Friday, 9 December 2011

The Importance and Methodology of Tarbiyah (Education & Upbringing)


Shaikh Ahmed Aways

in Islam is very important, for indeed all of the Deen is based
upon tarbiyah (i.e. the education and upbringing of the people).
This starts first of all with the education and training of our
own selves, then of our families, and then of the community at large.
But this tarbiyah is most important with respect to our children,
so that they are brought up upon the correct path of Islam. Because
of this, many of the scholars take care in discussing this aspect
of tarbiyah more so than the others.

the benefit of al-Islam and our very creation, from the best of
benefits is that of having children. We see their benefits both
in this world and after we have passed to the next. As for the benefits
in this world - when a person becomes old and unable to earn a livelihood,
all of his friends and companions leave him alone and it is his
children who look after and care for him, bearing his problems and
burdens. As for after his death, then a person benefits from his
children as the Prophet said: "When the son of Adam passes
away, all of his deeds are stopped except for three. Some kind of
charity that is continuous, or knowledge which the people are benefiting
from, or a righteous child who is praying for him."

from the benefits of having children is that if they were to pass
away whilst still children, they will intercede for their parents.
This is authentically reported from the Prophet , who said: "There
is no Muslim individual, male or female, who has three of his children
pass away whilst they are young and he is patient with that, except
that they will come and intercede for him on the Day of Judgment."
So 'Umar asked, 'What about two [children]?' Upon this the Prophet
said, "It is the same for two [children]." (Al-Bazzaar,
al-Haakim. Sh. al-Albaanee mentions it in his book, Kitaabul-Janaa-iz)

for the person who has one child who passes away and he is patient
with this, seeking his reward from Allah , then he shall also find
a great reward with Him. As in a hadeeth wherein it is reported
that the Prophet used to sit down in his sitting place and his companions
would sit in front of him to seek benefit and learn from him. From
amongst them was a man who had a small boy; he used to come to the
Prophet from behind his back by way of respect, then he used to
sit in front of him and sit his son in front of the Prophet . The
Prophet asked, "Do you love this child of yours?" The
man replied, "Yes, and may Allah cause you to love him also."
Then it happened that this child passed away, and the man was so
sad that he used to refrain from coming to sit with the Prophet
. So the Prophet asked his companions about this man saying, "Why
is it that he no longer comes to my sitting place?" And this
was from the Sunnah of the Prophet , that if he had people who would
come to him and then stop coming, he would ask about their condition
and their affairs. So the companions told him that the man's son
had passed away and that he was sad because of that. So the Prophet
went to meet this man and asked him, "What has happened to
your son?" And the man told him that he had passed away. So
the Prophet said, "Do you wish that your son could be here
with you spending time with you, or do you prefer that your son
would reach Paradise before you, waiting at the Doors of Paradise
to open them for you?" So the man said, "O Messenger of
Allah. I wish that my son would go forth before me and precede me
to Paradise." So the Prophet said to him, "Verily, this
is for you." So upon this, one of the companions said, "O
Messenger of Allah, may I be sacrificed for your sake! Is this (reward)
only for this man or is it for all of the people?" He said,
"No, this reward is for all of the people (i.e. those who lose
a child and are patient with their loss)." (Al-Haakim. Adh-Dhahabee
declared it Saheeh as did Sh. Al-Albaanee)

from the benefits of having children is that if one has daughters
and is patient with them, bringing them up correctly, then for him
is a great reward from Allah. Our mother Aa'ishah said, "A
woman with two daughters and who was very poor came to my door requesting
charity. All I had was three dates, so I gave them to this woman
and her two daughters. The woman gave a date to each of her daughters
and kept the third date for herself. But when the two daughters
had finished their dates, they both looked up to their mother wanting
the date which she had. So she felt mercy for her two daughters
and split the date into two halves, she gave a half to each of her
daughters and then she went away. When the Prophet came back I informed
him about what had happened. He said, 'Anyone who has daughters
and is good in bringing them up, then they will be as a barrier
between him and the Hell-Fire'." (Bukhari & Muslim)

is obligatory for the parents to take care of their children as
the responsibility for them is upon their shoulders. As the Prophet
said, "All of you are shepherds and will are responsible for
his flock." Unfortunately, many of the people look down upon
this affair of bringing up the children correctly and consider it
as a small matter and unimportant, instead busying themselves which
affairs such as politics and those things which it may be beyond
their ability to reach. They look to those things which are seen
as more important and so look down upon the affair of raising their
children correctly. In this, they are mistaken, as whoever the Imam
or the leader of the believers may be, even if he was the most righteous
of all righteous people and the most just of all rulers, if a person
does not take care of their own affairs then no-one else is going
to come into their house and look after their children for them.
And if this Imam was the worst of all the people, yet a person was
to take care of their own family as is his responsibility, then
how is his harm and his condition going to affect that person? Allah

Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as
they do not change their state of goodness themselves." [Qur'an
Ra'd 13:11]

it is upon us to change our own condition and the condition of our
own families, and then to look to the condition of our communities
and the community of the Muslims at large. For if we were to neglect
this responsibility then we would never achieve the correct tarbiyah
- training, upbringing and education - of our societies.

the Book of Allah (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. As Allah says,

you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire
(Hell) whose fuel is men and stones." [Qur'an Tahrim 66:6]

He says,

enjoin Prayer on your family, and be patient in offering them (i.e.
the Prayers)." [Qur'an Ta-Ha 20:132]

Prophet said, "Order your children with Salah when they are
seven years old, and beat them upon it (i.e. force them to do so
by hitting them) when they are ten years old, and (also) separate
them in their sleeping place." So by the preceding Ayat and
hadeeth, Allah and the Prophet teach the believers about the importance
of Salah and worship, and also in the hadeeth the Prophet is teaching
his Ummah about how to live this life free from all types of doubts
and misconceptions, by avoiding those places and situations where
such doubts and misconceptions may arise. So the order is that one
should raise one's children upon the most blessed and praiseworthy
of characteristics.

what follows are some practical steps in bringing up the family

Righteous Children

an individual wants to get married, they should have the intention
to have - and ask Allah to give them - righteous children. They
should be patient upon this and seek their children with the correct
intention i.e. to increase the number of the Prophet's Ummah, and
seek Allah's reward in this life and the Hereafter by way of his
children. As the Prophet 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 Judgement." So when a
person gets married he should seek children with the intention to
have many children which will go towards making up the Ummah of
the Prophet and that these children may become righteous slaves
of Allah so that he may benefit from them in this world and the
Hereafter. This is because the intention has a special and important
place with regard to the outcome, as the Prophet said, "Verily,
every action is by its intention." So if one has the correct
intention at the beginning of the action, then he has its correct
fruits at the end.

A Good Example

parent should be a good and the best example for their children.
They should hasten to do all good and, likewise, hasten to leave
all evil. This is because children follow the example of their parents
as they love them and respect and admire them. So the parents are
the greatest of all examples for their children. Therefore, whatever
the parents are upon, the children follow them. It is not possible,
however one may try, to hide one's evil characteristics from their
children. A person may go into his home, closing the door behind
them, but it is the children who know the reality of their affairs.
They know how their character truly is, what they watch and what
they see, and they know their situation perfectly. So we should
try and be good examples to our children; having the best characteristics,
being good towards the people, and remaining upright in our Deen.

Importance Upon The Deen

parent should make the most important affair in his life and that
of his child the Religion. They should raise their child to know
that the most important aspect of his life is that he be upright
in his Deen, correcting it and clinging to it firmly. Allah said,

this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahem upon his
sons and by Ya'qoob (as), (saying), 'O my sons! Allah has chosen
for you the (true) Religion, then die not except in the Faith of
Islam." [Qur'an Baqarah 2:132]

He says,

he made it (i.e. Laa ilaha illAllah - none has the right to be worshipped
but Allah Alone) a Word lasting among his offspring (True Monotheism),
that they may turn back (i.e. repent to Allah or receive admonition)."
[Qur'an Zukhruf 43:28]

this should be our greatest concern with regard to our children,
that we make clear to them the importance of their Religion and
their being upright. We should not be concerned with their Dunya
i.e. that they bring home food or drink or wealth, rather we should
be most concerned with their remaining upright Muslims. After this,
the believer should make du'a to Allah and supplicate to Him that
He guide his children and make them upright, for indeed there is
no power nor strength except in Allah. No one has the ability to
guide his children himself, or to keep them upon the straight path,
rather this is in the Hands of Allah. So one should make du'a to
Allah as His prophets did before. Allah says that the believers

Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be
the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqoon (i.e.
pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much [abstain from all
kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden] and love Allah
much [perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained])."
[Qur'an Furqan 25:74]

also Prophet Ibrahem (as) mentioned in a long du'a,

my Lord! Make me one who offers prayers perfectly, and (also) from
my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation." [Qur'an
Ibrahim 14:40]

we should follow this example of the prophets in making du'a to
Allah and taking the necessary steps in educating and bringing up
our children upon this Deen, and asking Allah to keep them upright
in their Religion. The Ayah which was previously mentioned is general
for all of the believers. That is, that when one reaches the age
of 40 he should make du'a for his parents and that Allah should
keep him upon the Guidance, and he also makes du'a that Allah keeps
his children upright and correct their affairs.

Love & Kindness Towards One's Children

parent should control his affair with love, kindness and softness,
and should not always use harshness and beating to bring up his
children. Rather, he should make his way to be primarily a loving
and concerned way. However, if the situation requires that he should
also use harshness and hardness and even hitting his children, 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. Neither should we be like many of the Europeans
are i.e. that they leave their children without any discipline so
that they follow whatever way they like and do whatever they like.
Rather we should take the middle course (balanced), sometimes using
harshness and sometimes softness, according to the situation. We
should always try to exercise balance in raising our children, balancing
their affairs correctly and making the uppermost characteristic
that of kindness, softness and mercy.

Good Character

parent should raise his children upon good character from a young
age. He should teach them the Qur'an, the Seerah of the Prophet
and that of the Companions also (ra). 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 upon incorrect actions
and bad characteristics. As a poet said, "Whoever grows up
upon something, he grows old upon that same thing." So we should
teach our children from a young age the correct Aqeedah and belief,
for example that Allah is above His Throne, and we should teach
them love for the Prophet and his Companions (ra). We should also
teach them aspects of good character, like being courageous, kind,
generous and modest etc. Then if one of our children makes a mistake,
we should point out this mistake to them and explain that the action
is wrong, not leaving them and saying 'they are just children' or
that we will tell them when they grow older. This is because of
the saying, "Whoever grows up upon something, he grows old
upon that that same thing." And from the guidance of the Prophet
is that he used to train and bring up the children from a young
age upon good manners and character. As can be seen in the hadeeth
of Hasan , in which he narrates how he once took a date from the
dates of Sadaqa, and the Prophet shouted at him and told him to
take the date out of his mouth. The Prophet explained to him that
the dates were for Sadaqa, and that Sadaqa was not allowed for the
Prophet or his family. So the Prophet did not leave Hasan alone,
rather he reprimanded him for what he did and explained to him the
correct way, using intelligence and Hikmah. Likewise in the hadith
of the son of Umm Salamah, who narrated that he used to stay in
the house of the Prophet , and that he used to eat in an incorrect
way i.e. from everywhere in the plate. So the Prophet said to him,
"O boy! Mention Allah's Name i.e. say 'Bismillah', eat with
your right hand and eat that which is in front of you. So this Sahabah
went on to narrate that he continued to practise this etiquette
of eating until that day (i.e. until he had become older). This
shows that the Prophet would correct the children by pointing out
their mistakes, and also he did so in such a way that they would
continue upon the correct way which he had taught them until they
became older.

Justice With Regard To One's Children

parent should not oppress or wrong any of his children. He should
not show one of his children due favour more so than the other,
by giving him more than his other children or praising him more
than any of the others. Indeed this type of oppression and favouritism
can be a reason for the children swaying from the correct path and
developing personal problems later on in life. The Prophet said,
"Fear Allah and be just with regard to your children."
Indeed, being just can positively affect the children's tarbiyah,
just as being unjust can have negative affects upon their tarbiyah.
Of these negative effects is that the child may feel that if he
cannot find justice with his own parents, then who can he find justice
with? And he may carry this problem and this feeling in his heart
all of his life.

Upon One's Children

parents, both the mother and the father, should spend upon their
children. They should take the necessary steps to earn money and
spend upon their children correctly. Indeed, anything, which one
spends upon his family with the correct intention, will have a reward
for it. As in the hadeeth of Sa'd ibn Ma'aadh , who narrated that
the Prophet said, "There is nothing that you spend upon your
families, even the food that you put into the mouth of your wife,
except that you will get a reward for it." Also there is a
hadeeth which is collected by Muslim, which states the importance
of spending upon the family and that it is the best of all actions
with which one draws nearer to Allah . In this hadeeth the Prophet
said, "Two dinaars which you spend in the way of Allah, or
two dinaars which you spend by way of sadaqah (charity), or two
dinaars which you give to the miskeen (poor), or the two dinaars
which you give to your family - with which of these is the greatest
reward? Indeed the greatest of these as regards reward is that dinaar
which you spend upon your family."

in conclusion, everyone should take care of his family, for if it
were the case that everyone in society were to take care of the
upbringing of their families and their financial needs, then this
would be good 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. By spending upon our families and taking care of their
tarbiyah, this is how we train them and help them to remain upright
upon this Deen of Al-Islam.

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