Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rights of Children in Islam and Thoughts on the Children of Reverts to Islam

Muslims are told that children are a gift from Allaah (swt) and they are the adornment of the worldly life (Your Flesh and Blood: A Lecture on the Rights of Children, Sh. Baazmool).

Sh. Baazmool writes that the prophets and virtuous people would ask Allaah (swt) to grant them righteous offspring.

People have a great responsibility toward children. Many of us do fulfil our obligation toward children, but many of us do not.

I am not only talking about our responsibility toward OUR children, our flesh and blood, but responsibility toward ALL children, including those that some of us Muslims perceive as "non Muslim" children.

After all, the Messenger (saw) of Allaah (swt) told us that "There is no child except that he is born upon true faith (fitrah), but it is his parents that make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrian. Just as an animal gives birth to a baby animal that is whole, do you find it mutilated?"

"Mutilate." Ya Allah. Such a strong word!

How do we mutilate our children? We do so by not fulfilling their rights upon us.

Yes, children have rights.

Sh. Baazmool mentions 12 rights of children in his lecture. Basically, they are:

1. Choosing a good name for him.
2. Holding an 'Aqeeqah for him.
3. Breastfeeding him.
4. Paying his expenses.
5. Being fair when giving out gifts.
6. Commanding them to pray and being patient with them upon that.
7. Beware of supplicating against them.
8. The order to restrain children during the Hours in which the Jinn spread out.
9. Inciting them to keep good company and warning them about bad companions.
10. Being merciful and compassionate towards them.
11. Serving as good role-models for them.
12. Teaching them the aspects of the Religion that they are required to learn.

At the risk of standing on my soapbox and ranting, just review the above list and I am sure that you can come up with numerous examples of how Muslims trample and violate the rights of children.

I personally have no biological children. But, I am in contact with a lot of children in my role as an Islamic weekend school teacher, and general all-around Muslim Auntie.

Some sisters have said that I can "never understand" because I don't have children of my own.

Well, sisters, it's not rocket science.

For example, I have a pre-schooler in one of my classes (age 3, almost 4) who can recite the al-Fatiha.

Then I have a 7 year old child in my kindergarten class who cannot recite the al-Fatiha.

One doesn't need to have children of her own to understand why that is so.

One of my friends came to my house the other day. I keep toys and games for child visitors so they don't feel the need to explore my aquarium or china cabinet. Anyhow, her children were playing with a game that had a LOAD of pieces to it. To my shock, when the kids were ready to go home, the entire game had been put back in its box nice and neat. All the game cards. All the game pieces. The game was neater when they were done with it than how I had given it to them, lol.

Why "to my shock?" Because at the masjid, the majority of the children think I am their maid. And so do some of their parents.

Again, one doesn't need to have children of her own to understand why that is so.

(Okay. I know I said I wouldn't get on my soapbox.)

Which brings me to the dear sweet children in the pictures of this post.

They are the children of a new Shahadah that is like a daughter to me. What's so unusual about that? What's so special about these pictures and these children, Safiyyah?

Well, these are "Christian" children. They live with their Christian father and grandmother. When they come to my house, they want to wear hijab. When it is time for salaat, they stand in line, and mimic our every movement. It is so precious to see the little one moving her finger during the Tashahud!

No one forced or told these kids that they had to pray when it was time for prayer.

No one asked them to put these amira hijabs on their heads.

They asked me for hijabs. Last time they visited me, they returned the hijabs to me when they left. This time, the oldest one asked me if she could take the hijab with her. Subhan'Allah!

And when we lined up for prayer, they lined up.

"... the fitrah of Allaah which He created mankind upon." (Ar-Room: 30)

A hadith states that a Muslim should order a child to pray when they are seven years old. If by age ten, the child refuses, the parent can "beat them to it" meaning the prayer.

Ya Allah. I don't think that beating a child will make him love salaat and Islam. And the thought of beating a child to make him pray Insha Allah horrifies most Muslims.

The point is that the parent has 3 years to teach the child the importance of salaat. Three years to facilitate the child's love for salaat.

If a child does not appreciate that importance in the three year period, I believe we should reconsider who it is that needs the beating.

Yes, you have some rebellious children, but most children WANT to please a parent or an adult. It is our job to be patient with kids and make them LOVE Islam.

But if a parent or adult doesn't lay the framework, the child will end up with his rights and has imaan mutilated.

These children are curious for Islaam because they see the role of it in the lives of Mommy and Auntie Safiyyah.

Your children copy you. If your kid doesn't do this or doesn't do that, perhaps it is because they do not have a role model in the house?

For the new Shahadahs with children: be patient with your kids and set a good example. Make your kids hungry for this deen. On their own! If this happens, I believe that kids will always be in it for Allaah (swt) and themselves. No one will have to "order" them or "beat them to" any act of worship or deen!

Sh. Baazmool reminds us that it is our hope that a child will supplicate for his parents.

Abu Hurairah (ro) reported that Allaah's Messenger (swt) said: "When a person dies, his good deeds come to an end except for three: A recurring charity, knowledge that is benefitted from, or a righteous child that supplicates for him." (Muslim)

May all of our children become righteous Muslims and supplicate for us when we are gone/Ameen!


Stacy K. said...

precious! Some people just have low expectations for their kids, or aren't willing to invest the time into them.
Layla just turned 2 and already speaks full sentences and has a keen interest in religion and prayer.
Just today we were watching a mini documentary on hajj and she was saying "guys, praying" when she saw them doing salat. She also has me pray for her when she goes to sleep and has me pray for a sick little boy we know whenever we visit his mom's blog. She doesn't do these things because she was forced, but because she's following the examples that I put before her.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Stacy:

May Allah (swt) reward you and precious Layla!

The Sole Sisters Collective said...

Wow, Salam Alaikum sister in Islam. Firstly Eid Mubarak to you and your family.

Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a nice comment to warm my heart. This post is wonderful. I will email you with some thoughts.

أبو سنان said...


I agree and the children in the picture seem so cute. The best dawah, whether to non Muslims or even other Muslims, is the way you act and the way you live your life. It is worth 1,000 times any pamplet you can hand out.

Eid mubarak.

Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

I think people always misunderstand talk of beating in the Qur'an and hadeeth, often conveniently. Parents hit their kids for a whole lot of things and in Islam, missing prayers is a serious matter, and they have to be in the habit of praying for when it becomes fard on them. It's the same with the verses on women - it doesn't mean beat them black and blue, and yet there are those in the media (usually enemies of Islam who are seeking to get imams punished or deported) who use the term "wife-beating" exactly as if that is what men were being told to do.

Anonymous said...

Thought provoking piece. I have seen many similar situations with children from a Muslim father and Mother of a different religious background. You can see the confusion at a very young age. It just makes you wonder where they will decide to go as adults.

Best of Duas.

Br00ke said...

I needed that neatly compiled list right now--thank you! May Allah reward you with better, ameen.
They have some large print Qurans on Amazon. Not familiar with any of the translators though.
Love and Peace

Anonymous said...

Ameen to your duaa. That's so beautiful. Children are Amazing. I was a nanny for two Muslim boys. I was embarassed that the 4 yr old knew More Quran, and duaas than me. He was so smart mashAllah.

Anonymous said...

Your post made my heart beam, and I *almost cried (sometimes my heart is a little hard, astaghfirullah). I wanted to cry. It was beautiful to learn about these girls who love Islam though they live in a Christian household. It should also be noted that while hadiths and Qur'an have talked about beating, rasulAllah (Saws) was known for never raising his hand, foot, or anything to beat anyone--not his wives, children, or even the horses he rode.