The Five ‘Don’ts’ of Tarbiyah


First and foremost, we need to understand the perceptions of parents regarding Tarbiyah. Tarbiyah is a natural part of life in the safety of a family home. It’s not a rehabilitation centre procedure, where people go for treatment. Tarbiyah is about nurturing the best aspects of human nature and not about fixing a problem. Thus, Tarbiyah of children becomes a sacred and challenging yet enjoyable task. It does not become a ‘yelling issue’ or ‘I told you so about 1000 times’, or ‘stop doing that or else…’ sort of scenario.

We must remember that we live in an economic world. Major problems with teenagers arise because of freedom of choices, mass media and peer pressures. Lack of direction and guidance from parents and school add fuel to fire.

When we think of Tarbiyah, some of the ‘don’ts’ are as follows:

  1. Don’t lose communication with them! Don’t disconnect with your children in anger or frustration. Very often, parents lose communication with their children, whereas the children have hundreds of ways to communicate. Talk face to face in all cases. Keep in touch through SMS, emails or Facebook, if you have given them these facilities. This will help you to know their friends as well; however, avoid giving the impression that you are spying on them. Kids, especially teenagers, tend to resort to emotional blackmail by saying: “You don’t understand.”
  2. Don’t teach Islam in isolation. Children need solutions for their problems. Relate day to day events to Aqeedah and practical solutions. When your children claim that you don’t understand them, don’t argue over this statement; rather, take it as an opening statement for further dialogues. Don’t disassociate yourself from their lives. Take an interest in their activities, friends, likes and dislikes. Don’t disrespect their ideas, feelings and suggestions.
  3. Don’t despair when they have done something wrong. Even if your efforts seem to fail, don’t become unmotivated. Don’t condemn them. Disappointments are a part of parenting, and mistakes are a part of growing up. Don’t use excessive words in anger. Don’t use threats or physical force to get what you want or to express anger. Make Dua. It’s the greatest healer. Clarify what you don’t want them to do from a very early stage. For instance, when your child yells, demonstrate the desired tone.
  4. Don’t expect immediate compliance all the time. Give a time frame and stick to it, instead of nagging. Don’t compare your child with another sibling or other children. It is most humiliating for them. Don’t discuss your child’s behaviour with others, especially in front of them. Don’t forget to kiss your teenaged kids. They still want physical contact with you.
  5. Don’t say yes to such social evils as smoking, drugs, dating and outings in late nights. Teenagehood is an experimenting and experiencing age. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘let me do it only once’. Most parents believe their child is drug and dating proof. Sadly, it is a fact that a majority of our youth is involved in one thing or the other. This includes teenagers belonging to religious families as well.

We need to connect our children to the worldview, where all our actions emerge from our religion, with the sources being the Quran, the Sunnah and traditions of the Prophet’s (sa) companions. Our extremely rich Islamic culture and heritage should be practiced to gain success in all fields of life and then in the hereafter. Excellence, or Ihsan, in all aspects is so desirable that Allah (swt) Himself taught us the Dua: “O our Lord, give us the best in this world and the best in the Hereafter and protect us from Hellfire.”

Training to be a Mother

Training to be a Mother

Every professional needs to be trained, be it a teacher, doctor, pilot or an engineer. There’s no job difficult or easy that does not require some basic training. Centres are built and workshops are conducted. However, the personnel with the most important job, the bearers of the ‘next generation’, are often left without adequate guidance and preparation.

Motherhood – The Best Career!

The problem in our society is that being a mother holds little to no significance! Some women prefer careers over children. Most well-off mothers hire maids for every kid they have. Today, the Ummah is in dire need of true leadership; yet, the hands that are to mould the leaders are too busy.

The first step in training ourselves as mothers is to learn the significance of our job. Most women look down upon motherhood, thinking it’s all about changing smelly diapers. In fact, it’s about shaping the minds of our future generations. Any mother would tell you that no matter what she goes through, it’s all worth it, when she sees her child laugh, play and grow up. Allah (swt) has elevated our status by the responsibility of motherhood; therefore, this should be our first and foremost priority.

Yes, motherhood needs life-long training, which includes the following:

  1. Rearing Iman (Faith)

The most important aspect of our training should be in the field of faith. Mothers must equip themselves with strong Iman. Every vessel will spill what it contains. Thus, to empower our children with Iman, we ourselves need some nourishment of faith. We must connect ourselves and our children with the tenets of faith and the true sources of knowledge and guidance: the Quran and Sunnah.

Start building a powerful connection with Allah (swt) by pondering over His names and attributes. You’ll then be able to connect your child to Allah (swt), telling him how Al-Wadood loves him, how Ar-Razzaq provides for him and how Al-Bari has fashioned him in such a beautiful manner. These small instances will create deep love for Allah (swt). Ponder over the Quranic verses that mention Allah’s (swt) attributes and relate them to your children according to their level.

Mothers should have a constant relationship with the Quran, memorizing and reflecting upon it as much as they can, as this is the foundation of guidance. It is the book that transformed the simple nomads of the desert into the leaders of this Ummah. You may then recite to them while you nurse and play, explaining short verses. When they are older, study alongside them, so that you grow together; this shall be the strongest source of bonding between your children and yourself as well as your children and their Rabb (swt).

Additionally, no matter how busy they are, mothers must take out some time to acquire knowledge about their Deen. Whether it is by means of reading books or listening to beneficial lectures, gaining time-to-time doses of Islamic knowledge ensures that we are constantly reminded of our purpose and position in this world. Familiarize yourself with the Islamic history and culture to withstand the rising tide of western civilization.

Mothers and expectant mothers should also make a habit of reciting daily Duas aloud for their children. A recommended read on this Iman-rearing aspect is “Nurturing Eeman in Children” by Dr. Aisha Hamdan.

  1. Patience

A very important quality of a good mother is patience. Lack of sleep, busy days, tension and fatigue may make you irritable and vexed. Once you sign on to be a mother, 24/7 is the only shift they offer. However, you don’t need to boil out your anger on your children; they’re not your waste bin! If you do feel like venting out, reach out to your Lord (swt); furthermore, writing a daily diary may extinguish your flame.

Another way of developing Sabr is long Qiyam. Mothers should have a habit of praying Tahajjud at least before their child is born. Staying up for your child comes automatically – why not do it for Allah (swt)?

  1. Learn to Manage Time

With kids at hand, time just melts away like ice. To keep up with the clock, mothers must learn time management skills. Firstly, learn to organize your household and teach the same to your children; this will save you a lot of ‘where is my shoe?’ and ‘where are my socks?’ moments of the day. Secondly, learn to delegate tasks. Bigger children can look after a few of their chores themselves and also help their younger siblings. Thirdly, prioritize; know what should be done right away and what can wait for later.

  1. Active Lifestyle

Coddled and cosseted young girls, who usually have faced nothing but books, freak out when they enter the real world of housekeeping and motherhood. The days of sleeping and lazing off to your heart’s desire are over now! Young girls must habituate themselves to a physically active and healthy lifestyle; learn to live without your mobile and the internet. Otherwise, when responsibilities start piling up, there’s a strong chance you end up being a short-tempered mother, which may leave negative effects on the personality of your child.

  1. Gaining Guidance about Parenting

Parenting entails responsibility and accountability. For learning about effective parenting, you may listen to Duroos, attend lectures and read books on the subject. Alhumdulillah, such materials are readily available and they’ll aid you in your journey. Nonetheless, take advice from your elders, your mothers and your grandmothers; it’ll be the essence of their experiences. If you are expecting your first child, start seeking knowledge now and if you already have children, it’s never too late.

  1. Removing the Negatives

Try to eliminate all the negative influences inside your home and your undesirable habits that you don’t wish to transfer to your child. For example, if you think television is having a bad influence on your children, refrain from sitting in front of the TV. If you don’t want your kids to adopt the practice of backbiting, don’t backbite. Refrain from using the words you don’t want them to utter. Children are sponges that will pick up whatever they catch from their environment – be careful! If you want kids like Hassan (rtam) and Hussain (rtam), get ready to follow the characters of Fatimah (rtaf) and Ali (rtam).

To put it succinctly, motherhood is not a walk in the park. It demands time, energy and efforts. Yet it is the instinct of every woman, the most adorable duty there is! Fathers shouldn’t assume they are exempted; they are equally responsible and must actively participate in their children’s upbringing. With the dew drops of Duas and hard work of parents, Insha’Allah, we will succeed in presenting this Ummah with productive Muslims.

Character versus Personality


In “The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking”, author Susan Cain writes: “We moved from what cultural historians call a culture of character to a culture of personality. During the culture of character, what was important was the good deeds that you performed when nobody was looking.” Prophet Muhammad (sa) symbolizes the culture of character, where he was only cognizant of the fact that he was answerable to Allah (swt) alone.

Today, our kids are personifications of the new ideal person. “…we suddenly had the rise of movies and movie stars. Movie stars, of course, were the embodiment of what it meant to be a charismatic figure. So, part of people’s [our kids’] fascination with these movie stars was for what they could learn from them…” (Susan Cain) They learn about being popular and getting ahead. Welcome to the culture of personality!

We wonder why our children are disobedient, do not listen, are rude towards others and give tart replies. The answer is obvious. It is the prevailing culture and model of success that has made them so. What can we do to counter it? After a survey of 8 to 15 year olds (boys and girls across 3 continents), we have compiled a practical guide.

  1. Be decisive: When you make a decision, stick to it. If something is off limits and not allowed, then under no amount of pleading or duress will it be permissible. Granted there are certain grey areas, but define those. For example, missing Salah is a straight ‘not to be done’. However, completing homework right now can be negotiable.
  2. Say it like you mean it: Kids of all ages have this uncanny sense of knowing, when you can be persuaded. They detect weakness in resolve and then move in with their innocent faces to plead till you relent. If something is non-negotiable, then mean it when you forbid it. Do not use “I’ll tell Abbu/Ammi” or “let your father/mother come and then we will see”, or any other such statements. You are the parent. You have the authority. Use it.
  3. The Rubric: A rubric is a tool used by teachers to assess a particular task given to students. Often, the students are given these criteria, so they know what areas they will be assessed in. Allah (swt) in His infinite mercy has given us such a tool; sadly, we rarely use it. Make a copy of the rubric below, personalize it and sit with your kids to decide, where each task falls and then hold them to it.





(permitted – neither good nor bad)

Makruh (disliked but not forbidden) Haram (forbidden)
Parent’s expectations non- negotiable discussion Negotiable discussion but probably not allowed or limited access not allowed – non- negotiable
Parent’s Reaction thrilled pleased concerned dislike angry
Tasks Salah (all the time and on time) studying and homework email friends Facebook/social media/TV going to clubs/movies that have Haram content
  reciting Quran everyday helping siblings/ taking out the garbage cell phone usage going out to the mall with friends reading books that have Haram content

Be as specific as you can be. Try not to generalize – that way there is no room for a: “I wasn’t sure what that meant” reply, which has become oh so popular.

  1. Islam as a Deen, not only rituals: Prioritize and schedule your activities and day according to Islam. If you make Deen a part of daily life, so will your kids. This is, of course, common sense, but we, as parents, do digress and as a result give our kids mixed messages. The most common example is lying on the phone about being busy, etc. Kids are confused: lying in any form is a sin, so why is what the parent just did acceptable, but when she/he lies it is not? Be the role model, do not let others (movie stars/singers/sports personalities) usurp that spot.
  1. Be fair: A rule that applies to one child, by default also applies to the rest. For example, if you do not let one child snack between meals then you cannot allow the others either. For most rules, age/gender does not play a factor. Treat them equally, so they know they are loved equally.
  1. Be a friend: “Most parents want a mutually respectful and loving relationship with their children, (…) this means giving in to their harmless pleasures, saying yes to the little things, so when you do say no to things that are absolutely unacceptable, they trust that you are not trying to control them but are ‘raising’ them. Parents need to know that kids are hitting puberty earlier, but we do not let them become adults until much later in life. Psychologists tell us that the reward centers of the adolescent brain are much more active than those of either children or adults.” ( So, let them have their absolute moment of joy, as long as it is permissible. Communicate with them, enjoy their exuberance. Do you remember how it felt to win?
  1. Responsibility and choices: Teach them that if they want choices, they will have to be responsible for the consequences. We do not teach them how to think critically. Let them make mistakes, nurture their hurt and teach them to become stronger after the fall. A mistake is not a failure – it is a learning situation.
  1. Be tech savvy: In the social media, super-connected world of today, parents really do themselves a disservice, when they do not educate themselves about gadgets and technology. Don’t give your child a smartphone, if you do not know how to use it yourself.” (
  1. Be informed: All kids are good; however, be vigilant. This is not a trust issue but a smart parenting move. Know who the friends/peer groups are. Check up on them unexpectedly. Have access to his/her phone, Facebook account, etc. Know what their daily routine is, ask them what they did that day. Communicate! Show them that you care enough to be there when needed.
  1. There is a connection between sensitivity and conscience. The more sensitive a person is, the more moral choices they will make. Guide your child to be sensitive to others’ needs and views, and not to criticize. The ‘cool’ of today is insensitivity. We need to cultivate kids, who think before they act/speak. To do this, programme yourself with this new line of action – your kids will follow.

Subhan’Allah, and may the odds be ever in your favour.