Show children your desire to please Allah
Uttering Mashallah, Alhamdulillah, JazakAllah are indeed great phrases that usually come out of our mouths easily. The words are for sure superb to praise and thank our Creator! The issue is do we say them truly from our hearts? Also when praying do we sincerely want to connect with Allah Subhana wa ta’ala? When doing good deeds, are we really doing them for Allah’s Sake only? The answer lies in our hearts and as you know the matters of the heart are complicated.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺsaid: Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes. Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: O, Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience.
Sahih Muslim 2655
It is vital to take time to think and reflect about our intentions and to check ourselves regularly, because all we do will be judged according to our intentions.
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”
Sahih al-Bukhari Book 1, Hadith 1
Your intentions are your true thoughts and feelings that you have while saying or doing something. Actually only Allah Subhana wa ta’ala knows our true intentions. He knows our hearts. But it doesn’t mean we leave it to Allah, no, we can work on improving this. We can work hard to better ourselves and develop in our hearts the desire to purify our intentions. Because our lowly desires are there, but we shouldn’t despair! The struggle is to overcome human nature and expecting to get something in return for whatever we do… but we can train ourselves to do things for Allah’s Sake only. How can we do something for Allah’s Sake alone? How can we develop it? Can we encourage it in our children, so that they will in shaa Allah be mindful adults who know the very sweet and satisfying feeling of doing something fisabili’Allah?
First and foremost dua
Anything that you want to develop, you must know the power of asking Allah’s help for you. He loves you to ask and depend on Him. So ask Allah Subhana wa ta’ala for His help with purifying your intentions. You will start seeing the effect on your thinking and feeling. You will start developing a desire to purify your intentions which is good and strong desires push you forward. This desire is also something that your children will pick up. You can also share with them examples when you were aware of why you did something. Share how great it feels if you do something and only for the reason that Allah Subhana wa ta’ala is pleased with you. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Model being content
It seems like a difficult concept, but you can make having sincere intentions tangible for kids by modelling it. For example by not being upset when things don’t work out the way you expected. Or not getting irritated when someone is not reacting or responding the way you expected or hoped for. Show the kids that you are working on doing things for Allah’s Sake only! Share with them that it is not easy sometimes, but we don’t give up and we keep trying. The more you practice the more you will learn to be patient and control your thinking and feeling eventually. Support your child also in this way. For example we are kind, but when another child is not kind in return, we try to be patient. We were kind at the first place to earn Allah’s pleasure and we know we will be rewarded for being kind.
Seize the moment
If we want to experience the tranquility of doing things for Allah’s Sake only, then ask Allah Subhana wa ta’ala that He will use you to help others for His Sake only. The situations will come to you and your children will see you being content and happy with getting the chance to do something fisabili’Allah. If you are conscious about it, you will recognise the opportunity. Show gratitude more than anything else that Allah Subhana wa ta’ala gave you the chance to help someone. Emphasise on this more than anything else. So instead of saying I felt good about helping, you say I am very grateful that Allah Subhana wa ta’ala gave me the chance to do this and earn the rewards in shaa Allah.