Saturday, May 18, 2013
THE ANNUAL CHILDREN’S DAY
It is a common knowledge that children are a great blessing from Almighty God. With their innocent and tender hearts, children can be molded into righteous people only with a positive and tender approach. Islam considers children to be an amanah (trust or responsibility) given to the family and says it is fard (mandatory) for the family to raise a child in a righteous manner. In terms of gender, parents should not favor one child over another. In Islam, both male and female children should be treated equally and should be loved and cherished. The children have certain rights over their parents; it is the family’s obligation to shelter, feed, clothe, educate, support, nurture, and love them. Thus, the annual Children’s Day is a great opportunity to remember our children and our duties to them as Parents and Guardians. Due to the importance of children and their potentials as future leaders, this day is marked almost all over the world. The United Nations refers to it as Universal Children’s Day and it is marked yearly. Aside this, many countries of the world observe this day on specific dates in different countries of the world. The Young Muslims thus rejoice with the Nigerian children and the world at large on the occasion of this year’s Children’s Day. The day should not only be marked by merry-making. It must rather be marked with deep reflection over our future vis-a-vis whether we are all doing enough to combat imminent challenges facing our children and our nation. At this point, we call on parents not to forget their primary responsibilities to their children. In Nigeria today, many parents are so immersed in worldly life that they forget to pay attention to their children. Many parents think that providing financial support for their child is enough. The fact is that financial support alone doesn’t fulfill a parent’s duty towards their child. One can only win a child’s heart through love, mercy and a gentle attitude. It is the child’s right to be loved and cherished. We can all emulate the noble Muhammad (Peace be on him) in the manner in which he related and preached child care and love. He was reported to have said: “Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Anas bin Malik also said regarding the Prophet’s attitude to children: I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim). The policies of the government should go beyond paper work, it must be translated to actions that have an impact on building the young ones towards a virile community. Education should be made compulsory up to the tertiary level, be it research, vocational or technical training. Scholarships and stipends should be introduced to assist indigent students and their parents. By so doing, we would be investing in the future of the entire nation. By this, also, we would have discouraged them from becoming social miscreants. We would have saved them from all forms of abuse including trafficking, labour, street hawking and drugs. Finally, I further appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims alike to see the business of child-upbringing as a communal project.