Children are a source of delight and an adornment for the world granted by Allah to their parents. They give vigour to the hearts, joy to the souls and pleasure to the eyes. They are the fruit from whom good is to be hoped for when they frequently supplicate “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.”

They are the ones in every nation upon whom hope for the future lies, and they are the youth of tomorrow upon whose shoulders the call to Islam is carried. Indeed Islam has elevated the status of children and has laid down manners for their treatment through different stages, which start with the manners of welcoming the new born child.

Our Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was a living example, educating, cultivating the Muslims upon the practices of Islam, teaching them how to worship their Lord in the best of ways. But a number of Muslims have strayed from his pure teachings and have substituted that which is gold for that which is worthless.


Encouragement to have children:

Allah, Almighty, Says (what means): “…So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you…” [Qur’an 2: 187]

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Marry the loving and fertile because through you, I will compete with the nations for superiority in numbers.”[Abu Daawood, Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan]

It is important that the parents bring up their children upon righteousness, so that the parents will benefit from them during their lives and after their death.

What has preceded applies equally to both boys and girls, and indeed Islam has encouraged the bringing up of girls, and Allah condemns those that are distressed at the birth of a girl. The Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam  said: “Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood - he and I will come together on the Day of Resurrection (like this) - and he interlaced his two fingers.” [Muslim] 

Giving the good news of the birth:

The near of kin who are anxiously waiting should be informed so that they can stop worrying and congratulate the parents and supplicate for the baby. Allah mentions this good news being conveyed to a number of His Prophets, such as Zakariyyaa’ of his son Yahyaa, may Allah exalt their mention. Allah Says (what means): “So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, ‘Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John, confirming a word from Allah and [who will be] honorable, abstaining [from women], and a prophet from among the righteous’.”[Qur’an 3: 39]


Calling the Athaan in the ear of the newborn:

The first practice to do is to call the Athaan in the ear of the baby, so that the first words that the baby hears is the name of Allah, and the Kalimah (There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).

It is to be called immediately after the birth, or very soon afterwards as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam  did with his grandson Al-Hasan, as is related by Abu Raafi’ who said: “I saw the Prophet call the Athaan in the ear of Al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali when his mother Faatimah gave birth to him.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmithi and Abu Daawood]

It should be given with its usual wording in a voice which is audible to the baby, not so loudly that it risks harm to the baby or alarms it.

The Sunnah has not specified as to which ear it should be given, however the Messenger of Allah used to love to do good actions starting from the right, so it would be more appropriate to give the Athaan in the right ear.


The Tahneek:

This means to softening or chewing a date and then rubbing the palate of the new-born with it just after the birth or soon after. This is done by putting a piece of the softened date on the finger and rubbing it from left to right in the mouth of the baby.

Ibn Hajr said: “If one is not able to find a dry date, then a fresh date should be used, and if that is not available then anything sweet.”

It is not essential to chew the date rather it may be softened in any way.

It is done by the father or the mother or anyone from the people of knowledge whose supplication is hoped would be accepted. So he should perform Tahneek and supplicate for the child as was the practice of the Companions.

Imaam An-Nawawi said: “Scholars are agreed upon the recommendation of performing Tahneek upon the baby after its birth.” [Sharh Saheeh Muslim]

Aa’ishah radhiallah ‘anha reported: “New-born children used to be brought to the Messenger of Allah and he would supplicate for blessings for them, and rub a chewed date upon their palate.” [Muslim]


Naming the child:

The baby may be named on the day of its birth, third day, or later on the seventh day or past the seventh day, as this is what is clear after study of all the evidences from the Sunnah.

It is the father or the mother who choose the name for the baby. If they differ amongst themselves then it is the father who has the choice, he may name it himself or give his wife the right to choose. The fact that this is the right of the father is shown by the principle that the child is ascribed and attributed to the father, as Allah Says (what means): “Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah…” [Qur’an 33: 5]

It is also allowed for the parents to allow others to name the child, since our Prophet  used to name some of the children of his Companions .

The name should carry a good and praiseworthy meaning as the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and your fathers’ names, so make your names good.” [Abu Daawood]

It is recommended to call oneself Abdullaah (a servant of Allah) or the servant of any of the names of Allah. Then it is recommended to name a child after a Prophet, due to the Hadith: “Call yourselves by the names of the Prophets.” [Abu Daawood]

And the hadith: “A son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather Ibraheem.” [Muslim]

Then it is recommended to name the child after any pious person in the hope that it will become like him/her. Then it is recommended to name by any name which has good meaning.

It is forbidden to name a child with a name that denote servitude to other than Allah, for example Abd An-Nabi, Abd Ar-Rasool, etc., just as it is forbidden to name them with names that are particular to the non-Muslims like George, Michael, Susan, etc.

The names of tyrants and evil personalities should be avoided such as Pharaoh, Qaroon, Abu Lahab, etc. Likewise it is disliked to name with the names of the chapters of the Qur’an like ‘Taa Haa’ or ‘Yaa Seen’ as is reported from Imaam Maalik and others. There is no authentic Hadith which ascribes the above two as being names of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.


The ‘Aqeeqah:

After the seventh day of the arrival of the new-born, as a form of welcome for it and to give thanks to the One who gave the blessings, it is prescribed to slaughter a sheep. The Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Every child is in pledge for it’s ‘Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for it on its seventh day, and it is named on it, and its head is shaved.” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmidhi]

If the new-born is a boy then two sheep are to be sacrificed, and if it is a girl then one sheep. This is the position of the majority of the scholars and Companions. The Prophet said: “For the boy two equal sheep, and for the girl, a single sheep.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi]

The sacrifice is done by the father or a close relative, for our Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam performed the ‘Aqeeqah for his two grandsons. It is also obligatory to mention the name of Allah over it while sacrificing, and if a close relative is performing the ‘Aqeeqah then he adds, “this ‘Aqeeqah is the ‘Aqeeqah of so and so” mentioning the name of the person on whose behalf he is performing the ‘Aqeeqah, as is reported in a Hadith related by Al-Bayhaqi.


Shaving the baby’s head:

On the seventh day after the birth, the head of the baby should be shaved. So when Al-Hasan was born, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told his daughter, Faatima radhiallah ‘anha: “Shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver to the poor.”[Ahmad, At-Tabaraani and Al-Bayhaqi]

It is not permissible to shave a part of the head and leave a part, as this was prohibited by the Messenger as reported by Al-Bukhari.

The shaving should be done after the sacrifice, and our pious predecessors liked to rub some perfume over the baby’s head after the shaving.

Then it is prescribed to give the value of the baby’s weight of hair in silver in charity, and it is recommended to give this charity on the seventh day also, but it is not necessary to do so, and may be delayed.



It is prescribed that the boy be circumcised, it is recommended that the circumcision take place on the seventh day, but it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty.

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How to teach our kids Tawheed

When we want to teach our children Tawheed (i.e. Islamic monotheism) should we have to read classical texts and books in this regard?

No, this is not needed in the early stages of their lives because this requires long hours of attentiveness and hard work, which is difficult for children.

Later in life, one can do so when their level of comprehension allows them to grasp what is being read and said to them. Initially, one can convey what he wants in the form of relating stories of the companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam  who gave precedence to their faith and to worshipping Allah over living in their homelands and amongst their families and tribes, and highlight that this was because the companions  realised that the reason why Allah created us was for the sole purpose of worshipping Him.

One may resort to other means of teaching them, such as:

Utilising Qur’anic study circles:

In such a case the parent may stop at certain verses which address a specific aspect of Tawheed and explain it. An example for this is the verses addressing the story of Prophet ‘Eesaa  and that he was not crucified as the Christians claim, but the parent must choose simple phrases that are within the level of the child’s understanding and comprehension.

Relating stories of the Prophet and his companions  and other heroes in Islam:

Children like hearing stories, and thus the parents should take advantage of this interest in them. One should not simply relate the story without highlighting certain matters and emphasising on the lessons one can extract from these stories.

Commenting on some events:

One can remind the children with the massacre that took place to the Muslims in Bosnia and the atrocities that are currently taking place to the Muslims in Palestine, Iraq and other places and make it clear for them that their suffering is because of their faith and because they are Muslims. This will make the child sympathise with his fellow Muslims.

Exploiting certain situations:

When the child is ill, the parent can instill in him the principle that Allah Alone is the One Who can cure and that medicine is but a means and that it is Allah Who made it a cause to cure. Clarify that Allah is The Only One who can benefit or cause harm, and He is the only One to seek refuge in to lift any harm. Parents should exploit all other situations to instill different principles of Tawheed.

Setting a good example:

A parent could be a means to instill certain values and basics of Tawheed through his or her conduct and actions. For example, a parent may praise a person in front of his children only because he is a righteous one or a one who fights Jihaad. Likewise, a parent may dispraise another person because he is a disbeliever.

This clarifies to the children one of the principles of faith, and that is love and hatred are both done for the sake of Allah and not because so and so person deprived us form a job or money that we wanted. Parents should be careful in front of their children lest the children adopt a bad habit, because it is the parents who have the most effective influence on the children.

Correcting wrong concepts or words:

During the child’s daily activities, they may utter or do something Islamically wrong or contradicting to Tawheed and it is the role of the parents to correct them. The child may swear by other than Allah, and it becomes mandatory upon the parents to clarify that this is a form of disbelief and associating with Allah, and so forth.

A child may hear at school that Santa is a nice man who brings gifts and nice things, then the parents must explain that this Santa is a symbol for non-Muslims (namely the Christians) and that he is nothing but a myth made up by them, and that the only One Who Has the power to benefit or cause harm is Allah Alone.

Likewise, if the child sees on TV that a certain character controls the wind or the rain, the parents must make it clear that this is association with Allah and that these are qualities that are exclusive to Allah.

These were some suggestions of simple and important means and methods through which parents can clarify aspects and principles of Tawheed to their children.

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The upbringing of our children

Cultivation in Islam is very important, for indeed all of the religion is based upon upbringing. It starts first of all with of our own selves, then of our families, and then of the community at large. But this cultivation is most important with respect to our children, so that they are brought up upon the correct path of Islam.

Having children is a blessing from Allah, therefore, it is obligatory for the parents to take care of their children as the responsibility for them is upon their shoulders. As the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa salllam said: “All of you are shepherds and are responsible for your flock…” [Al-Bukhari]

The Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet encourage us to bring up our children correctly; ordering us with righteousness and good conduct ourselves as well as ordering us to prevent our families from falling into that which would result in their own destruction. Allah says (which means): “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones...” [Qur’an; 66:6]

What follows are some practical steps towards establishing the correct cultivation of children.


Seeking righteous children:

When an individual wants to get married, they should have the intention to have righteous children and supplicate Allah to this effect. They should seek their children with the intention to increase the number of the Prophet’s nation, and to get Allah’s reward in this life and the Hereafter. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa salllam said: “Marry those women who are loving and fertile; for verily I want to be amongst those Prophets who have the most followers on the Day of Judgment.”  [Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi]

If one has the correct intention at the beginning of the action, then he will have its correct fruits at the end.


Setting a good example:

The parents should set the best example for their children. They should hasten to do that which is good and, likewise, hasten to abandon all that is evil. Children follow the example of their parents, and they love, respect and admire them. The parents are, therefore, the first and most lasting of examples for their children.


Putting emphasis on religion:

Parents should consider Islam the most important affair in their life. They should raise their child to know that the most important aspect of life is being upright in religion, clinging to it firmly. Allaah says (what means): “And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibraaheem upon his sons and by Ya’qoob, (saying), ‘O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the faith of Islam.” [Qur’an; 2:132]

Parents should supplicate Allah to guide their children and keep them upright. Allah Says that the believers say (what means): “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our own wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Mmuttaqoon (i.e. pious and righteous persons).” [Qur’an; 25:74]

Besides supplicating Allah, parents should also take the necessary steps in bringing up their children upon this religion.


Showing love and kindness towards children:

The parent should treat his children with love and kindness, and should not always use harshness. However, if the situation requires harshness, and even hitting, then he should do so, as and when the situation requires it, but he should not make this his way (i.e. that he is always hard and harsh towards his children). We should not be like those people who are always hard upon their children as this may lead them towards further corruption and going astray.

On the other hand, we should not be like those who leave their children without any discipline so that they follow whatever way they like and do whatever they want.


Teaching good character:

The parent should aim to raise his children upon good character from a young age. He should teach them the Qur’an, the history of the Prophet and that of the companions  as well. One should not leave his children to continue making mistakes saying that he will correct them when they get older, because indeed it becomes increasingly more difficult to correct a person when he has grown up adopting incorrect actions and bad characteristics. As a poet once said: “Whoever grows up upon something, he grows old upon that same thing.”

The Prophet used to train and bring up the children from a young age upon good manners and character. As can be seen in the Hadith of Al-Hasan  in which he narrates how he once took a date from the dates of charity, and the Prophet stopped him and told him to take the date out of his mouth. The Prophet explained to him that the dates were for charity, and that charity was not allowed for the Prophet  or his family.

The Prophet  did not leave Al-Hasan  without instructing him; rather, he  stopped him from continuing in what he was doing and explained to him the correct way, in kindness and wisdom.


Being just with children:

The parent should neither oppress nor wrong any of his children. He should not show one of his children due favour more so than the others, by giving him more or praising him more than any of the others. Indeed this type of favoritism can be a reason for the children swaying from the correct path and developing personal problems later on in life.


Spending on one’s Children:

The parents should be generous and spend on their children. They should take the necessary steps to earn lawful money and spend on their children in a manner that is correct. Indeed, anything that one spends on his family with the correct intention will be rewarded. The Prophet said: “Two Deenaars (golden currency) which you spend by way of charity, or two Deenaars which you give to the poor, or the two Deenaars which you give to your family-indeed the greatest of these as regards reward is that Deenaar which you spend upon your family.” [Muslim]

In conclusion, everyone should take care of his family, for if everyone in the society was to take care of the upbringing of their families and take care of their financial needs, then this would prove good and beneficial for the society as a whole. And if everyone were to leave the affairs of their families and their children, then this would lead to the corruption of the society, and poverty would be widespread.

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