In English (and especially American culture), obedience is a word loaded with negative connotations. Honestly, I can’t think of another word that is so riddled with negativity. To obey is seen as a derogatory comment, that the person who is obeying is inferior to the one they are obeying. We must strive to show obedience as a positive act. This is especially true for young boys.
I’m a mom of two very busy, very rough and tumble boys. They keep me on my toes everyday, all day, and as much as I try, it seems that my guidance and plea go unheaded. As soon as I turn my back they’re at it again. Overall they are good kids; their antics are limited to minor behavior infractions. However, I’ve come to realize that even those small infractions can lead up to a pattern of failure to obey what they are told.
In the Qur’an we are told,
“Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result” (4:59).
As Muslim parents we must teach our children obedience so that they can obey Allah subhanAllah wa-ta’Allah. Children do not instinctively know to obey. With boys this is even more important. We are raising the boys who will become men, and head families. We must lay a solid foundation for them to increase their deen and obey Allah subhanAllah wa-ta’Allah.
To simple statement “You must obey Allah and your parents,” will go right over a child’s head. Instead we should strive to make even the smallest infractions a learning point. That being said, not every infraction is worth pointing out. There are accidents and there are intentional wrongs. When something is an accident, it warrants an apology, but when the child intentionally commits a wrong act, a more serious reprimand is necessary.
How should we correct the action?
It’s important to always connect back with the Qur’an, Hadith, or Sunnah depending on the action that has occured. For example Boy 1 shoves Boy 2 when he doesn’t get his way leaving Boy 2 in tears. Some would advocate letting them “work it out.” However, this is a learning point. Boy 1 has intentionally harmed his brother because he didn’t get what he wanted. If we allow this behavior to go unchecked, what will happen when the boy doesn’t get his way with Mom or Dad? What about when he is older? Allowing this to happen without stepping in teaches Boy 1 that physical violence is acceptable if he doesn’t get what he wants. This goes against Islam.
It is in these terms that the correction should occur. Something such as, “I understand that you are upset that you didn’t get what you wanted, but Allah tells us not to hurt other people. Your brother is crying becuase you hurt him. Do you think that your action was a good choice?” In this example, you have:
- pointed out what the child did wrong
- explained why it was wrong in an Islamic sense
- allowed the child to understand his action and respond.
This method can be tailored based on the age of your son to either be more in depth or simplified.
Obedience is a really difficult subject to digest, but I hope this helps other moms realize just how important it is to teach our sons. Do you struggle with obedience from your children? How do you handle this subject – I’d love to know!
- Raising Muslim Boys: Handling Gender Stereotypes
- Daily Du’a For The Busy Muslim Mom #5: Mother’s Loving Tenderness
- Raising Muslim Boys: Sensitivity
- 5 Tips to Help You Keep a Clean Home When You Work Outside the Home
- Video Review: My Islamic Behaviour Chart by Muslim Stickers