the Message Continues ... 11/12
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When a Child is Born...
THE EXPECTANT MOTHER...
Abu Talhah, a companion of Rasoolullah (saww), had a son who had fallen gravely ill. During that period the father had to leave home for a number of days on an important errand, leaving the child to the care of the mother. Whilst away, the sickness caused the death of the child.
The mother beseeched the people not to inform her husband even when he returned. When he returned his very first enquiry was about his son. She answered that he (their son) is presently in a more comfortable state than that which he had been in ... meaning that death had rendered him peace and comfort. By this answer the husband understood that he had recuperated.
She then offered him his supper which he ate with relish. The good wife then even adorned herself as best she could which filled him with passionate feelings. When she saw that his needs had been tended to then only did she disclose to him the death of their son. This stark news proved a severe blow to him. He was annoyed and overcome with intense grief ... that she had not disclosed to him the child's fate earlier, and, instead allowed him to perform an act which necessitates Ghusl.
At daybreak he approached Rasoolullah (saww) and related to him what had transpired during the night. Rasoolullah (saww) intently asked him whether they had copulated. When he answered in the affirmative, he blessed them by saying: "O Allah, grant them blessings for what had transpired during the night." A son was born of them and Rasoolullah (saww) named him "Abdullah".
When Abdullah grew up and married, Allah Ta'ala blessed him with nine children, all of whom became huffaaz of the holy Qur'an and learned ulama of their time. This overwhelming attainment can only be attributed to the acts of virtue of the grandmother of these Ulama.
It becomes apparent from the above incident that acts of virtue of parents not only have a telling effect on their children but also on heir progenies for generations to come.
It is irrefutable that the mother's proper nourishment has a telling effect on the health of the yet-to-be-born child. In the like manner the spiritual nourishment of the mother is no less important. If the mother is desirous of an obedient, pious and spiritually healthy child - and which Muslim parent isn't? - she has no choice but to think and act in a manner which will manifest the luminous spirit of Islaam. She will have to spend, much time offering her devotions to Allah by performing salaat, making dhikr, reciting the Holy Qur'aan etc. This will have a two-fold result: the mother will remain spiritually and mentally healthy and at the same time the child will be inheriting piety, good manners and many other angelic qualities - insha-Allah.
It is no wonder then that these angelic qualities are often manifested in the infancy of many a great personality. It is said of some Auliyaa-Allah that they were born with certain portions of the Holy Qur'aan already imprinted in their memory. Others even refused to drink the milk of their mother during the holy month of Ramadaan.
WHEN A CHILD IS BORN...
It is indeed a joyous occasion when parents are blessed with a child. However, the extent of the joy could be enhanced even further if the laws of Shariat are adhered to and all other meaningless rituals are cast aside.
After birth the child should be given proper ghusl. Thereafter the message of the Greatness and Oneness of Allah Ta'ala, and the prophet hood of Rasoolullah (saww) should be the first words to reach the child's innocent ears. This should be accomplished by giving azaan near his right ear and iqaamat close to his left. This noble task should be the prerogative of an aalim or a pious elder of the family. If such a person is not at hand then any Muslim male may perform this sunnah.
As the infant is the offspring of its mother, it is common knowledge that the mother's milk is the most suitable source of nourishment for the baby. Therefore, the mother should most obligingly fulfil her duty of breast-feeding the child. By so doing bonds of love, affection and intimacy are strengthened between mother and child, and in the process, good habits and character are transmitted to the child. All these and countless other benefits are contained in breast-feeding.
Artificial methods of feeding are all devoid of these advantages. Other methods of feeding should only be resorted to if ill health or other circumstances do not permit her to breast-feed the child. However, she must ensure that no haraam food is consumed by the child. Bismillah should always be recited before feeding. The maximum period for which a child could be breast-fed is two years.
EDUCATION AND GOOD MANNERS
Islam lays considerable emphasis on education and good character. It is the children's rightful claim to be given sound Islamic education and taught good manners. This will not only afford the children happiness in both the worlds, but they will prove great assets to both, their families and society as well. This is why Rasoolullah (saww) declared good manners as the 'best thing' a father can impart to his children. He also declared the mother as the 'shepherdess' of the household which implies that she is responsible for the correct upbringing of her children.
WHAT PARENTS OWE THEIR CHILDREN
1. SELF-ESTEEM:Parents owe their children personal worth and self-esteem which are the cornerstones for sound mental health. A child who is constantly criticized, "put down", reproached, made to feel stupid and inept, continually compared with brothers or cousins who do better, will become so unsure and so terrified that he or she will lose enthusiasm for learning and becoming successful.
2. PRAISING THE CHILD AND EXPRESSING LOVE:A child needs to be praised every now and again for his achievements and good behavior. Some parents find it difficult to voice their approval or praise the child. However, there are other modes of expressing approval as well - a smile, caress or a kiss will convey approval. All these acts of love are very essential for producing children who are healthy in mind and body. It is for this reason that our Shari'ah lays considerable stress on showing love and affection to children. Rasoolullah (saww) said that : "One who does not have mercy on our children and does not respect our elders, is not from among us".
3. EQUALITY:Parents should always treat their children equitably. Children tend to grow miserable, lose confidence, become discouraged and resentful if parents show favoritism towards a particular child.
It is related that, once a wife of Rasoolullah (saww) offered a date to a lady beggar who was accompanied by her two daughters. The lady shared the date between her two daughters, depriving herself of a share. Then she departed. When Rasoolullah (saww) came home, she related to him the incident. He said: "Whoever is "involved" with any daughters, and he treats them well (equitably), this will serve as a protection for him from the Fire."
4. BASIC ISLAMIC EDUCATION:It is the duty of every parent to ensure that his children have basic Islamic education which covers aqaa'id or Islamic beliefs, the principles of Islam, the rules and masaa'il of the Fiqh, and the correct recital of the Holy Qur'an.
5. STANDARDS AND VALUES:Decent standards and solid values should also be taught to the child. This means being respectful to parents, elders, the Ulama, teachers and just laws.
6. CLEANLINESS AND OTHER NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS: Sharia't has termed cleanliness half of Imaan. As such the mother should personally accomplish all maternal devotions such as feeding, bathing and keeping the child clean and 'paak.' Soiled clothes must be cleaned without delay so that the danger of bacteria spreading is nipped in the bud. Thus, barakah and happiness will abound. The baby should also be immunized against infantile diseases.
NAMING THE CHILD
It is the infant's vested right to be honoured with a good name. When choosing a name for the child, it should be done with the intention that the child will be blessed with the barakah of that name. Here are some Ahadeeth to show the importance of selecting a good and correct name:
Rasoolullah (saww) said: "Keep the names of Prophets. And the most desirable names by Allah Ta'ala are Abdullah and Abdur-Rahmaan. And the most disliked ones are Harb (battle) and Murrah (bitter)."
He also said: "To whomever is born a boy and he names him Muhammad solely for the love of me and for the blessings of my name, then both he (the father) and his son will enter Jannah."
"On the Day of Qiyaamah you will be called by your (own) names and the names of your fathers. Therefore keep good names."
It was Rasoolullah's (saww) practice to enquire the names of persons and villages. If they were pleasant, it became apparent on his face. If not, his displeasure could be seen. Once Rasoolullah (saww) called for a volunteer to milk a camel. Four persons volunteered: he refused to accept the services of the first three because their names did not imply pleasantness. The names of the first two were Murrah (bitter) while Jamrah (burning coal) was the name of the third person. When the fourth said his name is Yaeesh (long live), Rasoolullah (saww) said to him: "Milk her."
Undesirable names should be changed. Rasool (saww) used to change displeasing names replacing them with good names. Abdullah bin Umar relates that one of his sisters was named Aasiyah (disobedient). Rasoolullah (saww) changed it to Jameelah (beautiful).
Names may influence the lives of people. Sa'eed ibne Musayib relates from his father that his grandfather went to Rasoolullah (saww) and was asked: "What is your name?" He replied: "Hazn" (sorrow). Rasoolullah (saww) said: "You are Sahl." (contended). He replied: "I will not change the name my father had given me." The narrator says that thereafter sorrow continually remained with them.
BE PROUD OF YOUR IDENTITY AND FAITH
Muslims should always be proud of their identity and faith. Nowadays, to conceal his identity, it is common practice for a person to 'westernize' his name, like substituting Yusuf with Joe or Joseph, Sulaimaan with Solly or Sully, Faatimah with Fatli, Sumayyah with Summi, etc. Efforts to distort such beautiful names merely reveal an un-Islamic and sacreligious attitude. Remember, there exists behind each Islamic name an Islamic spirit and meaning, which, when distorted, is ruined. For example, there is intended love for the Prophet of Islam, and barakah when naming a child Muhammad. But when Muhammad is called Mahmad or Gammat, this spirit of love for Rasoolullah (saww) and the acquiring of barakah by such a name is shattered. Should we not then refrain from such sacrilegious practices?
Forwarded by Shaikh Muslim Bhanji
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