Being A Role Model
The goal of the Muslim parent in raising Muslim children should be to raise righteous Muslims. Not merely children who identify culturally with Islam. Parents should have high goals and expectations from their children. For every Muslim, the highest goal should be Paradise.
The Prophet SAW said, “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give protection with His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection), and they are: A just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah, […].
Al-Bukhari and Muslim
This should be our goal as parents; to raise children who will grow up worshipping Allah SWT. The reality is that most people have high expectations, which is purely focused on this life. These goals are worth achieving, however, they should not take precedence over the primary goal, i.e, paradise.
As Allah says in the Qur’an:
As for those who believe and whose descendants follow them in faith, We will elevate their descendants to their rank, never discounting anything ˹of the reward˺ of their deeds. Every person will reap only what they sowed. [ Meaning, no one will carry the burden of another’s sins.]
Surah At Tur, 52:21
3. Being A Role Model
It is the right of every Muslim child that their parents are good role models. Religiosity and character play a major role in bringing up righteous children. How can we expect our children to do the things that we ourselves as parents don’t do?
Allah warns us in the Qur’an,
أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ
“Do you preach righteousness and fail to practice it yourselves […]”
Surah Al -Bawarah, 2:44
The saying “Do as I say, not as I do” does not apply to us as Muslims.
You may force your children to do certain actions, but they will not incline towards righteousness that way. Instead, you may set them on the path of hypocrisy where they will do it because they have been told/forced to do it.
If the mother is modest and shy, wears hijab, is gentle, exerts herself to worship Allah, then the children will incline that way. But if she finds it difficult to control her anger and always raises her voice towards the children, they will do the same. If the parents are not affectionate and kind to each other first and foremost and then towards the children, the children will not be either.
One of the worst character traits we have as a community is making it permissible or encouraging our children to lie on our behalf. For example, if someone calls and they don’t want to talk to the caller, they say, “Tell the person I am not here.” – they have just taught their child that it’s ok to lie.
Parents should model good character because it is something that is best learnt by example.
Good character habits can be inculcated, if one identifies intellectually that they need to grow in that area. For example, if someone knows that they have trouble controlling their anger, they can actively work to manage it, and by doing so, be a positive role model for their children.
Ultimately, parents need to be role models or risk their children taking role models from elsewhere in society.
This article is Part 3 of a 7 Part Series. Click here for Part 2.
Originally edited by Angelica Djanie.