As any parent can testify, while parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences in their lives, it can also be extremely distressing at times. This is especially so when raising children with an obstinate or wilful streak, whether they are younger or older.
As Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran, He tests us with what He has given us through our children.
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“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.”
As an example from the stories of the prophets, Prophet Ya’akub‘s older sons caused him much grief when they had plotted, out of jealousy, to get rid of their younger half-brother Prophet Yusuf. Thus, when Prophet Yusuf was child, they threw him down a well and claimed that a wolf had eaten him. As a result, Prophet Yusuf became separated from his father and family for many years until he was grown up.
Nevertheless, in the years before father and son were reunited, Prophet Ya’akub never lost his faith in Allah s.w.t.
“O my sons, go and find out about Yusuf and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people."
Despite his older sons’ misdeeds, Prophet Ya’akub continued to speak to them in a gentle and loving manner (i.e. “O my sons”). He showed them that he had not given up on the rahmah (mercy) of Allah s.w.t. Moreover, what he was really saying was that he had not given up hope on them despite their wicked behaviour.
This is a lesson for parents not to give up on the rahmah (mercy) of Allah and rely only on Him, especially in times of grief and hardship. No matter how hurt parents may feel, and no matter how long their children have been stubbornly misbehaving, parents should continue to have hope that they will change for the better.
After all, if parents decide to cut ties with their children, speak harshly to them or harbour hatred against them, the chances of them turning over a new leaf would become very slim.
Children may not even make changes within their parents’ lifetime, but because of the duas that their parents had made for them while they were still alive, there is still the chance that Allah s.w.t. will enlighten their hearts.
Thus, parents, continue to hold onto hope and faith in Allah s.w.t.’s rahmah (mercy), and do not give up on His power to change what is in the hearts of your children. InsyaAllah.