I am afraid of having children in this age. Is it appropriate not to think of having children due to the things happening at the end of time?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Giving importance to having a strong Islamic community, our religion demands and encourages Muslims to have children and increase in number. As a matter of fact the Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"Marry loveable and fertile women; I will be proud of your number on the Day of Judgment in the face of other ummahs." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I, 412)

Anas b. Malik's wife, Umm Sulaym said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), "O Messenger of Allah! Anas is your servant. Pray to Allah for him." Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "O Allah! Increase his wealth and children; bless what You give to him."

Besides, a child is a source of joy at home and a source of consolation for the mother and father. A family with no children will not be hopeful for the future and will not work willingly. As a matter of fact Hz. Zakariyya prayed to Allah as follows for the continuation of his progeny:

"Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself,- (One that) will (truly) represent me, and represent the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! one with whom Thou art well-pleased!" (Maryam, 19/5-6)

Another good aspect of having children is this: It is regarded as worship by Islam to serve children and to work in order to obtain sustenance for them. The Prophet (pbuh) expresses it nicely in the following hadith:

"The most excellent dinar is one that a person spends on his family, and the dinar which he spends on his animal in Allah's path, and the dinar he spends on his companions in Allah's path." (Muslim, Zakah, 38)

"Everything you spend on your family is definitely sadaqah." (Muslim, Wasiyyah, 8)

Man benefits from the good deeds of his righteous children after his death. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following regarding the issue:

"Four people continue getting thawabs after death: A person who dies while keeping guard in the way of Allah, a person who teaches knowledge, a person who does a continuing charity (sadaqah jariyah) and a person who has a righteous child that prays for him." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 268)

A child is born together with his/her sustenance. The polytheists did not believe in it; therefore, some Arabs living in the Era of Jahiliyya did not want to have children fearing that they could not feed them and killed them as soon as they were born. There are some people with the same mentality in the age we live in too. However, Allah Almighty declares that He will provide sustenance for everybody, prohibits this bad thought and deed and renounces them severely because of it:

"Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin." (al-Isra, 17/31);

"Lost are those who slay their children, from folly, without knowledge, and forbid food which Allah hath provided for them, inventing (lies) against Allah. They have indeed gone astray and heeded no guidance." (al-An'am, 6/140).

A child makes man work more. A person who has children tries to work hard in order to take care of his children well; thus, he gets rid of laziness. The same thing is valid for the state.

In Islam, having children and ensuring the continuation of progeny is regarded as worshipping. Due to this importance, harming man in any way, through deliberate miscarriage, abortion, etc. is regarded as killing a living child. It is haram to kill a baby whose organs have formed in the uterus. For, when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) accepted the allegiance of women, he laid it as a condition "not to kill their children in any way". This condition is very important. The child is under the protection of the mother before he/she is born. However, after he/she is born, the father becomes responsible. In that case, the condition "not to kill their children in any way" is the condition of not killing the children (fetuses) in the uterus.

"O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins)..." (al-Mumtahina, 60/12).

The virtue of wanting children is based on bringing them up with an Islamic education. Otherwise, a child will be a harmful element for both his parents and the society, instead of being useful. Therefore, child education is at least as important as having a child.

It is necessary to think about the spiritual education of a child when a person wants to have a child. Therefore, it is necessary to give great importance to child education, to train the child to worship in the way and at the age that Islam demands, to teach him/her honesty, to treat him/her well and to be careful about his/her attitude toward others, to teach him etiquette, generosity and thriftiness, in short, to bring him/her up based on Islamic ethics and principles.

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