Islam makes it parents’ responsibility to inculcate the correct teachings of the religion in their children. Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) said:
“Allah (SWT) will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household.” [Nasa’i, Abu Da’ud]
In a verse of Qur’an, Allah says:
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” [Qur’an, 66:6]
In Muslim countries, it is easier because children are surrounded by their Muslim friends and Islamic traditions. They grow up seeing Ramadan observation, Eid festivities, and studying Islamic studies in schools. But, when the children are in a non-Muslim country, it can be little more challenging for parents to guide them and make them confident about their religion. It is, however, not impossible. Here are a few tips that might help such parents:
Spend time with them:
Best thing to present your children with is your time. No gift can ever replace the presence and attention of a parent. Your attention tells them that they can trust you with their questions and can follow in your footsteps. So, make them feel loved; it is the child’s right which plays the most important role in his upbringing as a good human being and a practicing Muslim.
Be affectionate and answer their questions:
Children are curious about everything. They may ask non-stop questions about the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims since they notice their friends having dissimilar lifestyles and beliefs. You should be affectionate and not shrug off their questions. Explain things to them gently and in as easy words as possible. If their concepts about their beliefs are clear, they will be more confident about their religion.
Present yourself as the role model:
“Practice what you preach” is the idiom to be remembered when tutoring one’s kids. Children will be hesitant to follow a religion they hear about but do not observe being practiced. You must be practicing Islam if you want your child to grow up to be a good, practicing Muslim.
Pray with them:
Include children in prayers whenever possible. Since it is not obligatory for them to pray, you may give them the choice but encourage them to join you. Even if they do not join you in the prayers, they will observe the regularity of the act and begin to think of it as part of a Muslim’s life.
You should recite the Holy Qur’an with them daily. Decide on a specific time and recite it together. If you are affectionate in this practice, the child will look forward to these Qur’an sessions. Such sessions will help the parent-child bond as well as help the child become more inclined towards learning and understanding the religion.
Join support groups with them:
Look for Islamic groups or go to Islamic centers on a regular basis. Since most of their friends in a non-Muslim country are likely to be non-Muslims, the children might feel distinctly separated due to religion. Muslim gatherings help the children socialize with other Muslim kids their age and feel connected.