We reap what we plant. In a far away land, a long time ago, a boy was born blind. His widowed mother – the good Muslimah that she was – did not lose hope in her Dua and pray she did, continuously. A few years later, the boy’s sight returned. Al-humdulillah.
She realized that her village was not befitting for her son to excel in Islamic education, so with her son in hand, she migrated to Makkah. There she saw that he was being instructed in Quran and Hadeeth, the latter becoming the young man’s focus. He went out far and wide collecting Hadeeth and compiled a Hadeeth book that sits next to the Quran in authenticity, forgetting not his mother that had raised him well. His mother named him Muhammad Ibn Ismail, and many of us know him today as ‘Al-Imam Al-Bukhari.’
Consequently, how often is it that a farmer plants wheat and it comes out as a sunflower? You may say, never! For how can someone farm the seed of one plant and expect some other plant to grow. It just does not happen. Similarly, some parents leave their children waddling in the mud of television, music, movies, and disbelieving friends. Then when the child reaches grade 12 and asks to go to the final dance with a girlfriend, or when he enters university and stops praying, or when he gets married to a Kafir and himself becomes one, then the parents say: “What happened?”
It is the harvest of what we planted. If we do not raise our children to be obedient, where do we expect them to learn? If we do not practice Islam ourselves, who will be our children’s example? How do you teach a child to wake up for Fajr, when he sees his own father and mother sleeping in, day after day? You may ask, how do I raise my children to be good Muslims, obedient to their parents? Consider the following:
Firstly: Be wise – prioritize. Children will only hold in high esteem what parents give significance to. If straight A’s in school, achievements in sports and laurels for other extra curricular activities is what mom and dad will aim for their child and provide grounds to acquire, that is just what the child will earn. If parents pay no heed to their kid’s spiritual development alongside they cannot expect him / her to turn into a saint and obey Allah (swt) unconditionally. Simply because it was never a priority set out for him in his early life.
Hisham Ibn Abd Al-Malik missed a son of his during Jumuah one week. When he met him later, he asked him: “Why did you miss Jumuah?” His son replied: “My donkey couldn’t make the trip.” His father then said: “Couldn’t you have walked!” For an entire year after that, Hisham Ibn Abd Al-Malik made his son walk to Jumuah.
Secondly: The piety of the father and mother reaches the children. In the Quran, Allah (swt) recalls for us the story of Khidr (as), and how he rebuilt a wall for two orphans: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town. Under it was a treasure belonging to them and their father was a righteous man…” (Al-Kahf 18:82)
Allah (swt) protected these orphans because of the piety of their father. In Tafseer it is said that it was their grandfather seven generations back!
Sa’eed Ibn Jubayr said: “I often lengthen my Salah for the sake of my son, perhaps Allah (swt) may protect him (because of it).”
The bitter pill is that if we want to reform our children, we start fixing ourselves first. When we shout at them with clenched fists, a throbbing pulse, and a foul language sprinkled with accusations, what kind of a role model do we present? An immature adult who clearly has things out of control but wants to show his kids who is the boss?
Sow the seeds of patience, forgiveness, and understanding at home. Quit being careless, judgmental or extremely uptight about trivial stuff. Insha’Allah, you will see spring in bloom. Just remember the law of nature ‘what you sow is what you reap.’ And no harvest comes overnight. It only appears in time.