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Children’s Upbringing and Parents’ Responsibility

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 11/1/04

Q. When parents are doing their best to follow divine guidance without deviation, trying to bring up their children as good believers, yet some of their children do not respond, preferring to follow erroneous ways, where would you say the parents have gone wrong? What should they do to change this situation?

S.R. Khan

A. I find this question strange coming from a Muslim who reads the Qur’an and appreciates what it says about guidance and faith. If you read Surah 111, which condemns Abu Lahab, the Prophet’s uncle, can you say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not do enough to bring his uncle Abu Lahab into the Islamic fold? And when you read the story of the Prophet Noah and his son, who was an unbeliever, can you say that Noah was in the wrong at one point or another. The Qur’an tells us that Noah continued to advocate the divine message for 950 years, urging his people to believe, but only a few accepted his call and believed with him. Islam is very clear on this point: There is no family responsibility that requires parents to ensure that their children grow up as believers. It is not within their control. Addressing the Prophet, God says in the Qur’an: “You cannot guide aright everyone whom you love, but it is God who guides him that wills (to be guided); and He is fully aware of all who would let themselves be guided.” (28: 56)

Guidance to the right path begins with the individual who should take the first step to believe in God as the only deity in the universe. When the individual takes this step, God facilitates for him or her the road to full guidance and makes it easier for them to follow it fully. With every step they take, God increases them in guidance, as He clearly states: “As for those who follow guidance, He increases their (ability to follow His) guidance and causes them to grow in God-consciousness.” (47: 17)

Parents’ responsibility is to bring up their children properly, ensuring that they receive the right education which should include religious education. They should know what to choose, so that the children are not scared off by either rigidity or extremism. When the parents have done that, they should keep a watch on the behaviour of their young children, providing them with the necessary guidance. When the children are teenagers, the parents’ role is merely that of advice, counseling and guidance. They cannot force their children to be good believers. Belief is an individual’s choice.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 Apartheid Wall

The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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