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Raising Children in the West: How?

07 October, 2016
Q As-salamu `alaykum. My question is about parent's accountability on the Day of Judgment for upbringing of their kids. We are working very hard to keep our kids on the straight path in sha' Allah, but I am worried about the second and third generations. In case one of these generations goes astray from Islam, how far will we — as the very first immigrants who planted this seed — be accountable for that? Of course, there is this issue of living in a non-Muslim country without any valid reason, but this is a whole separate discussion. Jazakum Allahu khayran


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

 In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

 All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings

 Dear brother, thanks for your question and your trust.

Bringing up children is a heavy responsibility. The first concern of Muslims, wherever they may be, has to be holding to the teachings of Islam and bringing up their children by teaching them to stick to the right path.

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Muslim children in non-Muslim countries face the danger of melting into the culture and norms of a life that in many aspects contradicts the teachings of their religion. Thus, in these countries, the burden laid on Muslim parents becomes heavier.

A Muslim is allowed to stay in any country in which he or she practices Islam and finds a good environment to raise his or her children on its teachings. What parents are required to do is to spare no efforts in bringing their children upon the teachings of Islam. That is their responsibility. Every generation will be responsible for adhering to the teachings of Islam. In case of inability to practice Islam or to raise children on its teachings, then a Muslim should move to a country where he or she will lead his or her life according to Islam and its values.

Answering your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Haj, professor of fiqh at the Sharia Academy of America, said,

Your concern about the religious commitment of your offspring is admirable and commendable.

 We should do our best to bring up our kids according to the teachings of Islam. We should engrave in their minds and hearts the principle that the deen (Islamic religion and way of life) comes first, and that whenever they feel unable to practice it freely, they should emigrate to another place where they can do so.

Thus, we should not cut our ties with the original lands of Islam. This also applies to the converts who are natives of non-Muslim lands. I know many of them who adopt a particular Muslim country where they feel most comfortable; then they visit this country with their families for long periods of time.

It is permissible for Muslims to live in a non-Muslim land only if they can freely practice their religion and bring up their kids so that they do the same.

Allah Almighty knows best.