Ta’līm and Tarbiyah

Ta’līm and Tarbiyah

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Children are a Blessing

Being gifted with children is a great blessing from Allāh ta’ālā. For any blessing we receive we need to do shukr, i.e. be grateful to Allāh ta’ālā. True shukr meets the following requirements:

1. Realise the blessing is the result of the Grace of Allāh ta’ālā and that it has come to you without your being deserving of it.
2. Acknowledge your gratitude in your heart and express it verbally as well.
3. Use the blessing in the way Allāh ta’ālā wants you to, and observe the rules and limits He has set for it.

As with all blessings, Allāh ta’ālā has set rules and limits regarding the blessing of children too, e.g. when to be lenient, when to reprimand, what to teach them, what to keep them away from etc. Following these rules when dealing with children is called ta’līm and tarbiyah.

Giving children correct ta’līm and tarbiyah is a major responsibility of parents. If they fail to make proper arrangements for the ta’līm of their children and do not give them proper tarbiyah, they will face severe questioning on the Day of Reckoning. Failure to provide children with ta’līm and tarbiyah is failure to do shukr for the blessing of children.

Sending children to madrasah from the age of five to the age of twelve and completely handing over the responsibility of ta’līm and tarbiyah to their teachers is not sufficient or satisfactory. Even after enrolling their children in a madrasah, parents need to keep abreast of how they are learning and how their conduct and character are forming.

How Much Ta’līm?

Every child needs to be educated to the extent that he/she becomes aware of all the questions of halāl and harām that are likely to confront an average person in life. Every child should know what is fard and wājib and what is optional, and the difference between makrūh tahrīmī, which entails sin, and makrūh tanzīhī, which does not.

In addition to this, every child needs to understand that when confronted with any situation in life that he/she has no knowledge about then a qualified ‘ālim or muftī needs to be consulted. The masā’il related to business are an example: they are not taught as standard, for every child will not need them, but when a child grows up to become a businessman he needs to acknowledge the need to consult a muftī at every step in order to learn the masā’il of business.

Where to Obtain ‘Ilm

“Truly this ‘ilm is Dīn, so be careful from whom you take your Dīn.” (Muslim)

In today’s age in particular, when authentic and inauthentic ‘ilm are both widespread, correct ta’līm is essential. People nowadays resort to the internet if they want to know something and google provides them with masses of information on the masā’il they are looking for, without any check on authenticity. Part of ta’līm is to instruct children in the correct avenues for acquiring ‘ilm.

In Islām, great importance is given to the chains of teachers and students that go back to the fountainhead of ‘ilm, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. When the source of ‘ilm is authentic, the ‘ilm taken from that source will also be authentic; therefore, the source of ‘ilm should be someone linked to a chain of authentic teachers and who is regarded as authentic by the contemporary ‘ulamā.


Tarbiyah means training your children’s minds and hearts in such a way that they live their lives according to the ta’līm they receive. It is not enough, for example, just to teach them that alcohol is harām; it is also necessary to nurture within them love for Allāh ta’ālā and His commands and fear of His displeasure and Jahannam, so that a genuine desire not to displease Allāh ta’ālā and fear of the consequences of their actions are what drive them to abstain from alcohol. Without this sort of tarbiyah, youngsters will know that alcohol, drugs, zinā, theft etc. are harām yet still indulge in them. So ta’līm and tarbiyah are two distinct things.

Take the example of salāh. A child of seven receives the ta’līm that salāh five times a day is fard, and his father also makes him go with him to the masjid for salāh regularly. Then when the child reaches his teens he stops going for salāh. The father complains that his child used to be so good and has suddenly turned bad, whereas it is the failure of the father to do tarbiyah of his child’s mind and heart about salāh that is the real cause of the child abandoning salāh after reaching the age of independence.

The Power of Tarbiyah

Tarbiyah should result in children never opposing the ‘ilm they learned, no matter what the circumstances. They should have the message firmly ingrained in their minds that Allāh ta’ālā is the One who controls benefit and harm, and to obey Him is to please Him and to disobey Him is to displease Him. And seeing as He controls benefit and harm, it is not possible for someone to lose out by pleasing Him, whatever the circumstances, even though the intellect may argue differently.

An episode from the life of Shaykh ‘Abd-ul-Qādir Jīlānī rahimahullāh sufficiently illustrates this point. His mother did his tarbiyah properly and one of the points she stressed to him was to always tell the truth and never lie. She then sent him away to study ‘ilm, cleverly sewing some money into his clothing so that it would not be stolen on the journey. He did run into bandits on the way though, and when they asked if he had anything valuable he told them he had money and where it was hidden. When the chief of the bandits asked him why he had admitted he had money, he said simply that his mother had taught him always to tell the truth, for it pleases Allāh ta’ālā.

Shaytān always tricks people by telling them of all the potential harms of telling the truth and the potential benefits of lying, but the tarbiyah of his mother meant he understood that benefit can only come from obeying and pleasing Allāh ta’ālā. The bandits were greatly moved and repented.

Some Advice on Tarbiyah

In order to do tarbiyah properly, parents should show love to their children, be their friends, give them rewards for good behaviour and sit and talk with them. They should read stories of our pious predecessors to them and also take them into the company of the ‘ulamā and mashāyikh.

If a child makes a mistake, parents should not ignore tarbiyah and just suffice with a reprimand. Today’s mistakes, if left untended, will grow and grow. If, for example, a child tells a lie then the parents should understand that the sickness of lying is in the child’s heart and will not be removed by just shouting or getting angry with the child. Concerned parents should refer to the experts, the mashāyikh, for a solution. If the sickness is not cured through tarbiyah then the child will go on lying, only in ways that his parents will not detect.

Finally, it should be understood that being harsh and overly strict with children is not tarbiyah. Love is what is needed. If children are treated with love 90% of the time then on the rare occasions parents do get angry for some reason the child will feel ashamed rather than resentful.

May Allāh ta’ālā grant all parents the ability to be truly grateful for the great blessing they have been given in the form of children. And may He also grant them the ability to fulfil the requirements of shukr by ensuring that ta’līm and tarbiyah are properly carried out. Āmīn.

Love for the Masājid


Love for the Masājid

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

The masājid are the Houses of Allāh ta‘ālā and they should therefore be so beloved to a believer that his utmost desire should be to spend all of his time in them. In fact, every believer should entertain this thought, that if he had no other commitments, he would have spent his entire time in the masājid which have been described as the most beloved places to Allāh ta‘ālā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

The most beloved places to Allāh are the masājid. (Muslim)

For a believer, the heart should always yearn to be in the masjid and even when occupied with matters of the world, such as family, work, etc., it should always remain attached to the masjid. Mālik ibn Dīnār rahimahullāh has stated that a believer inside the masjid is like a fish in water and a munāfiq (hypocrite) in the masjid is like a bird in a cage. A fish naturally has no desire to be out of water and if it is taken out, it will long to return and remain restless for as long as it is out of water. Similar is the case of a believer and how he feels about being away from the masjid. On the other hand, a munāfiq will feel uncomfortable in the masjid and anxiously wait for the salāh to end, just as how a bird feels uncomfortable in a cage and desires to be released. The point to reflect upon is do we feel restless outside the masjid or in the masjid?

This statement encourages us to inculcate love for the masājid, thereby visiting them frequently and remaining within them for as long as possible. If for any particular reason, or due to worldly necessities, one cannot remain longer in the masjid, the desire for staying longer and the urge to return at the first opportunity should at least be present in the heart. It is indeed regrettable to witness that even at salāh times, many Muslims remain sitting at home or wandering the streets instead of attending the masājid and performing salāh. And many who attend, come as late as possible and leave as soon as possible after salāh, only to hang around outside with friends. Many have become so negligent that in their haste to leave, they discard the performance of sunnah mu’akkadah and witr salāh as well.

Frequenting the Masājid is a Sign of Īmān

Love for the masjid, which is indicated by the desire to be present therein, is a sign of a believer and very rewarding in the Hereafter

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

When you see a person frequenting the masjid then bear witness to his Īmān. (At-Tirmidhī)

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has also said,

There are seven people whom Allāh will give shade in the shade of His Throne on the Day when there will be no shade except the shade of His Throne: … (one of them is) a person whose heart remains attached to the masājid… (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

If the condition of the heart is not such, then one should rectify it by compelling himself to come to the masjid at least fifteen to twenty minutes before jamā‘ah (congregational prayer) time and engage in some form of ‘ibādah. If one finds it difficult to come any earlier than the jamā‘ah time, then one should try and remain in the masjid for some time after the salāh. Moreover, it would also be beneficial to participate regularly in the durūs (lessons of Qur’ān or Hadīth) or similar Dīnī programmes that take place in the masjid.

Reward for Performing Salāh Close to the Imām

Another virtue of the masjid relates to the closeness of one’s position to the Imām when in salāh. The closer one is, the more virtuous one’s salāh becomes. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

If people came to know of what (reward) there is in calling out (the adhān) and (performing salāh in) the first row and they could not attain this (reward) except if they drew lots, they would definitely draw lots. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

Due to our negligence in regard to Dīn and the Hereafter, we have become ignorant of even such rewarding virtuous acts. In order to understand this, it would help to cite an example in purely materialistic terms. If for instance, a masjid was to announce that all those performing salāh in the first row would be awarded a sum as little as ten pounds, for every salāh, one would witness that the first row is filled well before the adhān. Although not a big sum of money, but multiply it by five, for the five daily salāh, and then multiply that by seven, for the seven days of the week, it would add up to a week’s wages! Unfortunately, we haven’t accorded even the importance and value of ten pounds to the virtue mentioned by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Worldly Affairs Are Impermissible in the Masājid

It should also be remembered that to engage in anything related to worldly affairs whilst in the masjid is not allowed. The acts permissible in the masjid are those which relate to the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā, such as salāh, the recitation of the Qur’ān, dhikr, listening to lectures or durūs (lessons) of Qur’ān & Ahādīth, etc. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

They (the masājid) are only for the remembrance of Allāh, salāh and recitation of the Qur’ān. (Muslim)

Some Benefits of Visiting the Masājid

There are many benefits of visiting the masājid. Some of which are:

  1. Expiation of Sins and Elevation of Status

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

He who purifies himself in his house (i.e. performs wudhu) and then walks to one of the Houses of Allāh for performing an obligatory salāh, one step of his will wipe out a sin and another step will raise him a level (in Paradise).’ (Muslim)

  1. Hospitality in Jannah

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

Whoever goes to the masjid in the morning or evening, Allāh will prepare his hospitality for him in Jannah every time he leaves in the morning or evening. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

  1. Honour from Allāh ta‘ālā

Allāh ta‘ālā honours those servants who come to the masājid as they are His visitors. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said,

The one who performs wudū at home properly (with its sunan and ādāb) and comes to the masjid, is the visitor of Allāh. And it is the duty of the one being visited that he honours the visitor. (At-Tabarānī)

Similarly, Sayyidunā ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said,

The masājid are the Houses of Allāh ta‘ālā upon the earth and it is a right upon the one who is visited that he honours his visitor. (Ibn Abī Shaybah)

  1. Protection from Shaytān

Sayyidunā ‘Abdur-Rahmān ibn Ma‘qil rahimahullāh has said,

We would say that the masjid is a strong fort for protection from Shaytān. (Ibn Abī Shaybah)

  1. Opportunity for Practising Sunan

Furthermore, just by entering the masjid with the right foot, one would be gaining the immense reward of practising a Sunnah of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. By reciting the prescribed du‘ā for entering the masjid another Sunnah would be accomplished. Similarly, upon leaving the masjid whilst reciting the prescribed du‘ā, reward of practising another two sunan will be acquired.

  1. Reward of I‘tikāf

By making the intention of i‘tikāf at the time of entering, the entire time spent within the masjid will bear the reward of i‘tikāf as well.

  1. Safety from Impermissible Actions

Besides this, one’s presence in the masjid, provided one does not engage in talking about worldly matters, will save one from impermissible speech and actions, which may possibly have been carried out outside the masjid.

Let us endeavour to perform the five daily salāh with congregation and obtain a place in the first row. We have plenty of time to talk and meet people outside ṣalāh times. Leave all the mundane activities for another time and come and sit as close as possible to the Imām. Shaytān prevents us from actions that bring us closer to Allāh ta‘ālā. Let us fight Shaytān and endeavour to do everything that brings us closer to Allāh ta‘ālā.

Intentions for going to the Masjid

There are many intentions which can be made when going to the masjid. Remember, for each intention a separate reward will be attained. Listed below are some possible intentions that can be made:

  1. To perform salāh.
  2. To visit the House of Allāh ta‘ālā.
  3. To hope for the Generosity of Allāh ta‘ālā as He is the Most-Generous, and a generous person is hospitable to his guest.
  4. To obtain reward for the time spent while awaiting the congregation.
  5. To be safeguarded from sins.
  6. Nafl (optional) i‘tikāf.
  7. To remember Allāh ta‘ālā in seclusion.
  8. To obtain the reward of hajj and ‘umrah by performing wudū and going to the masjid for salāh.
  9. To meet fellow Muslims (outside of the masjid).
  10. The reward of salām.
  11. To recite the du‘ā when entering and leaving the masjid.
  12. To recite the Qur’ān.
  13. Amr bil ma‘rūf and nahy ‘anil munkar (to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong).
  14. To make muhāsabah of the nafs, murāqabah of the Hereafter and to seek forgiveness for one’s sins.

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us true love for the masājid; forgive our sins and overlook our shortcomings; and may He grant us the correct understanding of Dīn and His Pleasure. Āmīn.