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When Should I start teaching my children the religion ?

When Should I start teaching my children the religion ?
 
 
al-'allaamah saaleh ibn fawzaan al-fawzaan
 
Question :

When Should I start teaching my children the religion ?

Answer :
Teaching the children starts when they reach the age of distinction (and separation) ; so you begin the teaching of the Islaamic upbringing and cultivation.
According to his - sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam - statement :
'Command your children to perform salaat when they reach the age of seven , and punish them (if they don't perform it) when they reach the age of ten , and separate them in the sleeping places ' 1

So when the child attains the age of distinction (separation) , thus then it is an order on the parent to teach them and to cultivate them upon good ; by teaching them the Qur'aan and what is easy from the hadeeth.
And to teach them the rulings of the shariah ; which are appropriate ( and are effective) for the age of this child. Like teaching them how to perform wudhoo (ablution) , and how to perform salaat , and to teach them the adhkaar (remembrances) when wanting to sleep , and the adhkaar of when waking up , and (adhkaar) of during eating and drinking.
Because when they reach the age of distinction , they start to know and realize what they are being taught , and what are the obligations on them to perform ; and what are the things that are prohibited.
And also (at this age) they are to be forbidden from things which are not appropriate to do , and to make it clear to them that these things are not permissible for them to do. Like telling lies , and back biting and like this.
So he (the parent) does this ; Until he cultivates them upon goodness and to upbring them on avoiding evil, from this young age.

And this is a very important matter ; in which some of the people have forgotten (and overlooked its importance) concerning their children.

Verily most of the people are not keen and enthusiastic in the issues of commanding their children , nor do they show and present to them the sound Islaamic mannerism.
And they leave them and neglect them. They don't command them to perform salaat , nor do they upbring and show them the righteous actions.
And rather they leave them in this state of ignorance and this state of doing acts which are not good , and (they leave them) to mingle with the evil people , and to wander and roam the streets ; and they overlook and disregard teaching them.

And other matters like these ; from the matters which are negatively effecting most of the muslim youths ; because of the negligence of their fathers.

And they (the parents) are accountable for them ; because Allaah has put on them the accountability regarding their children.
He has said sallahAllaahu 'alayhi wasallam :
'Command your children to perform salaat when they reach the age of seven , and punish them (if they don't perform it) when they reach the age of ten , and separate them in the sleeping places ' 1
So this is a command and a responsibility on the fathers.

So the one who does not command his children with salaat ; he becomes a person who has opposed the prophet sallahAllaahu 'alayhi wasallam , and hence he has fallen into a sin.
And also he has left off doing something that is obligatory upon him ; something which the prophet sallahAllaahu 'alayhi wasallam has made obligatory.

And He sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam , has also said:
' Each one of you is a shepherd , and all of you are responsible for their own flock (people) ' 2

And some fathers, and it is sad and sorrowful, have become carried away and too busy in the affairs of the worldy life.
And they pay no attention to their children , nor do they keep away any time specifically for their children.
Rather all of their time is all for the affairs of the world.

And this is a great danger which is widespread in the muslim lands. And it has disadvantaged and worsened the upbringing of their children.
Thus they have become , people who are neither good in the religion nor in the worldy life .

And there is no might nor change except by Allaah , The most High , The Most Supreme.

Shaykh Saaleh Ibn Fawzaan



Footnotes:
[1] Narrated by Aboo Daawood in his Sunaan (1/130). From the hadeeth of 'Amru ibn Shua'yb from his father from his grandfather (may Allaah be pleased with them)
[2] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree from the hadeeth of Ibn Umar radhiyaAllaahu anhum :
"Each one of you is a shepherd and each one of you is responsible (for his flock). So the ruler is a shepherd and he is responsible, the man is the shepherd of his family and he is responsible, the woman is the shepherd of her home and she is responsible, and the slave is the shepherd of his owner?s wealth and he is responsible. Each one of you is a shepherd, and each one of you is responsible (for his flock)."

Source :http://www.islammessage.com/islamww/alfatwa.php?id=14272
Translation by : Aboo Waheeda as-Salafee

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