Many people are concerned
about their children’s unstable characters and the effects of
luxury on their personalities. How can we introduce strength and
honour into our children’s characters?
Answer (by Sheikh Munaajid)
Praise be to Allah.
The issue referred to in the question
is one of the most serious problems in raising children nowadays.
Some of the Islamic solutions to this problem and ways of instilling
strength and honour in our children’s character are listed below:
Takniyyah (using the kunya or
patronymic in addressing children)
Calling a young boy "Abu Foolaan"
("Father of so-and-so") or a young girl "Umm Foolaan"
("Mother of so-and-so") will make the child feel more
responsible and grown up, so he will become more mature and will
feel above normal childishness. The Prophet (Peace & Blessings
of Allaah be upon Him) used to give kunyas to children. Anas (may
Allaah be pleased with him) said:
"The Prophet (Peace &
Blessings of Allah be upon Him) was the best of people in attitude
and manners. I had a brother whom people used to call Abu ‘Umayr.
I think he was just past the age of weaning, and whenever he came
along the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) would
say to him, ‘O Abu ‘Umayr, what did the nughayr do (Ya Abaa ‘Umayr
ma fa’ala al-nuhgayr)?’" (The nughayr was a small bird
with which he used to play). (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5735).
Umm Khaalid bint Khaalid reported
that the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) was
given some clothes, among which was a small black garment made of
silk, known as a khameesah. He said, "Who do you think I
should give this to?" The people were silent, then he said,
"Bring me Umm Khaalid" and she was carried to him
(which indicates that she was very young). He picked up the garment
and put it on her, saying, "Enjoy it until it wears out."
There was a green or yellow spot on it, and he said, "O
Umm Khaalid, this is sanaah" – sanaah means "beautiful"
in Ethiopian. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5375).
According to another report also
narrated by al-Bukhaari: "He looked at the khameesah and
pointed to it, saying, ‘O Umm Khaalid, this is sanaa, O Umm Khaalid,
this is sanaa." Sanaa in Ethiopian means beautiful. (Reported
by al-Bukhaari, 5397).
Taking them to gatherings and
letting them sit with grown-ups
This will increase their understanding
and wisdom, and make them try to imitate adults, as well as keeping
them from spending too much time on games and entertainment. The
Sahaabah used to bring their children with them when they went and
sat with the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him).
One of the stories that describe this was narrated by Mu’aawiyah
ibn Qurrah from his father, who said: "The Prophet (Peace
& Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) used to sit with a group
of his Companions. One man had his little son with him; he would
bring him from behind and make him sit in front of him…"
(Reported by al-Nisaa’i and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ahkaam
Talking to them about the heroic
deeds of earlier and subsequent generations, Islamic battles and
This will encourage them to be brave,
which is one of the most important parts of being strong and honourable.
Al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam had two children, one of whom was present
at some of the battles, and the other of whom used to play with
the old battle scars on his father’s shoulder. This was reported
by ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr, who said that the Companions of the Messenger
of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said to al-Zubayr
on the day of Yarmook, "Will you go and attack, and we will
go with you?" He said, "If I attacked, you would
be lying." They said, "No, we will do (as we promised)."
So he launched an attack (against the Romans), penetrating their
ranks and passing straight through, but no one was with him. Then
he turned around and came back, and the Romans seized the reins
of his horse and wounded him twice in the shoulder. Between these
two new wounds was a scar from a wound he had received at Badr.
‘Urwah said, "When I was little, I used to play by putting
my fingers in those scars." ‘Urwah said, " ‘Abdullaah
ibn al-Zubayr was with him on that day. He was ten years old. He
(al-Zubayr) put him on a horse and entrusted him to the care of
another man." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 3678).
Commenting on this hadeeth, Ibn Hijr
(may Allah have mercy on him) said: "Al-Zubayr felt that his
son ‘Abdullaah was brave and chivalrous, so he put him on a horse,
but he feared that he might attempt to do more than he was able,
so he put another man with him so that he could feel that he was
safe from the attacks of the Romans should he become distracted
by the fighting." Ibn al-Mubaarak reported from Hishaam ibn
‘Urwah from his father from ‘Abdullaah ibn al-Zubayr that he was
with his father on the day of Yarmook, and when the mushrikoon ran
away, he attacked and started killing their wounded, i.e., he finished
off every wounded soldier whom he found. This indicates that he
was strong and brave from childhood.
Teaching them good manners
Among the manners that should be
taught are those described in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah
from the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him):
"The young should greet the old, the passerby should greet
one who is sitting, and the small group should greet the larger
group." (Al-Bukhaari, 5736).
Giving them the praise and respect
they deserve in front of others
This is made clear by the following
hadeeth: Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) said that
the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) was brought
a cup and he drank from it. There was a boy, the youngest of all
the people, on his right and some elders on his left. He said, "O
young boy, will you allow me to give this to these elders?"
The boy said, "I will not give away my share of your blessings
to anyone, O Messenger of Allah," so he gave the cup to
him. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2180)
Teaching them manly sports
- such as archery, swimming and horse
Avoiding humilating them, especially
in front of others
Never belittling their ideas, and
encouraging them to take part.
Consulting them and asking for
Giving them responsibilities in
accordance with their age and abilities
Teaching them to be brave as appropriate
– including how to speak in public
Making sure their clothes are
modest and protecting them from inappropriate clothing,
hairstyles, movements and ways
Making sure that boys do not wear
silk, as this is only for women
Avoiding extravagance, luxury,
laziness and idleness
‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with
him) said: "Get used to a rough life, for luxury does not
Avoiding entertainment or pastime
gatherings, singing, music and other wastes of time, because these
go against strength, honour and seriousness
These are some of the ways and means
which will increase strength and honour, and protect our children.
Allah is the One Who guides to the Straight Path.