Real v Fake Choices
It is said that your children's characteristics are determined the moment you choose your spouse. If you are a blessed soul and marry a blessed soul, your children insha Allah, will be of good stock. A Bedouin one day said to his children: "I did good to you not only when you were young or when you grew up, but also before you were born." They said "Indeed we know that you have treated us well when we were very young and then when we grew up, but how is it that you treated us well even before we were born?" He said "I chose mothers for you that will not disgrace or discredit you."
There are many other narratives of the Companions and the early pious predecessors marrying for the sake of Allah, forsaking other qualities such as beauty and wealth.
Narrated Abu Hurayrah (RA): Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, 'When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption.' (Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)
The mother is the teacher of the next generation. The father is the role model. If you and your spouse's souls are full of spiritual disease and Shaitan, what kind of children will you produce? The mothers of jannah used to perform wudu and prayers before cooking in the hope that it would be a blessing for the children, rather than being overly concerned about the actual recipe.
If we are fake, our marriages will be for materialistic motivations. Hence the lack of iman in a potential spouse does not raise as many red flags as the lack of a university degree.
Parents should ask for Allah to honour our children, and not to make them the cause of fitnah but rather the coolness of our eyes. As a nation, we should fully appreciate that the next generation has the power to either uphold Islam or destroy the ummah entirely.
The ultimate example of a family unit functioning in the unconditional worship of Allah was demonstrated by the family of Ibrahim AS. He sacrificed time and again for Allah, as did his wives Sara and Hajr, with each sacrifice progressively more difficult than the previous one. Allah granted him the ultimate honour - the rebuilding of the Ka'bah and a progeny of all the prophets and messengers that came after his time.
How many parents aim this high and make du'a for their children to honour Islam and to honour themselves through the child? Is it on our minds to supplicate for our children not to be a fitnah (trial) for us in this life and the hereafter? Do we supplicate for our children not to be the enemy or destroyers of Islam once they are adults?
Even if the parents pass knowledge to the children, it has to be with manner. There is no knowledge without Islamic character. True to the prophecy of Rasulullah SAW, close to the end of time, the slave will give birth to her master. Today, most children are raised without even basic manners or discipline. Mothers allow the child to dictate all the conditions, even from a young age when he is not old enough to know between benefit and harm, and the mothers obey unconditionally, even to the destruction of the child. If the early life of the child is devoid of adab, then how can they be the bearers of Islamic knowledge for the next generation? The child will never possess a sense of responsibility, but will instead grow up feeling entitled to everything even without any effort. What happens if the child gets married to a similar person – what hope is there for the subsequent generation?
The new generation is a reflection of the previous. When one plants a bad seed, one will yield a poor crop. When one scatters pepper seeds on the earth, he cannot expect to harvest watermelon. We claim to want piety, but in reality, we are not willing to downgrade our dunia. We choose spouses based on physical attraction and materialistic criteria at the expense of moral fibre, and it should not be lost on us that a child cannot develop strong values within such a household.
We outwardly extol the virtues of Bilal RA, but will we marry our daughters to someone of his social status, physical appearance or secular education?