One of the most important things we know as parents is how our children look up to us and imitate us. If we take this point seriously, then we use this fact to improve ourselves, and our manners, outlook, way of speaking, etc. And, unfortunately, on the other hand, we can end up with children who will take after our bad habits and manners.
The beauty of Lady Fatima Zahra’s role as mother lies in this very aspect. She was the epitome of patience and generosity, and instilled these values in her children simply by living according to these values in her everyday life.
Being generous: We all know of the famous story of Lady Fatima Zahra giving whatever food the family had saved for iftar (breaking of the fast) to a poor and hungry man who came to the door. While we may think of always protecting our children from any hardships, Lady Fatima Zahra taught her children how to deal with life’s hardships with grace and dignity. We should help our children learn to give to others with an open hand.
Selflessness: Lady Fatima would pray for her family and neighbors, and others first, before praying for herself. As parents we tend to treat our children like they deserve only the best. And while they are deserving of our attention and love, we also have a duty to teach them that others also exist in this world, and to think of others and their needs. Children left to believe that the world solely “revolves around them,” tend to become selfish and spoiled.
Patience: It is no secret of the hardships that befell Lady Fatima during her life, especially after the death of the Holy Prophet and Imam Ali during his caliphate. But she spoke up for the truth and always relied on Allah the Almighty for strength. Often we try to save our children from any problems and are always there to protect them and find a solution. But if a child is left to learn from his own mistakes, they will also become more confident in solving problems. A parent should be around to help guide a child, but leave the child alone to understand how to figure out a solution.
Worship: Imam Ali said Lady Fatima Zahra was the “best partner in helping him worship Allah.” When our children see us praying or reading Qur’an, they should be drawn toward these acts of worship through a love of communicating with their Lord. Lady Fatima Zahra, through her dedicated worship, showed her children the importance of remembering Allah (swt) and relying on Him alone.
As parents our role is always to serve as a guide, but the parameters of how we guide will change throughout our children’s lives. God willing, if we focus on the main point of teaching our children to serve Allah and please Him through our actions, then as our children get older they will continue to follow this and return to it as their foundation.
May Allah (swt) help us follow Lady Fatima Zahra as a role model for the ideal parent.
Editor’s note: Islamic Insights is honored to host the “Raising Faith” column by esteemed guest contributor and student from Qum, Sister Samira Rizvi. Besides being a former newspaper copy editor, Rizvi is a mother of three, an author who writes for Little Muslim Books, and maintains a personal blog. Her column will focus on her experiences in tarbiyat—the upbringing of children based on Islamic values. For past articles in the column see here.