Muslim parents always have that worry of teaching Islam to their children but many of us do it the wrong way.
I grew up in a Muslim family and when I was young my mother taught me and my other siblings Islam as a religion based on fears. “If you do not do this, you will go to Hell. If you do not dress properly, you will go to Hell. Why do you follow the footssteps of Shaitan (Satan)” The aforementioned sentences were among those she would always tell us.
Today as an adult I realize my mother was wrong. And this not a post to badmouth her. In fact there are many parents who fail to teach Islam in a correct way to their children. They focus on scaring their children about hell and Shaitan while they should start to teach about Allah (God). Allah is equal to love, patience. He is the Creator of everything. Shaitan is His creation too and not His opposite as many tend to make us believe. In Allah, we thus seek protection from evil because He is the one who protects best from everything bad that is on earth.
There are few points I’d like to highlight when teaching Islam to children:
1) Parents should always take into account the children’s age.
You do not talk about jinns for example to a toddler as he/she is too young for that. The other day I watched a video of Nouman Ali Khan in which he shared his astonishment when a couple told him they made their 6 years old child watch video about the dajjal (antichrist) and about the day of judgement. By doing such thing, parents will only scare children and instead of practice Islam out of love they will do it out of fear.
There are many islamic toys that parents can use to teach Islam to their children. In sh Allah I will try my best to share some websites with you.
2) Respect your children.
Grown ups always ask respect from children but there are those who behave in a rude way with them, why? Because children are children! If you do not show good manners to your children, there is no need to expect them to be well mannered. You are your children’s first rôle model. That is something important which we unfortunately tend to forget. By teaching Islam through orders, humiliation and violence, there are chances of your child not wanting to know about Islam or even hating it.
For example when it is prayer time and your child did not go for it, don’t yell or order him/her to go to pray. Instead tell him/her about the benefits of prayer and why it is an obligation for a Muslim to pray. It is the same thing for the hijab. A woman is asked to cover properly once she reach the age of puberty, but if you force your daughter to wear the hijab without having explained the reasons behind it, she will totally refuse to wear it.
3) Do not compare your child with another one.
Every child is unique, it implies that each child has weaknesses and strengths that are proper to him/her. So if you have a child who does not learn or memorize things as fast as another one, do not belittle him. If you do so, your child might lose confidence in him or even hate Islam. On the contrary, it is your duty to see how your child respond to your teachings and to change your method according to him/her.
I might have missed some other important points, you can let me know about them in the comment section. When it comes to talking about the bad effects of teaching Islam wrongly to one’s children, I can take the example of my mother. She never respected us and asked respect from us. She insulted us, she taught Islam to us by giving orders and beating us. She never told us why it was necessary to pray, why a girl had to wear the hijab, why to eat with the right hand instead of the left one, etc… But I do not blame her, I know it was because she herself did not know why a Muslim had to do things that way. That is why it is a must for Muslims to know about their religion. Many think that being Muslim automatically means you know Islam for A to Z but it is never the case.
Alhamdulillah, as I grew up I did my own research on Islam and I could find out the answer to some of my questions. However, it is not the case with one of my little sister who is always in conflict with my mother because of the incorrect way of teaching used by my mother. Now I see many Muslim scholars who underline the fact of respecting our children because what we do to them will come back to us.
© Fateema Abdallah