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That your child may be source of pride – By Prof.  Afis Oladosu

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He was named Abul-Ala al-Maari. He lived between 970and 1057 AD. He was an Arab-Muslim thinker, philosopher, ethicist and polemicist. He was born blind. Despite the blessings of long life, sharp intellect and intuition, al-Maari chose not to have children. Just before he died, he caused a statement to be written on his tomb which reads- ‘this crime was committed by my father; I never committed a crime against anybody (AdhaJanaau abi, wa ma janaytu ’ala ahadin).

But as Muslims, we know that bearing children is a divine path chosen by the Almighty for all humans to tread. It is equally part of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). However, both the Quran and the Hadith equally enjoins parents to cater for and to the needs of their children. In fact, the Quran 2:233 invalidates all cultural posturing that makes street begging by ‘fatherless’ and ‘motherless’ children a necessity. The Prophet lists parental duties to include a choice of beautiful names for children, provision of education and training (intellectual and physical) and facilitating their marriages whenever they attain puberty.

Now this sermon today proceeds from a multiplicity of existential cues that buffeted me during the past couple of days. I am concerned about the challenges of raising children in the world of today that appears headed to a destination that is both frightening and alluring. I am concerned by the fact that parental conflicts and disagreements are being allowed to impact, and negatively too, on the need to raise the Muslim child in the most beautiful and harmonious environment.

I am very much aware that children raised in a ‘happy ‘home usually become stronger and better Muslims.
Such children find it easy toad opt the Islamic ideals and uphold common courtesies and etiquettes that should be the standard for every Muslim.

However, I have since realized that to have a happy home is not a given; it has to be striven for. To have a happy home, parents themselves should and need to be happy. They must communicate with each other, in a clear and open manner. When children see that their parents are in constant touch with each other and live in harmony, it would instil harmony in them; they will have the confidence to share their feelings, thoughts and concern with the parents and all of the time. Children who feel that they cannot communicate with their parents usually seek succor and affection elsewhere. Some may resort to drug use and consequent abuse, engage in unlawful pre-marital relations and criminality.

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