We are born with a strong instinct to be unconditionally attached to our kids and parents. God acknowledges this kind of special bond by using it as an allegory to relate to His truth and to invite us to commemorate Him. In 2:146, and 6:20 God states that those who believe among the recipients of the previous scriptures recognize the truth in the Quran just as they recognize their own children. In 2:200, God invites us to commemorate Him as much as we commemorate our own parents or even more. We also have an example of a righteous mother, Moses' mother, who was going so anxious because she was going to be separated from her son. She was inspired by God almighty to throw Moses in the river. She tried her best to submit and trust in God. Even though God assured her that Moses will be saved, and will be returned to her, she could not help her worries as a mother. She asked her daughter to trace Moses' path and make sure he is fine (28:7-13).
Having children is among the blessings, and the pleasures that we implore God for. At certain stage of our life, we do get this urge to parent, nourish, and care for those little creatures who will carry our family name and traditions, and give some meaning or add a special flavor to our life, in hope that they will fill our hearts with joy and keep us going, dreaming, and motivated.
Prophet Zacharia implored God for that:
[19:2] A narration about your Lord's mercy towards His servant Zachariah.
[19:3] He called his Lord, a secret call.
[19:4] He said, "My Lord, the bones have turned brittle in my body, and my hair is aflame with gray. As I implore You, my Lord, I never despair.
[19:5] "I worry about my dependants after me, and my wife has been sterile. Grant me, from You, an heir.
[19:6] "Let him be my heir and the heir of Jacob's clan, and make him, my Lord, acceptable."
Prophet Abraham prayed for that blessing as well and was truly appreciative of becoming a father at his old age. His wife was pleased to hear the news about her pregnancy:
[14:39] "Praise be to GOD for granting me, despite my old age, Ismail and Isaac. My Lord answers the prayers.
[11:71] His wife was standing, and she laughed when we gave her the good news about Isaac, and after Isaac, Jacob.
[11:72] She said, "Woe to me, how could I bear a child at my age, and here is my husband, an old man? This is really strange!"
[11:73] They said,"Do you find it strange for GOD? GOD has bestowed His mercy and blessings upon you, O inhabitants of the shrine. He is Praiseworthy, Glorious."
Like all blessings, we are tested through our children. Are we going to idolize them? Are we going to dedicate our lives just for them? Are we going to think of them all day and night? Or, are we going to use them to connect with God, to worship Him, to be appreciative, and to attain higher ranks in the Hereafter? Like all other blessings, we either advance or regress while dealing with our kids in this life. How do we please God through the blessing of having children and through the instinct of parenthood created within us? God is pleased with us when we fulfill the obligations He commands us to fulfill, and when we pass our tests that He customize for us. Within the Quran, there are many verses that indicate that we do have certain obligations towards our families and our children. We are to enjoin them to follow the monotheistic path of God, and to stick to the standards of righteousness detailed and dictated by God, and only God. We are to raise them and nourish them according to the values of the Quran. In doing that, we partake in the making of a superior quality building units for the community God almighty repeatedly commands us to strive for. The best community, in the sight of God, is the one that advocates righteousness and forbid evil. How can this logically be achievable if the building units of the community are defective, weak, or simply are not the right ones?
[3:104] Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners.
The Best Community [3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in GOD. ....
Based on 3:104, we achieve higher ranks and we become winners when we strive in this direction ; when we build this community by our hard work, and through our own kids.
When God repeats for us that we must exhort one another as community members to uphold the truth, it is a given that we start with our own family and our own children ; the ones that we love and care for the most ; the ones that we naturally wish the best for.
[7:145] ... "You shall uphold these teachings strongly, and exhort your people to uphold them - these are the best teachings. I will point out for you the fate of the wicked."
[8:1] ... You shall observe GOD, exhort one another to be righteous, and obey GOD and His messenger, if you are believers.
[103:3] Except those who believe and lead a righteous life, and exhort one another to uphold the truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast.
When God says that a good example has been set for us by prophet Abraham, then we should heed the guidance and learn from this vanguard in Submission. Abraham constantly cared about his descendants, his children, and his community to be righteous It is beautiful to see the love of the children mixed with the love of pleasing God, yet keep the balance between both passions at all times. The consequence of such ideal balance is leaving descendants who will praise God, advocate the morality of the Quran, and promote nothing but the divine truth. The following verses contain the highest standards of the human parenting emotions as they are expressed by true righteous and guided submitters:
[2:127] As Abraham raised the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed): "Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.
[2:128] "Our Lord, make us submitters to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters to You. Teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
[2:132] Moreover, Abraham exhorted his children to do the same, and so did Jacob: "O my children, GOD has pointed out the religion for you; do not die except as submitters."
[2:133] Had you witnessed Jacob on his death bed; he said to his children, "What will you worship after I die?" They said, "We will worship your god; the god of your fathers Abraham, Ismail, and Isaac; the one god. To Him we are submitters."
[14:35] Recall that Abraham said, "My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children from worshiping idols.
[14:37] "Our Lord, I have settled part of my family in this plantless valley, at Your Sacred House. Our Lord, they are to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), so let throngs of people converge upon them, and provide for them all kinds of fruits, that they may be appreciative.
We also cannot ignore the wisdom of Luqmaan and how he cared to advise his son with what would please God the most:
[31:13] Recall that Luqmaan said to his son, as he enlightened him, "O my son, do not set up any idols beside GOD; idolatry is a gross injustice."
Luqmaan's Advice [31:16] "O my son, know that even something as tiny as a mustard seed, deep inside a rock, be it in the heavens or the earth, GOD will bring it. GOD is Sublime, Cognizant.
[31:17] "O my son, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat). You shall advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. These are the most honorable traits.
[31:18] "You shall not treat the people with arrogance, nor shall you roam the earth proudly. GOD does not like the arrogant showoffs.
[31:19] "Walk humbly and lower your voice - the ugliest voice is the donkey's voice."
There is also this direct command from God almighty to enjoin our family to observe the contact prayer which we all know it prohibits evil and vice. Not only we enjoin them to observe the contact prayer, but we are to steadfastly persevere in doing that. We are not to waver, or give up on them:
The Parents' Responsibility [20:132] You shall enjoin your family to observe the contact prayers (Salat), and steadfastly persevere in doing so. We do not ask you for any provisions; we are the ones who provide for you. The ultimate triumph belongs to the righteous.
While fulfilling this honorable obligation and while processing and molding these building blocks of a righteous community, it is crucial to remember that our freedom of choice is among our God given instincts and gifts that He has honored the human race with. With His blessings of the hearing, the eyesight, and the brains, we are the only intellectual creatures on earth that reflect, differentiate, judge, then practice this freedom of choice. When we experience our freedom, we subsequently sense other great qualities that God has granted us such as our dignity and the equality with others. In other words, we feel dignified and and we sense our equality to others when we are practicing our freedom of choice.
During the very early stages of infancy and childhood, the kids sense and value all these meanings and qualities. Studies have shown that the full attendance and response to little infants' needs and crying does contribute to their future self esteem, courage, and trust. Being loved, honored, dignified, and fully nourished starting by this kind of intensive and attentive care as infants by parents, develops these important basics in our kids personalities, and enhances their abilities, their inner beauty, and their awareness.
After that, at early childhood, we must fully respect their individuality, and their own pace of development. We must strive to find out their true qualities and talents, and pursue all means that would strengthen their young souls. Here, I'd like to stress out how sometimes parents try to condition or control the intellectual growth of their own kids. They try to shape their way of perception and learning by imposing limited styles of thinking and behavior on them. They also intimidate them in way that forces them to always compromise their own choices. This is nothing but a deprivation of their freedom and hence their dignity. All this can start that early and the kids do not have the capacity to fight for their free will. Unfortunately, they give up. They get molded, conditioned, shackled, and trapped into their parents' own ideals. The result is to have kids who are simply following their parents blindly, without a will or a choice. This is definitely not our goal as righteous parents. We are not to bring up robots or parrots to this world. As righteous believers and students of the Quran, we should strive to shape our kids as healthy, free, dignified, and confident ones, with no conditioning, fear, intimidation, or oppression. This automatically embed all the elements and values of faith and spirituality into their hearts. Later on, when we enjoin them to adopt and follow the straight path of God, they will be, by God's will, more than ready to trust us, receive from us, and intellectually analyze what we present to them. They will be equipped emotionally and mentally to appreciate good logic, then judge and choose for themselves. This would be the best we could offer our kids.
The difference between us, submitters, and other parents is that we know that there should be no compulsion in religion (2:256, 2:148), and that the guidance comes only from God. While we are trying our best to please God alone, inviting our kids to adopt the path of One God, and to follow the teachings of that One God, we must be righteous enough to always create the balance of enlightening without forcing. Keeping the bond of love, respect, and trust along with some space and tolerance would be far better in the sight of God than pressuring or oppressing them. Let's perform our parenting duty while trusting God, and without shattering the values that God has honored our kids with.
Indeed God guides whomever He wills. In the worst case scenario, we must learn from Noah how he submitted to the will of God when his son disobeyed him and ended up with the losers of his community. Let's learn how and when we let go just like Noah, and leave the rest up to God:
[11:45] Noah implored his Lord: "My Lord, my son is a member of my family, and Your promise is the truth. You are the wisest of the wise."
The Myth of Intercession [11:46] He said, "O Noah, he is not of your family. It is unrighteous to ask Me for something you do not know. I enlighten you, lest you be like the ignorant."
[11:47] He said, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You, lest I implore You again for something I do not know. Unless You forgive me, and have mercy on me, I will be with the losers."
So, our youth, young adults, and future parents, this is to remind you that your parents have tried their best dealing with you. For sure, they have made mistakes, while raising you. Please, get over these mistakes, and liberate your souls from any traces of conditioning they might have done to you. Please stop blaming them. Instead, start forgiving them as they have tried the best they could. Please use your eyesight, hearing, and the brains to verify any information, gain knowledge, and get the best out of the wisdom of the Quran you are witnessing. Reach for your own inner beauty and qualities, and then share all of this with us. Promise us that you will do better, and learn from your parents' mistakes. Promise us that you will love your children, you will honor them, you will dignify them, you will free them from all traces of fear, conditioning, and intimidation. In return, they will be able to appreciate the logic, and the clarity of this message, proclaim it, and promote it, properly, without fear, hesitance or alterations. They will be courageous enough to stand for the absolute truth not for your own weaknesses, shortcomings, and ignorance. They will be the appropriate building blocks for a future, righteous community. We have tried our best to fulfill our duties and obligations, and you are the ones who will continue on this straight path. It is your turn to take over, and fulfill your obligations.
I pray to God that all of us , God willing, will be able to attain this reward in the Hereafter:
[52:21] For those who believed, and their children also followed them in belief, we will have their children join them. We never fail to reward them for any work. Every person is paid for what he did.
[14:40] "My Lord, make me one who consistently observes the Contact Prayers (Salat), and also my children. Our Lord, please answer my prayers.
[25:74] "Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous."
[46:15] ...... "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to You; I am a submitter."