PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A’alamiyyah (Najaf, Iraq), MA, LLM (Shariah)
Mushir: Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
Member: Ulama Council of Pakistan
Published in ‘Daily News’, Pakistan on 14-05-2010
It is a bitter fact that majority of Muslim parents are unaware of the method of Talim & Tarbiyyah of children, which is Wajib after Walayyah. They train and groom their children according to their way of understanding and unaware of the rightful course. To satisfy their conscience they think that their Talim & Tarbiyyah is in the right direction. When their children grow up, they are unaware of their own religion, their civilization and cultural values. Their understanding with their faith is so weak which can not help them in their life. When children face any trouble in their lives, they set a side the values of religion and are inclined towards their interest, which they find in western culture, where in the name of liberation one can do what he wishes. When their children start growing up, their attitude alarms the parents and they start cursing their own fortune. This phenomenon is really strange. Why you expect a mango after sowing the seed of an onion?
It is fact that parents are also not fully responsible, as this subject is not widely discussed. It is a great challenge for those parents who are living in the western societies, where cultural destruction and less religious practices are higher then in eastern countries. To consider the importance of the issue, a discussion in the light of the Shariah is necessitated. Long range discussions can not help our children unless operational plans are set up to accomplish this.
Devotion, affection and love for parents are considered voluntary Ibadah. This reward and status has been bestowed to parents due to their onerous responsibilities of rearing their children. It is their duty to understand the sublime position of the upbringing and grooming of their child. Fostering and training is a part of human nature. Following two Ahadith draw our attention in this regard:
“May Allah bless those parents who facilitate their children with Talim and serve them with kindness”
“May Allah send L’anah upon those parents who declared their children A’aq”
This respectful position is laden with serious responsibilities. Any negligence in this regard is unforgivable, in any way, and will be considered as a great sin. The process of Talim & Tarbiyyah can not stop in any phase of human life. It will be completed only when a person is laid to rest in the grave. A famous Hadith say:
“Get Talim from the cradle to the grave”.
Another Hadith say:
“All children are born fit and suitable for Islam. Later, their parents make them Christians, Jews or irreligious”
This Hadith indicates that both for the settlement and for the Talim & Tarbiyyah of religion the most important work on children can be done in their infancy. The first duty of each Muslim is to teach his children Islam and the Qur’an. The child is a great blessing. If the blessing is not appreciated, it will be lost. Therefore, the science of teaching children is very dear to all ‘Selected Chosen People of Allah’.
Child in the caring age child easily accepts the benefits of good nourishment both mentally and physically and is inclined to accept it. Those children become mentally disturbed whose parents indulge in non healthy activities, be it either father or mother. In these circumstances, the responsibility of the other companion becomes greater, to groom the child in a better way. The parent’s behavior should be so clear that the child should not feel any difference between theory and practice. A child could easily understand and know what is good and what is wrong. A point to be noted is that a baby from the first day of its birth is cropped up to learn. Little by little and time to time, he moulds himself towards an independent nature, taste and mentality, whether the parents are aware of it or not. In a human brain, a special power and ability is available, for example, first like a video camera, which records every scene. Up to the age of five years a brain can record the influence of surrounding, which remains lasting. Any change in that set up is never successful, normally. Ali Ibn Abi Talib says:
“The most difficult politics is to remove the habits”.
Examining the human nature Ali provides us final conclusion as follows:
“Habit controls human nature like an Emperor”.
He explains it further and clarifies:
“Habit of any person becomes nature”.
In short a child’s habits n the early stages is more easy to change and such efforts are really fruitful than the efforts in the growing age. If parents try sincerely to save their children from ill forces, Inshallah they will able to produce a good member of society. They would save a human life from the harmful forces in this manner. Qur’an praises the savior of human life in following words:
“One, who saves a single life, saved a large community of human being”.
Worldly life is fixed in time while eternal life is unlimited. Similar to the body, if the soul does not get spiritual nourishment, it will die. Basic and elementary spiritual guidance is the first step towards a good basic education.
Time to time guidance provide safe-guards, which allow enough warning to remain alert and not to fall into the pits of ills and sins, but toward Sirat al Mustaqim. The lack of guidance and warning is one of the most important reasons of the destruction of the younger generation. Due to the negligence in up-bringing and grooming, a child can easily get himself involved in non healthy activities. Destruction of a child is a dilemma for the entire family. If a girl gets out of control and follows the free life style, subsequently it is the result of the parents overlooking and negligence. If a boy is spoilt, so who is the responsible, it is the parents, not the society? The parents should know why their children are out of their control, and why there a generation-gap?
The basis of Talim & Tarbiyyah starts from the first day of birth. Many psychologists believe that Talim & Tarbiyyah during childhood determines the future behavior and personality of a child. Childhood is the best time to develop the nature and habits of a person. The family is the Basic Training Centre of a child. Parents should try their best in Talim & Tarbiyyah of the child as Imam Sadiq says:
“The best heritage left behind by the parents for their children is culture and Talim & Tarbiyyah, not (only) property and wealth”.
The influence of the family on a child’s cultural, social and moral development always reflects. Thus role of the parents, especially the role of mother, is very significant. Mothers usually spend more time than fathers with her children, so the children are normally more attached with their mothers, rather than fathers. This sentiments and affection is largely found stronger in a mother and this devotion makes a mother better able to take care of a child and train them. Her influence is particularly strong during the pre-school period. At this time a mother is the most influential source of Talim & Tarbiyyah, love and cheerfulness. Success, feeling of security and self confidence in children largely depends on the thoughts of the mother. The heart of mother is full of love and affection for her child.
The foremost Madrasah of each child is his own home, where the tutors are the parents. Due to the materialistic busy life style, parents unfortunately neglect their role, which sets a damaging effect upon the children. The parents’ main concern today is shrinking to get admission of their child in an ‘English Medium School’. The main purpose behind it is limited only to get a good job. They have no concern with ethical and moral values. As parents remain busy hectically in their social activities and are only concerned that their children are successful in their career. No doubt, they care for their children’s livelihood, but their basic needs are neglected in their spiritual training.
Parents do care for their children’s health and care, but they are quite un-aware of how many more psychological problems have crept into them. They may be happy to see their children in good looking dresses but do not care about the unpleasant habits which destroy their personality. Materialistic activities have bound them to overlook the hereafter, not only for them but also for their children. A Hadith says:
“A girl due to her shameless and immodesty will be thrown in Jahannam and right after her the mother of the girl would be thrown in the Jahannam, although the mother herself was very modest and used to cover herself”.
At this, the Malaek would question Allah as why this treatment is been meted upon the woman. Allah would reply that:
“She was modest herself, but did not give her daughter the lesson of piety, modesty and Hijab”.
Then Rasulullah(S) continued:
“Similarly a boy will be thrown in Jahannam for not observing Faraiz. His father, on whose forehead the mark of Sajdah is visible, will also go along with his son to the Jahannam, because he never awoke his child for morning Salaat, due to excuse that he may not be disturbed in sleeping”.
Similarly in the month of Ramazan father himself observes Sawm but never persuades his child for Sawm, due to the fear of physical weakness of his child. He himself recites the Qur’an, but never cared for his child, who was involved in hazardous erotic literature. No excuse can be accepted for the parents who are busy in Sajdah, whereas the children are busy in ruinous activities. No doubt, parents of such ill-cultured children will die as offender.
Craze of money minting phobia has reach to the peak of madness. The affluent class has now embarked on another life style. Governesses are now being hired to look after their children. This Nursery culture has alienated the child from their parents. Working class parents may note that exorbitant amount of fees of nursery or school can not build the character of a child. In an institution, a child can learn but can not feel the touch of parents’ affection, which is a great source of inspiration. None of the institution can fulfill the responsibilities of the parents, regarding guidance. The responsibility of parents is not confined to giving their child a good name, but to be a beacon of light for the child as far as manner and etiquettes are concerned. This is a precursor for a good moral character.
According to the Hadith Literature the most sensitive period of Talim & Tarbiyyah has divided into three phases. The first phase begins from birth and lasts until the 7th year. In this phase, the child should enjoy the meaning of liberty. He should be free to do what he wishes, except illegal and harmful activities. I cherished a Hadith at this juncture, which guides us regarding the grooming:
“The first seven years, the child is your lord, the next seven years he is your servant. After fourteen to twenty one years of age he is your adviser”.
Intellectuals of the world can not express this principle of guidance in volumes which Rasulullah(S) has expressed in a few words, through the inspiration of Wahi. Somehow; what is said:
“First seven years, child is your lord”.
It is a known fact that the lord is served by servants to his comfort and pleasures. They look after him throughout the year and provide all possible necessities.
“After the first seven years of age up to fourteen, the child is your slave”.
Slave means, one who serves for you, and to obey you. If the child will not learn to serve and obey he will become lazy and ultimately his carrier will perish.
The 2nd phase is from the 7th until the 14th year. In this phase, the child should get Talim & Tarbiyyah, learn creed of religion, etiquettes and modern sciences. For 3rd phase Rasulullah(S) guides:
“From 14 up to 21 years, the child is your adviser so take him into your consultation”.
This 3rd phase begins after the 14th year when the parent should have prepared his son to be as their friend and as an independent person. However, in this age, parents should help him to enter in his professional field and teach him good lessons from their experiences. This training grooms him to such an extent that he can differentiate in between right and wrong, and will never give you a wrong advice.
Parents, empty with the concept of love and kindness must pay attention on the Hadith:
“Extend love to your children and show kindness to them”.
Another Hadith says:
“Kiss your children more and more: because in exchange of every kiss, Allah raises up one position higher for you”.
A person came in the presence of Nabi(S) and submitted:
“I never kissed any child up till now and still ignore the sacred guidance”.
When he left then Rasulullah (S) declared:
“This man seems to be a hellish”.
Another person visited Rasulullah (S), when he was engaged in caressing his two grandchildren, Hasan and Husain. Being surprised at this act, the companion said:
“O Rasulullah (S)! Do you also caress children, I have ten children but I have never fondled even one of them.”
Thereupon Rasulullah (S) raised his eyes and remarked:
“It seems mercy and kindness has left your heart.”
He affirmed another place:
“Those who do not extend love and kindness to their children and do not have regard and respect to their elders, are not with us”.
Rasulullah (S) was very kind to children and loved them very much. He used to carry them on his shoulders. The children would become very happy and laugh. Rasulullah (S), too, would become happy at the pure happiness and laughter of the children and a smile would appear on his face. Imam Sajjad said regarding the rights of a child:
“It is the right of a child to expect love and kindness from parents. Therefore, it is the duty of parents to be kind to their children”.
But the love extended to child from the parents makes him successful only when it is accompanied with Talim. Love without Talim & Tarbiyyah without Marifah is like handicapped. These two can only be effective when they get together. If mother do not allow an opportunity to her children to exercise without depending on her, they always remain dependent by nature. Imam Baqir says about the love of parents:
“The worst parents are those who are extravagant and excessive in showing love to their child”.
Rasulullah (S) used to send his Salaam to children and would tell his Ash’ab:
“I greet children with Salaam and respect them, and Muslims should follow my manners and always be warm and loving with children.”
Rasulullah (S) used to speak about children – boys and girls – and said:
“O Muslims, O fathers and mothers, O my followers, be kind and compassionate towards children, for someone who is not kind to children has no place amongst the Muslims.”
Be alert the children who have been deprived of their parents love will also be ignored their parents (at ripe age) on the same manner. Ignorance in guidance and grooming of the children is un-pardonable, such parents should be asked, whether their innocent children have compelled them and insisted for to grow like an animal. Children are the valuable asset of the Nation. The progress of the Nation depends upon the education of the coming generation. So, those who enjoy the status of parents should maintain its dignity with respect and care.
Parents think that to groom their children means imposing orders upon them. This attitude brings consequences. Children become frustrated and hide to share their sentiments with parents. It is needed that the parents should change their attitude and show character through their own deeds. Let your children be influenced with your character. Several studies of the criminals showed that in their childhood they were deprived of love and affection of their parents, which turned them into monsters. It is also not enough that a child can only recite the sacred text while his actions are repugnant to. After puberty, such a child will be inclined to immoralities and other sins. He will not be ashamed by speaking fouls words and un-healthy practices, but takes it to be self-pride. The same is in the case of girls. Can you take them as good children and true followers of Islam?
Children are the gifts of Allah. Any negligence and breach of trust in this gift, which is a trust of Allah, is un-pardonable. A skilled child is a responsible founder of the next generation. Betterment and progress of the society depends on the coming generations. A child is entrusted to its parents for safe-keeping. The child’s pure heart is like a precious gem. Like wax, a child can take any shape. When small, it has not taken any shape. It is like pure soil. You will reap what you sow it in pure soil. If children are taught the tenets of Iman, the Qur’an and the commandments of Allah and accustomed to doing them, they will attain religious and worldly happiness. Their parents and teachers will share this happiness of theirs.
If they are not taught and trained, they will become unhappy. The sin of each evil they will commit will be given to their parents and teachers, too. Qur’an declares in the 6th Ayah of Surah At-Tahrim:
“Protect yourselves & those in your homes and under your command from the fire!”
It is more important for a father to protect his children against the fire of Hell than against worldly fire. And to protect them against the fire of Hell means to teach them Iman, the Faraiz and Haram, to accustom them to Ibadah and to protect them against irreligious and immoral friends. The source of all kinds of immoral deeds is evil company. I conclude my discussion on the following Hadith:
“Respect Your Children & Treat Them Well, Perhaps You May Be Relieved By Allah & Get Najaat”.