One of the biggest prayers for believing parents is for their children to be protected and guided. Raising God-loving righteous children is ever more of a concern due to the rampant immorality that is plaguing society and specifically targeting children. This attempt to push them astray is coming from every facet of their lives; from the entertainment they consume, to their lesson plans in school, to the social influences from their peers.
Guidance Only Comes From God
[28:56] You cannot guide the ones you love. GOD is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance.
(٥٦) إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
A common mistake parents make is to think that they can guide their kids. They think that out of their own reasoning, discipline, oversight they can keep their kids on the straight and narrow. What we need to remember is that it is not us who guide our loved ones, but only God alone. So if we think we can guide our children on our own without God’s intervention then we are severely mistaken.
God has a system and we have to abide by God’s system if we want to be successful in raising good kids. So what can parents do to protect their kids from these influences and God willing help to keep them on the straight path?
Importance of Righteousness
When we get on an airplane and the flight crew goes over the flight safety procedures, they always state that: in case of a sudden change in cabin pressure that oxygen masks will be deployed, and that the parents should first secure their masks before assisting their children.
Righteousness operates in a similar fashion. Before we can exhort others to be righteous we need to first focus on our own righteousness. Oftentimes there are parents who want their children to be religious and righteous though they themselves are not. They want their kids to read the Quran, to be reverent, to do their Salat, to be good believers when they themselves as parents do none of these things and actually partake in much of the bad behavior they want to shield their kids from.
[2:44] Do you exhort the people to be righteous, while forgetting yourselves, though you read the scripture? Do you not understand?
(٤٤) أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنْسَوْنَ أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
So the first thing that a parent can do if they want to increase the chances that their children are protected and guided is to try to work on their own righteousness. Being righteous creates a barrier between us and evil.
Anyone who has ever had young children knows the challenge of constantly trying to keep track of all the items they might need to bring when leaving the house to help mitigate possible problems they could run into e.g. spare clothes, blankey, binky, toys, foods, extra diapers, etc. But more important than any of these things is righteousness.
[2:197] Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُونِ يَاأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
One of the main concerns for any new parent is that they want their child to be protected. They retrofit the home to block any wall sockets, to block any stairs, and invest in the safest car seats and strollers.
[7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD’s signs, that they may take heed.
يَابَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
If we are equipped with the garment of righteousness it is better than any other provision. It can get us out of any hardship and protect us from any adversity. Consider the example of Abraham. When he was thrown into the fire by his people, God protected him. This tells us that if we are under God’s protection then not even fire can touch us
[21:68] They said, “Burn him and support your gods, if this is what you decide to do.” [21:69] We said, “O fire, be cool and safe for Abraham.”
When we are righteous God not only protects us, but He protects the ones we love. This is because the worst punishment a parent can experience is to see their children suffer. So if God willing we do our utmost to do the things that please God, then in return, God will protect us from calamity.
[4:147] What will GOD gain from punishing you, if you became appreciative and believed? GOD is Appreciative, Omniscient.
مَا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا
[3:174] They have deserved GOD’s blessings and grace. No harm ever touches them, for they have attained GOD’s approval. GOD possesses infinite grace.
(١٧٤) فَانْقَلَبُوا بِنِعْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَفَضْلٍ لَمْ يَمْسَسْهُمْ سُوءٌ وَاتَّبَعُوا رِضْوَانَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَظِيمٍ
But if we revert from the right path, then this can cause disaster to be brought upon ourselves and our families.
[14:28] Have you noted those who responded to GOD’s blessings by disbelieving, and thus brought disaster upon their own families?
(٢٨) أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّوا قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَارِ
Never Condone Sin
The way the devil can sweep people into sin is by trying to convince people that this is the direction that society is going and you will be left out if you do not get on board. They will have marches and make condescending comments like “you will be on the wrong side of history.” Except we know exactly how such outcomes end for the unrighteous.
[5:100] Proclaim: “The bad and the good are not the same, even if the abundance of the bad may impress you. You shall reverence GOD, (even if you are in the minority,) O you who possess intelligence, that you may succeed.”
(١٠٠) قُلْ لَا يَسْتَوِي الْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ كَثْرَةُ الْخَبِيثِ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَاأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
Despite what society might be pushing us to support we should never condone sinful behavior.
[8:25] Beware of a retribution that may not be limited to the evildoers among you. You should know that GOD’s retribution is severe.
(٢٥) وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
This will lead many of us to the inevitable test. Where due to our beliefs and stances we will be persecuted and insulted, but it is our duty to be steadfast and not capitulate to the masses when they are heading towards sin.
[29:2] Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” without being put to the test?
(٢) أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
[29:10] Among the people there are those who say, “We believe in GOD,” but as soon as they suffer any hardship because of GOD, they equate the people’s persecution with GOD’s retribution. But if blessings from your Lord come your way, they say, “We were with you.” Is GOD not fully aware of the people’s innermost thoughts?
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ فَإِذَا أُوذِيَ فِي اللَّهِ جَعَلَ فِتْنَةَ النَّاسِ كَعَذَابِ اللَّهِ وَلَئِنْ جَاءَ نَصْرٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّا كُنَّا مَعَكُمْ أَوَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَعْلَمَ بِمَا فِي صُدُورِ الْعَالَمِينَ
There is no compulsion in religion (2:256), but we can nudge our children to believe and to do the worship practices. Take the extreme example of Noah who was informed that no more of his people were going to believe, yet despite knowing this he still invited his son to join them on the raft.
[11:41] He said, “Come on board. In the name of GOD shall be its sailing, and its mooring. My Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” [11:42] As it sailed with them in waves like hills, Noah called his son, who was isolated: “O my son, come ride with us; do not be with the disbelievers.” [11:43] He said, “I will take refuge on top of a hill, to protect me from the water.” He said, “Nothing can protect anyone today from GOD’s judgment; only those worthy of His mercy (will be saved).” The waves separated them, and he was among those who drowned.
Note Noah didn’t force him, but from the verses above we can tell that he tried his utmost to convince him to join them, but at the end of the day the son himself had to make the final decision to what he was going to do.
[20:132] You shall enjoin your family to observe the contact prayers (Salat), and steadfastly persevere in doing so. We do not ask you for any provisions; we are the ones who provide for you. The ultimate triumph belongs to the righteous.
(١٣٢) وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ
God has a system and if we abide by God’s system then God guarantees that we will be successful. So when God advocates that we encourage and enjoin our children towards doing their religious duties we are applying God’s system to our lives and therefore, God will fulfill his promise.
[19:54] And mention in the scripture Ismail. He was truthful when he made a promise, and he was a messenger prophet.
(٥٤) وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَبِيًّا
[19:55] He used to enjoin his family to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat); he was acceptable to his Lord.
(٥٥) وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا
[2:132] Moreover, Abraham exhorted his children to do the same, and so did Jacob: “O my children, GOD has pointed out the religion for you; do not die except as submitters.”
(١٣٢) وَوَصَّىٰ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعْقُوبُ يَابَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ
[14:31] Exhort My servants who believed to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and to give (to charity) from our provisions to them, secretly and publicly, before a day comes where there is neither trade, nor nepotism.
قُلْ لِعِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خِلَالٌ
[90:17] And being one of those who believe, and exhorting one another to be steadfast, and exhorting one another to be kind.
(١٧) ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ
[51:55] And remind, for the reminder benefits the believers.
(٥٥) وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنْفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
General Advice to Children
Sura 31 is entitled Luqman, and in this chapter, we see the advice that Luqman bestowed upon his son.
[31:12] We have endowed Luqmãn with wisdom: “You shall be appreciative of GOD.” Whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good. As for those who turn unappreciative, GOD is in no need, Praiseworthy. [31:13] Recall that Luqmãn said to his son, as he enlightened him, “O my son, do not set up any idols beside GOD; idolatry is a gross injustice.” [31:16] “O my son, know that even something as tiny as a mustard seed, deep inside a rock, be it in the heavens or the earth, GOD will bring it. GOD is Sublime, Cognizant. [31:17] “O my son, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat). You shall advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. These are the most honorable traits. [31:18] “You shall not treat the people with arrogance, nor shall you roam the earth proudly. GOD does not like the arrogant showoffs. [31:19] “Walk humbly and lower your voice—the ugliest voice is the donkey’s voice.”
At a young age it is important that we instill the right values in our children so that they make decisions that correspond with righteousness. At some point, our children will grow up and be ready to start their own families and we want to make sure that their spouses will encourage them in righteousness and away from sin. That is why God commands us to have our children marry believers and not idolaters.
[2:221] Do not marry idolatresses unless they believe; a believing woman is better than an idolatress, even if you like her. Nor shall you give your daughters in marriage to idolatrous men, unless they believe. A believing man is better than an idolater, even if you like him. These invite to Hell, while GOD invites to Paradise and forgiveness, as He wills. He clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may take heed.
وَلَا تَنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنَّ وَلَأَمَةٌ مُؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ وَلَا تُنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنُوا وَلَعَبْدٌ مُؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مُشْرِكٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ أُولَٰئِكَ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
Trust In God
If we trust in God then we have to do our part and God will do the rest.
[25:74] And they say, “Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous.”
(٧٤) وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
The #1 thing any parent can do is to maintain their devotion to God alone and try their best to lead a righteous life. God knows how much we want to see our children protected and guided so if we do the things that He expects from us then He will reward us with believing righteous children irrespective of the environment they are in.
Abraham was thrown into the fire, but since he was righteous God made the fire cool for him.
In Sura 18, we hear the story of the righteous dad who died and left two orphan sons. Despite the father’s absence, God took care of the kids because of the father’s good deeds.
[18:82] “As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city. Under it, there was a treasure that belonged to them. Because their father was a righteous man, your Lord wanted them to grow up and attain full strength, then extract their treasure. Such is mercy from your Lord. I did none of that of my own volition. This is the explanation of the things you could not stand.”
Story of Jacob
Probably the biggest lesson in the Quran regarding the trust in God is that of Jacob and Joseph. Jacob knew that Joseph’s brothers were going to scheme against him, yet he also knew that there is nothing he could do to change that outcome. The only recourse he had was “quiet patience” or in Arabic “فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ” which literally translates to beautiful patience. We see this expressed twice by Jacob. The first occurrence was when they produced fake blood on Joesph’s shirt and claimed that he was devoured by a wolf, and the second time when they lost his other son when going to Egypt to get provisions.
[12:18] They produced his shirt with fake blood on it. He said, “Indeed, you have conspired with each other to commit a certain scheme. All I can do is resort to a quiet patience. May GOD help me in the face of your conspiracy.”
(١٨) وَجَاءُوا عَلَىٰ قَمِيصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنْفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ
[12:83] He said, “Indeed, you have conspired to carry out a certain scheme. Quiet patience is my only recourse. May GOD bring them all back to me. He is the Omniscient, Most Wise.”
(٨٣) قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنْفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَنِي بِهِمْ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
The lesson from this is that we cannot control the events that transpire, we cannot even control the outcomes, but all we can do is prepare and trust in God, and if we do the things that please God then God guarantees us an absolute victory.
[12:94] Even before the caravan arrived, their father said, “I can sense the smell of Joseph. Will someone enlighten me?” [12:95] They said, “By GOD, you are still in your old confusion.” [12:96] When the bearer of good news arrived, he threw (the shirt) on his face, whereupon his vision was restored. He said, “Did I not tell you that I knew from GOD what you did not know?” [12:97] They said, “Our father, pray for our forgiveness; we were wrong indeed.” [12:98] He said, “I will implore my Lord to forgive you; He is the Forgiver, Most Merciful.” [12:99] When they entered Joseph’s quarters, he embraced his parents, saying, “Welcome to Egypt. GOD willing, you will be safe here.” [12:100] He raised his parents upon the throne. They fell prostrate before him. He said, “O my father, this is the fulfillment of my old dream. My Lord has made it come true. He has blessed me, delivered me from the prison, and brought you from the desert, after the devil had driven a wedge between me and my brothers. My Lord is Most Kind towards whomever He wills. He is the Knower, the Most Wise.” [12:101] “My Lord, You have given me kingship and taught me the interpretation of dreams. Initiator of the heavens and the earth; You are my Lord and Master in this life and in the Hereafter. Let me die as a submitter, and count me with the righteous.”