Great article on raising our children as good upright Muslims. Also a link from one the great men Of Allah Imam Ghazali on upbringing of our children. Many of us want to teach others about din, and how to be good Muslims. We should want to teach our children even more. Especially living in Western societies . Let us hold fast to the verse where Allah says:
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones” Surah Tahrim:6
Teaching your Child about Islam
Freda Shamma PhD
Children are born in a state of fitra (purity) and then their parents teach them to be believers or unbelievers. According to the Musnad Ibn Hanbal, “The children of the unbelievers are better than you grown-ups. Every living creature is born with a righteous nature.” It is our obligation and duty as parents to teach our children so that they grow up to be believing, practicing Muslims. Sending the child to an Islamic weekend school or to a full-time Islamic school is an important but minor part of their Islamic education. The major ‘institution of learning’ for each child is his family, and the major ‘professors’ of this institution are the parents.
The most effective way to teach anything to anybody is to be a role model. This is why Allah sent human beings as prophets to all peoples. Whether we willingly accept this job or not, it is a fact that your child learns how to function in life by watching what you do. Even the absent parent is role modeling to the degree that a boy, whose father abandoned his family, will probably treat his own children the same way.
Every time we deal with our children, we are teaching them, whether we intend to or not. There is a famous poem by an anonymous author that depicts this vividly. It begins:
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
Therefore we must examine carefully how we deal with our child in order to have a desirable end result. This same poem continues:
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT
As the above poem indicates, negative comments and treatment result in negative attributes in our children, and positive comments and treatment result in positive results. The term ‘positive and negative reinforcement’ is popular in modern psychology, but it was advocated by the Qu’ran and the actions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), 1400 years ago. How do we use positive reinforcement to teach our children?
Young children are basically good. Furthermore they want to please their parents. When you praise them for their good behavior by telling them that Papa and/or Mama is happy with their action, you are using positive reinforcement. Unfortunately many parents ignore their child’s good actions and only comment on the bad actions. Let us take an example.
Ghazali: Exposition of the Way in which Young Children should be Disciplined, and the Manner of their Upbringing