Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan: “O you who have Imaan! Save yourselves and your families from the fire (of Jahannum).”

We understand from this aayah the importance of the proper Islamic tarbiyah (nuturing) of our families.

The main cause of children being spoilt is our lack of interest in their tarbiyah. It is the incumbent responsibility of both the parents to bring up and nurture their children Islamically. However, a greater responsibility lies upon the mother, since the children grow up mainly in her care.

Parents should try and gain the maximum out of their children by moulding their behaviour in accordance with the Shari’ah. Besides benefiting the children it will also benefit us. Whatever good accrues from them, we will also have a share in the reward they attain. Every salaah they perform, every aayah of the Qur’aan they recite and every other good deed that they may perform, a share of the reward will be reserved for us as well.

Definition of Tarbiyah: The word tarbiyah means to nurture, rear or to take care of a child from stage to stage until he/she becomes obedient and righteous.

Definition of a Murabbi: One who makes the tarbiyah of others.

Object of Tarbiyah: One of the most important objectives of tarbiyah is to nurture someone till they reach such a stage where they can fulfil all their duties towards Allah Ta’ala and live a practical life of a Muslim, as shown to us by our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

Qualities of a Murabbi (Mentor)

As far as upbringing and spiritual rectification is concerned, certain attributes are vital in the life of a murabbi. Some of these are listed hereunder.

Sincerity: This is the key feature in any work of Deen. Without this, no action can be of any value. Always keep in mind the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Our objective should never be any gain other than the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Every facet of our upbringing should reveal only sincerity. Whether it is stern admonition or counselling with love, all our actions have to be based on complete sincerity.

Tolerance & Patience: This is the fundamental attribute of an ideal murabbi. Without this no person will be able to execute an obligation as sensitive as tarbiyah (upbringing) effectively. The gist of tolerance is that a person refrains from angry outbursts. Don’t be hasty in looking for results. This may agitate you and lead to frustration. Generally we get frustrated when there is no apparent change taking place. Maintain trust in Allah Ta’ala and continue working conscientiously and with persistence. Bear in mind the blessed manner of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Look at how he nurtured his Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum) despite the difficulties and hardships. Historians say that the group of people that he had to work with were at that time the worst group of people on the face of the earth. Yet in the most trying times he never lost his temper. He thus transformed them into the best group of people on earth.

Politeness:   Undoubtedly, a person’s speech, tone, manner of conversation and style leaves an impression upon his/her children. If you are unsympathetic, repulsive and speak in an angry tone, your children will distance themselves from you. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) spoke in a tone that was neither too loud, nor too soft. He spoke in a moderate tone that would leave a deep impression upon his audience.

Good character: Before attempting to nurture others, we should first spiritually nurture ourselves. The beautiful character of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) played a key role in his Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum) adopting a most excellent character.

The following 3 aspects should be instilled into the hearts of every child

1. Greatness of Allah Ta’ala

Our most important function is to create an awareness of the presence of Allah Ta’ala at all times. The recognition, greatness and the attributes of Allah Ta’ala must be firmly established in their hearts. Every opportunity should be used to educate them in this regard. This should be done on a daily basis. For example, let them observe the creation of Allah Ta’ala such as the sky, sun, moon, mountains, oceans, etc., which all show the greatness of Allah Ta’ala. The awareness of Allah Ta’ala can also be achieved by continuously making zikr of the first kalimah and reciting the masnoon duaas on the appropriate occasions.

2. Love for Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)

The second most important aspect is to instil the true love and admiration of our beloved Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), his family and the Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum) in their hearts. This can be achieved by explaining to them the seerah and life of our beloved Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). They should be made to understand the hardships and suffering that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) experienced to propagate the Deen of Islam. The recitation of durood daily will also help in this regard. Practicing and reinforcing every sunnah will help to instil the true love of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) into their lives. If our child does any action against the sunnah, rectify him/her immediately. For example immediately rectify them for actions such as drinking water with the left hand, boy’s having their pants below their ankles, girls not covering their hair properly, etc., even if they are minors. They should thereafter be praised and rewarded for acting on the sunnah. Remember that the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is for men, women and children. Ask ourselves whether the use of the miswaak is common amongst the women and children in our families or has it been restricted to the men only. Similarly sitting on the floor and eating is a sunnah practice for men and women although practiced mainly by men only.

3. Good character and morals

The third most important aspect is to encourage good character and morals in our families. We are living in a society which is morally bankrupt and becoming worse by the day. Modesty and Shame have vanished. Bad habits and Evil Character are common. Good qualities such as truthfulness, kindness, respect and other virtuous traits must be introduced to them. The bad habits such as lying, vulgar language, theft, etc., must also be discussed, so that it could be shunned. The harms of television, music, drugs, illicit relationships, etc., should be emphasized firmly but with affection and concern. Children must be discouraged from hero-worshiping kuffaar sportsmen. For instance parents should not purchase T-shirts with “Bekham or Ronaldo” written on them since such garments lead towards hero-worship of theses idols.

(to be continued. Part 2 – How do we make the tarbiyah of our children?)