‘Sisters, you are the shepherds of your children! Raise your children well, for the future of the Ummah lies in your hands! Sisters, your role as mothers is the most important in the world!”
Such is the mantra repeated over and over again to audiences of women who have already had this message ingrained in them from youth.
But where are the reminders for Muslim fathers?
It has now become a common standard that women are assumed to be almost solely responsible for the raising and educating of children, from infancy right up until adulthood.
The role of fatherhood seems to have been relegated to a financial obligation and little or nothing else.
When we look back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), however, we see a very different model of fatherhood.
Prophet Muhammad, the Father
Ali ibn Abu Talib was raised in the household of the prophet (PBUH) and the prophet was his father figure.
When Ali accepted Islam at the age of 12, he didn’t do so merely because he “had” to.
He had been raised to be intellectually capable of pondering what faith meant.
He knew what the consequences of accepting that would be, and the seriousness of living according to Islam.
When he accepted Islam, it was with an intelligence and awareness that was directly cultivated by the Prophet (PBUH).
Similarly, Zayd ibn Harithah, who was also raised by the Prophet (PBUH) in such a dedicated manner that when Zayd’s biological father and uncle came to take him back home, he refused to go with them.
Zayd was approximately eight years old when he was captured by raiders and sold into slavery in Makkah.
The nephew of Khadijah (ra) bought him and then gave Zayd as a gift to her.
She, in turn, gave him to the Prophet (PBUH) who freed him and raised him as his own son.
When Zayd’s father and uncle came to claim him, Zayd informed them that:
“I have seen from this man (Muhammad) such amazing things that I could never prefer him over anyone else.” (Ibn Sa’ad, Ibn Athir, Ibn Hajar).
Immediately after this, The prophet (PBUH) formally adopted Zayd.
He became known as ‘Zayd ibn Muhammad’ until the Qur’anic verse was revealed forbidding this type of adoption.
Such a close bond could only have been the result of truly dedicated parenting.
Zayd was one of the first people to accept Islam, along with Ali and the rest of the Prophet’s household.
As an adult, the Prophet (PBUH) made Zayd a commander of the Muslim army no less than seven different times until he was martyred in the Battle of Mu’tah.
Nor was the prophet (PBUH) an exception when it came to fatherhood. The Sahabah followed his example.
Muhammad the Father Figure
Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) didn’t abandon his son ‘Abdullah to his wife to raise; he didn’t expect ‘Abdullah’s mother to be solely responsible for Abdullah’s education or the refinement of his manners.
Instead, he took a hands-on approach, ensuring that Abdullah accompanied him from a young age, as is evidenced in the following hadith.
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The example of a believer is like a green tree, the leaves of which do not fall.” The people said, “It is such-and-such tree; it is such-and-such tree.”
I intended to say that it was the date-palm tree, but I was a young boy and felt shy (to answer).
The Prophet said, “It is the date-palm tree.” Ibn ‘Umar added, “I told this to ‘Umar (later on), who said, ‘Had you said it, I would have preferred it over such-and such a thing!” (Bukhari)
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar grew up to be known as ‘the Jurist’.
But would he have become such a great man if it weren’t for the way his father made a point of involving him in the daily gatherings of the elder Sahabah with the Prophet (PBUH))?
Unfortunately, there are far too many fathers today who leave their sons to be raised by social media and less-than-ideal friends.
Fathers assume that “their mother will deal with them”… Suddenly, they realize that their sons are no longer young boys but grown males with no understanding of Islamic manhood.Pages: 1 2