Fathers play an important role in their child’s development. Like mothers, their involvement in their child’s life ensures that their child has a holistic and wholesome upbringing. Here are four fathers, who showcased exceptional traits of fatherhood that we can learn from the Quran:
1. Show attentiveness through supplications
Prophet Ibrahim a.s. became a father at a very late age, and was delighted at the gift of fatherhood which Allah s.w.t had bestowed upon him. Despite this age gap, Prophet Ibrahim a.s. showed interest in his son’s viewpoint when he told his son of Allah s.w.t’s decree to the sacrifice.
"O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast."
(Surah As-Saffat [37:102])
Besides valuing the perspective of his child, Prophet Ibrahim a.s. expressed his attentiveness to his child when he made supplications that were etched in the Quran. These supplications showed us what is best for our children’s success in both this world and the hereafter.
“My Lord, make me steadfast in Prayer, and my offspring as well. And, Our Lord, grant my prayer.”
(Surah Ibrahim [14:40])
Such was the care and concern displayed by Prophet Ibrahim a.s. for not only his children, but also for his future descendants. In another verse, Prophet Ibrahim a.s made supplications with his child after serving Allah s.w.t in raising the foundations of the Kaabah.
“Our Lord, and make us Muslims that submit to You, and from our descendants a community that submits to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are Ever-Accepting of our repentance, the Most Merciful.”
(Surah al-Baqarah [2:128])
2. Create healthy communication in the relationship.
Prophet Ya’qub a.s. had twelve sons and amongst the youngest was Prophet Yusuf a.s. whom Prophet Ya’qub a.s nurtured a close bond with. This bond developed a comfortable environment for both of them to communicate. Prophet Yusuf a.s did not hesitate to share his vivid dream with his father and in turn, Prophet Ya’qub a.s. took the role of an active listener. How this young child was so willing to divulge all aspects of his dream showed us that their communication prospered with trust and respect.
“(It happened) when Yusuf said to his father, “My father, I saw (in the dream) eleven stars and the Sun and the Moon; I saw them all fallen prostrate before me.”
(Surah Yusuf [12:4])
Prophet Ya’qub a.s. understood the different personalities of his sons, and gave clear advice to his young child not to disclose the dream. While doing so, he made sure not to pit Prophet Yusuf a.s. against his brothers and reminded him that humankind is susceptible to the deceitful whispers of Satan.
“He said, "O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy.”
(Surah Yusuf [12:5])
3. Express love and affection through action.
The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was an exemplar when it came to showing love and compassion to those around him. He is described by Allah s.w.t to be a mercy to the worlds.
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
(Surah Al-Anbiya [21:107])
The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was never shy to show respect and love for his daughter Fatimah r.a. even in the presence of others. This display of deep affection and respect would rub off on Fatimah r.a. and she would emulate the Prophet’s gestures. Aisyah r.a. once said,
“I did not see anyone who more resembled the Messenger of Allah, s.a.w, in the manner of speaking than Fatimah. When she came to him, he stood up for her, made her welcome, kissed her and had her sit in his place. When the Prophet came to her, she stood up for him, took his hand, made him welcome, kissed him, and made him sit in her place. She came to him during his last illness and he greeted her and kissed her.”
(Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 42, Hadith 971)
This was an inseparable connection between father and daughter which lasted a lifetime for others to learn and emulate from.
4. Impart wisdom and good values.
Luqman was given wisdom by Allah s.w.t, that he used to impart good values to his son in helping him to navigate the world with. Luqman taught his son the importance of truthfulness and accountability.
“[And Luqman said], “My dear son, should there be anything (good or bad) even to the measure of a mustard seed and it be (hidden) in a rock or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Surely, Allah is All-Fine, All-Aware.”
(Surah Luqman [31:16])
Besides calling his son in a lovable manner, Luqman also reminded him about being a humble-self throughout life and maintain good relations with the people around him. In the Quran, it encapsulates clearly:
“And do not turn your cheek away from people, and do not walk on the earth haughtily. Surely, Allah does not like anyone who is arrogant, proud.”
(Surah Luqman [31:18])
Luqman understood the importance of cultivating a good understanding between him and his son, to share his wisdom and wanting his son to be successful in charting his way through life’s challenges.
The stories of these fathers and their children highlight the ever crucial role of a father in his family. Fathers are not limited to only fulfilling material responsibilities for the family, but also on positive moral involvement in the lives of their children.
To all fathers out there, I pray that Allah s.w.t is pleased with all the good that you do for your families.