Fourteen Ways to Instill the Love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) in your Children
By: Abbas and Shaheen Merali
1. Conception, the pregnancy period and the mentality of the parents all have an effect on the child in this area. As well as following the recommendations mentioned in this manual, the following things are emphasized: eating the tabarruk (blessed food) of the Imāms, going to majalis and listening to lectures, being careful of what one sees or hears, listening to the Noble Qur’an, Nauhas and Qasidas when breastfeeding, etc.
2. Use Euphrates water and Khāke Shafā (dirt from around the grave of Imām Husayn (as) in Kerbalā).
3. Develop love and emotional attachment. Teach your children that love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) leads to them being loved by both Allāh (swt) and the Ahlul Bayt (as), and that the love of Allāh (swt) and the Ahlul Bayt (as) go hand in hand.
4. Pay attention to the Ahlul Bayt’s (as) favour to their Shī‘as. It is narrated from Imām as-Sādiq (as): “We know our Shī‘as the same way one knows their family.” It is also narrated that on the Day of Judgement, the Shī‘as of Imām ‘Alī (as) will be satiated, saved and successful.
5. Relay the benefits of friendship with the Ahlul Bayt (as), such as: “Know that whoever dies with the love of the family of Muhammad is a martyr,” and “Know that whoever dies with the love of the family of Muhammad, two doors to heaven will open from his grave.”
The value of a person is according to how much love is in their hearts. The more valuable the object of love is, the more valuable is the one that loves.
6. Relay the need of this love. People usually are attracted to those things that satisfy their needs, and we are indeed extremely needy of the Ahlul Bayt (as). It is narrated from the Prophet (s): “Love of me and love of my Ahlul Bayt benefit one in 7 places where there is a lot of agitation: At the time of death, in the grave, at the time of being raised from the grave, at the time of getting the book of deeds, at the time of accounting, at the time of the weighing of deeds, and at the time of (crossing the bridge of) Sirāt.”
7. Show your appreciation, and encouragement of certain acts, so as to make an example of those acts for the future. It is narrated that the Prophet (s) gave an Arab a piece of gold that had been gifted to him, because the Arab had presented himself humbly to Allāh (swt) in his meaningful and sincere Salāt. The Prophet (s) said: “I have given this gold to you because in the presence of Allāh (swt), you praised him with goodness and deservingly.” However, it is important that encouragement should not be in the form of a bribe.
8. Practice what you preach, as the state of being and actions of the parent are indirect but important teachers of the child.
9. Celebrate and mourn the wiladats and wafats (birth and death anniversaries) of the Ahlul Bayt (as), such as Muharram, ‘Eid al-Ghadīr, the wiladat of the 12th Imām, etc. This includes not only going to mosque, but programs at home, madrasa, etc. There should be ties between the happiness of the child’s life and the lives of the Imāms, for example, making their wiladats a happy experience in the child’s memory by having a party, giving sweets, gifts, and thus indirectly having a beneficial effect on the child.
10. The child’s desire for growing up and reaching perfection is highest in the teenage years and early adulthood, and this causes them to automatically look for role models in life. This innate desire must be utilised well and the vacuum filled by the Ahlul Bayt (as).
Indeed, the Ahlul Bayt (as) are the manifestation of perfection of beauty of Allāh (swt). Relaying their bravery, virtues, miracles, generosity, ability to cure people and solve difficulties and their station of intercession with Allāh (swt) all have a beneficial effect in creating an attachment between the child and them.
One of the Qur’anic methods of Nurturing human beings is also by the use of good role models to guide one to the right path, as mentioned in Surat al-Ahzāb, Verse 21:
áóÞóÏú ßóÇäó áóßõãú Ýöí ÑóÓõæáö Çááøñåö ÃõÓúæóÉñ ÍóÓóäóÉñ áøöãóäú ßóÇäó íóÑúÌõæ Çááøñåó æóÇáúíóæúãó ÇáÂÎöÑó æóÐóßóÑó Çááøñåó ßóËöíÑÇð
“In the Apostle of Allāh (swt) there is certainly for you a good exemplar, for those who look forward to Allāh (swt) and the Last Day, and remember Allāh (swt) greatly.”
11. Stay away from those acts that remove love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) from the child; this goes side by side with those actions that incite love. For example, if the many majalis that take place in the first 10 days of Muharram are tiring and make the child weary, or the atmosphere is not good for the children in that they are not treated well, or the child is forced to do lots of worship, these all can create obstacles to a close and loving relationship with the Ahlul Bayt (as).
12. Create a spiritual and meaningful atmosphere. Even if children are left mostly to their own devices and not pulled in this direction or that, if they are systematically placed in such an atmosphere, the attraction to the Ahlul Bayt (as) will automatically arise. Cultural and Islamic camps, ziyarats, going to the harām, meetings with meaningful personalities, constantly being with friends of the Ahlul Bayt (as), community activities and participation in majalis, can all contribute to creating such an atmosphere.
13. Acquaint your child with books, articles, paintings and poems relating to the Ahlul Bayt (as). This can take place in a number of ways such as competitions, discussions, studying, writing of articles, exchanging opinions, etc.
14. Encourage the formation of youth groups specifically to commemorate events in the lives of the Ahlul Bayt (as), including activities such as azadari, plays, speeches, etc.