Main and Distinct Goal of Raising Muslim Children

What is the main and distinct goal of raising Muslim children?

The first thing that we must address is the fundamental goal of raising Muslim children, that this goal should be distinct and different from the goals of raising children in general. The society teaches that children should be raised for particular purposes, an Islamic society teaches that children should be raised for particular purposes - there maybe some overlapping which is natural but the goals of the Muslim family, of Muslim parents in raising Muslim children should be raising righteous Muslims - that should be clear, the goal is to raise righteous Muslims, not merely children who identify culturally with the Islamic culture or we could really call it the Muslim culture from which we come because Islamic culture and Muslim culture maybe in variance. Muslim culture may involve and include many other things which are really not a part and parcel of Islamic culture. So often times the goals that people have set for themselves is to raise children who confirm with the culture which they have inherited but what we are talking about is really raising them in accordance with Islamic culture, truly Islamic culture and as such they should be raised righteous Muslims.

So parents should have high goals and expectations for their children. For true Muslims, the highest possible goal and expectation is none other than Paradise. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was reported by Abu Huraira to have promised Paradise for the child raised as a righteous Muslim. He said:

"The Prophet (ﷺ)  said,

"Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give protection with His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection), and they are: A just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah;..."[1]

That should be our goal, as parents, to raise children who will grow up worshipping Allah. Most people’s high expectations of their children, this is the reality in which we are living is focused on the dunya, so what a parent tends to think is I want my child to have a medical degree or an engineering degree or a law degree, I want them to have these wonderful professions which earn a lot of money and have with them a lot of prestige etc etc, now these goals are fine from an academic and vocational perspective and they are needed by the Muslim community for its healthy survival especially in this world and this time, however they should not take precedence over the primary goal in the life of the Muslim, Paradise in the life to come.

Thus parents should desire for themselves and their children Paradise as Allah (سبحانه وتعالا) says,

“And those who believed and whose descendants followed them in faith - We will join with them their descendants, and We will not deprive them of anything of their deeds. Every person, for what he earned, is retained.”[2]

References:

[1] [Agreed upon, narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 620; Muslim, no. 1712]

[2] [Qur'an 52:21]

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