Spare the rod and love the child, please!
BY SUMAYYAH MEEHAN (Living Islam)
NEVER really knew what being a father actually meant until I saw my own husband fathering our first child. I grew up in an, unfortunately, all too typical American 'broken' home. My father left us when I was just an infant and I never had a chance to know him. So, often, while watching my own husband with my children, I feel both happiness and a bit of dejection. A father is such an important person in the life of a child. A man who is supposed to both care for and protect his family.
There are great fathers in this world, but there are also dreadful fathers who just don't realise the gift they have been given from Allah. To have a child is not a right, it's a privilege. I'll cite an instance. One day, we were eating dinner in a fast food restaurant and this boy who seemed to be around 10 years old began to make funny faces at my little girl. He was totally engrossed in playing with her and did not hear his father ask him something. So, the father hit him hard! I never felt so bad for anyone in my life! The look on the boy's face said it all. He was petrified.
Both the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave the responsibility of raising children to their parents. The burden is not to be borne by either the spouse alone or the duties relegated to a servant. Both parents are equally accountable to Allah insofar as raising their children to be good, pious Muslims and productive members of society are concerned. Muslim parents especially have a great deal of responsibility to teach their children the basic of Islam like being able to pray and love Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family
and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband's household and is responsible for her flock.
As for physically abusing or even verbally abusing a child, there is not an instance in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he ever hit or verbally assaulted a child.
And he is the best example for all men to follow. However, many Muslim men ignore the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and beat their children indiscriminately and in anger. Some men often call their children the most despicable names. This behaviour is completely contrary to what Islam stands for.
These days many fathers are disengaged from their families. They are overworked and struggling hard to make ends meet. Most fathers bring the stress of work home and lash out at anyone who annoys them
, which is usually a child who perhaps is being too rowdy or noisy at home. Fathers need to stop and re-evaluate what is important to them. Would that job be so important if there is not a family to care for? Or is watching the TV more important than giving your child a warm hug? This life is fleeting. Spend yours by showing kindness to the littlest wardens of your home and teaching them all that is good in this world for the sake of Allah.
Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam.