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Raising a Believing Generation: Good Qualities are Inherited

Part Three: Inheriting Good Qualities

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge that parents pray for. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. These articles explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers.

Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself. This is the third article of the series, by Shaykh Amin Buxton.

Choosing a Spouse with Good Qualities

The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) likened people to minerals or base metals deposited in the earth which have different God-given properties and values. Some are like gold and some are like silver and some resemble other metals. This applies even if someone is not Muslim.

If they then become Muslim, the good qualities they possessed are enhanced on the condition that they gain knowledge (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim and others). This is something that should be kept in mind when choosing a spouse.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also pointed to a fact which has only recently been confirmed by genetics, namely that children inherit their parents’ moral, physical and intellectual characteristics. So when the selection of a spouse is based on noble birth, honour, and uprightness, children grow up with those same qualities.

When those qualities are combined with the best upbringing the child can attain the highest levels of good character and taqwa.

In the past, the choice of spouse was made after consulting elders and people of knowledge and wisdom while also seeking Allah’s guidance through istikharah. It wasn’t a case of “I met someone at work or at university”. The only guidance and direction they then seek is from their own desires.

Wisdom on Marriage and Second Marriages

Generally speaking, it is preferred to marry someone who has not been married before as this is more conducive to making the marriage last.

A person tends to form a strong and intimate bond with their first partner whereas if they have been married before they will always make comparisons between the first and second partner.  The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) pointed to this in a number of narrations.

This is not, however, a hard and fast rule. There have been many fruitful marriages between couples who had been previously married. The greatest proof of this is in the marriages of the Messenger.

Sayyidah Aishah was the only one of his wives who had not been previously married and although she claimed superiority over her co-wives due to this fact, her high station did not stem from this.

Her station as the best of the Prophet’s wives after Sayyidah Khadijah was partly due to her intelligence and her understanding of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in all his different states (but especially in private) which she then conveyed and reported to those around her.

A sign of her honesty and integrity is that she narrates her own jealousy towards Khadijah (who she never met) and the Prophet’s undying love and loyalty to his first wife and supporter.

The Status of the Prophet’s Wives

The Prophet’s wives did not attain their lofty status as Mothers of the Believers through the qualities which they possessed or the deeds which they performed. There were great women from among the Muhajirun and the Ansar who rushed to accept Islam who were similar in that regard.

The Prophet’s wives attained their status through their closeness to the Prophet himself. As soon as he married them, they were crowned as mothers of every single believer and this is God’s selection: “God chooses whoever He pleases for Himself and guides towards Himself those who turn to Him” (Qur’an, 42:14).

The Prophet’s wives were partly chosen in order that they could convey affairs relating to women and family. Some of them had their own children from previous husbands and had no one to care for them: Umm Habibah’s husband had left Islam and Umm Salamah’s husband had been martyred. Other marriages were contracted in order to unite tribes and to spread Islam and to show its universality.

Jabir bin Abdillah – Choosing a Previously Married Spouse

The story of Jabir bin Abdillah is another example of choosing to marry a woman who has already been married. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was returning from an expedition and he asked Jabir if he had married a woman who had previously been married or not. Jabir told the Prophet that he had married the former.

The Prophet asked him why he didn’t marry a young fun-loving woman who had not previously been married. Jabir replied that his father had been martyred at the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind seven young daughters, so he chose a mature woman who could help to raise them.

Jabir very nobly gave the welfare and upbringing of his sisters’ priority over his own desire for a younger woman, and the Prophet confirmed that he had done the right thing.

Source – SeekersGuidance

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