THE FOUNDATIONS OF NURTURING IMAN IN CHILDREN
The foundations of Nurturing Iman in Children are centred on knowledge of Islamic principles, parenting, human nature, and knowledge itself. This section covers the following: ‘aqidah, iman, and ihsan; the responsibility and basics of parenting; knowledge and education in Islam; and fitrah: the innate nature of humans, which is yet uncorrupted in children. With an understanding of these concepts, parents build a solid foundation upon which to nurture and develop their children.
‘Aqidah, Iman, and Ihsan
The principles of ‘aqidah (belief) and iman form the foundation of our religion. They are also significant for the task of parenting. The meaning of these terms and their relation to parenting will be discussed in the following section.
The meaning of ‘Aqidah
Aqa’id (plural of `aqidah) are those things that people’s hearts affirm and believe in; things that people accept as true. It is certain and firm belief, without doubt. `Aqidah is knowledge that one believes in the heart. In Islam, this would be matters of knowledge that have been transmitted in authentic reports from Allah and the Messenger (A) (Saila Allithu `Alayhi wa Sallam — Blessings and peace be upon him).’ Allah swt mentions,
“The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers.’ And they say, `We hear, and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination” (Qur’an 2: 285)
People throughout the world have various belief systems, but the only true `aqeedah is found in the religion of Islam, since this is the complete, perfect and protected religion. Allah swt says
… This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion…0 (Qur’an 5: 3)
… And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all
things…0 (Qur’an 16: 89)
The Prophet O said: <4 have not left anything that Allah has commanded of you except that I have ordered you to do it. And I have not left anything which He has prohibited for you except that I have prohibited it for you.»2
Allah has guaranteed to protect the Qur’an and Islam until the end of time. Allah (10 affirms,
4Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [the Qur’an], and
indeed, We will be its guardian.0 (Qur’an 15: 9)
This `acieedah, as found in the Qur’an and the Hadith,3 convinces the mind with evidence and fills the heart with eeman, certainty, and light. Other religions are either based on falsehood or
2 Al-Bayhaqi, At-Tabarini; a sound, authentic hadith
3 Hadith (hadeeth ): the collected sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) that with the Qur’an form the basis of Islamic law have become distorted, although they may contain some grains of truth here and there.4
The importance of Islamic ‘aqeedah
True Islamic `aqeedah is as essential for humans as water and air. Without it, humans are lost and confused. It is the only `aqeedah that can answer questions that have preoccupied the minds of the human race for centuries: Where did I come from? Where did the universe come from? Who is the Creator? Why did He create us and the universe? What is our role in this universe? What is our relationship to the Creator? Are there other, invisible worlds beyond the world that we can see? Is there another life after this life? These unrelenting questions have existed since the beginning of time and can only be answered by Islam.
The relationship between ‘aqeedah and eeman
`Aqeedah (belief) forms the foundation and basis of eeman (faith or firm belief). Eeman is based upon `aqeedah that is firmly established in the heart. Eeman is verbally declared and is confirmed by actions conforming to the dictates of `aqeedah. Correct `aqeedah is important so that one’s eeman will be acceptable and strong. The more knowledge of `aqeedah that a person possesses, the more his or her eeman will increase and grow