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Raising a Child Between Faiths

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Reply Date

Sep 08, 2018

Question

As-salamu `alaykum, I am a Muslim revert, alhamdu Lillah. My question is: How should I properly raise my daughter (she is due very soon)? My wife is Catholic, but I am Muslim, so how will the difference in beliefs affect the upbringing of my daughter? Just additional information - My wife, is an atypical Christian, she believes in the One-ness of God, and doesn't follow the ‘Trinity,’ nor the "Son [of God]" theory, but she follows through the Bible. I would like any advice, being this is our first child, and I want to be an excellent parent, Insha-Allah. Thank you!

Counselor

Answer


Faiths

In this counseling answer:

“It would be most helpful if both of you took time throughout your period of parenting to learn about each others faith in order to establish what there is in common. This commonality is what should form the basis of life as parents, in order to avoid any conflicts of identity with your child.”


As salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh…

Thank you for sharing with us your concerns.

I pray that you have not been waiting for the birth of your child to begin fatherhood, because fatherhood begins from conception. It begins with the way in which you are supportive to your wife on all levels, especially as the nuclear family has a much smaller support mechanism than the extended family.

With the extended family model there is less pressure on the parents of the child, as the emotional, social and psychological nurturing that a child needs throughout childhood is richer in an extended family because there are more opportunities for the child to experience love, and good role models that are beneficial to the developmental needs of a growing child.

An extended family shares in the caring of a child, which provides for any needed time for the parents to be husband and wife. A nuclear family where the mother and father are of different faiths, offers its own challenges, which is not necessarily realized until the husband and wife become mother and father.

These challenges can become bones of contention  father. As in any marriage, or method of parenting, as long as the couple keep their focus on Allah (SWT), then there is less attention on the socio-cultural differences of the mother and father.

Having said this, it would be most helpful if both of you took time throughout your period of parenting to learn about each others faith in order to establish what there is in common. This commonality is what should form the basis of life as parents, in order to avoid any conflicts of identity with your child.


Check out this counseling video


The most important role for Muslim parents is that they should strive to be good role models, and that any disputes between them, should take place out of sight and sound of the children.

*The home should be respected and all members of that household should be respected (Al Nahl 16: 80)

*Members of the household should cover themselves, and not display their bodies, especially across genders publicly or within the home (Al Azhab 33: 33), especially today when there is increasingly sexualization, misunderstandings can take place as to the nature of the relationship between a child and an adult, even though they are blood relatives.

*Times spent at home should be productive, and helpful to one another.

*Realize that the more home entertainment there is outside of what you can create yourself, means the child will listen less to the parents, and more to what is being conveyed through T.V., video etc.

*Create an environment of faith, so that your child may know Allah through deeds and not words. Prophet Muhammad warned us to not to turn our homes into graves. (“Do not make your houses into graves. Shaytan flees from a house in which Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.” (Muslim 1:539)

*Teach your wife about tahara (purity): menses, what makes things unclean, najis, halal and haram, and about gender relations, as your wife will be your child’s female role model.

*Avoid excess in any form in the home, whether it be material, physical, or emotional because this leads to imbalance.

*When leaving the home say: “Bismillaah, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allah, la hawla wa la quwwata illa Bi-llah (In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, there is no help and no strength except in Allah),’ it will be said to him, ‘This will take care of you, you are guided, you have what you need and you are protected.’ The shaytan will stay away from him, and another shaytan will say to him, ‘What can you do with a man who is guided, provided for and protected?’” (Sahih Al-Jami’ #499)

Also be mindful that as your child grows, their social environment expands, which will have more challenges when it comes to identity. So the more prepared you are for these challenges, with compassion and understanding, you are more able to help your child overcome these challenges, insha-Allah

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

 

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About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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