It is true that the first learning center for a child is the mother’s lap. The mannerisms of the parents are reflected in the children.
The story of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani is famous: When he was traveling with a caravan, a gang of thieves robbed the caravan, when it came time to check Abdul Qadir Jeelani (Rahmatullahi Alaih), an eighteen year old young man, the thieves inquired if he had any valuables to which told them about money which had been sewn in his clothes by his mother. The thieves asked out of curiosity as to why he let them know of the sewn money to which he told them that his mother had advised him before leaving ‘to never lie’ upon which the thieves become ashamed and repented to Allah.
It is the duty of the parents to be an example to their children and advise them. Allah (Subhanahu Ta’ala) tells us of the advise that Luqman Hakeem gave to his son, “Behold, Luqman said To his son by way of instruction: “O my son! Join not others with Allah; association with Allah is indeed the highest wrong-doing.”
Then after some ayaat, the advise continues,
O my son! If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth; for Allah knows the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).
O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is Just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear with patient constancy whatever befalls thee; these are affairs of determination.
And swell not thy check (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; For Allah loveth not Any arrogant boaster.
And be moderate in thy pace, and lower they voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of an ass.
We can recall not to long ago in our Muslim culture that all the grown-ups in the community would take the role of guiders for the youth. No child dared acting up in front of elders in any gathering. All the elders held enough authority that they could discipline the child without having to face the wrath of the parents as is the case today. As a result, children tend to misbehave and disrespect elders because they no longer have fear discipline from anyone besides that parents and that too is seen little.
Parents find out too late that what they thought was giving ‘freedom’ to their children was really digging a hole for them. Being affectionate to your child is one thing but to let them free to do anything is not affection rather it is hurting the child. Ah, this is all a result of the parents forgetting the duty of teaching the child. More often the television takes the place of the parent and it is from here the child gains much of his/her ill-mannerisms. Today, I ask you to take my words to be a reminder and a word of caution.
When the child is able to speak a little, teach them the name of Allah. Before, mothers would put their children to sleep by chanting Allah Allah, but now it is by playing the music on the radio.
When children are mature do not do anything in front them which will ruin their mannerisms because they tend to copy these acts, they do whatever they see their parents doing. Never argue with your spouse in front of them because this leaves puts a lot of stress on the child and causes them to think that they are the cause of the argument. Never curse your children.
Pray Salah in front of them, recite Quran, take them to the Masjid with you, and tell them stories of our pious predecessors, they like to listen to stories very much. Hearing stories with lessons and morals will increase their good habits. When they are a little older, teach them the five Kalimat, Imane Mujmal, Imane Mufassal, and then teach them Salah.
Put them in under the teaching of an Allah-fearing, Mutaqee Saheehul Aqeeda Hafiz or Maulvi of to learn Quran Majeed and knowledge of the deen so they can learn of the beautiful religion to which they belong. Teach them the masail of gusul, wudu, and salah.
If Allah gives you taufeeq, make atleast on your children Alim or Alimah or Hafiz or Hafiza. A Hafiz will get three generations forgiven and Alim will get seven generations forgiven [on the Day of Judgement]. It is baseless to think that an Alim has no source of earning bread for his family. Know that one does not get more than destined by learning uloom of the dunya; one will get what Razzaq has written for him.
Teach your children simplicity and do not expose them to materialism. Teach them the value of doing thier own work. Send them to college, make them judges, make them doctors or any successful and halal career in this world but make them such that they take on these professions as honest Muslims who know their religion.
(Omair Abdul Jabbar)