Challenges Facing Muslim Parents In Today’s World

By Qari Muhammad Asim

Senior Imam – Makkah Mosque, Leeds


Mother’s Day is a modern celebration, honoring one’s own mother, as well as motherhood, everything mothers do for their children, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. This is an occasion to express gratitude towards one’s mother for all her love and support.

Status of Mother in Islam

Showing gratitude to parents and treating them with kindness, love, compassion and care is considered to be one of the most important acts of worship in Islam. Kindness toward parents, in the Glorious Qur’an, is mentioned next to the commandment to believe in One God. In other words, every day is a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Islam and therefore should be celebrated as such.

The following verses of the Noble Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) highlight the high status given to parents in Islam.

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.’” (Qur’an 17:23)

“We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth.” (Qur’an 46:15).

The Prophet Muhammad said, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” (Ahmad, Nasai).

It is a religious obligation on all Muslims to show love, kindness, compassion and gratitude to their parents, in particular to the mother. A man came to the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).

Responsibilities of Parents

Parents, in particular mothers, enjoy special unparalleled status in Islam With every status, comes responsibility. The issue of raising children is immensely important; the interest of both parents and children depends on it, the interest of the ummah (Muslim community) is directly impacted by parents’ ability to succeed in this task. Islam takes great interest in parenthood, and so do educators, the first of whom is the Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) whom Allah sent as a teacher and guide to ensure that those who are bringing up children and the children who are being brought up live in happiness in both worlds.

Children are not perfect but neither are adults.  There has always been a generation gap and parents have always complained about their children.  In 400 B.C. Socrates wrote “Children now love luxury.  They show disrespect for their elders.  They are monsters and not obedient.” Things have not changed and probably never will! However, parents can make the relationship between them and their children much better. A slight change in attitude and methods of parenting will create vastly improved relationships between parents and children. This in turn shall produce stronger families, a safer community environment and a progressive Ummah.

A large majority of Muslim parents in Britain need to be reminded that the capital of the Muslim community is not in gold or silver, nor in cash in a savings account or hidden in the house; the real capital and resources of a community are its people  – human beings, with their faith, honour,  ability and  values. People are the greatest resource that a community has, and the youth are the most important component of this human resource because they are the key to its future.

Challenges posed by Parents & Teenagers

We have seen in recent years, some young Muslims being involved in some of the most heinous crimes: sexual grooming of young girls and violent religious extremism- both being totally un-Islamic acts – and parents being unaware of their activities. Violence against women and girls is one the great silent crime of our time and violent religious extremism is destroying the inner and outer-peace of the Muslim community and other communities globally.

One of the three school girls gone to Syria to join ISIS was reportedly signed up to 70 websites used to disseminate Isis propaganda and aid recruitment. One of the girls, Sharmeena, is said to have been lured by Isis propaganda to go to Syria in December 2014 to after enduring 18 months of tumult in her home life. Upheaval or trouble at home of a teenager, cannot said to the only factor in a teenager running away from home, either to join ISIS, or to marry someone that they like, but it can defiantly be a contributing factor. A teenager who regularly accesses dozens of such Isis propaganda websites or hanging around with much older men (who are driving around flashy cars without having a proper job), unknown to his/her family is living, to an extent, a secret life.

Nothing could be more worrying and troubling for mothers than seeing their children being involved in such vile acts. In order to prevent teenagers falling prey to sexual perverts and hate-mongers who want to “groom” these young impressionable individuals into sexual acts or violence, parents need to play a critical role from losing their children in such way.

Lack of awareness about childrens’ activities or whereabouts is not an issue exclusive to Muslim parents. However, it is an ever so important, from Islamic perspective, that parents develop a strong relationship with their children, spend time with them and take a keen interest in their physical, spiritual, social and intellectual development. Parents cannot fight the ever-present challenges posed by the digital age single-handedly; they need the help of family and friends, community related and faith-based institutions.

Parents should not give in to the anti-family flow that surrounds their children. In fact, parents should increase and redouble their efforts to protect children from this wave. In the teenage years, outside influences can be dangerous and destructive but parents must not lose hope. The Qur’an provides hope that for those who strive in Allah’s way, He makes it easy for them: “And those who strive in Our (cause), We will certainly guide them to Our paths: for Verily Allah is with those who do right”.(Qur’an 29:69)

We must not deflect the fault others on to the parents and hold them totally responsible for everything, rather we should all acknowledge that we, as a society, are facing unprecedented challenges and it requires a joint-up approach and sharing of responsibility.

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