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The Holy Quraan lays special emphasis on the role of the mother, thereby pointing to the superiority of her role in respect of the child - as a consequence of which she deserves devotion greater and honour higher than the father. The Beloved Habeeb (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated this implication in concrete terms when he singles out the mother and says: “Verily Paradise is by the side of her feet.” [1] Also in the Hadith where the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) emphasized service to the mother thrice, and thereafter, mentioned service to the father. [2]  

When a woman becomes a mother, her responsibilities towards the family increase three-fold. She has to :

  • Look after her husband,
  • Cater to her parents, and
  • Attend to her children.

Her duties towards children 

As a mother, every woman should love her children, treat them in kindness, entertain them and strive hard to bring them up nicely.  

She should breast-feed her children as this has great impact on their relationship. 

She should take care of the sanitation of the house, health and hygiene and cleanliness of her children.

She has to ensure that her children are free from all sorts of tension. 

Children, till they start talking, cannot spell out their requirements. The mother should be an expert in reading their gestures and catering to their needs. 

Certain mothers threaten their mischievous children by shouting or by sounding inhuman and dreadful voices or by falsely calling the police or devil to arrest the child.  This adversely affects the mind of the child and makes him a coward and goat-hearted at a grown up stage. This should be avoided.  

After the child starts talking, the mother should teach him the name of Allah and His Prophet, Sayyiduna Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). She should recite and repeat the Kalima so that the child may memorize it. 

When the children attain the age suitable for reading and writing, the mother should start their education with the Holy Quraan and other Islamic studies.  

The mother should teach them the Islamic way of living and good manners. 

She should attract them towards virtuous things and instil in them hatred towards evil things.

She should concentrate on their training as true Muslims. 

When the son or daughter attains an age of seven years, they should be taught the manners of purification, Wudu (ablution) and bath. They should also be taught the way to perform Salaah. The mother should teach them what is Halaal (lawful) and what are Haraam (forbidden); what Fard (obligatory) is and what Sunnat (optional) is. 

The mother should prevent her child from playing with bad children. Children should also be kept away from anti-Islamic activities like going to movies, disco-clubs, attending dancing parties, and participating in other entertainment programmes which are against the spirit of Islam.  

When the newly-born baby is seven days old, the parents should arrange for the Aqeeqa. It includes the shaving of the head of the child and giving silver equivalent to the weight of the hair or the amount thereof to the poor. The child should be given a good name, preferably from the sacred names of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). It is a proven fact that the name has a great impact on the character of a man.  

Immediately after the child is born, some elderly man of the family should rite Adhaan in his/her right ear and Iqaamah in the left ear. This saves the child from the interference of the Shaytaan.  

When any new fruit of the season is brought to the house, it should be first served to the children, then to other members of the family.  

Gifts should be distributed among children on an equal basis. The distribution should begin with the girl child. 

It is the responsibility of the mother to keep her grown up daughter well-dressed and well-adorned so that people like her and propose for her. But she should not allow her to go out in full make-up. The girls should also not be permitted to stand at the balconies of the house as it may lead to exposure to the Ghair-Mehram men.  

Do not give your daughters in marriage to irreligious persons like Rafizi, Khariji, Wahabi, Deobandi, Ahl-e-Hadith and to the persons who do not follow the true Islamic ways like sporting a beard, performing Salaah regularly, etc. Also do not marry away your daughter to a drunkard or a gambler and a visitor to brothels nor to persons who earn their livelihood through illegal means like smugglers, wine-sellers, drug traffickers, etc. 

How to bring up the children?  

The parents should keep in mind that the habits, good or bad, inculcated at an early age become permanent, as the child grows older. It is, therefore, necessary for the parents to instil good manners in their children and keep them away from evil doings. Certain parents neglect the bad manners of their child by saying, “He is still too young to behave humane, he will become alright once he grows up.” Such parents unknowingly mar the future of their child. The child should be encouraged to have good manners by giving them incentives and rewards from time to time.  

There are some other methods to bring up the children in a healthy way: 

  1. Fix up a time to breast-feed the baby. Mothers, who are feeding their children indiscriminately, spoil their digestive system and expose them to other ailments like vomiting, loose motions, etc. Consequently, the child becomes weak and bed-ridden.
  1. The children should be kept neat and clean. Let them sleep in their cradles till they start sitting on their own. Once they are able to sit independently, they should be allowed to roam around the room. The child should not be habituated to remain in the mother’s lap for most of the time. Such a child takes more time in walking.
  1. Certain mothers feed their child on more sweets. This is harmful, as too much consumption of sweets not only spoils the teeth but also weakens the stomach and affects the intestines. Children may be given biscuits of a reputed company.
  1. Children should be taught the evils of over-eating.
  1. Do not meet every demand of the child as it will adversely affect his temperament and he will become stubborn.
  1. Encourage the children to give food and alms to the poor. Also teach them to distribute their eatables among their sisters, brothers and friends. This will make them generous and benevolent.
  1. Prevent the child, especially the girls, from talking loudly and reply outspokenly to the elders.
  1. The children should be taught that it is very bad habit to become angry on petty matters. Equally bad are the habits of laughing loudly, fighting with playmates, back-biting, using bad words, etc.
  1. If the child brings home something from the neighbour’s house without the owner’s permission, he should be discouraged from such an act and force him to return that thing to its owner. In order to instil in him hatred against the theft, his hands should be washed and make him repent by holding his ears.
  1. If the child, out of anger, breaks a thing or beats anyone, he should be severely admonished and suitably punished.
  1. Mothers should occasionally narrate to the child the stories of great seers of the old, especially the stories of the Prophets (alaihimus salaam) as described in the Holy Quraan. Such stories will boost the morale of the child. Children should not be allowed to read immoral literature.
  1. Children should be taught certain crafts which could help them in future. These crafts include tailoring, knitting, weaving, etc.
  1. Children should be suitably trained in doing their own work like laying the bed in the night and folding it in the morning, arranging their dress and shoes properly.
  1. The mother should train the girl in cleaning utensils, washing clothes, cooking meals, house-keeping, stitching, interior decoration of the house, etc. She should be made tough and sturdy in domestic chores.
  1. The mother should instil in the hearts of the children the fear of their father.
  1. The boy and the girl should be admonished properly if they do some work secretly as this is not a good habit at all.
  1. The children should be accustomed to hard work at an early age.
  1. The children should be taught table manners as well as the etiquette to move in the society and attending the gatherings.
  1. The children should be taught the manners of walking, talking, sitting, lying, eating, etc.

[1] Mishkat-ul-Masabih, p.421

[2] Riyadh-al-Saliheen, p.163