Although I don’t want to spend too much time on this (as I believe it should be well known to us already), it is still necessary that we be reminded of the fact that spousal selection and du’aa (supplication) are extremely important. One of the aims of marriage is to produce children. Therefore, when intending marriage one needs to be extremely careful in selecting a suitable spouse. Not only is this person to be your life partner and soul mate, but he/she will be a parent to your child. That is why the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) guided men to selecting righteous women for wives and women to selecting righteous men as husbands. Clearly, one who has good religious commitment (piety/righteousness) will better understand the responsibility that lies on their shoulders and will strive to fulfill the duty of parenthood in a manner that pleases Allaah. A home built on taqwaa (piety) is the best home.
As for du’aa, then this should go without saying. One needs to regularly turn to Allaah and beg of His assistance. After all, He is the Creator of all things and manages/controls them. It therefore makes sense to ask Him to assist us in finding an appropriate spouse and granting us the ability to raise our children in a manner that pleases Him. As well, the man needs to say the du’aa prescribed by the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) at the time of having intimate relations with his wife. What a wonderful start it is when Allaah is implored!
After the child is born, parents should try to follow the sunnah carefully in the hope that Allaah will bless the child and protect him from (all) harm. Amongst the sunnah acts is to call the athaan in the right ear of the child (although this may be debated), doing tahneek (chewing a piece of date and then taking the saliva on the finger and rubbing it in the infant’s mouth), giving the child a good name, circumcising the child and doing the ‘aqeeqah (sacrificing a sheep for a girl and two for a boy). The fact that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prescribed such things for us should be sufficient to make us want to do them. Rest assured, following the sunnah will bring only good.
Children are like sponges and I am certain that they pick things up from the very first days of their lives. Imagine, experiments have shown that a child is affected by certain things even before birth, so what about after birth?! Therefore, parents should be on their best behaviour from the outset. They must be regular with their (five daily) prayers, avoid foul language, remember Allaah regularly, recite Quraan and surround their child with a healthy environment overall. Note here that I am not speaking of dressing the child well and feeding them well and so forth. Not that these are not important matters, but it appears to me that most are paying attention to those matters already and the neglect is mostly in religious and moral training.
In what follows, we’ll look at how we can be proactive in instilling good habits and manners in our children from a very early age, and also the love for Allaah and this deen.