The Key to Building Strong Families

Many of the people that have great manners excel at worship and are very serious about teaching their children the “deen” but many of their children end up turning away from those teachings.

In fact, many instances of rebellion against the “deen” or even atheism appeared in those families.

What is the secret behind all of that?

After much research, I found that the common ground between those families is our misunderstanding of our primary roles that Allah has chosen for us within our families.

Every time I ask the following question in my lectures: What is your primary role o father and mother inside your homes? Are you supposed to be ‘Saleh’ (righteous/devoted) or ‘Mosleh’ (repairer/corrector)?

A decent number will always say ‘both’. So then, I reiterate the question and insist that they pick only one: ‘righteous/devoted’ or ‘repairer/corrector’?

Most of our beloved who have religious knowledge and work in da’wa say: ‘repairer/corrector’

After contemplation, we will find that this question is the secret key behind the distancing of the kids of religious families from religion.

In reality, our primary role as parents inside homes is to be righteous and devoted.

When I used to say that to them (the audience attending my lectures), I used to find a lot of objections so I smile to them and I say that the judge between us is the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his prophet ﷺ

All the roles inside homes are described in the Quran as ‘Saleh’ (meaning righteous).

The example of the righteous father is mentioned in Surat al-Kahf 18:82: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, *and their father had been righteous. So* your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.”

The example of the righteous husband is mentioned in Surat At-Tahreem 66:10: “Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. *They were under two of Our righteous servants* but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.”

The example of the righteous wife was mentioned in Surat An-Nisa’ 4:34: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So *righteous women* are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard…”

And prophet Ibrahim made Dua for a righteous son in Surat As-Saffat 37:100: “My Lord, grant me [a child] from among *the righteous.*”

So your primary role at home is to be righteous. Your role is to act in a way worthy of being a role model, not preach and criticize and you yourself don’t follow your own words.

A thousand advice from a father to his son about being patient and responding in the best way will not benefit if the father himself does not forgive his son when he makes a mistake

A thousand advice to leave arguing will not get you anywhere if you yourself do not stop arguing first.

Most wives who offer direct advice to their husbands do not get back in response except stubbornness

Many of those working in the field of da’wa and lecturing don’t find in their kids the same level of love and respect that they find in their students so they become sad and regretful.

And to those I say, make it easy on yourselves. You have in fact fulfilled the role that was asked of you outside your homes and that is “Islah” meaning repairing/correcting.

Surat Al-Imran 3:110: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You *enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong* and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.”.

Surat Hud 11:117: “And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while *their people were repairers.”

You did the correct role outside home so you found its fruits but inside home what is needed from you is to be “saleh” (righteous) first and with that your children will be “saliheen” as well insha’Allah.

How can the wife be righteous?

The answer is in the Quran:

In surat An-Nisa’ 4:34: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So *righteous women* are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard…”

In order to be righteous dear sister, your righteousness is 50% based on your obedience to your husband (Qanitat means devoutly obedient to their husbands of course as long as it is not in something displeasing to Allah) and the other 50% is in protecting the money and everything else you should be protecting in the absence of your husband

And that’s why we find the obedient wife more beloved to her husband than the beautiful but stubborn one and even more beloved than the worshipping wife.

And subhan’Allah, Allah points at that in surat At-Tahreem 66:5 where Allah mentions “Qanitat” (obedient) before “Abidat” (worshipping)

“Perhaps his Lord, if he divorced you [all], would substitute for him wives better than you – submitting [to Allah ], believing, *devoutly obedient*, repentant, worshipping, and traveling – [ones] previously married and virgins.”

The obedient wife who obeys her husband and who performs the “fara’ed” only is better in Allah’s sight than the one who prays a lot and fasts a lot but then is not obedient to her husband.

And subhan’Allah, what is “khayr” (better) in Allah’s sight is what the “fitra”, our natural normal instincts, feel comfortable with

And the righteous husband, as the prophet explained is the one who is gentle with his wife.

(“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.”)

And the righteous parents are those who apply the words of Allah.

in surat Maryam 19:13: “And affection from Us and purity, and he was fearing of Allah”

Allah is telling us how He raised prophet Yahya with affection and “zakah” (purity) and then Yahya was fearing of Allah. Affection before purity, and affection and purity will lead to ‘Taqwa’.

And affection includes all the positive feeling towards the child from accepting them and admiring them and loving them unconditionally

If we prioritize affection; purity (do and don’t do) will bring its fruits and we will find a child who is god fearing and good to his parents insh’Allah.

You might ask: what is this? Should we stop giving advice to our kids?

Of course not. But we have to first be good role models for what we are advising them.

Second; if we advise, we have to follow these rules:

1- Review our intention before giving advice. Is the advice truly for the sake of Allah or is it for ourselves, or is it out of fear of being the talk of people?

2- Make sure that the feelings you are having at the time you are giving the advice are positive feelings towards the person you are trying to advise. If you were angry or irritated, wait until you calm down. An advice doesn’t get accepted when it’s coming from a heart with negative emotions

3- Make sure that the place and time are right. Don’t advice your child in front of anyone, doing that is called scandal and not advice

4- Make sure you are giving the advice in the best way possible, being gentle or subtle and being positive and saying good encouraging things at the same time

5- Did you provide advice to the same person today? If you already did, then there is no need to give another one. Postpone it for another couple of days

6- Indirect advice are more effective than direct ones with couples and teenagers. Watch with them a certain video, share a clip, a story, a book that conveys the message.


If you want to have a heart full of mercy towards the person you are giving advice to then remember 5 sins you have and ask Allah to forgive you for them and remember 5 good traits that the person you are about to advise has. That will help you get to your objective insh’Allah.

May Allah make you “Saleh/righteous”, “Mosleh/corrector”

Author: Amina Khalaf Ph.D. / Translated by Marwan AlMasri Eng.