By Rumina Rizvi
As Muslim parents, we have an obligation to bring up our kids in the best manner, to teach them right from wrong and to show them what Allah SWT, parents, as well as the society expects from them.
It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say:
“Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house”.
– Bukhaari, 853; Muslim, 1829
Kids see strangers every day . Most of these strangers may seem nice but few may not be. Parents need to protect children from dangerous situations by teaching them about strangers, suspicious behaviour and by taking a few precautions of their own.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Whoever neglects to teach his son that which will benefit him, and ignores him, has done something very bad indeed. Most children go astray because of their parents who neglect them and fail to teach them the duties and Sunnahs of their religion. They neglect them when they are young so they do not benefit themselves or benefit their parents when they grow up.
– Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, p. 229
There’s a list of things that needs to be taught to kids from a very young age to develop into a habit. Basics first.
1. A girl child should be taught to avoid sitting next to a male acquaintance and also on the lap of any male . It would teach them to develop basic modesty and maintaining distance from men at an early age.
2. As a parent, we would need to dress them modestly. It’s important to cover the Awrah of girls from a young age to develop into a habit for later on.
3. If and when your child complains of an individual person or a group of people, take it seriously and be cautious. Speak out to your child and don’t keep quiet about it.
4. If you notice your child becoming quiet or withdrawn from being a lively active child, you must TALK patiently and softly asking questions for their displeasure.
5. Don’t forcibly take your child to visit someone (adult) if he/she not is comfortable with and if you do then you must observe and never leave the child out of your sight. Also be observant if your child becomes too fond of someone in particular. One must keep this notion for surveillance.
6. Children should be well aware of their private parts. They should also be taught how to wash them properly. Warn them to NEVER allow anyone else to touch or see those areas except for you yourself, someone you trust like a grandparent or a doctor in your presence. In case anyone tries to touch any part of their body inappropriately, they must immediately say ‘No’ loudly or shout out to get attention of another individual. They should not be scared to report to their parents, teachers or any adult they see around (in case a teacher or parent isn’t available).
7. Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and talk to an adult they trust. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell someone what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
8. Parents should be cautious of possible dangerous situations. This will help them in dealing with strangers as well as with known adults who may not have good intentions. Help children identify the warning signs of suspicious behaviour, such as when an adult asks them to disobey their parents or do something without permission, asks them to keep a secret, asks children for help, or makes them uncomfortable in any way. Teach them to find a trusted adult right away to tell what happened.
Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go in case of trouble.
9. Develop their confidence in you, so that they can share everything with you. For that you have to be attentive when they speak. Listen to their activities at school and outside. Ask questions. When your child wants to talk to you, shun all your work, TV, phone aside and be attentive. That will increase their trust and confidence.
10. You must keep a check on the content of what they see and read. Ensure parental locks on cable networks and website contents. Moreover the books the child gets, or those assigned by schools should be monitored as well. Parents should not hesitate to enter the child’s room. Discuss openly about things not being appropriate for them with logical explanations. Don’t shy away from answering their questions. You need to address issues with them in a mature way, while building their trust in you.
11. Try and avoid adult talks and jokes in front of children. Ladies giggling and passing remarks on clothing or mannerisms may intrigue a child’s mind to notice those things. When a boy is ten years or older, he should not be allowed to enter a place where women are gathered, especially if they are with their beautiful attires and have adorned in make-up and jewelry.
“O you who believe! Let your slaves and the children among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before Morning Prayer (Fajr), and when you put off your clothes for the noon rest, and after the late-night prayer (Isha). These three times are of privacy for you, outside these times, there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Signs to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Qur’an 24:58]
12. When children are old enough to differentiate between right and wrong, understand and follow directions, usually around the age of seven, they should ask permission before entering a room. This should be emphasized at times when the parent(s) is usually undressed, bathing or changing clothes. This teaches them decency and helps to protect from accidentally stumbling upon sights that may prove uncomfortable to both.
13. It is very important that the child should fear Allah’s Punishment if he commits this abominable sin. Allah says:
“And those who invoke not with Allah any other god, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse; and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace.” [Qur’an 25:68-69]
14. Connecting children to religious backgrounds. Parents should teach children Islamic culture and values. They should also know the social norms in a Muslim community and the way social activities and gatherings are performed according to the Islamic Values.
15. We need to carefully educate children about right values of sex according to their age . If we won’t talk about these matters, they might learn wrong values from other sources. The correct attitude should be to give children the right sexual education, one that is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Instilling moral & values with love for Allah, Prophets, Sahabas, and the great heroes of Islam will teach strength and perform good when alone. The realization of self-discipline and concern for doing righteousness whether they’re alone or in group. The above stated practices are just means to achieve this end.
About the Author:
Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feels privileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.