Advice to Mothers
1. Consider children a great bounty of Allah Ta’ala. Rejoice at their birth. Congratulate one another on their arrival. Welcome the children into this world with Du’aas of righteousness and blessings. Express your gratitude unto Allah Ta’ala for affording you the opportunity of nurturing a Muslim servant and also for allowing you to leave behind your worldly and religious successor. Make Du‘aa that Allah Ta’ala makes this child an addition to the Muslim Ummah as a Da’i (inviter to Islâm) and a true servant of the Deen.
2. If you don’t have any children, make Du‘â unto Allah Ta’ala for pious children just as Hadrat Zakariyya (alayhis salaam) made Du‘â . He entreated Allah Ta’ala in the following words:
Rabbî Hab Lî min Ladunka Zurriyatan-Tayyibah Innaka Sam‘îud-Duâ.
Trans: “O My Lord! Grant me from your side pleasant children for verily You are very attentive to the prayers (of everyone). [Maryam]
3. Don’t ever be disappointed on the birth of children. Due to financial restraints or health problems or due to any other reason, vigorously refrain from fretting and fuming, from regarding the child as an encumbrance or from belittling or cursing the child.
4. After the birth of the child, wash and clean him up and then call out the Azân in the right ear and Iqâmah in the left ear. There is great wisdom in ensuring that the names of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasulullah fall onto the child’s ears the moment he is born. ‘Allamah Ibnu Qayyim writes in his book Tohfatul-Wadood:
“The purpose of this is to ensure that words denoting the grandeur and greatness of Allah Ta’ala falls first onto the ears of the child. The Shahâdah (attestation) that would Physically admit him into Islâm later on, the words of the same Shahâdah are being dictated to him the day he is born just as the words of the Kalimah are dictated to him when he is breathing his last. Another benefit of calling out the Azân and Iqâmah is that Shaytân , who is just waiting to waylay a person and seeks to entangle a person with a snare of trials and tribulations from the moment he is born, flees the moment he hears the Azân . Before the beckoning of Shaytân , he is summoned to the call of Islâm and the devotion of Allah Ta’ala.”
5. If possible, after the Azân and Iqâmah , get a pious man or woman to chew a piece of date or anything sweet and place it onto the palate of the child and request the pious person to make Du‘â for the child.
6. Choose a suitable name for the child. Name the child after the prophets or the Sâhâbah or add the word ‘Abd to one of the names of Allah Ta’ala like ‘Abdullâh, ‘Abdur-Rahmân etc.
7. If out of ignorance you kept an offensive or unpleasant name, change it with another appropriate name.
8. Perform ‘Aqîqah on the seventh day. Slaughter two animals for a male and one for a female issue. However, slaughtering two animals for a male child is not necessary. Even one would suffice. Thereafter shave the child’s hair and give gold or silver equivalent to the weight of the hair in charity. (You may give cash as well.)
9. On the seventh day, circumcise on the male child. However, if this is not possible by the seventh day, get it done at least before he is seven years old. Khatnah (circumcision) is an Islâmic characteristic.
10. When the child starts talking, teach him the words of “Lâ ilâhâ IllAllah” first.
11. Feed the child with your own milk as well. This is a right of the child over the mother. Breastfeeding is one of the favours the Holy Qurân reminds the children about thereby emphasising the importance of showing kindness to the mother. The child naturally develops more love for the mother who breastfeeds him. Such children are generally more obedient and the mothers also have fewer complains about such children. Coupled with this, it is also the mother’s responsibility that with every drop of milk, she imparts the lesson of Tauhîd, the love of Rasulullah , the devotion to Dîn to the child and also that she endeavours to instil this love in his heart and soul. Do not lighten your burdens and relegate your responsibility onto the father’s shoulders but fulfil this pleasant religious obligation yourself and you will be blessed with spiritual tranquillity and joy. As far as possible, stay away from T‘awizes (amulets etc.) for the children. Instead of utilising T‘awîzes for them, teach them the Du’aas for various occasions. Recite verses of the Holy Qurân and blow on them yourself. Also inculcate in them the habit of reciting the Manzil and memorising the verses contained therein.
12. Refrain from intimidating the child. The anxiety he suffers in these developing years will affect his mind and soul for the rest of his lifetime. Generally, such children are not primed to accomplish any feat of merit. Also, don’t force the child to do anything when he is hungry.
13. Be particularly cautious about scolding, admonishing and rebuking the child for every trivial matter. Instead of showing disgust towards their deficiencies, with wisdom and enthusiasm, endeavour to rear them with love and affection. Nonetheless, your conduct with them should portray that you will not tolerate anything contrary to the Sharî‘ah.
14. Always treat your children with love, affection and warmth. As far as possible, attend to their needs and kindle their spirit of obedience. Avoid questioning the child about Why? When? and Who? Avoid questions like: “Why did you do this? Don’t you have any shame? When would you learn? I don’t know what to do with you!” Instead of admonishing the child in this manner, employ a positive stance. Rub your hand over his head and very affectionately explain that this is not what should be done. Etc. etc.
15. Show love and affection to the younger children. Rub your hands affectionately over their heads. Take them into your lap and love them. Your conduct with them should be one of cheerfulness and joviality. Don’t act like a stern and cruel ruler with them. Conducting yourself in this stern manner will fail to encourage any loving spirit in the hearts of the children for their parents. Also, the children will fail to develop any form of self-confidence and the harsh behaviour of their parents has an adverse effect on the natural nurturing of the child.
16. Expend all your energies in providing your children with decent education and wholesome upbringing. In pursuit of this objective, don’t be the least hesitant. This is your religious obligation, a great favour unto your children and a great act of goodwill unto yourself as well.
17. When the child reaches the age of seven, teach him about the performance of Salâh. Instruct him to observe this act of ‘Ibâdat. Make the girls perform the Salâh with you and send the boys to the Musjid with their father and develop the enthusiasm for the performance of Salâh. When they turn ten and they show any shortcoming in discharging this obligation, punish them appropriately. Let your actions and statements point out to them that you would not tolerate any form of carelessness in the discharge of this duty.
18. When they turn ten, separate their beds and make each one of them sleep on separate beds.
19. Always keep the children clean and tidy. Be very particular about their hygiene, bathing and cleanliness. Ensure that their clothes are clean and Pâk. However, abstain from excessive grooming and vanity. Keep the girls clothing simple as well. Don’t ruin the morals of the boys by making them wear flamboyant and gaudy clothing.
20. Avoid mentioning their faults in front of others. Be very cautious about putting the child to shame. At all costs, refrain from bruising his ego. Similarly, when one of them errs, don’t scold all of them. Advise the offender separately or take appropriate action against him alone.
21. In front of the children, don’t reveal your despair over their failure to rectify themselves. In fact, to boost their spirits, praise them wholeheartedly even over trivial achievements. Always try to encourage them and raise their spirit of self-confidence.
22. Relate to them the stories of the Prophets . Explain how they invited the non-Muslims to Islâm and what role their character played in attracting the infidels to Islâm. Also narrate to them incidents from the lives of the Sahâbah and other pious people. Regard such narration as crucial for their morals and for the development of their affiliation towards Dîn. In spite of your thousand and one other chores, take out a bit of time for this as well. May Allah Ta’ala assist you and all the other Muslim mothers.
23. Periodically, make the children distribute alms, food etc. to the poor with their on hands. This would promote a spirit of sympathy and generosity towards the poor. Now and again, allow them to distribute food, (sweets etc.) to their other siblings as well as this would engender a sense of recognising the rights of others and create a spirit of impartiality amongst them.
24. Do not comply with the child’s every whim and fancy. With tact and wisdom, try to dissuade the child from this habit. Employ a bit of harshness now and again. Don’t turn them into obstinate and adamant children by showering them with misplaced love.
25. Avoid speaking in harsh tones. Avoid yelling and shrieking and advise the children to speak in a moderate and gentle tone as well. Also stress upon them to avoid shouting and yelling at one another.
26. Develop amongst them the habit of doing everything by themselves. They should avoid depending on the servants for every little thing.
27. If there is a squabble amongst children, don’t side with your child unfairly. Remember, just as you cherish certain feelings in favour of your child, other parents also cherish the same feelings in favour of their children. Also, don’t allow the complaints of your sister-in-law’s children or the complaints of the neighbours to reach your husband.
28. Always be impartial to all your children. Be very cautious and refrain from showing favouritism at all costs. If you have a greater inclination to one of your children you are excused but as far as your conduct, behaviour and dealings are concerned, you should be impartial and fair to each one of them.
29. Always be an excellent example to your children. You are unto your children a perpetual and silent teacher who is always studied and scrutinised by the children. Even in jest, do not speak lies before your children.
30. Be cheerful on the birth of a daughter just as you are cheerful on the birth of a son. Girls or boys, both are blessings of Allah Ta’ala. Allah alone knows which is best for you; a boy or a girl. Similarly, don’t express displeasure when one of your sister’s-in-law gives birth to a girl child. Also don’t pressure your sister-in-law or your brother’s in laws to give gifts etc. on this occasion, thereby attracting their curses. Forcing others to give presents renders one guilty of accepting or partaking of Harâm wealth. It appears in the Hadîth that Rasulullah said: “Behold! The wealth of a person is not Halâl except with the happiness of the heart.” [Mishkât Page 255 Hadîth 8] May Allah Ta’ala protect us all from Harâm gifts.
31. Bring up your daughters with heartfelt joy, devout happiness, and a sense of religious spirit. In compensation of this, cherish the hope of Jannah from Allah Ta’ala.
32. Do not regard the female child as inferior to the male and do not give him preference over her. Expose the same love for both of them and conduct yourself impartially with both of them.
33. With enthusiasm and care, ensure that you give the girls their fixed share of a deceased’s estate. Also, be specific in your will about depriving the daughters of their share of the inheritance. Make sure you study books on this subject like Tarîqa-e-Wasiyyat and Ahkâm-e-Mayyit.
34. The ideal mother is she who instils the honour and esteem of her husband into the hearts of her children. She explains in various ways the status he commands as a leader and chief of the household. For instance, when something crops up, she responds by saying: “We’ll ask your father when he returns. We’ll do it if he agrees otherwise not because there is always good in obeying him. Allah Ta’ala is also pleased. Dad is the leader of the household. Obedience to the leader in permissible matters removes a number of calamities and this also attracts the mercy of Allah Ta’ala.” Etc. etc.
35. Similarly, the ideal mother is she who refrains from arguing and quarrelling with her husband in front of her children. In spite of the most detestable behaviour of her husband, she exercises patience in front of them and submits to the husband: “Yes, I was at fault, I am sorry. This won’t happen in the future.” Then when she is alone with him, she explains the proper situation to him and that she didn’t say anything at that time because of the children. Similarly, the ideal mother is she who refrains from giving the husband and children any sad news the moment they come home. She does not pounce on them with a volley of questions nor does she criticise them on any of their shortcomings the moment they step foot into the house. Instead, she greets them with Salâm, feeds them properly and then she says what has to be said.
36. The ideal mother is she who tries to maintain between two children an appropriate gap that allows the first one to complete breastfeeding and become a bit self-sufficient and also it affords the mother to overcome her weakness she suffered due to childbirth and breastfeeding. This gives her the opportunity to lighten her shoulders from the turmoil of a very young child. Now when she has no other valid Shar‘î excuse, she prepares herself for the next child so that each one of them can be brought up correctly and each one is awarded individual attention. This gap also offers her the opportunity to offer each child her individual attention and also it also allows her to recuperate after the weakness of childbirth, breastfeeding etc. Also, this gap ensures that the milk she is presently feeding is not adversely affected by another pregnancy. Therefore, it is recommended that the couple employ temporary measures of birth control and maintain a reasonable gap between their children. In fact, in view of the health of the mother or the child or on grounds of compelling reasons, after consulting with the Muftîs, she may even maintain a longer gap provided her intentions are not warped.
37. The ideal mother is she who honours her husband’s as well as her own mother in a manner pleasing unto Allah Ta’ala and this in turn engenders the same graciousness, Dînî spirit and honour amongst her children as well. She who happens to be a “coolness unto the eyes” of her mother and the husband’s mother, her children will also be a “coolness unto her eyes”.
38. The ideal mother is she who practises upon the advices proffered in this book and endeavours to instil these attributes into her Muslim sisters as well. She also encourages her Muslim sisters to read this book and books like Tohfa-e-Khawâtîn, Tohfa-e-Dulhan, Fadâil-e-A‘amâl, Fadâil-e-Sadaqât. She also makes Du‘â for the compiler of this book and the people who have assisted in its publication and also for those men and women engaged in the effort of Dîn.
39. Do not keep two daughters-in-law of conflicting temperament together. Ensure that you don’t get two of your sons married at the same time. If you have to do this, ensure that they stay separately. This arrangement encompasses a number of benefits and advantages to all parties concerned. For further information on this topic, read the book Tohfa-e-Dulhâ under the chapter “advices to the parents of the groom”.
40. When your daughter reaches the age of seven, bring her up in such a manner that she avoids shaking hands with men and she covers all her hair when she steps out of the home. Also, from an early age, develop the habit of making her wear long tops and (cotton) pants so that her legs remain covered at all times.
41. Together with the aforementioned strategies, make Du’aas for your children with ardent zeal and enthusiasm. Also abstain from the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala and restrain others from the same. It is hoped that Allah Ta’ala would not thrust aside the sincere Du’aas emanating from the depths of the parent’s hearts.