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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Family The Principle Of Education (Up' Bringing)

The Principle Of Education (Up' Bringing) - 4. And Now about duties

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The way the parents have a number of rights upon their children, similarly they have some "duties" concerning their children. And in "Quran and Surah (traditions of Prophet and lmams)" there is a magnanimous treasure regarding this, which enlightens the thinking and conscience.

Children are a great blessing of Almighty Allah, for which we should always remain highly obliged to Him. but be cautious! the meaning of gratitude is not just that we verbally keep on uttering the word of "thanks" all along our lives, and that is all! The purpose of "the recognition of grace" in Islam is that, whatsoever favour Allah Almighty has bestowed upon us, we should do full justice with it. In relation to it, we should keep our attitude flawless, so that in accordance with the promise of Allah, He keeps on extending His Blessings upon us, with regards to each thanksgiving. 30

Witness the Allah's Gracel When after a long spell; consecutively two roses bloomed in the family of Hazrat Ibrahim Khalil-ullah!

Under such conditions, the common practice is that the children are borne with extreme care and Extraordinary affection! And the minimum list of expectation is expressed in this verse:

Health, Happiness, and Good fortune, Abundant grandeur, Enormous property (land), and long life.

But Hazrat lbrahim who in a blink, had uprooted the hundreds of year old Calesdient culture, had trampled the politics of the boastful, ferocious, and proud man like Namrood, and moreover whose examplary style of guidance provided a new enlightenment for mankind, and originated a completely new innovative style in thinking; knew very well, his responsibilities regarding the upbringing and modelling of his children, and along with paying gratitude for His blessings, knew what to initially demand from his Nourisher, and what to request at a later stage! In these words, The Holy Quran expresses the feelings, impression, desires and the supplication of Khalil-e-Khuda:-

First verse:

"I praise Allah, who at this old age has blessed me with (the sons like) lsmail and lshaq, and there is no doubt in it, that my Nourisher definitely complies to the supplication." 31 Second Verse:

"Oh Creator! I have settled some of my children in a waterless (infertile) and barren valley, near Your distinguished House. Oh my Nourisher! all this has been done so that they may live under the aegis of Your House, establish the system of prayer (Namaz). Therefore it is requested that, (You Please) mould the hearts of the people towards them, and bless them with subsistence, so that they may keep on paying gratitude to."

Come on! Let us now start examining our duties. In this regards our first obligation is, that we should provide our children with complete protection (security). Pay attention towards their intellectual training, along with physical development, so that in this world there is a continual growth in men of qualities.

At this stage someone might think as to what is the good idea behind discussing the significance Of caring for the children? In this world, whether it may be the civilized or the primitive society, everyone love their dear ones! Yes it is true....! But what to do, when if ha~ been a common experience that due to the social differential, economic tussle, sense of deprivation, lack-bf self confidence, unawareness from religion, and above all, the indifferent attitude towards Allah, sometimes intentionally, or unintentionally, people sacrifice their children yes, I stress again, their children for political, social, and economic expedience, or at occasions slaughter them at the alter of their egoistic desires.

However there do exist some difference in approach, between the culturally conscious and in undeveloped societies, but these minute differences or variances are not something fundamental, they are just superficial. Due to the divergence in environmental conditions and style, the approach differs. And that is all! For example, in the era of darkness, i.e the pre-lslamic period, the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula, had extremely poor economy, and mainly due to economic frustration, would kill their children, and sometimes for the fulfillment of their desires, would slaughter them in the alter of their idols!

The Holy Quran, while forbidding such act of "the slaughter of Sons and daughters", terms it as a grave crime. Note the eloquence of Quran, that along with the instructions for it's forbiddance, just in two words, it reveal the old history, the customs and traditions of the Arabs, and the real motive behind the intent of this men slaughter!

Allah Almighty says:

"Do not slaughter your children due to the fear of Poverty and paucity, because We provide subsistence to you and as well as to them." 33 Further there is a verse in Surah Bani Israel:

"You should not slaughter your children due to the fear of destitution. We are the one who provide subsistence to them, and also to you. Believe it! to slaughter them is a grievous crime!" 34 Did you notice that the real motive behind this illegitimate murder, and loss of these petty innocent lives, was nothing but the fear of "adversities and loss"? If there would be children, from where would they eat? and the lesser be their number , more would be the savings in bread and butter!

Therefore to stop them from such mal-practices of brutality and ferocity, they were told that the reasons of your ill luck is not associated with the fortunes of these children. Note the words "the way we are sustaining you, similarly we are responsible for the provision of subsistence for your progeny (children)".

Well the baseless notion regarding Arabs, which has gained popularity is that, during the age of ignorance they only used to slaughter, their daughters due to zealot and the concerns regarding the unbearable economic burden, needs to be clarified, and also that in that society the sons were considered as a gift of Allah!

The fact is that in the verses which prohibits the slaughter of children, the word progeny (au'lad) is being used,which according to the "current language" bears the meaning of both the boy and girl. That is why the Greatest exegesist of our times Allama Sayed Muhammad Hussain Tabataba'i has explained it in the following manner:

'In this verse and in other verses on the same topic the slaughter of progeny from fear of poverty and destitution has been prohibited, and because the word progeny is more generalized, so their is no reason whatsoever to accept that this word is Only meant for girls." 35

Besides this, the old history of the Arabs also reveals the same. For reference we have a number of sources, and especially the two popular works of this century, i.e. Sera't A1-Nabi'. VoI:6, page 229, which has been compiled by Allama Syed Salman Nadavi, and the scholarly works of Dr. Hussain Ha'j Hasan, Naqad Al-Hadi'th. In both of them they have at length commented upon the economic conditions of the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, regarding their culture and customs, and it complements our stand.

The truth is, that those Arabs who were comparatively well off, had cultivatable lands, animal rearing, home industry, and piracy etc, used to breed (raise) Sons as a means of personnel power, but like most of the other areas of the world, the majority of their population was starving and poverty stricken.

Therefore the masses who were completely indigent (empty handed), thought that since it is even difficult to sustain the relation of life and bread for themselves, how can they bear the burden of their children? Well, of course! the children are a source of satisfaction of their heart and consolence for soul, but when it was "a matter of self survival and existence" they were willing to give them up. Therefore in the eradicating vision of insolvency, in utter be wilderness they preferred to build the graves of their alive innocent children.

While referring to their intellectual bankruptcy and brutality the Holy Quran mentions:

"Certainly those people remained in (total) loss,
who due to their ignorance and unawareness,
without any deliberation slaughtered their children. " 36
Whereas the Islamic code of life, ascertains the sons of Adam: -

"There is no living creature on the face of Earth,
whose subsistence in not due upon Allah". 37

Well as far as the issue of depriving the girls from their right of life is concern, we can term it as an involute egoistic craze of the poverty striken Arabs of the age of ignorance. The Holy Quran, while explaining the "psychology and approach" of these nomads, mentions:

"When someone of them was informed that to him a female baby has been born to him, his face would turn pale, the eyes frown out with anger, and then due to this dreadful news, would try to conceal himself from his clan, and kept on thinking either he keep his daughter alive and live in disgrace, or buries her alive? See, what an evil decision they used to take." 38

Also in Surah Takvi'r there is a mention regarding this ruthless custom, which in the Arab society, was called va'd. The Islamic code of life has termed it as the most barbaric tradition. It is mentioned:-

And when the girl who was buried alive would be questioned, as to what was her crime that she was so deprived from her life." 39 The mood of the expression tells, that at the time of decision, the murdered would be questioned instead of the murderer. As the poetic verse expresses:

Due to what sin did this brutality befell upon us? that is, the cruelty of the brutal is proved, only the details of the story and the happening from the innocent's viewpoint needs narration! Yes, all that would take place on the Day of Judgment. Nothing would remain concealed, no action would remain veiled! and how is it possible, when it is a question of the disgrace of a human blood? As a poetic verse says:

"If the guilty would conceal his crime, the blood spots will themselves reveal the truth!" Now, if someone asks, to forget about this dreadful story! and argues that, it is a tale of the olden times; it was the temperament of the dreadful desert inhibited Arabs, their miserable environment and conditions, at that time all was quiet different, which has no bearing with anything else. Well, this preposition is to some extent true, but however both in the old and the modern societies the in-built lust for economic supersession and social status is all the same! Till date, there has been no difference in this attitude. Though the history has trotted on quiet a long distance, but still the desire for boundless prosperity, and higher status, has not changed. However, the only difference in the man, of the olden periods and that of today is, that in the past he used to burry his child alive, to support his economic well being, and to boast of being prestigious in their society!

While in the "twilight of the present era", captivated by the gloss of modern culture and civilization, the man does not commit "murder by intent", by depriving his child from life! But, from the "outlook" of the Islamic code of life, even now he willfully buries his beloved, the hope of the future, in the mausoleum of mental and intellectual annihilation!

What I intend to say is, that we fail to give our children the faintest concept of the religious life, and with utmost confidence, willfully hand-over these pious souls to such agencies, whose managers and operators have yet to evolve an interest in understanding the Quranic spirit!

The natural outcome of this 'situation is, that these unbloom buds and half smiled roses of our lives, after passing their preliminary stages in institutions like, kindergarten, nursery, montessori, preparatory, convent or vernacular school, cross over to the western styled universities, and start trotting along their practical lives, and according to their capabilities and situations at hand, acquire the places and positions of eminent bureaucrates, renowned technocrates,

excelling businessman, famous jurists competent doctor, expert journalists learned educationists polished politicians, and well groomed soldiers, but as a "believer of Allah" are completely incompetent of meeting the collective needs of their society, because none of them ever had a chance of fulfilling the requisites to develop into a well informed, trustworthy Muslim! The fact is, that in accordance with the basic environmental and educational (i.e. institutional) framework provided, their brains got adapted accordingly to the given conditions! and got accustomed to the prefabricated structure that they found. Thus, what else could we expect as a result of their efforts to the future "flowers" that would bloom and the "colours that would shape?

The height of plight is that even on knowing, that all this is the outcome of our Western oriented society, and the non-Islamic styled universities, we still have no aptitude towards the changing of our present system of education, therefore the question to modify the "philosophy of education", is a task of high dexterity.

Therefore, the only alternative left over is, to have an Islamic environment right at our homes and in this regards to pay special attention towards the temperaments, habits, approach, and spirits of our elders, that it should be Islamic. Because the first environment which affects the brain of a child is his home, and every deed and action of the family member continuously and persistently keep on engraving its carvings upon his lucid mind and brain.

So with full sincerity of truth and conscience, and keeping in view the stated facts, we should fully prepare ourselves to undertake this gigantic task of "educating our children". Even before we start it's first stage, everyone of us must well understand the fact that there is no difference between the "Pre-lslamic dark age" and the "age of ignorance" of the twentieth century.

" Alas, all the heritage, of knowledge and wisdom, culture and awareness, which we received from the Book of Allah, the Prophet of Allah, and His (SAWAW) infallible progeny, has been placed in the dark storages of obliviousness! and that is why we are neither left over with anything which could be termed as the original Islamic civilization nor culture. How appealingly has Mirza Ghalib put it in his following verse:- literal meaning:

Even the pleasures of meeting or the rememberence of the beloved, is not being leftover. Such a fire overtook this house that, whatsoever was their, was burnt to ashes.

Then is the determination of the aims and objectives of the "educaticin", necessarily followed by the steadfastness to achieve the objectives. We have to totally commit by our deeds and actions, that we are resolute in making our children Muslims, so that their lives are full of the blessings of Islamic life. They could easily reach the real destiny and right objective of life, and feel satisfied on achieving it.

Their thinking balanced, their hearts contended. By being an honest and subtle servants of Allah, they should not only be a symbol, for their homes, families and surroundings, but due to their high standards, spotless character, decent attitudes. magnificent traditions and legends, could successfully pass on their beneficial experiences elegantly to the coming generations.

Now to tread along this surmountable path, we have to thoroughly understand all the instructions, present in the Islamic wealth of guidance, and in the wise and thought provoking sayings of the leaders of this school, so that such a change manifest in our approach, that wherever we cast our eyes, the thorny path turn into a bed of roses, and every stone on our way, prove to be a milestone towards our destiny!

Oh well, I remembered!

We should have had at first explained the concept of "rights" and 'duties". Well, still their is time. Neither have we gone too far, nor it is still too late. Well, rights are not just the progerative of the elders, or duties just obligatory upon the youngsters. The factual position is, that everything in this universe bears a relation with man. It may be the decor of the earth, or the illumination of the skies, all is for man and man alone:-

"It is He who has created for you, all that exists on the earth." 40 Now in this world of existence, when, we are the' only ones blessed with all the assets of spirit and liveliness, from the fragrance of a rose to the sweet melodies of the nightingale, then everyone of us needs to observe with a healthy mind and far sightedness of wisdom, that a thing created for a purpose ought to be utilized for the same. Moreover such an healthy and progressive environment be created for the beneficial species and genus of the world, that they have the security of existence and the guarantee for development and progress.

Well that was all about it, i.e. every advantageous creation be protected, this is it's "right". And anyone having rapport with it, should compulsorily provide protection to it, this is his "duty". It needs to be noted that the scholars of modern times, who are authority on this subject, consider "rights and duties" to be only related to social life.

But may Allah bestow upon His special benevolence upon Dr. Khawaja Ghulam As-Sayadden, that He writes :-

The domain of ethics is even much wider than what exists between man and man. The oriental scholars of ethics have divided these rights into three parts, to which every person is responsible:-

First, Obligations to Allah, i.e. those rights which the Creator has upon His creation, and without it's recognition and fulfillment them, the man cannot understand his complete reality. Secondly: Obligations to fellow human beings, i.e. those obligations which are due on us because of our fellow species, and because of which all human beings are mutually linked with each other.

Thirdly:

own soul. Obligation to our souls, i.e. those obligations which are due on us because of our It's a moral obligation on man to honestly adhere in fulfilling these three types of obligations.41

Besides mentioning the depth and details and significance of the rights and duties.Islam has also arranged them in accordance with the degree of closeness, relationships, feelings, perception and traditions. It has graded them, and then in an extremely organized way, has presented them to the world.

In this context the first ever guidance to mankind, on "the rights and duties" regarding taking a step or it's abstention, and the relations and associations in all the aspects of life, has been provided in the Charter of guidance "Risa'la-e-Huqooq", by the minaret of guidance and the elegance of divine submission Hazrat lmam Zain-ul-Abedee'n (ASWS) (38-95 A.H.):

Memoir: From prayer and submission to the Creator of the soul and universe, to the protection of body and soul; and from economy and civics to the issues of state and politics, the Honourable Imam In this first charter for the world, consisting of fifty articles, has conveyed to us in profound depth and detail, all the types and kinds of "rights and duties", to the human intellect.

It could be referred to, in the masterpiece works, titled Tuhf Alaqu'l un Ale ar-Rasool (published in Beirut) page 184-198 of the renowned researcher of the fourth century the Grand Shaykh Abu Muhammad Hasan bin Shaba'h Hur'rani.

Further, it could also be referred to in the renowned publication al-Ama'li of the Ra'is al- Muhaddaseen Abu Jaffer Muhammad lbne Babuiya Al-Sadooqh (may Allah bless his soul). (for reference see page 301-306 al-Ama'li published in Beirut), and is also present in other books of Sadooqh, as Alkhisa'I, vol 2, page 126; and in the basic collection of traditions, Man'la Yahzurb aI-Faqih, page 233.

Concluding, after the explanation and commentary on the rights and duties it is repeatedly stated that, as a number of rights of the parents are due upon the children and their fulfillment is obligatory upon them, so are a number of rights of the children for which the "parents" are responsible, and their fulfillment is obligatory upon them too. Let us now probe into them, in more details.