The Role of Dua in the Islamic Upbringing of Children

How important is it for parents to make Dua for their children?

Dua is the weapon of the believer. It is the right of Muslim children that their parents pray for them. Pray for them even before they are born. Their parents make dua when they have relations as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) prescribed and Allah described the righteous worshippers of himself - "IbadurRahman" as making the following Dua':

"Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous." [1]

And this was the way of the Prophets. We find Prophet Zakkariyyah praying to Allah saying:

"My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication." [2]

 And Allah answered his prayer saying in Surah Maryam :

"And affection from Us and purity, and he was fearing of Allah. And dutiful to his parents, and he was not a disobedient tyrant." [3]

So we should make, as parents, sincere dua' for righteous children. Sincere dua' which should come from the bottom of our hearts with a certainty that our dua' will be answered as Abu Huraira related that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) had said:

"Call on Allah being certain that your prayers will be answered but know that Allah does not answer the prayers of a negligent, playful heart." [4]

So when we make Dua' for righteous children, it is not just getting the dua' from the Qur'an or the Sunnah and just repeating it ritualistically. It is reflecting on that Dua' and saying it with the full force of our hearts and our souls. Furthermore, Sincere dua' will only be accepted from the righteous as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) explained in a Hadeeth in which he said,

"O people, indeed Allah is good and pure and He accepts only what is good and pure. Indeed Allah has commanded the believers to do what He commanded the Messengers, then he recited the verse: "O Messengers, eat from the good things and do righteous deeds. Indeed I am well acquainted with whatever you do." [6] And he also recited the verse: "O you who believe, eat from the good things that I have provided for you...", [7] then he mentioned, "...like a man on a long journey whose hair was disheveled and dusty raising his hands up to the sky saying , "O my Lord, O my Lord", but his place of eating was haraam, his place of drinking was haraam, his clothing was haraam and his body was fed with haraam. How could his prayers be answered as a result of that?"  [5]

So when we talk about making sincere dua', we must also have the necessary conditions for that sincere dua' to be accepted. So we try to fulfill them as much as we can. We try to choose the optimum times for dua' and we try to make sure that the other conditions are fulfilled. Also one aspect of dua' for our children is choosing a good name for our children. By choosing the names of the righteous of the generation before us, this becomes a kind of dua' for our child. Also we choose the names which have good meanings, this is also a form of taking a good omen out of that name which is permitted. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) permitted this element of omen taking when he forbade all others. So choosing good names for our children, not traditional, tribal, national names, but good names, names of good meaning, either those which the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) recommended - Abdullah and Abdur Rahman or those of people among the Sahaba, so when your child asks you what does this name mean? We are able to tell them something good either in its meaning or who had that name as an example to them.

References:

[1] [Qur’an 25:74]

[2] [Qur’an 3:38]

[3] [Qur’an 19:13-14]

[4] [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3479; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2766.]

[5] [Sahih Muslim 1015]

[6] [Qur'an 23:51]

[7] [Qur’an 2:172]

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