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Through the ages

Grandparents play an important role in childrens lives. They provide extra love, support, encouragement, roots, traditions, and stability. 

My own grandparents have always been my biggest fans, ‘sheltering’ me at times when I most certainly deserved a punishment, cheering me on on my crazy antics, whereas my parents would be asking me to stop! Later as I grew older, I have memories of my grandad taking us out for almost-midnight ice-cream runs when we were studying for exams, and my grandmother asking to explain the English translations of Quraanic verses to her. Even as an adult now, they’re my unfaltering supporters, and a source of unconditional everlasting love. Now I see that special bond between my own children and my parents, and even my grandparents. My children love saying, they still have their great-grandparents in their lives Alhamdulillah.

Research suggests that children find unique acceptance in their relationships with grandparents, which benefits them emotionally and mentally. Grandparents can be a major support during family disruptions. Sometimes they’re playmates for their grandchildren. They’re very often role models and mentors for younger generations. They are also historians — teaching values, instilling ethnic heritage, and passing on family traditions.

As parents we should do all we can to help facilitate this relationship, and in this age of instant connections, its not at all difficult to do so. I grew up with my grandparents being present in my life on an almost-daily basis, and at times I feel like my children are being deprived from that closeness because of the physical distance. However, even though we live half a country away from my family, we often encourage the children to telephone them, send photographs, pictures of schoolwork, and now Little Man even texts my mum and my aunt. A few weeks ago, when Little Miss fell off her bike and ended up with a bloody knee, the only thing that could console her was phonecall to my mum!

The bonds of love and friendship between the generations should be something to be cherished, and valued! 

From an Islamic point of view as well Islam has placed tremendous emphasis on the establishment, maintenance and preservation of family kinship. Various Qur’anic verses and Ahadith instruct Muslims to be kind, merciful, affectionate and caring towards parents and relatives, to always be on good terms with family members.

The importance of maintaining harmonious relationships with all family members is highlighted in the following verse: “ And fear Allah through whose medium you ask one another (for your rights) and be mindful of your relatives.” (Surah Nisa)

There are a great number of Ahadith that instruct family kinship and emphasizes the matter even further. “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” (Bukhari)

Its further mentioned in another hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whosever desires to have expansion in his sustenance and a prolonged life, should treat his relatives with kindness.” (Bukhari & Muslim) When explaining this lesson to the children, their response was ‘So Allaah rewards us just for loving people who love us back?’ Yes Alhamdulillah, how Merciful is our Lord! 

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