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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Family Principles of Upbringing Children

Principles of Upbringing Children - The Habit of Reading Books

Article Index



Books are one of the best tools for training and upbringing. A good book always has a salutary effect on the mind of a reader. It will elevate spirit and thoughts. It will augment his store of knowledge. Books help in correcting moral ineptitude. Particularly in these days of mechanical existence, when people have hardly any time to attend meetings and symposia, the best source of acquiring religious and general knowledge are books that can be browsed whenever a person finds some time to spare.

It is possible that the reading of book might have a deeper impact on the minds of the readers than the other sources of acquiring knowledge. Sometimes, reading brings about a revolutionary change in the outlook of a person. The habit of reading is the best pastime. It can keep a person busy when he has nothing else to do. The persons who are in the habit of reading, not only make the best use of their spare time but they will keep their minds away from the worries that might chase them if they sit brooding, doing nothing. A good book, for a reader, is better than visiting the best of gardens and scenic places.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

"A person who keeps himself occupied with books, will never lose his peace of mind." (Gharar al hukm, p. 636)

“Obtaining fresh knowledge remove the tiredness and cloudiness of your hearts; because the hearts, like the bodies, too experience exhaustion." (Usul al-Kafi, v 1, p. 48)

The gauge for the progress and civilisation of any nation is the quality and the number of books and the number of persons habituated of reading them. Formal education of a person is no criterion of judging a person’s learning. A really learned person is one who is engaged in meaningful reading and research.

We unfortunately have lots of persons with school diplomas and university degrees but very few learned scholars and researchers. Most children, when they complete their formal education, keep aside the books and get busy with other activities of life. The growth of knowledge of these persons gets stagnant from that time. Their criterion of acquiring education for finding a job has been achieved.

They feel that there is no further use for any more knowledge. In fact, education should be for achieving excellence in the chosen field of knowledge. Education is a continuous process and goes on till the last breath of a person. The Religion of Islam too has exhorted its followers to pursue the path of learning from the cradle to the grave.

The Prophet of Islam has said:

"Search for knowledge is the duty of every Muslim. Allah likes the seekers of knowledge." (Usul al-Kafi, Vol1, p. 30)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“Even if my companions are motivated to acquire knowledge at the threat of a whipping, I would approve of it.”. (Usul al-Kafi, v 1, p. 33)

The Prophet of Islam has said:

“Barring two types of persons, there is no reward for anyone else; First the erudite scholar and then he who is busy acquiring knowledge." (Usul al-Kafi, v 1, 33)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq said:

“Persons are of three types: 1. The erudite scholar,2. The seeker of knowledge, and3. The others are mere a heap of garbage.” (Usul al-Kafi, v 1, p. 34)

Luqman, the Prophet, told to his son, ‘ Spare some time in the day and night for reading and acquiring knowledge. If you stop reading, your knowledge will dissipate.’ (Bihar al-anwar, v 1, p. 169)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq said:

“Search for knowledge in all conditions is absolutely necessary." (Bihar al-anwar, v 1, p. 172)

The Prophet of Islam has said:

"Search for knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman." (Bihar al-anwar, v 1, p. 177)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“If the people knew the uses of knowledge, they would have tried to acquire it even at the cost of their very lives. For this purpose they would have undertaken hazardous sea voyages." (Bihar al-anwar, v 1, p. 177)

The Prophet has said:

“If I spent one day without adding to the store of my knowledge, I would consider that day unlucky for me." (Majma al zawaid, v 1, p. 127)

It is the duty of the parents to send their children to schools for acquiring knowledge of reading and writing. Islam has very clear directions in this regard for the followers of the faith:

Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“A child plays for seven years, studies for seven years and for another seven years learns about what is permissible (halal) and im-permissible (haram)." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, p. 645)

The Prophet of Islam has said: "A son has three rights over his father: 1. The father must select a goodname for him. 2. The father should teach him to read and write, and3. .when he grows up, get him a spouse." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, p. 625)

"When a child is taken to the school, and the teacher instructs him to say Bism Allah ( In the name of Allah Almighty), Allah will spare the child’s parents from the fire of the Hell!" (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, p. 625)

“Pity on the children of the Last Epoch, for what their forebears have brought to them. Although the parents would themselves be Muslims, they would not acquaint the children with the religious duties." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, Page, 625)

The other responsibility of the parents is that they bring up their children in such a way they cultivate the habits of reading good books and become researchers of knowledge. The atmosphere in their homes should be one of education and learning. They must motivate the children by their words and actions to cultivate the habit of reading. Before the child goes for formal education to the school, he should be introduced to books. In the beginning the parents must read out books to the child.

They should read small and interesting stories and fables to make the child interested in books. Give the children books with lots of multicolour pictures and illustrations. Every day, the parents or the elder siblings should read to the child a part of the book to keep his sustained interest in the contents.

They should explain to the child about the illustrations in the book. Then the child should be asked to recount the story and tell about the illustration printed withthe story. In this informal education, the parents should not make haste in teaching and should not give to him any books that are beyond his comprehension. They must first make the child interested in listening to stories, then bring the process of reading out from the books.

Continue this process till the child learns to read and write himself. Then leave the work of reading the books to the child. Sometimes ask the opinion of the child about a new book that he has read. Discuss the contents of the book with him. .Continue giving attention till the child becomes habituated of reading books.

Here the parents must be reminded of certain points:

1. The children like stories and fables and understand their contents well. It is therefore useful the material provided to them on any subject should be in the form of stories.

2. Every child will have his own individual personality. The capability and tastes too will differ from person to person. There will be changes in the tastes of a person with advancements in years. Therefore, the parents must first try to gauge the taste and the capability of their child and then bring the books to suit his requirements. Don’t thrust difficult and boring contents on the child. This might have negative impact on the child’s reading habit.

3. Since the child is in the process of developing his personality, and the books can have deep impact on this process, care must be exercised to see that books with appropriate content are chosen for him. The parents should first read the books themselves, then decide about their suitability for the child's reading. The child should not read any undesirable matter that might have negative impact on his impressionable mind. If he gets into the habit of reading such literature, it might be difficult to wean him out of it.

4. Children show more interest in reading about crime and adventure. These books may have deleterious effect on the psyche of the child. Similarly books that give vent to the sexual instincts in the child should be kept out of his reach. One person writes in his memoirs thus: ‘ My Granny used to love me very much. I used to sleep with her in the nights. I always used to ask her to tell me bed-time-stories. To make me go to sleep, she used to tell me one story every night.

In her repertoire there were stories about the Jinn Baba and other tales of horror. These stories have left their mark on my psyche. I used to sleep in the feeling of horror after hearing the stories. I started seeing horrible bad dreams. Over time, I turned into a timid and cowardly person. I was always afraid to be alone. I became excitable and restless. This condition persists with me. How I wish parents and elders don’t relate horror stories to their impressionable children. I have decided that I will not tell such stories to my own children. I generally tell them stories from the Holy Quran and other stories with good morals.’

5. The habit of reading is not just a pastime. The main purpose of reading is to acquire knowledge and understand the contents of the books and deriving advantage from them. It is not very important how many books the child reads, but the important thing is how he has read them. Is he just making a cursory rapid reading? Has he read a book with absorbed interest and understood its contents? The parents should give full attention to this aspect. Occasionally, they must ask the child to give the gist of a book he has read. They should derive their conclusion if the child has understood the contents correctly or not. They should correct the child, if his understanding of the contents is not correct.

6. Children generally like books with imaginary stories. Some intellectuals encourage reading of such books. They feel that such book will encourage the imaginative faculties of the child. But the author feels that the reading of imaginary and fictitious stories can promote the habit of lying in the child. His mind will become the storehouse of false thoughts. When he grows up, he might allude to falsehoods to fulfill his needs and wishes.

7. It is true that a child prefers to read stories than other reading matter. But care must be taken that he is given a carefully selected mix of books on various subjects and not just the story-books. The child must slowly develop interest in reading and understanding intricate subject matter of serious literature.

8. It is not true that the children are fond of only fictitious stories. They will definitely show keen interest in reading the stories of great personalities, their lives and achievements. They can have their role models in these personages and aim to model their own lives on the lives of the great personages.

Physically Handicapped Children

Some children are physically handicapped from birth, others develop infirmities after accidents. There are many physical disabilities like blindness, lameness, deafness, dumbness etc. There are other children, who may not have any physical abnormalities, but they might be abnormally short, fat, with jutting teeth, small and sunken eyes and several such features.

There is no fault of the individuals with these aberrations. Allah has given birth to them, as they are. All the creations have their own beauty, it is our thinking that makes yardsticks for judging good looks.

Since the disabled individuals will be conscious of their disability, they will be sad and subject to the feeling of inferiority. If efforts are not made to remove this feeling from their minds, they will always be sad and morose. With the inferiority complex in him, a person loses his vibrant personality. They start thinking that they are incapable of any good. They will be reluctant to accept responsibilities and come forward to work with alacrity. They literally surrender ignominiously. They might even have access to criminal thoughts as a rebellion against their pitiable condition in the social fabric.

The disabled are pitiable. It is the duty of the other members of the society to put such handicapped persons at ease. They should give them the same treatment as they give to any normal person. They should not make them conscious of their defect through any overt or covert act. Some people cut practical jokes on the handicapped persons making their defect a matter of ridicule. This will be like piercing their hearts with arrows. Islam strictly prohibits laughing about the physical defects of others. This attitude is counted amongst the major sins a person can commit. There is order for so much care in this matter that the believers are required not even to do anything that can slightly remind the handicapped person of his defect.

The Prophet of Islam has said:

"Don’t stare at people under distress and at the lepers, lest your looks provoke the feelings of sadness and shame in their hearts." (Bihar al-anwar, v 75, p. 15)

It is the responsibility of Muslims to show more attention and care to such persons with a view to ameliorate their feelings of sadness. They must encourage the handicapped to lead as normal a life as possible. The parents of handicapped children carry an onerous responsibility. They should remember that even the handicapped are having the capacity to excel.

If the parents try to fathom the aptitude of such children and help them to utilise their latent capabilities properly, they can be moulded into efficient and skilled persons. They can excel in scientific and technical fields. Thus they can achieve respected positions in the society. There are innumerable instances of handicapped persons scaling big heights in different activities and reaching the pinnacle of success despite their defects. The parents should not be conscious of their child’s defects and also abstain. from mentioning about it to anyone, at least not in the presence of the child himself or his siblings.

They should not mention about the defect in the child even in a commiserating manner. Their treatment of this child should not be any different than the treatment they give to their other normal children. If a handicapped child expresses his anxiety about his defect, the parents must try to put him at ease. Remind him of, and praise, his other faculties and encourage him to make good use of them to prove himself a useful member of the society.

The parents must make a careful study of the latent capabilities in the handicapped child and then consult knowledgeable persons to seek their advice and recommendations for the right course of action. Then they should humour and encourage the child to try and develop the chosen skills. The parents will thus be doing a great service to the society by making their handicapped child a useful member of the community.

Thus, the handicapped person would, in a way, overcome his handicap and make the best use of the talent gifted by Allah to him.

A girl writes in her letter thus:

"A friend of mine told her life’s story to me in these words:

‘ One day I fell down to the ground from the terrace when I was thirteen years old. My back-bone was fractured which rendered me a handicapped person for life. For some time I got treatment at a hospital. Although I had terrific pain, later on I realized that the days at the hospital were the better days for me than what I suffered after returning home. When I was discharged from the hospital and reached home, my parents started treating me as a sworn enemy.

They used to say, ' You are the cause of shame and ill luck for usHow can we tell others that we are the parents of a crippled daughter? You will remain foisted on us forever Instead of consoling me for my predicament, day and night they were taunting me. They never for a moment thought that I was the victim of an unfortunate accident and personally not responsible for what happened. to me. I used to plead to Allah every day to give me death and release me from the life I was living With my paralyzed legs, I used to drag myself around the house and do the work. None ever bothered about my predicament.

In fact my parents stopped considering me their daughter. My youth was being spent in sorrow and pain. At the age of 15 I looked like an old woman of fifty. My parents died and my brothers and sisters never bothered about me. After sometime I was married. My husband was a very kind person. He loved me very much. Prior to this I had forgotten what is love and affection. Now my condition started to improve day by day. I am now a hale and hearty person. Allah has given me children. I am now spending a happy and contented life.’".

Physical Punishment

Lots of parents give physical punishment to their children in the interest of proper upbringing. Even some teachers too contribute to this attitude. They believe that the devils cannot be tamed with mere words. In the past a majority of people believed in this dictum. Those days the canes, chains and whips were considered important tools to be handy with a school. The parents desirous of good upbringing of their children never abstained from beating them when required. But most intellectuals consider this tyrannical method of upbringing as barbaric and harmful for the children. In most developed countries of the world there is almost a total ban on the physical punishment for correction of children.

A child cannot be reformed through physical punishments. Perhaps, it might have a temporary effect on the child, but will be very harmful in a longer run. For example:

1. When a child is beaten, he gets habituated of bowing down his head to torture and force. He may perhaps start thinking that force is the only key to success. He starts thinking that when one is angry, he should beat. By giving physical punishment to the children, the parents set an example for them to adopt the tyrannical laws of the jungle in their future lives.

2. The children who get beatings, develop hate and antagonism against their parents. The children never forget the harsh treatment they received at the hands of the parents. Such children might even become rebellious.

3. Repeated beatings can make a child timid and cowardly. The personality of the child can also be suppressed with physical punishment. He might later on become a victim of psychological ailments.

4. In most cases physical punishment seldom improves the child. It doesn’t create a wish in the child to correct his behaviour .He might perhaps show some momentary signs of change out of fear of the rod and the beatings, but is no guarantee that he will not repeat the same act again. His basic failing will persist in his subconscious mind. It will manifest itself later on in some other form.

One person says:

“My twelve year old son picked up some money from my wife’s wardrobe. When I came to know about this, I punished him with a stick. From that time, he never went near his mother’s wardrobe.

It is true that the boy did not pick anything else from his mother’s wardrobe. The father appears to have succeeded by meting out physical punishment to the child. But the matter was not so simple. The story proceeded further. The boy found other subterfuges to continue his bad activities. He started boarding the omnibus and avoiding to pay the fare to the conductor. When his mother asked him to shop at the grocers, he would pinch the change. Later on it was learned that he has stolen money from his friends too. The conclusion of the story is that, when the child was beaten for one fault, he cleverly didn’t repeat that act. But his mind worked overtime, and he invented other methods of committing thefts. (Ruwan Shinasi Tajrubi Kudak, p. 263)

One intellectual writes:

“The children who receive corrective beatings, become weak and useless persons. Or, otherwise they turn into stubborn and deceitful persons.They seem to be taking revenge of the ill treatment received in their childhood. (Ruwan Shinashi Tajrubi Kudak, p. 266)

Mr Russel writes:

"In my opinion, physical punishment of children is not right in any way." (Dar Tarbiat, p. 169)

Islam too has termed physical punishment harmful and has prohibited it.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“The intelligent person gets guidance through politeness, it is only the animals that cannot be corrected without beatings." (Gharar al hukm, p. 236)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“Whoever whips another person once, Allah will shower the fiery whip against him." (Wasail al shiah, v 19, p. 14)

The Prophet of Islam said:

“Use love and affection in education and upbringing and don’t have access to cruelty because a wise mentor is better than a cruel one." (Bihar al-anwar, v 77, p. 175)

One person said that he complained about his son to Imam Moosa bin Jafar. The Imam replied, “Don’t ever beat himBut maintain a distance from him, and this distance too should not be kept for too long! ((Bihar al-anwar, v104, p. 99)

Physical punishments are very harmful for the upbringing of the children and they must be avoided. But if there is no other way of correcting the child, adopt it as a last resort. Islam too permits this in certain conditions.

The Prophet of Islam has said:

“Ask your children to start offering prayers at the age of six years. If they don’t listen to your repeated warnings, you may beat them to become regular at offering prayers when they are seven years old." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 1, p. 171

In another tradition Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“When the child is nine years old, teach him to do the Wadu ( the ablution prior to offering prayers); order him to do the Wadu and pray. If the child doesn’t obey, beat him and make him offer prayers." (Wasail al shiah, v 3, p. 13)

Ali has said:

“As you reprimand your own son, so can you reprimand an orphan. And the occasion on which you might beat your son, you can beat the orphan on a similar occasion.”.(Wasail al shiah, v 15, p. 197)

“If your slave disobeys Allah, beat him. If he disobeys you, forgive him." (Gharar al hukm, p. 115)

One person came to the presence of the Prophet of Islam and said that an orphaned child was in his care. He wanted to know if he can beat the child to correct him. The Prophet replied:

“In a situation where you can beat your son, you may beat the orphan on a similar situation in his best interests." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, p. 625)

It is always better not to make access to the physical punishment of children as far as possible. And when it becomes necessary, make use of maximum restraint in the matter. The punishment must be well thought out and appropriate to the occasion.

One person asked the Prophet of Islam:

“The members of my family don’t obey me. How should I reform them ?" The Prophet replied: “Forgive them!." The man repeated the question a second, and a third time. The Holy Prophet gave the same reply; but then he said: “If you wish to reprimand your people, then you must keep in mind that the punishment should not be more than their misdemeanour. You should also abstain from beating them on their faces." (Majma al zawaid, v 8, p. 106)

Imam Jafer al Sadiq has said:

“If needed, don’t inflict more than five or six blows to your child or the servant and these blows should not be too severe." (Wasail al shiah, v 18, p. 581)

While reprimanding children, better don’t do it in the presence of others. Others’ presence might cause mental torture to the children and might harm them. If the beating is excessive, there is a Deet or fine prescribed in Islam for one who inflicts the punishment. Therefore, care must be exercised while beating the children to correct them. According to the Islamic Laws, if a person’s face turns black on account of the beating, the fine is six Gold Dinars ( coins). If the face turns blue, three dinars and for a red face, a Dinar and Half. (Wasail al shiah, v 19, p. 295)

The parents have no right to behave like tyrants with their children. They must not kick them, box them and beat them with chains and rods.

Islam does permit reprimanding and beating the child for purposes of correction and, in fact, orders such action. We find that the youth in the Western countries go astray because of excess of freedom given to them.

Non Physical Punishments

.Lots of parents prefer to give non-physical punishments to their children in times of need. For example, if a child misbehaves, he is locked in a dark room or a big trunk. Sometimes the parents shout and use bad language in anger when a child commits a mistake. The impact of such cruel punishments may not be far less than the physical punishments discussed in the previous chapter.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“There are many types of punishments which have bigger impact than physical assault." (Gharar al hukm, p. 415)

It is possible that these punishments might be more severe on the minds of the children than the physical punishments. These punishments will injure the personality of the child and create elements of fear and restlessness in his nature. It has happened many a time that when a child is locked alone in a dark room, the effect on his nerves was so severe that he was not able to erase it from his mind for a major part of his life. Some of the victims of such nervousness sometimes swoon under its effect. The parents should therefore refrain from giving such punishments to the children. Shouting and using foul language with the children is taboo (haram) and will have a very damaging impact on their upbringing. This might motivate the children to learn such foul language for their future lives.

But definitely there are several non-physical punishments that will not have any negative impact on the minds of the children, and at the same time they are very effective in correcting them. For example, if a child misbehaves or doesn’t give proper attention to his studies, the parents stop speaking with him for a time or don’t take him out on picnics.

Sometimes, as a punishment the parents don’t take a child out to a party where the family is invited. Sometimes, as a reprimand, a child is made to miss a meal. At other time, as a corrective, the child is given some difficult task to do. These punishments, used judiciously, might be very effective in controlling and correcting the child. They will not be accompanied with any deleterious effect on the mind and the nerves of the child. But punishments are punishments.

There is one definite defect in punishments that they are not much effective for correcting the intrinsic defects in the nature of a child. With the fear of punishment the child might momentarily, or for some time, behave differently and properly. Or he might cleverly not make the same mistake openly. But when he finds a suitable opportunity, he might be up to the same behaviour for which he has been reprimanded in the past. The punishments, therefore, don’t cut away the cause of the misdemeanours of the child. It is possible that sometimes the child might take shelter behind lying and stealth. To make effective and judicious of the non-physical punishments, a few points are suggested to the parents and the mentors of the children:

1. The punishment should be well thought out and commensurate with the misdemeanour of the child. Ensure that the punishment is not more than the flaw or the misbehaviour of the child. If the child thinks that the punishment was unjust, he might react in his defence and start to be rebellious and head-strong.

2. The punishment should not be such that the child starts thinking that the parents are his enemies and they don’t love him.

3. If the child has committed something wrong unintentionally, he should not be punished. Despite this, if the child is punished, it might have negative impact on his feelings and his mind.

4. Punishments should not become an every day affair if the parents wish them to be effective. If punishments are repeated too often, the child might turn into a compulsive offender. Then the punishments will not have any effect on him.

Ali has said:

“Reprimand and punishment in excess might make one stubborn," (Ghurar al hakm, p. 70)

5.The child can be punished for a single act and not on a collective basis for his past Misbehaviours. Otherwise the child will be confused as to why he is being punished. He will not repeat an act, only if he knows that he was punished for doing that. It is always better that the punishment is immediately after the commitment of the act.

6.To the extent possible, efforts must be made to see that the punishment is according to the mistake he has committed. For example, if the child has fallen behind in doing the exercises of mathematics, he must be ordered to complete the exercise and not to copy the entire book of mathematics from start to end. If the child has carelessly thrown away his school bag, and the uniform, after returning from school, he must be asked to immediately arrange them properly in the right place. As a punishment for this careless behaviour he should not be threatened that he would not be taken to the dinner scheduled for that evening. If the child had misbehaved at a party, his punishment can be not taking out to the next party and not stopping his allowance of the pocket money. If the child squanders his pocket money, then, as a punishment a similar amount may be cut from his next allowance.

7.After the punishment, the parents should not mention his mistake again and again. One person says that he complained about his son to Moosa bin Jafar. He replied, “Don’t beat him. Just be cross with him But this attitude of yours should not be for long.”(Gharar al hukm, p. 70)

8. If you wish to punish a child, don’t compare him with other children. Don’t recount the qualities of the other children to him. You cannot reform the child through this attitude. You might give rise to the feeling of jealousy in the mind of the child.

One person writes in his memoirs thus:

“In my childhood my father used to shout at me very much. He used to insult me in the presence of relatives and my friends. He always recounted others achievements in front of me. He always looked for an occasion to belittle me. He considered me an inferior person. However much he insulted me, I became more stubborn. I lost interest in my studies. I had developed an inferiority complex. I started shirking work. I was not willing to accept any responsibility. My personality was injured because of constant nagging by my father. Today I am a lazy and lonely person”

Encouragement and Reward

One very good method of good upbringing is the appreciation and encouragement when a child performs well. This will have a salutary effect on the mind of the child. It will provide him the reason to do still better in the future. Every human being loves himself. In his own way he thinks of developing and advancing his personality. He wants that others recognise and appreciate his personality. If he receives the appreciation of others, he will strive for further improvement. But if he is discouraged, his enthusiasm will be dampened. A few suggestions for obtaining good results are given here:

1. The actions of the child can be appreciated, but not too often. Because , if the appreciation is too much, it might lose its importance in the eyes of the child. He may then take your appreciation as a matter of routine.

2. The appreciation of the child should be at a specific place and time so that he realises why and for what he is being commended. Then he will try to perform better and earn appreciation on other occasions too. This is the reason that repeated and unnecessary appreciation is not advisable. For example, if a child is repeatedly given a pat on his back that he is a good and polite individual, it might lose its significance for him. The child will not be able to comprehend the reason for the appreciation.

3. It is also necessary that good acts and works of the child are appreciated and not his person. This way he will understand that he is praised for what he does, and not for what he isThe importance of every person is because of his achievements.

4. While praising a child, never compare him with other children. For example the father should not tell to his son, “You are a good and truthful boy, unlike Hasan who is a liar.”This attitude might make the child form a poor opinion about the other boy. While comparing the children, the parent is doing faulty upbringing of the good child.

5. The praises and commendations of the child must be within certain limits. Excess of these might make the child proud and conceited.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“Lots of people develop conceit for the reason of praises heaped on them." (Bihar al-anwar, v 72, p. 295)

“Don’t exaggerate in praising others." (Gharar al hukm, p. 209)

One very good tool for effective upbringing and training is giving of rewards. Rewards are not a bad method of encouragement if they are spontaneous and not in fulfillment of an earlier promise that if the child achieved a certain thing, he would be given a particular gift. If promises are made to the child beforehand, it might have negative impact on him. The child starts expecting a gift for every good thing he does. This will become a sort of gratification and the child would not strive to do better if these gifts stop forthcoming.

A person should have the habit of doing good deeds. He should do them to please Allah and serve mankind and not with an eye on the probable material rewards. If the child gets used to receiving gifts for every small reason, he might become narrow minded and selfish. He may not think it his duty to do anything for others, unless he gets something in return for his efforts. He will try to escape from doing anything for others, as far as possible. This attitude is a very big fault in a person and the society.

The rewards for any good work to the children, therefore, should be few and selective that receiving such gifts don’t become a second nature for them. When a child gets into the habit of doing tasks with his own initiative, reduce the frequency of gifts and rewards. Encourage him to do the work. Many parents give gifts to their children getting higher grades at their examinations. This way they encourage them to work harder at their studies. Perhaps this method is effective to some extent. But there is a big defect in this. That it affects the child’s sense of responsibility. The child works hard at his studies only because he wants to get the gift by obtaining higher grades. Otherwise, he would not bother to work hard. For every thing he does, he expects a gift in reward for that.

One person writes:

"I was admitted to the fourth standard of a Religious School. I was very poor at the recitation of the Holy Quiran. But my other class-mates were very good at their recitation. In the very first class I attended, the teacher asked me kindly, “Can you recite the Holy Quran?” I replied nervously,”No, Sir.”He rejoined, “Don’t worryI shall give you the lessons. I know you can become one of the good students in the class. Whatever doubts you may have, don’t hesitate to ask me. These kind words of the teacher encouraged me and I started working with determination on my studies. By the end of the year I excelled at recitation of the Quran. I reached such a degree of proficiency that in the absence of the teacher I was asked to conduct the class. I was also made responsible for reciting verses from the Quran at the morning assembly before commencement of the classes"

One girl writes in her memoirs:

“My father was a progressive person. One day, when my mother was away, he invited some of my teachers for the meal. He brought the ingredients for cooking and gave to me. I started to work in the kitchen with enthusiasm. In the noon Dad arrived with his friends. When I poured the victuals in the dishes, I noticed that they were not cooked properly. The chicken was half done and the rice has become slushy with excessive water added while cooking it. All this was because, I had not properly learned the art of cooking. I was very worried. I was expecting a reprimand from my Dad at any moment. But contrary to all my expectations, Dad praised me in front of his friends. He said, “This food has been cooked by my darling daughterIt is so tasty!”The guests too assented in agreement and praised me for my effort. Later on my Dad gave me a pat on my back. This word of encouragement enthused me to start earnestly at learning the culinary art. Today I am an expert at preparing lots of very good dishes."