Has it occurred to you that in children’s fashion, as the size gets bigger the clothes get skimpier? As a mom to two young girls, my biggest challenge has been to find clothes that compliment the innate nature of our children – which is to be modest. Due to the images that are flashed across shopping centers, magazines and television channels, children are quickly becoming desensitized and get mixed messages when their inner being wants them to behave a certain way but the world around them doesn’t.
Along with instilling the pillars of faith, it is critical for us to also educate them on modesty and its importance in Islam.
Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Indeed hayaa (modesty) and faith are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well.” (Baihaqi)
Tips on nurturing hayaa in our children:
- Dress them in modest clothes from a young age. Treat them like adults and encourage them to keep their awrah covered at all times.
- Respect their privacy and give them their space when they need it.
Teach them to avoid exposing themselves in front of their siblings. This rules out family bubble baths, showers etc.
- Make them aware of Allah’s presence. Irrespective of where they are or what they are doing, their actions are being recorded. The sense of responsibility will bring with it a need for always wanting to please Allah. This in turn will make them feel ashamed of committing sins and help them endeavor to steer clear to the best of their ability.
- Encourage them to keep learning and seeking knowledge, as the more time they spend in doing acts of good, the stronger their commitment to their deen becomes. This in turn inculcates the qualities of self-consciousness and discipline.
- Practice what you preach! Make hayaa of utmost importance in your house. Just because your children are young (under the age of reasoning) it doesn’t mean you can walk around in revealing clothes (leave them to the confines of your bedroom). Children do as you do, not as you say!
- Help them form a circle of righteous friends. Peer influence plays a powerful role in shaping the character of our children.
- Avoid labeling their behavior. Shyness for the greater part is a good trait to have but sometimes it can be a hindrance. Deal with such situations tactfully. For example, if your child is shy of public speaking try not to swoop down on them and force them to ‘give it a go’ but instead do it in baby steps. Perhaps take them with you to the pharmacy or grocery store and ask them to interact with the sales assistant. Short but regular bursts of ‘confidence training’ will do them more good than trying to push them to speak in front of an audience at first go, and probably worsening their fears instead of diminishing it.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar, The Prophet (saws) passed by a man who was admonishing his brother regarding hayaa and was saying, “You are very shy, and I am afraid that might harm you.” On that, Allah’s Apostle said, “Leave him, for hayaa is (a part) of faith.” (Bukhari)
I look forward to reading your tips and advice on the same, inshaAllah.
Nabeela lives with her husband in Melbourne, Australia and is the mother of three young children. She loves to spend time with her children and enjoys reading, writing and cooking in her spare time.