Parenting Tip #4: Khalifah Parenting

Parenting Tip Number 4 is of utmost importance. It will consist of a series of related tips on how to raise children according to the full and correct understanding of the Islamic concept of Khalifah. The sequence will be as follows:

   1. True meaning of 'Khalifah'
   2. True meaning of 'Jihad'
   3. How to 'Command the Right and Forbid the Wrong'
   4. True meaning of 'Beautiful Words and Wisdom'
   5. True meaning of 'Taqwa'
   6. The necessity of Love for Allah to be instilled deeply and powerfully into the hearts of your children.

This series of Khalifah parenting tips will provide a specific and detailed plan for right Islamic parenting. It will be your responsibility as Islamic parents to learn and understand these sometimes difficult concepts, and find a way to teach every bit of this knowledge to your children in ways appropriate to their age and ability to comprehend.

This knowledge is the key to Effective Islamic Parenting, and if done successfully will absolutely guarantee your children grow up to be good and true Muslims.

      A. True meaning of 'Khalifah'

      Teach your children to fully understand their role as Khalifah of Allah.

      From birth onwards your child should be taught to know that Allah created him/her to be His Khalifah. Your child needs to come to understand their role as Khalifah of Allah in the most full and detailed manner possible. In English the Arabic word 'khalifah' is translated as 'vicegerent'. Vicegerent means one who acts in the place of the leader or king. Included in the meaning of vicegerent is the assumption that the person in that role will act in every instance as the leader or king would want them to act. This also is the meaning of the Arabic term khalifah. What a glorious and exciting role to be given, to act as a representative of Allah – even if only within the limited scope of human ability. It is the highest honour that can be given. Most blessed are we that Allah, through His Divine and Unlimited Mercy, has chosen mankind to receive this greatest of all honours.

      Until He Breathed His Spirit into Adam, Allah took full responsibility for the progressive development of His Physical Creation. Allah apparently did not create His physical world in one instant to be as it is now. Through His Divine Love, Allah's Light first brought the world of space, time and matter into existence. This light brought into being tiny bits of matter that in science are called sub-atomic particles, the electrons, protons and neutrons that are the basic building blocks of all material things. These sub-atomic particles form all the different kinds of atoms, and these atoms form everything else. Following Allah's Will, these tiny particles of physical matter were directed into more complex and larger groupings – until they became stars and planets and water and rocks and grass and trees and tiny one celled living things and fish and reptiles and birds and all the many different kinds of mammals until He created animals so complex that some of them bear many similarities to human beings. At every level of physical existence, from the simplest basic particles to the highest of the animals, these forms of material creation did as they were directed to do by Allah. They all acted in accord with the Will of Allah not because they chose to, but because Allah caused them to. They did not have the free will to decide for themselves what to do.

      Next Allah created Adam. Allah created Adam with a specific purpose. Allah created Adam (and all human beings after Adam) to be His Khalifah on Earth. One of the many unique abilities Allah gave Adam when he breathed His Spirit into him was the ability to choose. When Allah created human beings He gave us free will. In our role as Khalifah of Allah we have the responsibility to use the free will given to us by Allah to continue His plan for Creation. Allah gave us the responsibility to ensure that His Creation continues to progress so that His Attributes will be more and more perfectly expressed in physical world. Our responsibility as the Khalifah of Allah has three parts. These are to perfect ourselves according to the Will of Allah, to perfect all of human society according to the Will of Allah, and to perfect the physical world of space and time(our planet Earth and the whole universe) according to the Will of Allah. So after perhaps billions of years when Allah took full responsibility to ensure that His Creation progressed according to His Will, Allah has now blessed us as His Khalifah and delegated to us some of that awesome responsibility. The continued progression of Allah's Creation, at the human level and beyond, has now been placed in our hands. Allah will not continue to cause His Creation to continue to progress beyond the creation of Adam. For Allah's Creation to fulfill its final destiny it must be done through the right exercise of human free will. Allah has promised us that we can have a virtually perfect Islamic world, and He has told us that ideal Islamic world will be ours as soon as we do what is necessary to make ourselves and our world perfect according to His Will.

      What a glorious and exciting future has Allah provided for us. What a lot of work there is to be done for Allah. And, what a magnificent reward awaits us.

      So, in somewhat simplified but still sophisticated adult language that is a brief overview of the true meaning of our role as Khalifah of Allah. It is your job as Islamic parents to first learn and understand all of this yourselves; and, then to teach it to your children in a way that allows them to fully comprehend the meaning of their role as Khalifah of Allah, that allows them to feel great excitement about their role as Khalifah, and which allows them to be thankful for the wondrous future that awaits them.

For young children I would suggest they be told such things as:        

1. Before Allah made us He made everything else.        

2. Allah made the sun and the moon and the stars and our planet, Earth.        

3. Allah made the air we breathe and the water we drink.        

4. Allah made all of the plants and all of the animals.        

5. Allah made all of this so that when He made Adam(and all the other people) we would have a nice place to live.        

6. Allah took a real long time to make all this for us.        

7. Allah made us different from everything else.       

8. Allah made us special because He loves us so much.        

9. Allah made us special because He has a very important job he wants us to do.      

10. Allah made us His Khalifah, which means we are supposed to do some work for Him.       

11. Allah knows better than anyone what is good and what is bad.      

12. Allah wants us to learn from Him what is good and bad.       

13. Allah wants us to love the good things and not like the bad things.      

14. Allah wants each one of us to only do good things and never do bad things.       

15. Allah wants each one of us to help other people to know what is good and bad.      

16. Allah wants us to make our world beautiful.       

17. Allah wants parents to help their children learn what is good and bad.      

18. Allah wants kids to help other kids learn what is good and bad.       

19. We should be very happy Allah has blessed us with such an important job to do.      

20. Even if it might sometimes be hard work, it is going to be lots fun to be the Khalifah of Allah.       

21. If we work hard and do a good job as Allah's Khalifah the world will keep getting to be a nicer place until it becomes like a paradise.

      B. True meaning of 'Jihad'

      Raise your child to be a powerful jihad warrior for Allah.

      There is a name for the process by which we must carry out our responsibility as the Khalifah of Allah. That process is called jihad. Jihad does not mean Holy War as is so often claimed by the Western news media. Jihad means Holy Struggle. Jihad is the struggle for good to overcome evil. Jihad is the struggle to make the Will of Allah win against the influence of Shaitan. That we have been given jihad as a means to overcome Shaitan is a great Blessing and Mercy from Allah.

      There are two types of jihad, the lesser jihad and the greater jihad. The difference between those two forms of jihad was made clear to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) as they were returning home after success on the battlefield. The companions were proclaiming the victory as a great jihad, to which the Prophet(peace be upon him) replied that the struggle on the battlefield was the lesser jihad, and that they were returning home to carry out the greater jihad. When asked what he meant, the Prophet(peace be upon him) answered that the greater jihad was the never ending struggle against evil within one's self in day to day life to make sure that every deed, every word and even every thought was fully in accord with the Will of Allah. So important is this inner struggle against the influence of Shaitan that we can never win the lesser jihad unless we are winning the greater jihad. The lesser jihad is the struggle against any person or thing that fights against Islam, but please never believe your children must be sent out into the world to use violence in the struggle against evil. While it is true jihad has before taken place through violent warfare on the battlefield, we must hope that never again becomes necessary. Only if attacked with violence, and even then only if there is no viable alternative, can violence be used in the fight against evil. In Islam the use of violence to successfully carry out the lesser jihad may sometimes be allowed, but it is never preferred. We must forever strive to ensure that we protect our children from ever being faced with that unfortunate necessity.

      We must prepare our children to successfully carry out this Holy Struggle of good against evil. Children must be effectively taught that there is a right way and a wrong way in absolutely everything. The right way is always the way Allah wants it to be, and the wrong way is always following the influence of Shaitan. There is no possible deed, word, or thought that is not part of our jihad. Our children must be taught to view their life in this way, as a constantly vigilant jihad warrior.

      Children must be helped to understand that just as it is the greatest of possible honours to be chosen by Allah as His Khalifah, it is equally a responsibility of great honour to carry out jihad as a warrior for Allah. Children must learn that to be a jihad warrior means fighting successfully against the cunning and never ending attacks from Shaitan, who only wants to lure us from the path of goodness that Allah has ordained for us. The loss of even one seemingly unimportant battle against Shaitan can be the beginning of a series of further losses, subtly increasing in importance, that eventually lead to the loss of the ultimate battle against Shaitan, and to lose that battle is to lose eternity in Paradise.

      Now I can not stress too highly how very, very important it is that you as parents give this information to your children in a way that imprints deeply onto their hearts and into their minds. Our jihad as Khalifah of Allah is to be carried out unwaveringly at every moment of our lives. Anything less will surely please Shaitan

      For young children I would suggest they be told such things as:

1. It is important we do a good job as Allah’s Khalifah, so He has given us a way to carry out that job.        

2. Allah is so kind to us He wants to make sure we will be successful Khalifah.        

3. The way to be a good Khalifah of Allah is called jihad.

4. Jihad means to fight against everything bad and try to make everything be good.        

5. Allah loves everything that is good and doesn’t like anything that is bad.        

6. Allah wants us to love everything good and not like all the bad things just as He does.        

7. Shaitan fights against everything Allah likes.       

8. Shaitan wants to make us do bad things and doesn’t like us doing good things.        

9. Jihad is the fight against Shaitan.      

10. We are Allah’s warriors in the battle against Shaitan.       

11. Both boys and girls are Allah’s warriors in the fight against Shaitan.     

12. Allah’s jihad warriors try to fight against the bad things by being real good.      

13. Sometimes Shaitan gets in our thoughts and tries to get us to do bad things.       

14. Those bad things can be what we do, words we say, or even thoughts we think.

15. We have to fight real hard to make sure Shaitan never gets us do bad things.       

16. Allah only wants us to do good things, so because we love Allah so much we should always try to do good things.       

17. Sometimes Shaitan tries to get other people to fight against everything good that Allah wants, so we have to find ways to stop those people who want bad things.       

18. We have to be sure we are real good inside so we can win the fight against those who want the bad things.       

19. If other people try to get us to do bad things we have to be sure we are such strong jihad warriors that they can never get us to do those bad things.       

20. Shaitan never ever stops trying to get us to do bad things so we have to keep watch over goodness all the time to protect it for Allah.       

21. Even real small bad things are important to fight against because they can lead us to bigger and bigger bad things.       

22. If we love Allah and do all the good things He wants us to do we will go to Paradise, and that is the very best thing that can happen.       

23. Shaitan wants to keep us from going to Paradise so that is why he tries to get us to do bad things, because people who do lots of real bad things don’t get to go to paradise.       

24. We have to fight against Shaitan and fight against doing bad things for our whole life.       

25. It is wonderful to be a jihad warrior for Allah, fighting against the bad influence of Shaitan and getting to do everything good that Allah loves.

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