Sunday, January 18, 2015

Parental Responsibilities

Nowadays parents are teaching their children a lot on only the material aspect of education. They make all necessary preparations in this field ever since the birth of their children. Here, in Mauritius, we see children being admitted to pre-primary schools at around 3 years old, and when they reach their 5 years old, they go to primary school, then secondary, and finally to university, be it locally or they are sent abroad (to pursue their studies). Parents are ready to make debts so that their offspring study to obtain a degree or diploma. They readily invest a lot of money to secure his (material) future. They are even ready to mortgage their houses, lands to make their children succeed in their advanced studies and become doctors, engineers or lawyers etc., and they do it all with much pride.

All these endeavours are very good, I am not condemning this, but you (parents) should not look at only the material aspect of your children’s education. When you do so, you let this world attract you more so that you may get acclamations in society as the parent/s of such doctor, lawyer etc; and, this despite being overloaded with debts which you contracted to make him/her reach this level of mundane success. And, this despite the fact that there is no guarantee that he/she is grateful to you for the sacrifices done to make him/her get his/her diploma; he may as well neglect you and cast you aside. Or, despite the efforts made, even if your child succeed in becoming a doctor, engineer, lawyer etc., but at the end of the day he is null in Deen (religious) matters. All in all, it is a serious matter for you as parents if all this does not affect you the least.

The neglect of Deen

If your child turned out to be ungrateful and/or disconnected with religion after having obtained his degree as a doctor, or lawyer, and he does not pray Salat/Namaz, neglect the reading of the Holy Qur'an and is not at all attached to the religion of Islam, does this not bring a regret in your heart? Does this not affect you if he is Muslim only in name? Then, who is responsible for this state of affairs? This makes you go back in time to see whether you have given him some teachings of the religion of Islam (and how much of it). If ever you actually gave him some training in Deen (religious) matters, then bear in mind that this is not restricted to only a little practice of Namaz (obligatory prayers) – even then, even if prayer is not done in time – or a little reading of the Holy Quran – whenever he gets the time to do so! Despite a little practice of Namaz (Salat) and Qur'an reading, bear in mind that your child has not obtained all Islamic teachings!

(A Generality): When we make our children become specialist doctors, they may be able to understand illnesses and give the appropriate cure. But have we made them good Muslims so that they may understand the spiritual maladies and seek cure against them? We succeeded in making our children good lawyers who know the laws/legislations (of the country); they know the offenses and defences and the penal codes, but have we succeeded in making them good “Faqih” (Islamic jurist) who know the offenses and sentences according to Islamic laws?

Significance of a well-Balanced Education: secular and spiritual

By the grace of Allah, if we had honest lawyers, who are at the same time good Islamic jurists in a Jamaat, and especially had they formed part of the central committee of the Jamaat, then such people would have fought against injustice or fraud and corruption which someone does just like he defends his cases in the worldly court. Moreover, they would have stood up to fight according to Islamic laws against those fraudsters who put their hands in the treasury of the Jamaat to become “millionaires” or “rich son-in-law” and also to fight against those who are making abuse of power and crushing down others and establishing boycott which are against the Islamic laws. Such lawyers would have acted with honesty and according to the Islamic laws.

In other words, if a parent makes his child become a specialist in worldly affairs and leave him ignorant in spiritual/religious affairs (Islam), therefore this parent has not accomplished his duty as a Muslim parent and there is no doubt that he shall have to account for this negligence of his before Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Divine Tests in All that we are given                 

When Allah (the Exalted) bestows His blessings on humans, He tries them at the same time to see whether the servants whom He created and who received from Him blessings and favours have done their duty as it should be done. Allah (the Exalted) tries the one upon whom He has bestowed money or riches/wealth to see whether he is using that money/wealth in a good way.

Now, to those upon whom Allah bestows children, are those parents giving their offspring the best of education? To what length are the parents accomplishing their duties? What part are they playing in the life of this child so that he may become a source of light for his community and country through his deeds, intelligence and good manners?

Those parents who do not give their children the teachings of the Holy Qur'an, they shall not succeed in that test/trial which Allah is taking of them/is doing with them. Those who are successful in this exam, are those who ornate their children with good manners and the quality of being a ‘Momin’ (believer).

Allah (the Exalted) says in the Holy Quran: ‘Innamaaa ‘amwaalukum wa ‘aw-laadukum fitnah: wallaahu ‘indahuuu ‘Ajrun ‘aziim.’ Meaning, “Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward.” (64: 16)

Abu Ayub bin Musa (ra) narrated on the authority of his grandfather that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has said: “There is no greater act of kindness for a father than to train his offspring in moral etiquettes.” (Tirmidhi)

Parental Responsibilities

at Birth of the child

The parents also have vital duties towards their offspring in that which they must give them unconditional love in all circumstances and make the best they can to bring him up. A parent must know also that after the birth of his child, then according to Islam he has to do an Aqiqa (the sacrifice of an animal for the birth of a child) on the 7th, 14th, or 21st day and give him a good name, because if you give your child a bad name and which have a bad meaning, this shall have a negative effect on that child.

Islamic living: recitation of Qur'an, religious rites, good deeds 

When a child reach a certain age (even young when he can assimilate information), it becomes obligatory (for a parent) to teach him the Qur'an and give him the religious teachings. And also encourage him to always do good deeds and discourage him from wrongs condemned by Allah. Parent should devote their time, interest and attention to their children because (small) children are like a blank paper. All that which shall be registered on it shall be engraved on it always. The first school of the child is indeed the arms of his mother and therefore his education stars, and this all teachings he shall receive (whether positive or negative) shall have a magnified effect on the child, whether in his manners and character. Thus, it is the duty of mothers to raise their children according to the teachings of Islam. This is indeed vital.

Choosing a bride: Prophet's Advice

Now, the question is how can she teach her child Islam if she has not got any teachings of Islam in her to pass on to him? This is one of the reasons why our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has said that when a young man has to marry, he should look out for four things and qualities in her. And among those four, there is piety. Why? This is because she represents future motherhood and as such she shall be the first teacher of her children.

Gradual Training in Islamic Ethics

When a child reaches age 7, he should be taught the Taharat (i.e. purification – Wu’zu and Ghusal) and his parents must grow a habit in him to perform his Namaz (Salat/prayer) and if he reaches age 10 and is lazy in accomplishing Namaz, then parents should be severe if he does not accomplish prayer, whereby Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) even mentioned that a correction should be given to him and he must be given his bed and things separate from that of his parents. Nowadays, one can see how even adults, even those who have already married and have become grandparents do not perform Namaz. What a shame! Then what the young ones shall learn (if the adults do not reflect good example)? Whilst meeting with other kids also is very important but parents should also know what kinds of friends their children are meeting (and playing) with.

Inheritance Rights of children

It is also the duty of parents that he shares his wealth with all his children. Parents should know the inheritance shares which go to boys and girls respectively according to Islam. In Islam, the male inherits twice as much as the share of the female (2:1). Example: If an amount of Rs.45,000 is to be divided between two children (a boy and a girl), then according to the proportions which I stated earlier, the boy receives Rs.30,000 while the girl receives Rs.15,000.

Parents should understand that it is very important for them that they distribute their wealth among their children without favouring any child in particular. If a parent does not share his inheritance which he has, this is a grievous sin that he commits and he shall have to painfully account for that before Allah on the Day of Judgement.

On marriage for worldly gains

Moreover, when children reach the age of marriage, it is advised that they are married off in the religion of Islam and in a family who have Islamic values in them. Otherwise, it should be avoided to marry off your children with people of other religions, if ever they do not receive any marriage proposals within Islam.

Nowadays, we see that the youths are choosing their life partners, even if they do not form part of the same religion (Islam), and they are praying other gods than Allah and they are leading modern “unislamic” life. Such youths are attracted more to beauty and work position than looking for life-partners who are Muslims. This does not trouble them in the least. 

Therefore, parents should not accept such marriages because if so, with their own hands, they are handing their children over to the fire. In other words, one can say that such parents are burying their children alive, and these kinds of marriages are empty of divine blessings. The results of such marriages can be seen in the long term. Therefore, each parent must know the responsibility which Islam has placed on his shoulder. It is for you to judge whether you are accomplishing your duties to your children or not, if you are carving him in the mold of a true Muslim or not. If the answer is negative, then you must realise that you are doing injustice towards your child/children and you are stealing their rights.

It is a fact that all sins that they shall do in disobedience to Allah and His Rasul (pbuh), this curse shall reach you on day. It is better not to tolerate these kinds of children who are showing utmost disobedience to Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). Therefore, Oh parents, if you want that your children become a celebrity/star in this world and the hereafter, therefore make him/her obtain the primordial Islamic teachings and also give them mundane (and academic) education also, so that when your children become good doctors, engineers, lawyers etc., they become at the same time good Muslims also, Insha-Allah, who preserve the life itself of Islam in its true form; the true teachings which Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) taught us. Insha-Allah. Ameen. 

-Extracts from the Friday Sermon of January 16, 2015 delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius

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