The principles of ‘aqeedah (belief) and eeman form the foundation of Islam and are significant for the task of parenting.
The meaning of ‘aqeedah
It is a certain and firm belief, without doubt. Aqeedah is knowledge that one believes in the heart. In Islam, ‘aqeedah this belief is in matters of knowledge that have been transmitted in authentic reports from Allah and the Messenger Salla Allahu ‘Alayhi was SAllam - Blessing and peace be upon him.
People throughout the world have various belief systems but only true ‘aqeedah is found in the religion of Islam, since this is the complete, perfect and protected religion.
This Islamic ‘aqeedah convinces the mind with evidence and fills the heart with eeman, certainty, and light.
The importance of Islamic ‘aqeedah
True Islamic ‘aqeedah is as essential for humans as water and air. Without it, humans are lost and confused.
The relationship between ‘aqeedah and eeman
‘Aqeedah (belief) forms the foundation and basis of eeman (faith or firm belief).
Eeman is based upon ‘aqeedah that is firmly established in the heart.
Eeman is verbally declared and is confirmed by actions.
Correct ‘aqeedah is important so that one’s eeman will be acceptable and strong.
The more knowledge of ‘aqeedah a person possesses, the more their eeman will increase and grow.
The meaning of eeman and mu’min
Eeman is sincere faith that impacts the person’s thoughts, feelings and speech and actions.
On the authority of ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: «One day, while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (saws), there came before us a man with extremely white clothing and extremely black hair. There were no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He [came and] sat next to the Prophet (saws). He supported his knees up against the knees of the Prophet (saws) and put his hands on (the Prophet’s) thighs. He said: O Muhammad, tell me about Islam. The Messenger of Allah ( saws ) answered: Islam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayers, to pay zakat, to fast [the month of] Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so. He said: You have spoken truthfully. We were amazed that he asks the question and then he says that he (Allah’s Messenger) had spoken truthfully. He said: Tell me about eeman (faith). He [the Messenger of Allah (saws) responded: It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in the divine decree, the good and the evil thereof. He said: You have spoken truthfully. He said: Tell me about Ihsan (goodness). He [the Prophet] answered: It is that you worship 7 hadith ( hadeeth):a saying or action of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that was remembered and recorded by his Companions and followers 8 Angel Gabriel or Jibreel in Arabic: the archangel who transmitted the verses of the Qur’an and other communication from Allah to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Editor) 28 ‘Aqeedah, eeman, and Ihsan Allah as if you see Him. And even though you do not see Him, [you know] He sees you.»
There is a distinction between Islam and eeman, and between Muslim and mu’min.
A Muslim is a person who declares that they believe in the message of Islam and who declares that they submit themselves to Allah. They may though have very little eeman in their heart.
A Mu’min (believer) is someone who truly and firmly believes in Islam and tries to implement it in their life. A Mu’min is one who fulfils the requirements of submitting to Allah in word and deed, a person whose faith is complete and unwavering, one who entertains no doubts and is ready to strive hard, sacrificing their wealth and life for Allah’s cause.
It is imperative to teach parents what eeman means and how to nurture it in them and their children.
The nucleus of Eeman is the heart, for it is the centre of faith. Eeman also includes sayings of the tongue and actions fo the body and has many parts.
The Prophet (^g) said: «Eeman has more than seventy parts; the highest is the confession that there is none worthy of worship other than Allah, and the lowest is removing a harmful object from the road.»
Belief in the heart
This is the most essential component of eeman. A true mu’min must recognize, desire and love the truth and have hate for falsehood and disbelief. They must love Allah and put their trust, hope and fear in Him alone.
Profession by the tongue
This is the shahadah which is proclaimed when a person becomes a Muslim and which is repeated each day in the five daily prayers. Not just words, but a commitment to the religion of Islam and with the intent to follow its requirements and obligations sincerely and correctly
Performance of deeds
The level of eeman in your heart will be reflected in your behaviour. A heart filled with eeman (trust, hope and fear in Allah) will lead the body to perform acts of obedience and avoid forbidden or even doubtful actions.
There is a reciprocal relationship where acts of obedience to Allah, will increase the inner faith of a person and actons of disobedience will decrease faith.
The meaning of Ihsan
Ihsan is the highest level that a human being can achieve. The ultimate goal of Ihsan is to fulfil one’s obligations to Allah and to do so in the best manner possible. The essence of Ihsan is love of Allah. Ihsan encompasses all acts of goodness towards others.
According to hadith, a motivating factor of Ihsan is that a person is aware that Allah is watching all of their actions. Therefore the action will be for the sake of Allah, which leads to purity and sincerity of the heart.
Relation to parenting
The goal of parents should not only be to develop their children as Muslims, to also to foster firm ‘aqeedah and eeman in the heart.
Children may know how to pray and fast and so on, but it may not be in their hearts to do so.
What is needed is an understanding of the true meaning of being a Muslim, of being a mu’min, and even of attaining the level of Ihsan.
Parents must teach their children to sincerely submit to Allah with their hearts, with their tongues, and with their deeds. Children must learn to have fear of Allah, love of Allah, and trust in Allah. They must have hope in Allah’s help and rewards and fear of His anger and punishment.
The Prophet (saws) taught his companions ‘aqeedah for thirteen years before introducing the practical aspects of Islam. This was to ensure firm eeman and commitment to the religion of Allah.
Accurate belief in Allah and His religion is necessary for developing a relationship with Him and for cultivating within us the ability to distinguish right from wrong. This will lead us to choose the lawful in each and every circumstance regardless of pressure to do otherwise.
A child who has developed eeman and piety will make the job of parenting an easier one. The choices that a child makes will come from within, with love and fear of Allah, rather than having to be imposed externally. The focus for a child with eeman will be to seek the pleasure and rewards from Allah, with the profound realization that these are greater than any material or social reward that can be gained in this life.
Parents, therefore, should have the central goal of nurturing eeman in their children, so that they will be successful in this life and the hereafter. Success in Islam is not measured by wealth or position, rather by sincere obedience to Allah and the attainment of paradise in the next life.