Goals of Canadian Muslim Families in Raising Their Children! (Parenting-Part 1)

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)

By Imam Zijad Delic

Day 234

Abu Huraira (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Every child is born in the Fitrah (the innate nature, original disposition or the state of purity, innocence) and then his/her parents make him/her a Jew, or a Christian, or Magian.”

فَإِنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كَانَ يُحَدِّثُ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ إِلَّا يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ

Source: Bukhari, Muslim

Transliteration: “Ma Min Mawludin Yuladu ‘Alal Fitrah, Fa Abawahu Yuhawwidanih, Aw Yunassaranih Aw Yumajjisanih.”

Last several weeks, we have heard and read about some Muslim youth being involved in criminal activities and gangs – Muslim youth shooting and killing other Muslim youth here in Ottawa!

Yes, the news is alarming and Canadian Muslim community must deal with it head-on since we cannot allow any Muslim child to remain behind and engaged in the destructive and dangerous activities!

However, I must assert that most of Muslim children and youth in Canada are doing well!

This assertion of mine is well-documented by different studies as well as my ethnographic observations since the time I landed on the shores of Canada in 1995.

As Canadian Muslim parents in this post-modern age, we have become pioneers in a great and challenging new adventure.

We are the ones uniquely placed in history to demonstrate and prove — to ourselves, our descendants, and to the world around us – that our faith of Islam, with its holistic approach to life, is as viable and relevant today as it was in the seventh century.

No wonder some of us might feel like reluctant or overwhelmed adventurers, for the task facing us requires radically different approaches from those we were comfortable with “back home.”

The hope of every Muslim parent is to raise children to have strong Islamic identity!

In order to raise our children as sound, proud and secure Muslims in the Canadian context (as Canadian Muslims), children with strong character and personalities, self-confident, motivated skillful, solution oriented, pragmatic, resolute and persistent, parents cannot just passively follow the same methods by which our parents brought us up in a variety of native lands.

But, at the same time, we cannot either afford, to buy into the prevailing global and social trends around us, blindly or uncritically.

As Canadian Muslim parents and mentors who were given our children with the innate nature, the original disposition and the state of purity and innocence, we are obliged to do all possible preventative measures to save our children from the negative influences by providing sufficient and caring emotional, moral, and spiritual support to our children and youth in our homes – the first school that they ever attend.

We already know how much easier it is here in Canada to fulfill their material and educational needs.

But many Muslim families and communities in the West have failed in the far more important area of providing them with the “intangibles” of life – those internal resources that cannot be quantified in terms of price or measurement – faith, character, confidence, etc.

Allah has placed on the shoulders of parents the sacred duty of Amanah (trust) to help our children develop an Islamic identity, self-worth, and self-esteem.

The lack of any of these vital qualities can create an identity crisis, leading to destructive behavior that costs us all dearly.

Youth who lack roots and a sense of belonging are the ones most likely to reject Islamic values and end up as dysfunctional members of both, our community and Canadian society.

As a parent myself, I have given much thought to some core goals and issues that we should focus on in our families so that our children can learn, both by example and nurture, how to channel their developing energies towards God-consciousness, love for humanity, self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of their faith in the here-and-now:

  1. Maintain a healthy Islamic Environment in our Homes
  2. Model the Standards of the Creator
  3. Develop a Sound and Scrupulous Muslim Family
  4. Establish an Open Communication with Children on all Topics
  5. Guide Children Wisely & Mercifully with Clear Directives
  6. Facilitate Children’s Activities Wisely
  7. Bring Children in Contacts with Other Muslims Children
  8. Show your Children by Example how to be Productive Canadian Citizens
  9. Ask Allah to Grace Our Children and Guide them to the Right Path

O Allah! Give us wisdom, patience and help us help our children maintain the strong Islamic identity here and now!

Allahumma Amin!

(the next POST will cover #1 Goal: Maintain a healthy Islamic Environment in our Homes)