chapter 21


Raising Children in Islam

Imam Sajjad said:

One thing guaranteeing menís prosperity is to have children whom they
can help. [Kafi, v.6, p.2]

The Position and Worth of Children

Children, whether male or female, are the greatest and most beneficial blessing that God has favored his servants with. The Prophet Abraham (Pbuh) did not have any children and was sad about this. When he was very old, God gave his worthy servant two sons: Ismael and Issac. Issac is the source of the divine Prophets until the time of Jesus and Ismael is the source of all the Prophets to the time of Muhammad, the last Prophet (Khatim-al-Anbiyaa), the Immaculate Imams and thousands of wise men, mystics and religious jurisprudents A child is a great blessing, a source of goodness, nobleness and benefit in this world and the Hereafter for an individual. Of course, the reference is to an individual believing in God and due to his belief trains his child to be a believer and a good and worthy person. Abraham wholeheartedly praised God for being granted offspring: Really, being granted offspring requires one to praise God.
Praise be to God, Who hath granted unto me in old age Ismael and Isaac: for truly my Lord is He, the Hearer of Prayer! [Holy Quran: Abraham: 14:39, p.631.]
We understand from this noble verse that the position of offspring is so important in life that Abraham requested children from God in his old age and his prayer was answered. When Zacharias was old he prayed to God in the prayer niche to give him a child.
So give me an heir as from Thyself, (One that) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob [Holy Quran: Maryam: 19:5-6]
Ishaq ibn Umar quotes on the authority of the sixth Imam:
Mothers and fathers depart from this world and benefit completely from the worship, supplications and good deeds of their offspring in the case that their children were believers.
The Prophet (Pbuh) stated:

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Five people have left this world but their files have not been closed: Reward continually is bestowed upon them. 1) The one who plants a tree 2) The one who digs a water well for others to use 3) The one who builds a mosque 4) The one who has taken down the Quran and 5) The one who leaves behind a worthy child. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.104, p.97]
The sixth Imam said:
When Joseph saw his brother he asked him:
How are you going to make the preparations for marriage. His brother said that his father Jacob instructed them in the following way: If you can raise heavenly children, do so. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.356]
Imam Sajjad said:
A Muslim man is fortunate in these regards: 1) His place of business is in the small city he lives in, so he can see his family after a dayís work. 2) His friends are worthy and pious 3) He has a child whose help he can benefit from. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.7]
How blessed is a worthy child that the Glorious Quran says:
And God has made for you mates (and Companions) of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best. [Holy Quran: Nahl: 16:72]
Imam Sadiq stated:
In the Hereafter, Muslim offspring will intervene on their parents behalf and the intervention will be accepted.
The seventh Imam said:
The man who does not die until he sees his offspring is fortunate. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.351-8]
The benefit of having children is so much that the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mumineen) said:
A child's illness is the penalty for the parent's sins.
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Worthy offspring are a bunch of sweet-smelling flowers which God has distributed amongst his servants.[Ibid]
And the Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Worthy children are a bunch of sweet-smelling flowers from the Heavenly flowers. [Ibid]
In a tradition it was stated:
The Prophet (Pbuh) was on the Medina mosque pulpit preaching to the people when Hassan and Husayn (peace be upon them) entered the mosque. They were both wearing red shirts and while walking fell down. The Prophet (Pbuh) quickly came down from the pulpit and picked up both children. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.42, p.284].
Then he recited the Quranic verse:

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Your riches and your children may be but a trial: but in the Presence of God, is the highest Reward. [Holy Quran: Tagabun: 64:15]
In Tehran, a subterranean water canal had been dug whose excavator was a man named Hajj Alireza Zaba. For more than one-hundred years people from some parts of Tehran used that water. One of the great theologians said that someone saw him (the excavator) in his dreams. He was in a great orchard standing by a big river. The excavator told the man that his orchard was one of Heaven's orchards and that river was one of Heaven's, too. Those two blessings were the reward for excavating that canal in Tehran. But, alas! I wish I had a child who had said "There is no God but God" just once and then died. By stating his belief in monotheism, a great benefit would have been mine.

Love for children

The Sixth Imam quoted upon the authority of the Prophet:
Love your children and have mercy on them. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.483]
Some people do not show much affection for their children or do not show their affection. They are harsh and strict when interacting with their children. These people must know that using this method, which is inhumane and unIslamic, will deprive them of God's Mercy. Imam Sadiq said:
In fact, God shows mercy upon his servants, just for the strong love they have for their offspring.[Ibid]
The Seventh Imam said:
God the Great does use things like His Anger against women and children. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.484]
God's Anger is shown for the faithlessness and bad-temperedness to the family. The Sixth Imam said:
Moses said the following to God when he was on the Tur Mountain: God, which action according to you is the best one? God said that loving children is the best one.

Kissing the Children

In the valuable book Ruzat al-Vaizin Fatal Nayshaboori being one of the great Shiite scholars has narrated an Immaculate Imam as saying:
Kiss your children a lot. For each kiss you will get a divine heavenly rank which would otherwise take 500 years to achieve.
A man came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said: I have never kissed my child. The Prophet (Pbuh) said that in fact this man was a resident of the fire of Hell. There is no difference between boys and girls in this regard. Those who look sad when God grants them a daughter, are similar to the Arabs of the Age of Ignorance: They are terribly stupid. God willing, I shall discuss later about raising daughters, so that it becomes clear how valuable it is in Islam to raise a daughter. Another important consideration regarding child rearing is stated by

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the Immaculate Imams , and is very important to follow: Separate the sleeping place of boys from girls at the age of ten. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.361]
The Prophet (Pbuh) has issued a very important recommendation in this regard:
Separate the sleeping place of boys from boys, boys from girls, and girls from girls from the age of ten. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.460]
It is not appropriate for two kids to sleep in the same bed, whether they be both boys, a boy and a girl, or both girls. Islam does not approve of this. Imam Sadiq said:
Let your children be free to play until they reach the age of seven. For the next seven years, keep a really watchful eye on him/her. If he/she accepts to be religious, it is fine. Else there is no good in him/her. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.473]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Teach your children to swim and shoot. [Kafi, v.6, p.473]
He also said:
Respect your children, and improve their behavior. Then you shall be forgiven. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.476]
Malik Denyar said:
I was ignorant, a loafer and I married three times. I divorced all of them for being infertile. I had a son from my next wife. I took him to school at the age of six. When I returned home in the evening, I saw that he was ill. Then I found out that the following verse is the first thing that he was taught:
A Day that will make children hoary-headed?[Holy Quran: Muzzammil:73:17]
We could not treat his ailment, so he died. I went to stay beside his grave. One night I dreamt that I was alone in a scary desert. A strange creature attacked me. I started to run away, and then reached a wall. I tried to climb over the wall to get over to the other side and escape. But suddenly I saw a few kids playing. I called out to my son and asked where he was. He said that after he died he was taken to a Quran class, so that by learning the Quran, he could become qualified to enter Heaven, and gain God's Mercy. I asked him about the nature of the creature that followed me. He said that was the manifestation of my own ugly and immoral acts. I fearfully woke up and stopped all my wicked acts and repented. Then I trotted down God's path.

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The Worth of Raising a Daughter in

The Prophet (Pbuh) said: A female child is a blessing.[Furu al-Kafi, v.6, p.5]

God's Will in Granting a Child

The Holy God is the Creator of all He wills, the owner of the heavens and the Earth, the Wise, the Powerful, the Just, the Merciful and the Benevolent. His will and decision regarding his servants is pure kindness and favor. He is the manifestation of love, mercy and nobleness and proper choosing. Whatever He wants for His servants is appropriate for this world and the Hereafter. And the servant must submit to God's Wisdom, Mercy and Will. This type of submission is the highest form of spiritual worship and stems from morality of the Prophets and the Saints, and the sign of love and understanding of Godís lovers and mystics. All of the following cases are God's pure Mercy, Kindness and His burning Love for His servants: the barren parents, the ones with a daughter; the ones with a son and the mother who bears twins, one being a girl and one being a boy.
To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the Earth. He creates what He wills (and Plans). He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will (and Plan), or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves Barren whom He will: [Holy Quran: Shura: 42:49-50]
Based on this noble verse, female offspring are an aspect of the kingship of God and the manifestation of His will in Creation and the light of His knowledge and power in regards to man. His knowledge and power, action and will, rule and ownership deemed a couple to have a daughter. Getting upset about having a daughter is a great sin, since it implies being upset with divine Ownership, Creation, Choice, Knowledge and Ability. This is stupid, illogical and unwise. As Imam Sadiq has said a baby who dies will be given to Sarah and Abraham in the Purgatory to be raised, and then be saved for the parents until the Hereafter. In the book Maskan al-Fowad, Shahid has narrated the sixth Imam as saying that having patience when a baby dies and not crying a lot has a reward that is greater than if the baby had not died, but grew up and fought as a soldier of Imam Mahdi and became a martyr in Godís way.

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Imam Husayn took his six-month-old baby to the tent, and gave him to his sister Zaynab. Then he sat on the ground and asked God to accept his six-month-old martyred baby as a credit for the Hereafter When a dead child is so important and valuable for us ,then can you estimate the worth of a child which we raise, educate and train expending a lot of our efforts? There is no difference between a boy and a girl, just a child. It is said in verse twenty-eight of the Chapter Anfal that children are God's test for man. If man is pleased with his child, then he has succeeded in this test. If he tries to educate him and teach him religion; provides the means for his marriage as much as he can; respects him; honors him and respect his rights, then he shall attain a great reward. The Holy Quran has said:
Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world. But the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes. [Holy Quran: Kahf: 18:46]
One who strives to raise his children and gets them acquainted with God, the Prophets, the leadership of the Imams and the Quran shall leave a highly valuable thing behind which cannot be matched. This is better for him in the presence of God and will be good for the Hereafter. Are not Mary, Khadijah, Asia and Fatimah the best patrimonies that their fathers left behind. Why should anyone get upset about having a daughter? Who knows what is in the womb? Does anyone's will but God's affect the gender of the baby in the womb? This is God's will and we should surrender to it. It is His Mercy, favor and kindness to grant us a daughter. we should thank him all our life for this blessed daughter. Remember that the Prophet (Pbuh) was granted a few sons named Qasem, Tayib, Tahir and Abraham, however, neither one survived. God never congratulated him for having a son, and no special verse of the Quran was revealed on these occasions. But when Khadijah became pregnant with Fatimah, the Chapter Kauthar of the Quran was revealed and he was informed of receiving a great deal of blessings, and eternal goodness.

Highly Important Traditions Regarding Raising a Daughter

It is recommended to pray to God to give you a daughter, if you do not have one. Prophet Abraham, who had Issac and Ismael prayed to God to have a daughter. His prayer has been quoted by Imam Sadiq as: He asked God to give him a daughter so there be at least someone to cry after his death and remember him. [Vasa'il al-Shiaa, v.21, p.361; Al-i-Bayt Press].What is important in this tradition is not the goal, rather it is the fact that a Prophet prays to have a daughter. It is an honor to be the father of a girl, as the Noble Prophet of Islam was. It is a real honor to have a girl and become similar to the Prophet (Pbuh) in this respect. Imam Sadiq said: The Prophet (Pbuh) was the father of all girls. [Ibid]
If someone does not have a daughter, but has a sister, he still has some leeway to receive Godís Mercy. The Sixth Imam said: Whoever has three daughters or three sisters should go to Heaven. [Ibid]

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The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Daughters are a blessing: they are kind, helpful, good companions, blessed, and like cleanliness.[Vasa'il, v.21, p.362]
The Sixth Imam said: Whoever is the guardian of either two daughters, two aunts, or two maternal aunts shall be protected from the fire of Hell.[Ibid]
A man informed another man who was sitting by the Prophet (Pbuh) that he had become the father of a girl. The man turned pale. The Prophet (Pbuh) asked the reason. He said: I left the house when my wife had pains. Now this man informed me that I have a daughter. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: The earth shall support her, the sky will be a shadow over her head, and God will grant her sustenance. She is like a scented bunch of flowers you can smell. Then he turned to his companions and said: Whoever has just one daughter has problems of raising her, guarding her, preparing her dowry and providing for her marriage. Help whoever has two daughters. Whoever has three daughters seems to be engaged in holy war, and he is forgiven if he does any acts which he is admonished not to do. [Ibid]
And please help, lend money and have mercy upon whoever has four daughters. [Vasa'il, v.21, p.365]
How dear daughters are that the Prophet (Pbuh) has advised his companions to help those who have daughters and has established such help as a duty for the Muslim nation!
At the time of Imam Sadiq a man's wife delivered a girl. He came to Imam Sadiq and looked upset and angry. Imam Sadiq said: What would you say if God sent you a revelation and asked you if you will let Him choose the gender of your child? He said: Of course, I would ask God to choose for me. Then Imam Sadiq said: Well, now God has chosen a daughter for you. Remember the story of Moses and Khizr. When Khizr killed that child by God's command he told Moses: "I willed that God give to his parents a better and more merciful child instead of him."
So we desired that their Lord would give them in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct) and closer in affection. [Holy Quran: Kahf: 18:81]
Instead of that child that was killed by Khizr ( and Moses objected to this act). God granted his parents a daughter from whose generation came seventy Prophets. [Kafi, v.6, p.6; Vasa'il, v.21]
Imam Sadiq said: Daughters are good deeds and boys are God's blessings. Good deeds will be given a reward, but one will be questioned about blessings.
[Vasa'il, v.21, pp.365-366]
God told his Prophet on the night of Ascension to Heaven:
Tell the father of girls, do not be impatient with your daughters, since I shall provide for their sustenance just as I created them. [Ibid]
Imam Sadiq said: One who wished for the death of his daughter will be admitted to God's presence in the Hereafter as a rebellious person [Ibid].

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The Prophet (Pbuh) said: God the Glorious, and the Almighty is kinder to girls than He is to boys. On the Day of Judgment God will please one who pleases his daughters. [Vasa'il, v.20, p.364]
The Prophet (Pbuh) has said the following regarding the value of having a daughter:
Your best children are your daughters. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.104, p.91]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: One who is the guardian of three daughters or sisters shall certainly go to Heaven. They asked him what if one takes care of just two?
He replied yes. They asked him what if he takes care of just one daughter or one sister? Again he replied yes.[Vasa'il, v.21, p.368]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: One who goes to the market and buys something and brings it home for his wife and children is similar to one who supports the needy.
It is better to give a priority to daughters in gifts. In fact, whoever pleases his daughter gets the reward of having freed one of the slaves from the line of Islamel.[Bihar al-Anwar, v.104, p.69]
What an amazing tradition? No other culture has supported having daughters this much in human history.
In many tribes and nations, girls and women were in a terrible state. It was due to the efforts of the Prophet (Pbuh) that a great spiritual revolution happened in regards to the life of girls and women, and how they are treated. It is even more amazing that the Prophet (Pbuh) has said: Do not hit your babies since their crying has a meaning. The first four months of crying is professing the unity of God, the second four months of crying is sending salutations to the Prophet (Pbuh) and his household, and the third four months of crying is praying for the parents. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.60, p.381] Therefore you should not beat one who is professing God's unity, or is sending salutations to the Prophet (Pbuh) and his household, or is praying for his/her parents. You should be considerate of such a person, and be kind to him/her.
Also consider the following important tradition: Sakuni, who is one of the companions of Imam Sadiq, said: I went to see Imam Sadiq when I was really sad. He asked me the reason why and I replied that my wife had delivered a girl. He said: The earth will support her, God will give her sustenance, she lives in a different time period than you and she will eat her own share of daily bread. Then by God I was relieved of the burden. Then the Imam asked me what name I had chosen for her. When I said Fatimah, he put his hand over his fore-head giving a sigh of relief said: Now that you have named her Fatimah, do not beat her, swear at her nor damn her. [Kafi, v.6, p.48; Makarim al-Akhlagh, p.220; Vasa'il, v.21, p.482]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: One who has a daughter should not prefer his sons over her, or despise or scorn her. Then God will take him to heaven. [Marriage in Islam, p.136]

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He also said: The reward of one who has one daughter is greater than the reward of one who goes on pilgrimage a thousand times, engages in holy war a thousand times, makes sacrifices a thousand times or gives a thousand dinner parties. [Ibid]