Bismillah al-Rahmaan al-Raheem
Before sleeping some nights I tend to let my mind wander and over the past summer there has been a constant thought in my head: the question of children. The idea of having children both excites and scares me for a number of reasons: How would I raise them, how do my decisions every day affect my future (God willing) children, what would I do in certain situations. The thought of children is scary because it is such a weighty responsibility. A Friday sermon I heard this past summer is what started the thinking. I heard an anecdote about the Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and a man who asked what rights his child had over him as a father. Ibrahim (AS) asked the man how old the child was; and the man answered, “One month.”
Ibrahim (AS) said, “Then it is too late.”
To me, this story was deeply profound. It indicated a sense of responsibility before a child is born or even conceived. The man who delivered the sermon that day was none other than Brother Muhammad Faqih (masjidomar.com). He mentioned that responsibility comes before one even chooses a spouse, because it is our job to realize that our actions today, as unmarried (or married) people have an effect on our unborn children.
We each have a duty to our children and as “youth” now we must strengthen ourselves to be the best we can be so that we can support and raise children who will carry on the light of Islam. However, there is a serious problem in today’s society and that is the illusion that our actions in the present are independent from future consequences.
I believe we seriously underestimate the ability of a child’s intellect. We see children as undeveloped adults when in reality they are the purest form of an adult. They are free of the influences around them and are a lot of times wiser than many adults (including myself). Let’s go and look at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) at an example that stood out to me when reading about youth of his time and their progeny.
One figure that caught my attention was Abdullah ibn Zubair (ra). The reason he stood out to me is that his story started out with a description of his father Zubair ibn al-Awam (RA). Zubair (ra) was one of the ten companions promised Paradise. When he was a child there was a rumor that the Prophet (PBUH) had been murdered by the pagans of Makkah, young Zubayr grabbed his sword and went running through the streets. The first person he ran into was the Prophet (pbuh) and when asked what he was planning to do, he stated that he was seeking revenge onthose who (presumably) killed the Prophet. This was just a child—not a man or an adult but a child. When he accepted Islam, Zubair’s father tried to suffocate him by hanging him by his feet and lighting a fire beneath them—so that he may renounce his new religion, which he did not. These are just a few stories that describe the character of this man as a youth.
Later comes his son Abdullah. The Prophet (pbuh) had some blood drawn and needed to dispose of it, so he sent Abdullah to get rid of it and at the time he was only about 5 or 6. When he came back the Prophet (pbuh) asked him what he did with the blood and Abdullah replied that he drank it. To imagine drinking someone’s blood is absolutely disgusting with our thinking, but pay attention to what the child replies when asked why. He said, “I wanted a part of you to run through me so that I may gain some of your knowledge and imaan (faith).”
The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “By Allah, the Hell fire shall never touch your body Abdullah. For my blood runs through your veins and my blood is forbidden from Hell fire.”
The reason I bring all of this up is for one reason—Ramadan is right around the corner, literally within 24 hours. And while we usually think Ramadan is a chance for us to clean our own slate and improve ourselves, I think we should take it from another angle–look how it affects our future.
A friend who told me once that what you do, your children will do more of. That can be taken in a negative context, but I see it this way: if we take advantage of all the blessings that are attributed to the month of Ramadan then we set the precedence for our children to do the same, if not more. Nothing we do is without consequence, and we have to look at our actions in a broader sense. We’re not necessarily strengthening ourselves just for our own benefit; we should also see it as an opportunity to fulfill the rights of our future children to provide them with righteous parents.
So this advice is directed to myself more than anyone else, but for every Rakah we pray, every minute we fast, every dua we make and every effort we put in—we have to think about how this and other actions affect our future. Don’t make this Ramadan just about you, it’s also about your future and the destination you are seeking. When we die, we stop gaining deeds except on three occasions, and one of them being a child that prays for us. Remember:
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).”
And with that…I pray everyone has a fulfilling Ramadan and that your sins are all erased this year. Ramadan Mubarak!