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Thursday 10 July 2014

Ramadan Parenting Challenge Day 13: Teach Your Children To Be Generous

Ramadan Parenting Challenge 2013
In the two previous days, you have learnt how to be generous and kind, today it is time to teach your children to be generous.

The opposite of generosity is miserliness. Allah says: Let not those who are miserly with what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty think that it is good for them. Rather, it is bad for them. They will be made to wear what they withheld, owing to their miserliness, as a necklace [of fire] on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah is the inheritance of the heavens and earth. And Allah is well informed of all that you do. (Qur’an 3:180) And Prophet Muhammad (s) said, “Beware of stinginess! It was being stingy that destroyed those before you. It incited them to shed blood and make lawful what was prohibited for them.” (Muslim)

Some parents are so miserly that they don’t spend on themselves, let alone their children. Remember the case of Abu Sufyan in the hadeeth on Day 11? He was such a miser that his wife asked the Prophet (s) if she could take his money and spend on the children. Parents such as this need to realise that everything belongs to Allah and isn’t really yours. You are in charge of whatever Allah has given you and you take that responsibility seriously by managing it appropriately.

The right of your children is to be loved, clothed, fed and educated, among other things. Money needs to exchange hands for some of these things to happen. If you cannot give then you can’t expect anything in return. If you cannot let go of some money then you can’t expect to get something for nothing.

The more you give then the more you will receive. Prophet Muhammad (s) said, The example of the miser and the generous is that of two men wearing iron armour from their chests to their necks. As for the generous, he does not spend but that the armor enlarges and spreads over his body until it covers even his fingertips and wipes out his tracks. As for the miser, he does not want to spend anything but that every ring of the armor sticks in its place and he tries to enlarge it but it will not expand.” (Narrated Abu Huraira in Bukhari:1375, Muslim:1021)

The question now is how to teach your children to be generous. As with anything, you need to model it and what better time than in Ramadan? There are so many Muslim charity organisations asking for donations at this time. Let your children see you giving and ask them if they have anything to give.

Every year at this time, we would always receive a letter in the mail for donations. I would always ask my children if they would like to contribute any amount. They usually have money saved from last Eid or doing odd jobs for other people (we don’t give them pocket money – not when they’re young and my eldest hasn’t asked for any. My husband is adamant that they use their resources and work for it – which is a story for another day!). That’s the thing with Eid money too, you need to teach them to use whatever money they have wisely. Most kids would either save the whole lot (which tends to lead to hoarding and miserliness) or they would go out and spend it all (which leads to wastefulness and extravagance). Alhamdulillah, we have taught our children to buy only what they need and really want. So I would tell them they are only to buy one item only with their Eid money and save the rest. In this way, they still have money saved from last Eid and previous Eids. The important thing is that they have money to spend on charity. Masha Allah, each year they have been very generous with giving away their money. Also, they could actually see their money increasing because each year they would give and each year at Eid they would receive more (from grandparents, aunties and uncles etc).

Another place your children could be generous is at the masjid. My children are boys and every time they go to the masjid with their father, he would always ask them to take along any amount for the donations box.

Ramadan is also a great time to teach about generosity because if they are fasting they would have firsthand experience of what it’s like to go hungry. Discuss this experience with them and ask what it would be like to be starving every day without food even at iftar and suhoor.

Challenge for today is to:
  1. Discuss what it’s like to be starving every day. Identify the starving Muslims around the world and together pick a charity to donate to.
  2. Find other ways you and your children can be generous: donate toys, clothing, food etc.

Do these and continue to do them throughout Ramadan.

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