We live in an era that provides ample opportunities for us to fall into Shaitan’s trap. We are intricately caught in this web of deviation, and every step we take has become a struggle- do I choose the right way or the easy way?
Nothing good ever comes by displeasing Allah ﷻ, and every Muslim knows this, but the strength to do otherwise is at times lacking. This is where love for Islam comes in. It gives us the strength to make the right choices. Reasons for deviation and fitnah are undeniably going to multiply in the coming years, so it is imperative that the next generation has the courage to fight them steadfastly.
Moreover, we are the representatives of Islam. Living in a time where people are quick to judge our religion, it is upon us to showcase the Islamic way of life in its true nature. It’s an effortless task; especially when there is sincere love and respect for the religion in the heart, it reflects outwardly.
So, make a conscious effort in raising your children. Your attention, focus, and communication with them are vital for their good upbringing.
How to Instil Love for Islam in the Young Hearts
1. Pray to Allah ﷻ
Dua is a believer’s strongest weapon. Do not neglect it. Pray for your children to grow up loving Islam.
Raising children is a lifelong obligation. Ask Allah ﷻ to help you in this task, bless you with patience and resilience, and guide you to do the right thing at every step of this journey.
2. Start Early
Don’t wait for your children to reach a certain age to start talking Islam to them. Familiarise them with Islam from the get-go. This will mould their experiences to give them an Islamic perspective, and they will grow up associating themselves with Islam closely and incorporating Islamic principles in their thought processes automatically. In Shaa Allah!
When they are infants, recite the Quran to them. As they grow up, indulge them in various Islamic activities: read stories from the Quran and Sunnah, play Islamic cartoons (with Islamic animation and without music) that teach them about Islam in a fun way, take them to the Masjid regularly, teach them the Arabic language.
3. Make Islam Your Lifestyle
Islam is life – follow this motto. Live this life and depict this life to your kids. Embody the Sunnah. Every action of yours, from waking up until you go to bed, do it the Sunnah way. Teach them the everyday Duas, Quran, and Dhikr.
Repeat your instructions such that they are imprinted in your children’s subconscious, and it becomes an inseparable habit. Be an example for them; this is the best way children learn.
4. Praise Islam and Allah ﷻ Explicitly and Frequently- Show Them the Beauty of the Religion
Make them realise, value and appreciate their blessings. Tell them it is Allah ﷻ Who has blessed them with parents, their favourite food and drinks, their toys, their house, and everything else they like.
Connect experiences to Islam. When they praise something, tell them it is Allah ﷻ Who enabled it. When they are hurt, tell them that Allah ﷻ is forgiving their sins and reserving a reward for them in Jannah.
Describe Jannah and all the good things about the Hereafter to them. Develop a desire in them to enter this magnificent place set aside especially for them if they please Allah ﷻ.
5. Talk about Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
As Muslims, our love for Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ must exceed our love for everything else. Introduce Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to them and make him ﷺ your children’s role model from before they even understand what you are saying. Describe him ﷺ, his qualities, manners, behaviours, his struggles, and how he overcame them. Praise him ﷺ, and talk to your children about him constantly such that they start looking up to him.
An effective way to do this is by narrating stories from the Prophet’s ﷺ life to them and making him ﷺ the hero, so they will respond positively to do an action when you tell them, “This is how the Prophet ﷺ did it. Don’t you want to do it that way too?”
6. Make Them Turn to Allah ﷻ for Fulfilling Their Wishes
Tell them that Allah ﷻ is always with them, seeing them and listening to them, willing to give them what they ask for, so ask them to ask Allah ﷻ for everything. Relate your experiences to them where you asked Allah ﷻ for a thing and you were blessed with it. When they ask Allah ﷻ for something and they get it, tell them that it is Allah ﷻ who has heard their Duas and granted them their wishes.
Make Allah ﷻ their confidant.
7. Speak about Allah’s Wisdom
It is important that children accept and appreciate Allah’s ﷻ wisdom and plans to trust Him and His decisions, and in turn, love Islam. Convey that our intelligence is extremely limited as humans, and reiterate that Allah’s ﷻ wisdom is boundless and incomparable.
When they complain of their Duas not being heard, talk to them about Allah’s ﷻ wisdom and how He ﷻ has something much better in store for them.
If they commit a sin, explain to them gently the consequences of their action and the reasons why Allah ﷻ has prohibited certain things for us.
8. Remind Them about the Purpose of Their Existence
As humans, we are considerably selfish beings, especially children- they love attention. So, let them know that there is a reason for their existence. Allah ﷻ wanted them to be, chose them to be, and so they are. Let them know that Allah ﷻ has honoured us by choosing us amongst million others to be Muslims, and that it is the greatest blessing of our lives.
The life Allah ﷻ has given us is not meaningless. We are born to serve a purpose, and that is to worship Allah ﷻ. Tell them the meaning of our Ibadah, what we do, why we do it, the wisdom behind the acts, and the positive effect of all that we do.
9.Encourage Them to Find Security in Islam
Make it known to the children that Allah ﷻ is always watching over us. He ﷻ is The Protector. Teach them that Allah ﷻ alone is enough to fulfil the needs of any human, so they must trust Him and rely on Him alone.
Let their love for Allah ﷻ be more than their fear of Him. Develop their trust in Allah ﷻ. Teach them the Duas of protection, and narrate stories of Allah’s ﷻ mercy and protection. Let them know that Islam is an easy religion and that Allah ﷻ is ever-forgiving if we repent.
10. Focus on Consistent Ibadah
Teach them different acts of Ibadah from a young age. Kids are curious by nature and readily imitate what they see, so don’t wait for the obligatory age. Teach them to greet with the Islamic greeting, do Wudhu, perform Salah, give alms to the needy, fast, read Quran, memorise Surah’s, do Dhikr, etc.
Start with small doses, but increase the frequency of Ibadah with time. This will help them to be consistent, and consistency is the key to developing these habits.
It is also important that you praise them and reward them for their acts of Ibadah. Make Ibadah fun for them. For example, get them their own tiny Musallah, provide them with a ‘kindness’ box where you place candies and coins for them to share with the needy, make a chart for them to record the number of times they do Dhikr in a day, make memorisation of the Quran a fun activity by involving kids of the same age to perform this Ibadah.
11. Enrol Them in an Islamic School
In an attempt to make children successful in this world, parents tend to admit their children to the best academic schools, despite them being a centre for many Haram activities.
Children’s growing years revolve around their school life, and this is the age they develop beliefs and perspectives. School is where they make their first friends, and it is where they are officially taught things. What they hear heavily influences them at this age, when they are yet to completely learn to differentiate between right and wrong. So, it is important that they are surrounded by practising Muslims who teach them Islam and make it easy for them to practise the religion.
12. Answer Their Questions
Curiosity is ingrained in children. When they ask questions about Islam, no matter how silly or trivial it may seem to you, never neglect them. It shows their interest in the religion. Answer their questions and make sure they understand your answers.
This will also encourage them to ask more questions and get a complete understanding of the religion.
13. Discuss Issues Faced by Muslims
Across the globe, there are many Muslims who are undergoing trials. Enlighten your children (when they reach a certain age) about these issues with an Islamic perspective. Let them know what is happening, the reason behind it, and what Allah ﷻ and His messenger ﷺ have told us about such situations. This is required since it is easy for children to get influenced by the media and form an opinion against Islam.
Help the kids sympathise with the victims and ask them to include them in their prayers.
14. Take Them Outdoors
Take them to Masjids and Islamic centres regularly to help them connect with Muslims outside their family. This is helpful in two ways:
(a) It tells them that they are a part of a much bigger community, and there are many others who do all the Ibadah that they do.
(b) It makes Ibadah a fun and motivating activity when there are many doing it together.
Plan fun games and activities for the community get-together from time to time.
15. Allot Family Time to Learn Islam
Make it a habit to learn and discuss a verse, a Sunnah or a new thing about Islam every day at an allotted time. The perfect time would be when all the members of the family are available. This ensures that the family is always learning something new and is in touch with Islam consistently.
While doing all these, remember to be gentle in your approach and set an example. These qualities must be ingrained in your children such that they realise, appreciate, and feel proud of being a Muslim. It shouldn’t be that the child is born in a Muslim family, and by default, he practises Islam. Instead, if he were asked to choose a religion, he should be proud to choose Islam.
Written by: ZSA
Edited by: The Editorial Team
© The Islamic Reflections Blog