Raising Muslim kids in Western countries is often a real challenge/struggle for both parents and their kids. They get more exposed to different cultures, lifestyles, opinions, and beliefs.
As parents, it’s upon us to teach our children to respect all people and accept their differences. We can do this smoothly by following our religion’s teachings regarding this matter. Let them know that in the eyes of Islam, all human beings deserve respect and that the holy Qur’an views tolerance, respecting others, and accepting differences as vital steps in becoming better Muslims and establishing greater peace overall.
In many Ayahs and hadith, Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad guide us to treat everyone kindly and with the utmost respect, confirming that we are all different from each other. Even as Muslims, we come from different countries and backgrounds and vary in national cultures. However, we all come together under the tenets of Islam. Likewise, with non-Muslims, we should share the principles of humanity, acceptance, and respect. For example, Allah (swt) says in Surat Al-Isra’a “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (Qur’an 17:70)
In the above Ayah, Allah (swt) shows how much humankind is honored and that respecting them is a birthright, regardless of their communities, beliefs, race, and backgrounds.
Thus, respect for mankind is one of the basic teachings of Islam. We’re to teach our kids and ourselves that everyone is worthy of respect; despite their differences. Moreover, helping them to learn a method to avoid such conflicts while keeping the same respect would be a great tool for which they’ll forever thank us.
Now, we know what we should teach our kids, but do we know how? These three tips will be a great start Insha’Allah.
1- Normalizing the idea of differences
Teaching our kids that we’re all born unique with different looks, preferences, and qualities is a major step in the process. We can do this by arranging play dates with people who are different from us and helping them get along.
2- Presenting the concept of empathy
Allowing our kids to figure out their feelings and putting themselves in other people’s shoes, gets them to know how different situations might negatively affect their emotions. It might also help if they are in charge of taking care of a pet or a plant; this allows them to partake in helping a living thing grow or bloom.
3- Boosting the topic on every related occasion
Keep the conversation going and always advise them to accept and respect all differences. We can use playtime to demonstrate some different situations and how to deal with them; in a fun and light way.