Bismillahir rahman ir raheem
Sh. Hassan: Nurturing Imaan in the Hearts of the Young
Asalamu alaikum wrt wb,
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the One Who did not take a child, and has no partner in dominion, the One Who has no helper, the One Whom there is no God except He. Allah deserves all forms of worship, that is because Allah is the Truth, and what they call on other than Him is falsehood, and Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.
I bear witness that there is no God other Allah, unique in His Actions; He has no equal, no partner, no wife, no parents, nor children. Say: Allah is One, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe, He has no children, no parents, and there is nothing like Him.
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger, the best of Prophets in rank, and speech, who lifted the hardships from the people, and who was sent with guidance and the religion of Truth before the coming of the Hour. Allah sealed His Divine dispensations with him, and opened blind eyes, and unsealed closed hearts, he who left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day.
Oh Allah reward Prophet Muhammad, with the best reward, and bless him, and his family and companions, and all those who love him, and eagerly seek his way of life until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome my brothers and sisters, and may Allah reward you for your efforts. I ask Allah who joined us during this blessed hour, to join us with the Imam of the Prophets in the Gardens of Paradise. You have done well, and earned a place for yourself in Jannah.
My beloved: Jibreel asks, and the Prophet answers. Lessons in Aqeedah and Tawheed, based on the Hadith of Jibreel, the questions and answers that take place between the Prophet pbuh and Jibreel. The questioner is Jibreel, and the teacher is Muhammad, pbuh.
In a hadith narrated by Muslim: Ibn Umar said, my father narrated to me: “While we were sitting with the Prophet, pbuh, a man suddenly came upon us, his clothes were extremely white, and his hair extremely black, and he had no signs of travel upon him. He sat next to the Prophet, placing his knees next to his knees, and placing his hand on his thigh and said, ‘Teach me about Islam…’ The Prophet said, ‘To bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger.’ The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ We were amazed that he asked him a question, then told him he was correct! He then said ‘Teach me about Iman’ The Prophet replied, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, and to believe in Destiny, its good and evil.” He said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ He then said…’Teach me about Ihsaan…’ The Prophet said, “To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you aren’t able to see him, then He indeed Sees you.” He said, ‘Teach me about the Hour…’ The Prophet replied, “The one being asked does not know more than one questioning.” The man said, ‘Then tell me about its signs.’ The Prophet said, ‘A slave-woman will give birth to her master, and you will see barefoot, naked, herdsmen competing in building tall buildings.” Then the questioner left. We sat for a while, then the Prophet said: ‘Do you know who the questioner was?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He replied, ‘He is Gabriel (Jibreel), he came to teach you your religion.’ ”
My honored friends, we continue in a series of programs on the Tarbiyya (Upbringing) of Children in Islam, and this is the 16th meeting based on the words of Ibn Umar: “My father taught me...” in this hadith.
And I lengthen these lessons on the Tarbiyya of children, because I haven’t visited any community during my travels except that people ask me to offer lessons about raising children at home, in school, in mosques, and we are in desperate need of these classes.
I mentioned 10 reasons for the critical need for Tarbiyya in our families, then we mentioned the foundational principles of Tarbiyya, through love and through example, and I presented these two principles because they are absolutely essential in bringing up our new generation, at home in mosques, and our children must see a good example, and feel love from us.
Without love and a good example, we will never be able to establish proper upbringing.
And we mentioned the third principle, raising our children with Aqeedah, and on Aqeedah, on Tawheed and Imaan, and this is the third foundational principle, and why not, as this is the means of Tarbiyya practiced by the Prophets.
And this is required from every father, mother, teacher, or Imam—to begin with this principle, Tarbiyya through Imaan.
There was not a prophet or messenger except he began by teaching his people about Allah, and warning them about Shirk. “We have not sent a messenger except they said: There is no God except Allah, so worship Him.”
Tarbiyya by example, love, and Imaan, are of absolute importance, yet we see a major fault in many parents, fathers and many mothers, they ask this question: How can we raise our children on Aqeedah, and how can we nurture Imaan in their hearts, since Imaan and beliefs are matters of the Unseen. How can we teach them about angels, about the Day of Judgment, the blowing in the Horn, the Siraat, the afterlife, how can we nurture these beliefs in their hearts, since they are unseen?
Many mothers, and fathers, ask this question. But the answer is easy: Allah has created children with a natural disposition towards these beliefs, it is in their original nature, and they were created with these beliefs: “And you Lord took from the children of Adam, from their backs, their posterity, and made them witness: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They replied, ‘We bear witness.’”
So every child was created on this original nature. In Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet pbuh said: “Every child is born on the Fitrah: His father and mother, they make him Christian or Jewish or Magian.” So we see that the very first steps in the child’s life are the responsibility of the parents. I do not say the dangers of the media and the street are insignificant, but the first step is in the hands of the parents.
Of course, there are other sources that affect the child, when he leaves the house, he comes into contact with what conflicts with the values taught at home, so no, a mother or a father cannot raise a child alone, but at the same time, I emphasize the danger of the child’s first environment.
In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah says: “I have created my servants Hunafaa (Hanafi is one inclining towards truth) and the Shaitan comes and causes them to deviate.”
So you, oh parent, you are responsible, either to change what the child was created with, or to make it firm and reinforce it.
I am amazed, how simple it is to teach Tawheed: just 3 verses: Say: Allah is One, Allah is the Sustainer of the Universe, He has no children, no parents, and there in none like him.
Open any book of tafseer, and teach him the meanings of these verses, explain to your child what it means to say: Allah is the Sustainer of the Universe, what does it mean that there is nothing like Allah.
Let the child memorize the Surah, then explain the meaning of each word, then after that, is action, so that they can practice what they learn. And this understanding will grow with time, and Imaan will increase.
Start with this, and then let Allah cause their Imaan to grow. This is so critical, to reaffirm their original nature of Tawheed and Imaan in Allah.
So tonight I will mention some advice, and examples from the life of the Prophet, pbuh, and his methodology of Tarbiyya with the Sahabah.
1.) We have to, as soon as a child begins, to speak, even if it is barely understood, to teach the child to say the Shahadah: “Ashadu an La illaha illah Allah, wa anna Muhammadar rasoolalah.” As soon as he can speak, maybe when he is 2, it may be hard. But how beautiful is it that the first word your child speaks is, “Allah”! This beautiful word, let the child speak this word, and remind him of this original contract between Allah and the children of Adam, when we all made a contract with Allah.
2.) If the child becomes 3 or 4, start teaching the child some short Surahs, like Surah Naas, and Surah Falaq. Don’t start with Surah Baqarah! My Shaikh Ibn al-Qayyim said: If the child starts speaking, teaching him the word ‘Allah’. How beautiful is it that a child knows who Allah is, how He is above His throne, and that the child’s first thoughts are about Allah, his Lord.
3.) Oh sheikh, how can we start so early? At any age, you can begin with your child, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, even 9, you can start. But don’t wait until the child becomes an adolescent, and he has own opinions and views, and you see that the child becomes rebellious. And the child might think about rebelling against the authority around him, at home, and then against those in authority at school, to show the teacher that he is a man, and soon after that, the child might be rebellious against religion, against the people of religion, and say that religious people are restricting him, and that freedom is more appropriate. And this rebellion might even reach a stage against Allah, and this is the most dangerous stage, and a child might even begin to hate himself.
This is if a pure hand doesn’t reach out to him in time, and save him from this stage.
So you, oh sister, oh mother, begin teaching you child the words of Shahadah, even at 2 or 3 years old. How beautiful if your child’s first word is, “Allah.” Let your child know who Allah is, so his thoughts are about Allah, Who is on His Throne, Who controls the Universe, let them know that He Hears and Sees, and how Great Allah is. Don’t let a verse go by without teaching your child.
4.) Give real-life examples, for example, on a windy day: Why don’t you take advantage of this event to teach your child that this wind is controlled by Allah, and He destroyed many evil nations by wind. Let him realize the power of the wind, which is controlled by Allah, and do not say, ‘I am not afraid.’ The Prophet, pbuh, used to be afraid of the wind, he would go in and out of the house, and say to Aisha: ‘I am afraid that Allah might order the blowing of the Horn soon.’
Ad and Thamud were destroyed by wind that thrashed them for days.
Or perhaps, when you are watching the news, let your child understand the power of Allah, when there is a major event. Let you child know the Strength and power of Allah, you can say while watching the news, “Look my child, what happened, don’t you know that this wind is a soldier from the armies of Allah, that He uses to destroy evil people, like the Ad and Thamud.”
So the important point is that your child knows the Power of Allah, and the Greatness of Allah, and in the West many people believe that we are independent, and we can do what we want, whenever we want, however we want. Let your child know, that Allah can stop any event or cause anything by simple saying, “Be!” and it is.
But if you don’t have this faith in your heart, oh mother, or father, oh sister, if you don’t fill your hearts with these meanings, you will not be able to impart them to your child.
Sulaiman, son of Dawud al Hurmuzi, when he was a young child, his father sent him to a Muaddib, a teacher to impart the Quran, and Seerah, and Poetry, and Sunnah. So the Muaddib began to teach him the Quran. When Dawud became 5 years old, he began memorizing Surah Insaan. Then, one day, his mother entered his room searching for him; she was calling on him, screaming, but he didn’t respond.
His mother ran to him, and hugged him close, and said, ‘What has happened to you oh my son!’ The boy said, ‘My mind is with the Servants of Allah.’ She said, ‘What are you saying, where are they?’ He said, looking towards the sky ‘They are in the heavens, in Paradise, reclining on thrones encrusted with jewels, wearing green silk brocaded robes. They are drinking from fine goblets made from gold and crystal, and springs are gushing around them. In shades with fruit hanging low. Youth serve them, as if they are scattered pearls. (These are verses from Surah Insaan.)
Than this boy, barely 5 years old, turned to his mother: What was their ‘Sayee’, (struggle) for in this world, that is mentioned in the Surah? The mother feared for her child, and called the father, and he asked his father, what did these servants of Allah struggle for? The father said: Their ‘Sayee’ was to say, “La illaha illa Allah, Muhamadur Rasoolullah”
Through ‘La illah illa Allah’: We know the ma’bood, the One worshipped, and with Muhammadur Rasoolaallah, we know the way to worship our ma’bood.
Nurture in his heart the Imaan in Allah in whatever way is easy for you. Remind your child of the blessings of Allah. And from the pillars of gratefulness, is to speak about your blessings, and talk to others about it, with the tongue, and to by grateful with the hands, by giving. And gratefulness is not using His blessings for evil.
So my beloved brothers and sisters, it is not befitting of a Muslim to use Allah’s blessings for evil, rather what you must do is remind your child about these blessings.
Why don’t you, oh brother, oh father, when you are driving home, with a bag of apples, or a bag of bananas, and pears, why didn’t you think of telling your child: do you know who provided us with these fruits, in all their various colors, from the earth, all from the same water and the same earth?
Did you ever think, if you were driving by a garden, to stop and ask your child: Do you see these amazing beautiful flowers, this one red, this one violet, this one yellow, all sprouting from the same earth and watered by the same rain? Who did this?
Or did you leave your child to pick flowers, and not teach your child a lesson. This is a major shortcoming.
If we busy our minds and hearts with Allah from the start, we can impart many lessons throughout the day.
“And a sign for them is the earth, which we send down rain and bring forth life from it.”
Look at this lesson Ibrahim taught his people: He saw a star, and he said: This is my Lord. Ibrahim did not doubt for one moment about Allah, but he wanted to use his peoples’ false ideas as evidence against them. When the star set, he said: My Lord does set.
“And from His Signs is the Sun and the Moon, so don’t prostrate to the Sun or the Moon but to Allah, the Creator of them.” These natural events we witness are articulate examples of Allah’s greatness.
5.) By this methodology, we can teach our children to love Allah, and seek His Help, and Imaan in Qadaa and Qadr. There are always difficulties for a child, depending on what stage of development he is in. For example, if you promised you child a present, but couldn’t give it to him, it might become a major issue for him, and he might express this through his actions. We can teach him, everything Allah chooses for us is good. It might be better than what we had desired or expected.
Another example, a child might insist on buying a particular food or candy, but the mother wants to teach the child that this candy is harmful for him; it will harm his body and stomach. So at this moment, she can help him understand that not getting what he wants is better for him, for his benefit.
Likewise, the child can understand that Allah chooses for us things that we may not want, but it is better for us. If someone passes away, or something happens, don’t miss this opportunity to teach your child about destiny, that this is what Allah willed, and it is in His Wisdom, and it is better for us.
6.) Let him realize the Aqeedah of believing in Angels, and that there are angels recording our deeds on each of shoulders. Teaching him that Allah sees us, and He encompasses us, wherever we are, He is with us with His Hearing, His Knowledge, His Power; these are simple meanings that every child can understand.
And we heard the advice of the Prophet pbuh to Muadh, while they were riding together: “Oh boy, protect Allah, He will protect you.” We protect Allah’s rights by obeying him, and He will protect us.
7.) Also, fill his heart with love of the Prophet, pbuh, by quickly responding to the command of the Prophet, pbuh, and raising your voice with the salat and prayers on the Prophet pbuh, make your voice heard to your child, so your child sees your respect for the Prophet, and love for him. No, don’t let the Prophet’s name, pbuh, pass by like the name of any other person.
8.) Teach them how the Prophet pbuh loved children, Ali, who was 10, or Anas, who said, ‘I was with the Prophet for 10 years, and he never yelled at me, or said “Why did you do this?” or “Why didn’t you do that?” and I touched his hand and it was like silk.’
Once the Prophet went to use the bathroom, and ibn Abbas, placed some water for him to make wudu, and he was a young child, and the Prophet was surprised and pleased that such a young child knew that he wanted water. The Prophet prayed for Ibn Abbas because of his pleasure with him: “Oh Allah, give him knowledge of the religion!”
And we know the story, in Bukhari and Muslim: Abdurahman ibn Awf said: When I was standing in the battle lines of Uhud, and I looked to my left and right, and I saw little kids, and I became afraid at my position. Then the child on my right said, “Oh uncle! Do you know who is Abu Jahl?” I said, “What does it concern you?” He said, “I heard he speaks ill of the Prophet. I want to strike him with my sword.” Then the other said, “Oh uncle, do you know who is Abu Jahl?” And he repeated the same. Abdurahman then said, I was never so happy to be between two people in the battlefield. The two children descended on Abu Jahl like eagles, and finished him.
And teach your children hadith, like Abdullah bin Adham, who said to his child: “Memorize a hadith, I will give you a dirham.”
9.) And teach your children Seerah, and memorization of the Quran. Children have the purest hearts, they memorize at a very early age.
You have seen on TV what I used to be amazed to read about, like when Imam Shafii said, “I memorized the Quran when I was 7 years old.”
When I was in school, we memorized the Quran when we were 8 years old, not only me, but 26 other kids with me.
The Quran has all the secrets for happiness in this world and the next. Choose a good Shaikh. And you, dear sister, choose a good female teacher, to come to your house, and teach your child. It is not allowed for a male teacher to come to your house if he is alone with you, I have to be strict in this regard. But if it is in the Masjid, then it is ok.
And we should offer prizes for those who learn the Quran, and even offer compensation to those who teach the Quran, not for the Quran, but for their time that they could use for other purposes.
We don’t want the people of the Quran to be humiliated; rather we need to honor them. If a father sees potential in his child who is very intelligent, he says: ‘This child will be a doctor.’ Or ‘he will be an engineer.’ I am not saying we don’t need doctors or engineers. But if the child is not intelligent, he says: ‘This child can learn the deen, or memorize the Quran.’
No, the most intelligent children need to be scholars. Why this twisted understanding? Maryam’s mother said, “Oh Allah, I devote to you what is in my womb.” And Allah says, “You will not attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love.” Please work to correct this misunderstanding amongst many people.
Finally, I will close with this beautiful story: Umar once passed by a street and some kids were playing, and when the kids saw Umar, who had a lot of authority and respect, they fled from his sight. But one child didn’t run away, he stood in his place, defiantly. Umar called him, and said, “Why didn’t you run away like the rest of the kids?” The child replied: “I didn’t commit a sin to fear you, and the street is wide enough for both of us!”
Who do you think this blessed child was? Should I wait for next time to tell you…?
He was Abdullah bin Zubair, the close friend of the Messenger of Allah, pbuh. These are the children of the Sahabah, and we have great hopes in our children, and we see many beautiful signs for a good future.
I will suffice with this, and may Allah reward you, and I am sorry for speaking for so long.
And I ask Allah to accept from all of our efforts.
Asalamualaikum wrt wb.