(Four) Intentions and Supplications
Shaykh Amin Buxton
Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge and every pious parent passionately prays that they will be able to do so. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. We will explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.
Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers.
Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer, or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself.
Intentions have a huge impact on our actions and have consequences both in this life and for eternity. We examine the effect intentions have when it comes to having children and what we intend and wish for our children. We look at the supplications which God’s pious servants make either to be blessed with children or to bless the children they already had.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Marry a woman who will bear many children and one who will be a loving wife because your number will be a source of pride to me in front of the other nations on the Day of Judgement.” [Abu Dawud]
This hadith teaches us that one of our intentions in getting married should be to have children who will be a source of pride and joy for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We know that the pleasure of God and the pleasure of the Prophet are one and the same, so if you please the Prophet you please God Himself. This makes us realize the greatness and significance of having children.
Podcast Series based on the same topic – Believing Future
Sayyidah Hanna’s Intention
God tells us about the intention of Sayyidah Hanna – the mother of Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her). Sayyidah Hanna dedicated the child in her womb to the service of God and her words are recorded in the Quran: “Lord, I have vowed to You, in dedication, what is in my womb for Your service. So accept this of me, for You hear and know all things” [Qur’an, 3:35].
Assuming that it would be a male child, she dedicated it to the service of the scholars and worshippers in the Temple in Jerusalem. She did not want the child to bring her any worldly benefit, to bring in an income, or to support her. She wanted its only role to be one of service.
When she ended up giving birth to a female child she wondered how a young woman could serve in the Temple, having to come and go amongst the men who taught and worshipped there.
But Allah accepted her intention due to its sincerity and caused her to be remembered in the Qur’an until the end of time. She said: ‘I name her Mary and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the accursed Satan.” Her Lord graciously accepted her and made her grow in goodness’ [Qur’an, 3:36-37].
But Maryam is not the only fruit of her dedication: from Maryam comes Prophet Jesus and all the blessings which he brings. In fact, it is he who will save this nation from the Antichrist at the end of time. Thus the very fate of not just the Children of Israel but also the nation of Muhammad is tied up in that one intention.
The Prayer of Zakariya
Allah then tells us how He entrusts Maryam to the charge of the Prophet Zakariya (peace be upon him). Zakariya witnesses the miracle of this young girl receiving provision directly from God. Upon witnessing this, he prays then and there that he be blessed with a child:
‘Lord, from Your grace grant me virtuous offspring: You hear every prayer .’ [Qur’an, 3:38]
This is a prayer which we should use to call upon God with repeatedly, not just if we wish to have children, but also if we already have them, in the hope that they are pure and virtuous. It shows us that the desire of God’s chosen servants is for good, pure, and virtuous children. Unfortunately, this purity is not a concern for many Muslims whose main concern is for their children to be successful in a worldly sense.
The Supplication of God’s Chosen Servants
Another important supplication that should be often on our tongues comes at the end of Surat al-Furqan where we find a beautiful description of God’s chosen servants. The final quality mentioned is that they say repeatedly:
“Our Lord, let our spouses and children be the delight of our eyes. Make us good examples to the pious” [Qur’an, 25:74].
The request of the people that God loves is that their spouses and their children be a source of joy to them in this life and the next. We know from how they are described in the previous verses that they would not take delight in anything worldly regarding their children.
Their joy is in the piety and uprightness of their children which will allow them to be reunited in Paradise. They do not only want them to be a joy to their eyes but also to the eyes of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the pious.
This is not to say that good intentions are sufficient on their own. Parents must also fulfill their responsibilities in raising their children for which they will be accountable: “Allah will certainly ask every person about what was placed in their care – did they take care of it or did they neglect it. He will ask a man about his household” (Ibn Hibban).
But when the parents have good intentions when having children and are prepared to give children the best upbringing, the children are a source of great blessings.
About the Author
Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is producing a podcast for SeekersGuidance and is one of our esteemed internal scholars
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