اکرمو اولادکم و احسنو آدابهم Respect your Children and Cultivate in them the best of Manners

‘Respect your children and cultivate in them the best of manners’ is a saying of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Hazrat Ans bin Malik narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said:

Respect your children and cultivate in them the best of morals and manners.” (Ibn Maja)

This golden saying has two messages for parents of all times:

(i) respect your children (ii) and give them the best of morals

Let us review both these aspects in detail:

Respect of children a distinctive Islamic teaching

Whereas all cultures and all religions command children to respect parents, none other than Islam specifically commands parents to respect their off-springs. This is the finest protection of rights of children!

Islam teaches to be kind to children.

The Holy Prophetsa has said: Do not curse a child for when you curse, the angels add: Let it be like that; and like that it becomes. (Muslim)

The Promised Messiahas has said:

“I wish that, instead of punishing children, parents would pray for them; for the supplications of parents on behalf of their children meet with special acceptance.”(Ref: Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, The Essence of Islam, vol. 3 (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications, 1993), 335.)

Hazrat Musleh Maudra says:

“When you tell a child he/she is bad, it draws an imaginary picture of itself as bad and does in fact become bad. Therefore, do not abuse a child. Praise it and teach it to be good. (Ways of Seeker Ch: Moral Training of children)”

If we need to reprimand a child for reformation then do it in privacy. Do not hurt their self-esteem. Talking in privacy is far more effective, it develops trust and confidence between mother and child.

The second aspect of the quote is احسِنو آدابهم  – to cultivate good manners in children

Good manners include religious, social and moral conduct of a person.

Hadith says that the best gift that parents can give to their children is good education and upbringing. (Tirmidhi)

Western society gives the impression that success lies entirely in material education. Therefore the parents strive hard to give the best schooling to their children. However they forget sometimes that the real success lies in achieving Taqwa or the righteousness.

قد افلح من تزکیٰ۔ (87:15)

قد افلح من ذکھا۔(91 : 10)

Verily, “he indeed, will prosper who purifies himself” (87:15) (91:10)

Thus we must give top priority to the moral and spiritual education of our children.

Divine Nature of children

Hadith says that every child is born with divine nature; parents make them Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian by their training and example. (Bukhari & Muslim)

So let’s see what parents must know and what can they do to maintain the divine nature of their children.

 1.First Seven Years of Life

Parents must know that the first seven years are crucial for training of their children. The brain at this age is like an empty computer disc. Children do not question what their parents do or say! Child believes their words and actions and goes on copying them on his mind disc. This is the core knowledge he stores to practice for rest of his life. It cannot be eroded or replaced easily. Therefore whatever we wish to teach our children, its foundation has to be laid in the first seven years of life. (Harat Khalifatul Masihaa V; Friday sermon delivered on 28 June 2003)

After these initial years, parents gradually lose control over their children. Around 13 years an independent person awakens inside every child who is interested to learn from the world outside rather from his home. If the foundational training at home is not strong at this stage, the external world can sweep him along.

2. Pray for Children

Parents must pray fervently for their children. The Holy Prophetsa has said that there are three prayers which are always accepted and one of them is the prayer of parents for their children’s righteousness. (Bukhari)

The Holy Qur’an has taught us many prayers for our progeny, For example:

وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَا ہَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجِنَا وَ ذُرِّیّٰتِنَا قُرَّۃَ اَعۡیُنٍ وَّ اجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ اِمَامًا

Translation: And those who say, Our Lord, grant us of our spouses and children the delight of our eyes and make us a model for the righteous. (25:75)

The children who receive prayers of parents before birth become the recipient of God’s immense blessings. The Holy Qur’an gives examples of such prayers of parents. Few examples are narrated below:

  1. The Prayer of Hazrat Ibrahimas) for a righteous progeny was accepted and subsequently the Holy Prophetsa, the Perfect Man was born in to this progeny (2:137).
  2. Hazrat Yahyaas was born as a result of prayer of Hazrat Zakariyyaas and Allah called Hazrat Yahyaasسَيِّدًا وَحَصُورًا وَنَبِيًّا مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ’. (3:40)
  3. Hazrat Mariyamas‘s mother dedicated her womb to Allah and a girl was born whom Allah chose above all women of the world! (3:43)

3. Parent’s Exemplary Model

Parents must practice the morals they wish to inculcate in their children. There should be no contradiction in our own actions and deeds. How can we advise something which we do not practice ourselves!

حضرت اقدس مسیح موعود علیہ السلام فرماتے ہیں:
،،وہ کام کرو جو اولاد کے لئے بہترین نمونہ اور سبق ہو۔ اور اس کے لئے ضروری ہے کہ سب سے اول خود اپنی اصلاح کرو۔ اگر تم اعلی درجے کے متقی اور پرہیز گار بن جاو گےاور خدا تعالی کو راضی کرو گے تو یقین کیا جاتا ہے کہ اللہ تعالی تمہاری اولاد کے ساتھ بھی اچھا معاملہ کرے گا،،۔
(ملفوضات جلد 4 صفحہ 444-445۔)

Parents must live their lives by Islamic teachings, raise the level of their righteousness, keep their families attached to Nizam Jama’at and exhibit such sincerity to the institution of Khilafat that every child can sense it deeply and ingrain on his mind permanently.

Hazoor Anwaraa in the Friday Sermon delivered on January 28, 2003 said:

حضور ایدہ اللہ تعالی بنصرہ العزیز نے خطبہ جمعہ مورخہ ۲۷ جنوری ۲۰۰۳ میں فرمایا:
اپنے گھروں میں کوئی ایسی بات نہ کریں جس سے نظام جماعت پر حرف آتا ہو۔ کوئی شکائیت نہ کریں۔ عہدہ داران کے خلاف بھی کوئی منفی بات نہ کریں۔ اگر جائز شکائیت ہے تو بھی گھروں میں تذکرہ کرنے سے آپ اپنے بچوں کی سوچیں متاثر کر سکتے ہیں۔ جو لوگ نظام جماعت کی بابت منفی رویوں کا اظہار کرتے ہیں ان کے بچوں کا ضرور نقصان ہوتا ہے۔ اور کچھ تو باغی ہو جاتے ہیں۔

4. Train Children in Basic Etiquette

Children should be trained to adopt basic etiquettes as described by the Holy Quran from early life. Hazrat Masih Maudas has said that the basic etiquettes distinguish a man from animals. (Philosophy of Teachings of Islam)

For example, washing hands and reciting Bismillah arRahman arRaheem before starting to eat, eating with right hand, using the right hand to exchange things, eating and drinking in moderation without wastage, saying Alhamdolillah and pray thankfully at the end.

In conversation: “And speak to men kindly”. (2:84), raise not your vice for that is the animal instinct.

And walk not haughtily; observe humility, no expressions of arrogance! (Surah Luqman)

Say Salam when entering the house and be the first one to offer Salam to others. Make room in assemblies and rise up if asked to do so (58:12)

5. Train Children in Higher Morals 

Along with these Basic Etiquettes, children must also be trained to adopt Higher Morals and Worship of Allah from early years.

The Promised Messiahas has said that the Higher Morals transform a moral person to a Godly person who follows the rights of Allah and His people.  The Holy Qur’an explains about the advice of Hazrat Luqmanas to his son. Same subject is described in Surah Al-Nisa. Allah says:

“And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour who is a kinsman and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful. (4:37)

Worship of Allah and Daily Prayer

Among these teachings, the worship of Allah is at the top and Daily Prayer is the first step to adopt it.

Daily Prayer is a continuous bond between child and Allah. It prevents him from fuhsha, the bigger sins, cleanses him physically and morally, thus Daily Prayer in itself is a shielding castle.

Huzoor Anwaraa says:

حضور ایدہ اللہ تعالی فرماتے ہیں:

،،۔۔۔۔۔۔ سب سے اہم بات ہے کہ بچوں کو پانچ وقت کی نمازوں کی عادت ڈالیں۔ ———- اور اس کے لئے سب سے بڑا والدین کا اپنا نمونہ ہے۔ اگر وہ خود نمازی ہوں گے تو بچے بھی نمازی بنیں گے۔ نہیں تو صرف کھوکھلی نصیحتوں کا بچوں پر کوئی اثر نہیں ہو گا،،۔ (جمعہ ۲۷ جون۲۰۰۳ )

Parents inculcate habits in children in early years. Many of us pray, fast and recite the Holy Quran regularly ONLY because our parents inculcated these habits in us in early years.

Hazrat Musleh Maudra said that his mother used to wake him up for Morning Prayer, if he didn’t, she would sprinkle water on his face. How many of us can do that to our children today?

Daily Recitation of the Holy Quran

The 2nd step is the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

کل خیر ہ فی القران۔

The Holy Qur’an is source of all goodness.  Those who honour the Qur’an will be honoured in heaven. (Hazrat Masih Maudas)

ان قران الفجر کان مشہودہ (سورہ بنی اسرائیل17 : 79 )

“Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an at dawn is especially acceptable to Allah”. (17:79)

So children should be inculcated the habit of reciting the Holy Quran in the morning. Teach them that the Holy Qur’an is a divine letter from Allah to all His men. It is a source of all types of knowledge- manifest and hidden! Its recitation enhances our material knowledge too!

حضور ایدہ اللہ تعالی بنصرہ العزیز فرماتے ہیں:
،،۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ قرانی تعلیم ایک ایسا ابدی خزانہ ہے جو ہماری دین و دنیا کی اصلاح کرتی ہے۔ ہماری نسلوں کی دین و دنیا کی زندگی سنوار دیتی ہیں۔ ہمارے گھروں کو حسن و محبت اور یک جہتی سے سجا دیتی ہے۔ انہیں اس طرح روشن و منور کر دیتی ہے کہ ہمارے نفس اور روح چمک اٹھتے ہیں۔ ہم اس دنیا میں جنت کی نظارے دیکھتے ہیں۔ ان تعلیمات پر عمل پیرا ہو کر ہم خدا تعالی کی تائید و نصرت کا مشاہدہ کرتے ہیں۔ ،، (خطاب لجنہ اور ناصرات یو۔کے ۲۰۰۹)

Practice NOT Shirk

Then we are forbidden to associate partners with Allah. Today we are guilty of Shirk to some extent at least! For work we sacrifice our obligatory prayer. That conveys to our child that the wealth has the top priority! God’s place moves down a bit- and that is a murder of a child which parents commit with their own hands.

Honour Parents

The Holy Quran commands to honour parents. The Western Society gives an impression that children are responsible for their parents only on mother’s day and father’s day. Islam says that parent’s good treatment is lifelong and obligatory. Paradise lies under the feet of mothers; success lies in the prayers of fathers; never say unto them even a word of disgust;

وَ بِالۡوَالِدَیۡنِ اِحۡسَانًا ؕ اِمَّا یَبۡلُغَنَّ عِنۡدَکَ الۡکِبَرَ اَحَدُہُمَاۤ اَوۡ کِلٰہُمَا فَلَا تَقُلۡ لَّہُمَاۤ اُفٍّ وَّ لَا تَنۡہَرۡہُمَا وَ قُلۡ لَّہُمَا قَوۡلًا کَرِیۡمًا[17:24

Unfortunate is the one who had old age parents and lost the opportunity to enter heaven by serving them not!

Our children must know these golden teachings from early life. Daughters who may be rude to their mothers must realize that the sincerest of all in this world is our mother. None next to her is worthy of respect!

The Promised Messiahas has said:

“جو والدین کی عزت نہیں کرتا۔ ان احکامات میں ان کی تابعداری نہیں کرتا جو قران کریم کی تعلیم کے منافی نہیں اور ان کی خدمت کا حق اس طرح ادا نہیں کرتاجیسا کہ ان کا حق ہے۔ وہ میری جماعت میں سے نہیں۔” (ہماری تعلیم)

Translation: “The one who does not respect his parents, does not obey those of their orders which are not opposed to the teachings of the Holy Quran and does not surcingle his duty to serve them the way they duly deserve does not belong to my Jamaat”

Be Good to Relatives, Neighbours and Guests

Then the Holy Quran lays emphasis on good treatment of relatives and neighbours and guests.

The hospitality of Islamic culture is highly admired all over the world. Ahmadis present the practical examples of وسع مکانک every year.

Hospitality is a Higher Moral. It must be maintained. Let’s keep our hearts and homes open to guests. Let our children develop a habit to vacate their rooms and beds for a guest and sleep on floor. Let them do small tasks to serve their guest.

6. Teach Financial Sacrifices     

Teach children financial sacrifice by giving them some money and encouraging them to spend 10 cents from every dollar in the way of Allah. This will inculcate the habit of sacrificing 10% of his possessions in way of Allah and help them understand Naizam Wasiyat later in life!

7. Good Physical Care

We must also remember that good physical care has positive impact on moral development.  (Minhajul Talibeen)

Therefore children should be fed on time and kept clean. There is a general impression in the schools here that Asian children are not kept clean; whereas Islam teaches that cleanliness is half of faith.

Hazrat Musleh Maudra says:

Do not keep children naked, do not let them play in isolation, assign them small tasks to do, do not over protect them lest they are frightened by world outside, help them make good friends, teach them to differentiate between real and unreal things. (Minhajul Talibeen)

Our children live in a distorted world of cartoons, and fictitious characters and their behaviours. These make children passive. TV not to be the Substitute Nanny!

Hazrat Musleh Maudra also says that make children sleep on separate beds. Let boys and girls sleep in separate rooms. If a child makes a mistake, do not get angry. However tell him the loss caused by his mistake, even compensate the loss. Remind them to come back home early evening. Parents should not sleep until the child is comes back home.

Mistakes/inappropriate behaviour should be stopped in time; do not wait that the child would understand himself when he grows up — When a boy grows long hair, wears chains or when a girl goes out without restriction, mothers should not ignore thinking that this is part of this culture. Address these issues in a timely manner. Nip the evil in the bud!

8. Parents should treat sons and daughters alike.

Both should be taught the teachings about Purdah; both should be taught the household tasks. Both must be made aware that even though they are equal they will have different roles and responsibilities in life ahead and they should be prepared accordingly.

9. Parents should teach their children how to respond to the controversial issues as Hijab or Purdah or why we do not celebrate birthdays or Halloween.

10. Children in today’s society learn a lot from media and internet and we have no control over it. Parents should have some knowledge of technology, should know how to check the computer history. If our child hides the phone or stays on internet till late in night, it is something to be worried about.

حرف آخر

بچوں کو اعلی اخلاقیات کی تربیت دینا ہمارے اپنے مسقبل کی حفاظت ہے۔ آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم نے فرمایا ـ وفات پر انسان کے اعمال ختم ہو جاتے ہیں۔ ماسوائے تین اعمال کے اور وہ ہیں اس کے وہ صدقات جاریہ، نافع الناس علم اوردعا گو اولاد صالحہ جو اس نے اپنے بعد چھوڑی۔ (مسلم)

 ہم میں کئی ایسی نیک اولادیں ہیں جو آج بھی اپنے آباو اجداد کا نام تحریک جدید کی صفِ اول میں قائم رکھے ہوئے ہیں ۔ یہ والدین کی تربیت صالحہ کے اثمار حسنہ ہیں۔

پھر اچھی تربیت اولاد ہمیں جنت کا وارث بنا سکتی ہے۔ حدیث میں آتا کہ جس شخص نے دو بیٹیوں کو پالا پوسا ان کی اچھی تربیت کی وہ جنت کا حقدار ٹہرے گا۔ (بخاری۔ مسلم)

روز قیامت ہم اس بابت پوچھے جائیں گے۔ حدیث میں آتا ہے کہ ہر سربراہ اپنے ماتحتوں کی بابت پوچھا جائے گا۔(نسائی، ابو داود) اولاد والدین کے ماتحتی ہے۔

قران پاک والدین کو اپنے بچوں کو جہنم کی آگ سے بچانے کی تلقین کرتا ہے۔

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ وَ اَہۡلِیۡکُمۡ نَارًا وَّ قُوۡدُہَا النَّاسُ وَ الۡحِجَارَۃُ

[66:7] اے لوگو جو ایمان لائے ہو! اپنے آپ کو اور اپنے اہل و عیال کو آگ سے بچاؤ جس کا ایندھن انسان اور پتھر ہیں۔،،

اور یہ اخلاق فاضلہ ہیں جو ہمارے بچوں کو اس آگ کا ایندھن بننےسے بچائیں گے۔

اپنی تقریر کا اختتام میں حضرت خلیفہ المسیح الرابع رحمہ اللہ کے ان الفاظ سے کرتی ہوں:
،،وہ لوگ جن کی نظریں خزانوں پر ٹھہر جاتی ہیں اور خزانے دینے والے سے تعلق توڑ لیتے ہیں۔ پھر آئیندہ ان کی نسلوں کی کوئی ضمانت نہیں ہوا کرتی۔ پس اپنی نسلوں پر رحم کریں۔ جو آپ کی آنکھیں بند ہونے کے بعد بھی اس دنیا میں کئی قسم کی ضرورتوں کی محتاج رہے گی۔ کئی قسم کے سہاروں کی ضرورت پڑے گی ۔ پھر اس کل کی فکر کریں جو ضرور آئے گا۔ ……  اپنی اولاد کو سچے رستوں پر قائم کریں۔ یہی ان کی حفاظت کا بہترین سامان ہے جو آپ کر سکتے ہیں۔اللہ تعالی ہمیں اس کی توفیق عطا فرماوے۔ آمین ۔۔۔۔۔ ( خطبہ جمعہ۲۰ جنوری ۱۹۸۶ )


(Note: Above speech was delivered at the 41st Annual Convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Commmunity, Canada)

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