How Do We Understand the Suffering of Children?

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

There are many wisdoms in this. One of the greatest of these is that it makes us conscious of Allah’s grace: had He wished, He could have made the same thing happen to us when we were children. It also allows us to come to know the greatness of Allah’s lordship in that He does whatever He wishes with His creation. We also need to realise that beyond this there are elements of divine mercy which our intellects cannot comprehend and we must recognise that we only partially perceive what is taking place in existence. They also make us realise that this world is a place of calamities so we become more detached from it and prepare for the everlasting abode of the next life.


Raising Children Leaves No Time for Seeking Knowledge

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

All my time is spent raising my children and I feel I am missing out on worship and seeking knowledge. What advice can you give me?

For you to raise your children in the best way is an act of worship and is part of acting according to your knowledge. Try to follow a class when you have a bit of spare time. A pious woman from the Amudi tribe (in Hadramawt) wrote out the whole of Imam al-Subki’s three volume fatwa collection. At the end she wrote: ‘Please excuse any mistakes I may have made because I wrote this while I was breastfeeding’. The truthful person continues doing good works however small regardless of the situation.

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Advice on Homeschooling

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him

We are homeschooling our children. What should we focus on teaching them?

You should focus on teaching them their tenets of faith, the rulings of Islam and general etiquettes. You should teach them a lot about the Sirah and life of the Companions. You should clarify to them how to live and interact in society.

Fathers who are often busy with work should fix a time which they spend with their children.

Long Days and Children Fasting

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

The days are very long in some places making fasting very difficult for children close to the age of puberty. What should they do?

They should not be burdened with more than they can bear. They should be encouraged to fast half the day or most of the day. Although their fast will not be legally valid, they will become accustomed to fasting and their hearts will become attached to it so that when they are older it is easier for them.


How can we make our children love Ramadan?

We do this by mentioning the mercy, bounty and kindness that Allah shows in Ramadan.


The Prophetic Balance: Showing Compassion While Being Firm

Advice from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

“We need the Prophetic balance. We need to show our children mercy, compassion and affection. Many people are deficient in this regard. At the same time we need to be firm and follow our guide, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. No-one can be compared to him in the mercy and affection he showed to children generally and to al-Hasan and al-Husayn specifically. However, when al-Hasan began eating a date which had been given in zakat (and thus was unlawful for the members of the Prophet’s family to eat), the Prophet forcibly removed it from his mouth. He did not say: “He is only a young child and it is only one date”. Rather he showed compassion while at the same time being firm.



Words of Protection for Children

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

What can we read to protect our children?

Read over them Ayat al-Kursi, Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Nas and then the following duas:

أُعِيذُكَ بِكَلِماتِ اللهِ التَّامَّةْ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْطانٍ وهَامَّةْ وكُلِّ عَيْنٍ لامَّةْ

U`idhuka bi kalimatillahi’tammah, min kulli shaytanin wa hammah wa kulli ‘aynin lammah

I seek refuge for you in the complete words of Allah from every devil, every creature and every evil eye.

[Ibn `Abbas narrates that the Prophet ﷺ used these words to protect al-Hasan and al-Husayn and he would say, “Your father (Ibrahim) used these words to protect Isma’il and Ishaq.]

حَصَّنْتُكَ بالحَيِّ القَيُّومِ الّذي لايَموتُ أبَدَاً ودَفَعْتُ عَنْكَ السُّوءَ بِأَلْفِ أَلْفِ اَلْفِ لا حَوْلَ و لا قُوَّةَ إِلا باللهِ العَليِّ العَظِيمِ

Hassantuka bil-Hayyi’l Qayyum, alladhi la yamutu abadan wa dafa’tu ‘ankassu’a bi alfi alfi alfi la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi ‘Aliyyi’l `Azim

I place you in the protection of the Living the Self-Sufficient who never dies and I drive evil away from you with “there is no strength nor might except in Allah the Sublime the Almighty” a billion times over.


Note: the pronoun used here is for a singular male. If you are reading it for a girl replace the “ka” with “ki” and if you are reading it for more than one child use the plural “kum.

Traditional Methods of Raising Children

These are some of the methods of raising children used by our pious predecessors of the Ba `Alawi way, compiled by the grandson of the late Habib Muhammad al-Haddar (may Allah have mercy on him and be well-pleased with him), Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad al-Haddar, may Allah preserve and protect him:

  1. Breastfeeding mothers would repeatedly recite Ayat al-Kursi, Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Nas over their babies.
  1. When a child first began to speak it would be taught to say:

رَضِيتُ بِاللهِ رَبّاً، وبِالإِسْلامِ دِيناً، و بسيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَبِيَّاً ورَسُولاً

‘I am content with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with our Master Muhammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, as my Prophet and Messenger.’

  1. Parents would teach their children the importance of making good intentions and what intentions to make just as they would teach them how to recite Surat al-Fatihah.
  1. Parents would teach their children to call upon Allah in every situation. If a child asked for something, his parents would tell him to perform wudu, pray two rakatsand then ask Allah to fulfil his need. After he had done this, they would give him what he wanted and tell him that Allah had answered his prayers.
  1. Each child would be allocated a specific task. For example, one child would buy things from the shops, another would clean the house and another would serve guests.
  1. Parents would wake up young children in the last part of the night to accustom them to being awake at that time. Fathers would take their young sons to the mosque at that time.
  1. Parents would hold family gatherings in their houses on a daily or weekly basis. They would recite a portion of the Qur’an and read from the books of fiqh and hadith. They would conclude the gathering with duas and salawat.
  1. Parents would gather their children together before blessed days or months, such as Ramadan, and ask them what good deeds they planned to perform. They would ask them, for example, how much of the Qur’an they would recite and how much charity they would give.
  1. When one of their sons reached maturity, the father would hold a gathering to which he would invite the scholars and elders of the community. He would inform his son that he was now legally responsible and that he now had two angels who were recording his good and bad deeds
  1. Parents would give more attention to the education of girls than boys because girls would spend the greater part of their time in the domestic sphere.
  1. Parents would marry their children off at a young age to ensure they did not commit any acts of disobedience.

Allah knows best. May Allah be pleased with them and benefit us by their secrets and allow us to follow them.


Playing with your Children

Advice from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

Parents should supervise their children playing and play with them at times. One of the pious would always play with his children to make sure they were not affected by bad influences and to make sure they were learning as they played.

The Messenger of Allah was often the ‘camel’ for Sayyiduna al-Hasan and Sayyiduna al-Husayn to ride upon.

Once Hasan and Husayn were wrestling with each other. The Messenger of Allah was watching and cheering on Hasan. Sayyidatuna Fatimah saw this and asked him why he was supporting Hasan and not Husayn.

He replied: “I am only supporting Hasan because Jibril is supporting Husayn.”

This is the care that Hasan and Husayn received. They were playing under the watchful eye of the Messenger of Allah and Sayyiduna Jibril.

On Maintaining Awrad After Giving Birth

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

After giving birth I have not been able to be consistent in my awrad and other acts of worship. What can I do to maintain my spiritual progress?

You should realise that raising your children is a type of worship so you should make a good intention in raising them and intend to follow the Prophet in doing so.

You should take a moderate path – not neglecting the awrad completely and not trying to do too much. Rather you should do that which is easy for you to maintain. You will still be rewarded for that which you are unable to do.

On Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophet ﷺ

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

How do we teach our children to love the Prophet ?

We should teach them about his life and tell them stories about him. We should teach them about his greatness in Allah’s sight and teach them that he is the one who benefits Allah’s creation the most and that he is the greatest intercessor on the Day of Judgement. We must also teach them how to bestow prayers upon him.