are many steps that
parents can take to prevent misbehavior and avoid the disruption that (his
can cause within the family.

First of all, children need predictability, structure, and guidelines
because this gives them a sense of security and a feeling that there is
order in the world. When this is present they are less likely to feel
anxious or stressed which, in turn, will decrease the likelihood of
inappropriate behavior. Children will sometimes act chaotic if they are in
a chaotic environment. Secondly, probably the most common reason for
misbehavior is to gain attention from a parent or other adults. A
defining feature of being human is the need for social contact, approval, and
attcntion that is already present at birth. When parents fulfil) this
need adequately, a child will feel content and be more likely to cngagc
in solitary play. If a child is not able to obtain attention through
positive behavior, lie or she may utilize negative behavior for this
purpose. Parents can fulfill this need by spending quality time with their
child (e.g., talking, playing, reading, enjoying nature, and much
more).
Quality is often more important than quantity.

Rewarding Positive Behavior

The concept of rewards and punishments is an integral part of Islamic
Aqeedah as there are natural consequences for each or our actions. This
same wisdom can be applied to the area of parenting. The Messenger of
Allah, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, said that Allah, sublmnahu wa
ta'ala, says, "Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. Then
He explained it (by saying that) he who has intended a good deed and
has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed;
but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with
Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over.

But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it
down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and
has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed." (Bukhari and Muslim).
Allah's mercy can be seen in this Hadeeth Qudsi and this should be
reflected in a parent's tarbiyah as well. Rewards are effective in not only
increasing the occurrence of positive behavior, but also in decreasing
negative behavior and increasing a child's self-esteem. The most
eflective rewards for children are those that are the easiest to give:
praise, encouragement, hugs, thanks, etc.

Ignoring Misbehavior

Many of the inappropriate behaviors of young children can simply be
ignored or disregarded. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wasallam, is our
best example in this regard. Anas ibn Malik said, "The Messenger of
Allah, sallallaahu alayhe wasallam, had the best disposition among people.
One day he sent me on an errand and I said, 'By Allah, I will not go,'
but it was in my mind that I would do as the Messenger of Allah had
ordered me. I went until I came upon children playing in the street. Then
the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu alayhe wasallam, arrived and he
caught me by the back of my neck from behind. As I looked at him, I found
him smiling, and he said, `Unays (Anas' nickname), did you go where I
asked you to go'?' I said, `O Messenger of Allah, yes, I am going."'
Anas said further, "I served him for nine years, but I do not know that he
ever said to me about anything I did, why I did that, or about anything
I had neglected, why I had not done that." (Muslim).

We may want to compare this to how we react to or interact with our own
children. For young children, in particular, it is really
counterproductive to berate, question, and reprimand when they really have little
understanding as to why they acted in a certain way. Simply ignoring the
behavior may be the most appropriate response. Another related
technique is to redirect the child to something else in the environment to draw
attention away from the undesirable.

It is important to realize that within these general guidelines there
are about as many ways to parent as there are parents. Parents need to
lake into consideration the unique personalities, dispositions, and
gifts of each child when deciding upon a particular approach. What may work
with one child may not necessarily be effective with another. It is
also imperative to remember that our children are one of the greatest
tests that we have from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we need to
continually ask Him for assistance and guidance for ourselves and our children.
This is the most effective and powerful tool for tarbiyah. "When My
servants ask you (Muhammad) concerning Me, I am indeed near. I respond to
the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. Let them also, with
a will, listen to My call and believe in Me, that they may walk in the
right way." [2:186]
Dr. Aisha Hamdan


My Lord! surely I stand in need of whatever good you may send down to
me.
Al-Qasas :24

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