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  • Writer's pictureUmm Uthman

An Ideal Father in Islam

A wonderful and healthy parenting is one which involves both mothers and fathers taking active participation in a child’s life, and specifically speaking about the fathers then the role of the father in the life of his child is paramount. Fatherhood is a great honour representing one’s ability to pass on the prophetic legacy, to his offspring who will establish the future communities upon the strong foundations of Tawheed and the Sunnah upon the understanding of our pious predecessors.

However today, in many houses and families, sadly, we find that the fathers are extremely negligent of their duties towards their children. They abandon their children and take no pleasure in talking to them and spending time with them. We find so many fathers today who think that if they are financially supporting their family and children then they have completed their responsibility as a father. A father’s role is not just limited to being a “breadwinner” for the family but a lot more than that.

As children grow up, fathers assume the role of a friend, guide and mentor. As a father, you should never be too busy for your children. Children always look up to their fathers for protection and support when they sense any danger or face problems in life. They will expect for your support and help; financially, physically and mentally. As a father, you need to live up to this reputation, which, thankfully, comes naturally to you.

A daughter looks up to her dad as the first perfect man in her life. She expects other men to treat her with the same respect as her dad does. She even looks for the same characteristics in a husband. A son grows up to become his father’s replica. If he sees his father respecting his mother and sisters – he will grow up to respect women. If he sees his father being kind – he will grow up to become a kind and genuine person. He will replicate from his father priorities in life, humility and honesty. As a father, whether you realise it or not, you are setting an example every day. You are their role model. So, be a good one.

But dismally, what we witness in the houses of Muslimeen today, is that Young children are left alone replacing the important guidance and teachings that a father provides with DVD’s, video games, DSL and television. At an age where they should be receiving tarbiyyah from their parents, they are seen indulged in everything that corrupts the mind, and takes them away from the religion. We see so many fathers today complaining about the corrupted characters of their children. But the question is if this wickedness is not a result of their upbringing, then what is it? the parents are themselves responsible for the corruption of their children, because it is none other than them who bought such things home. Oh fathers! Beware of what you teach your children.

Allah will ask you on the Day of Judgement about your child: Upon what did you cultivate him? What did you teach him? With what did you strengthen him? Allah will ask you regarding this on the Day of Judgement, so upon you - O Muslim - is to prepare a response for that Day. [Book: Raising Children In Islam By Shaykh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr, pg.8]

A child - without a doubt - is influenced by his father, influenced by his behaviour, manners, interaction [with people] and religion; he is the most influenced by his father as was said:

وَ ينْشَأُ نَاشِئُ الْفِتْيَانُ فِينَا عَلَى مَا كَانَ عَوَّدَهُ أَبَوهُ

"A youngster from the youth will grow up amongst us based upon what his father accustomed him to." [Book: Raising Children In Islam By Shaykh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr, pg.14]

If you accustom your child to observe the commands of Allah and fulfil His obligations, and with noble character, lofty etiquette and good speech; he will grow up upon that. However, if you accustom him at an early age to what is contrary to that, he will grow up upon that. Thus, in many cases, the righteousness and wickedness of children is a result of the righteousness and wickedness of their fathers. If the father is pious and steadfast, the child will be thus; and if the father is corrupt and wicked (and refuge is sought with Allah from this), then the child will be thus - and it might be the opposite in some cases.

If you foster, raise, and nurture your child upon Islam, he will benefit you in life and death. He will benefit you in your life as he will give care to your rights, avoid disobedience to you, and fulfil your commands as is befitting since the Islam that you have raised him upon orders and encouraged him with this. Also, he will preserve you (i.e., your memory) after your death by supplicating and seeking forgiveness for you and also asking Allah (تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَىٰ) to have mercy on you and forgive you.

And From the matters that aid in raising children is keeping them away from all affairs that would ruin their good character. We keep them away from hearing illicit and immoral music and viewing impermissible things, women, debased films, and foul magazines - these are matters that we should protect our children against. However, if the father is the one who brings these things and puts them in front of his child, it will pave a path (and refuge is sought with Allah) that leads to lewdness and the committing of forbidden acts. 

So, it is mandatory upon the father to protect his child against every matter that will cause him to fall into what Allah has forbidden, into what displeases the Lord of the universe (تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَىٰ), like listening to music, watching filthy movies, reading lowly magazines, and what is similar to that. He must protect his children against these matters and keep it as far from them as possible.

Nowadays you find some children who are maybe two, three or four years old lying. He lies! How did such a toddler learn to lie while lying is against his natural disposition?! This might result from the father, mother, older sister or some close relative - how did this happen? This actually occurs a lot amongst us Oh brothers: you find that a father would call his baby who is a year or a year and a half old and say: "Come and take it," and he would clasp his hand like this (as if he were holding something to give the child), and once the child gets to him and opens his hand, he finds nothing. He is teaching him to lie!

There is a Hadith on the authority of Abdullah Ibn ' Amir who said:

"My mother called me one day while the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was sitting in our house. She said: 'Come here and I shall give you something.' The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asked her: 'What did you intend to give him?' She replied: 'I will give him some dates.' The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: 'If you were to not give him anything, a lie would have been recorded against you." *

* Imam Ahmad Reported it. [Book: Raising Children In Islam By Shaykh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr, pg.47-48]

You are to be a good example for your child, to be one whom himself preserves the Commandments [of Allah], abstains from the Prohibitions and keeps distant from the impermissible matters. When you say to your son: "Pray Oh, my son, observe the Salah Oh, my son," you must be one who already goes to the Masjid. Thus, when you order your child to perform Salah, it is befitting that you yourself have preceded him in that and are observant of the Salah. Similarly, when you forbid him from something impermissible like smoking, drugs, or anything resembling that, you must be from the first of the people who avoid these matters. It is therefore obligatory upon fathers and mothers and others who cultivate not to contradict that which they say with their actions.

Allah, the Most High, said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? [As-Saff: 61]

And He (the Most High) said regarding the Prophet Shu’aib (عليه السلام), that he said,

وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ ۚ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ ۚ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ۚ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ

And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return. [Surah-Hood: 88]

It certainly not correct that parents behave in manner that contradicts that which they are trying to install into their children. So, upon you is to Be A Righteous Father

‎وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا

“and their father was a righteous man” (Surah-Al-Kahf:82)”

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (رضي الله عنه), used to pray at night and would see his small child sleeping then he would say, *“this is for your bright future” and whilst crying would recite: ‎وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا

lbn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “They were protected by the righteousness of their father.”  [Tafseer Al-Baghawee Vol-5 Pg 196]

As for it being important is because the child takes from whomsoever he mixes with, if his father is a singer then he will not hear except his father singing and if his father is a author then from the very start he will will have a sheet of paper and pen drawing in a notebook until he fills up the notebook. 

We say it's like this, if his father is a officer and you were to say to him: "What would you like to be?" He will say "I would like to be a officer" and if his father is a Scholar and you were to ask him "what would you like to be?" he would say "I would like to be a Scholar" this is in his childhood before he begins to mingle in the streets.

A child is born on the natural disposition - upon Islam - so if he learns to lie or cheat, or wickedness, misguidance and abandonment of the Salah or anything else; then this is not from his natural disposition, it is outside of it and due to his upbringing. 

The wickedness of a child is a result of his upbringing: either the upbringing in his home is not sound, or he is affected by the upbringing in the streets. And the influence in the streets is more dominant than the one in the home, and this has been witnessed. Sometimes the child might be righteous and steadfast but then becomes corrupt, Why? Where did he learn this wickedness? He learned it from the streets.

A person is influenced by his associate and close companion. How many youths have deviated (and refuge is sought with Allah) and fallen into wickedness, immoral behaviour, drugs, and leaving Allah's obedience because of evil and corrupt associates and a negligent father?! 

It is binding upon one to be cautious of evil companions for your son and your daughter “And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: "Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger ( Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! "He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur'an) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” [ Surah Al-Furqan 27-29)

I feel remorseful for many people, you will find one going from masjid to masjid, city to city, not caring about the upbringing of his children, he leaves his child until his moustache appears then he begins to clash with him at that time. It's obligatory to to give it importance from the very beginning and strive in keeping company with the righteous.

It is mentioned that a father admonished his older son, saying: "O my son, why are you undutiful to me?" The son replied: "You were undutiful to me as a child, and so I will be undutiful to you as a senior." In most cases, if the father neglected his son as a child and did not care for him nor discipline him, the son will consequently not care for him in his old age unless Allah (تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guides him due to some other reasons.

[Book: Raising Children In Islam By Shaykh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr, pg.56]

A Bedouin relates to Al-Asmaʿi that he had seen a youth, whom he described as the most disobedient of all people, beating his old father with a rope that lacerated his back. when he reproved him, the young man said, "that is how he used to treat his father, and that is how his father used to treat his grandfather." so upon the fathers is to give importance to this matter right from the beginning and not be remorseful of the outcome in the future due to their mere negligence. [Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Mahasin Wa ʾl-Masawi pp. 590]

And from one of the great matters that I witness in the fathers today is that they curse their children, make duaa against them and use abusive and indecent language in their presence. Revilement and cursing is not permissible, even if it be from the father or the mother. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned against this. 

And there shall come (the Hadeeth): ❝The believer is not one who reviles, curses, is vulgar, or obscene.❞ [Riyaad-us Saliheen book 8 hadith 250]

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said:

 لَا يَنْبَغِي لِصِدِّيقٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَعَّانًا

It is not befitting the truthful that they curse others. [Source: Sahih Muslim 2597].

The one who curses will not be considered truthful with Allah on the Day of Standing. So it is obligatory to avoid and beware of that. And if the cursing is unwarranted then it goes back to the one who uttered it. 

Abu Darda reported: The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said:

إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا لَعَنَ شَيْئًا صَعِدَتْ اللَّعْنَةُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَتُغْلَقُ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ دُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَهْبِطُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ فَتُغْلَقُ أَبْوَابُهَا دُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَأْخُذُ يَمِينًا وَشِمَالًا فَإِذَا لَمْ تَجِدْ مَسَاغًا رَجَعَتْ إِلَى الَّذِي لُعِنَ فَإِنْ كَانَ لِذَلِكَ أَهْلًا وَإِلَّا رَجَعَتْ إِلَى قَائِلِهَا

Verily, when a servant curses something, the curse rises to the heaven and the gates of heaven close upon it. It turns right and left and if it does not find somewhere to go, it will return to that which was cursed only if it deserved to be curse, otherwise the curse will return to the one who made it.

[Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4905]

Oh fathers! Your children are your responsibility, so don’t be negligent of this tremendous responsibility over you. Your children will treat you in a similar manner as you treat them today. It is upon what you raise them today, that will bring results tomorrow. وبالله التوفيق 

وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين.

  Written and compiled by - أم عثمان

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