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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 Parents Responsibility

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In the eyes of Islam the status of the father and the mother is very exalted. Allah, the Holy Prophet and the Infallible Imams have exhorted the people in this regard. There are a lot of verses in the Holy Book relevant to the subject. The exemplary behaviour of children towards their parents is rated as one of the best invocations.

Allah says:

"Your God has decreed that thou shalt worship only Him and adopt good behaviour with (thy) parents”(Quran, 17:23)

Imam Jafer as Sadiq observes:

"Three actions are the best: (a) Offer the five mandatory prayers with punctuality.(b) Maintain good behaviour with your parents.(c) Struggle in the cause of Allah (Usul al Kafi, book 2, p. 158)

Now the question arises why this exalted position has been bestowed on the parents of the FaithfulIs Allah giving this status for no specific reason? What big deed the parents perform for their progeny that they are deemed deserving of the august status. The father, in satisfaction of his carnal desire transfers his sperm into the womb of the mother where it compounds with the ovum and a new being starts to develop and after nine months of the incident arrives into the world as a tiny babe.

The mother suckles it and gives it other nutrition. Sometimes she cleans it and sometimes changes its raiment. She cares of its wetness and dryness. During this time the father takes care of the expenses required for the upkeep of the child. Don’t the parents have any other responsibility besides these?

Is it because of performing these duties that the parents have been endowed with the exalted status?Do the parents only have a right over their off-spring and the children don’t have any rights over them? In my opinion no one will accept any such one sided privilege. The traditions of the Infallibles of the Holy Prophet’s Family are quoted in this regard:

The Holy Prophet of Islam has said: "As your father has a right over you, so does your progeny have a similar right.”(Majma al zawaid, v 8, p. 146)

The Prophet also said: "As are the children disinherited for their disobedience so also it is possible that the parents may be disowned by the children for not fulfillling their bonden duties. (Bihar al-anwar, v 19, p. 93)

The Prophet said: "Allah’s curse on such parents who become the cause of disinheriting their children.”(Makarim al akhlaq, p 518)

Imam Sajjad said: "Your children have a right that you consider if they are good or they are bad. You have been the cause of their birth and the world recognizes them as your offspring. It is your responsibility that you teach them good manners and guide them toward the recognition and obedience of Allah. Your behaviour towards your children must be of a person who believes that a good deed shall get a suitable reward and ill treatment shall call for retribution.”(Makarim al akhlaq p. 484)

The Commander of the Faithful, Ali says: "Beware, your behavior might render your family and your relatives part of the ill fated people.”(Ghurar al hukm, p. 802)

The Prophet said: "Whoever wishes that his children are safe from disinheritance, he should help them performing good deeds.”(Majma al zawaid, v 8, p. 158)

The Prophet also said: "To whomsoever a daughter is born should strive to impart norms of good behaviour to her and make efforts to educate her. Provide means of comfort to her that she becomes a cause of his deliverance from the Hell Fire. (Majma al zawaid, v 8, p. 158)

Above all, Allah says in the Holy Quran: "O, BelieversSave yourselves and your dependents from the fire whose fuel are humans and the stones.”(Quran, 66:6)

The time when a child is in the process of adopting a way of life which can make him either virtuous or wicked, he can be metamorphosed into a perfect human being or a degraded wild animal.

The virtue or wickedness of a person will be dependent on the upbringing he receives and this responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the parents. In fact the parents are instruments of shaping a human being, good or bad, from the child. The greatest service which the parents can render to their children is that they train them to be good mannered, kind, friends of humans, well meaning, freedom loving, bold, just, wise, righteous, noble, faithful, dutiful, hard working, educated.

The parents must mould their children in such a way that they are successful both in the world and hereafter. Only such people are those who are endowed with the exalted status of parenthood, and not those who in fulfilllment of their carnal desire caused the birth of children and left the children to fend for themselves and rendering them likely to fall into evil ways.

The Holy Prophet said: "The best thing a father provide to his child is good manners and ethical training.”(Majma al zawaid, v 8, p. 159)

The mother has a more important function to perform towards the upbringing of the progeny. Even during the pregnancy the mother’s food habits and her behaviour affects the future virtuosity or otherwise of the developing child.

The Prophet of Islam said:

"Lucky is the one whose foundation of his virtue has been made in the womb of the mother and unlucky is one whose wickedness had its rudiments in the mother’s womb as well”(Bihar al-anwar, v 77, pp. 115-133)

“Heaven (i.e janna)is under the feet of one’s mother.”(Mustadrak al-wasail, v 2, p 38)

The parents, who don’t pay attention to the education and training of their children, become guilty of gross negligence. Such parents must be asked whether the innocent child pleaded with him to give him birth in the world to be abandoned like sheep and cattle. Now that you have become the cause of his existence, by virtue of religious tenets and human wisdom his education and training is your bonden duty.

The parents are also answerable to the society. Today’s children will be men and women, the citizens of tomorrow. The fabric of the society will be made of these individuals. Whatever lessons they learn today, they shall put them into practice tomorrow. If their upbringing today is perfect, the society of tomorrow shall be flawless. And if today’s generation follows a faulty programme of training it is imperative that tomorrow's society will be evil and perverted.

The personalities in the field s of politics, education and society shall emerge from these elements. Today’s children are tomorrow’s parents. Today’s children can be tomorrow’s reformers. If they have received good training at the hands of their parents, they in turn can carry forward this practice with their children. If the parents have the will, they can be the instruments of the reform of the society for the future and with neglect of the children they can be the cause of the ruination of the society. By giving the right training to their children, the parents can render invaluable service to their society.

Education and training should not be treated as an insignificant subject. The efforts which the parents make to educate their children and the hardships that they undergo in this quest result in the creation of thousands of professors, doctors, and engineers. It is the parents who strive to nurture perfect human beings, capable and pious mentors and other professionals.

The mothers in particular bear more responsibility for the upbringing of the children. The children spend most of their childhood with the mothers. The foundation of the direction their future is bound to take is laid here. So, the key to the vice or virtue of a person and the progress or decline of a society is with the mothers of the society. The woman’s place is not in the shop floor, ministerial or administrative positions. These functions don’t measure up to the importance of a woman as a mother. Mothers breed perfect human beings. Virtuous ministers, lawyers, professors owe their positions to the loving care received from their mothers during their formative years.

The parents, who nurture truthful, pious children not only serve their children and the society but also create a niche for themselves in the society. These children will be a support of the parents in their frail old age. If parents strive towards the education and upbringing of their children they reap the harvest of their troubles during their lifetime only.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“Evil off-spring is among the greatest hardships for the parents.”(Ghurar al hukm, p. 189)

“Evil off-spring causes loss of respect for the parents and the successors are shamed." (Ghurar al hukm, p. 780)

The Prophet of Islam says:

“May Allah bless the parents who trained their children to behave justly with them." (Makarim al akhlaq, p. 517)

Therefore those who attain parenthood have great responsibility on their shoulders. This responsibility is to Allah Almighty as also to their fellow human beings and also to their own children. If they discharge the responsibility properly they will be rewarded in this world and hereafter. But if they falter in the discharge of this responsibility then they themselves will be the losers and they will be tantamount to have cheated their own children and the society at large and they would be perpetrating an unpardonable sin.

The Knowledge and Mutual Co-Operation of the Educators

The training and upbringing of a child is not an easy and simple task that the parents can perform with little or no effort. This task requires, in fact, delicate handling and temperament. There are myriads of fine points to be considered to achieve success in the efforts. The mentor has to relate himself with the spirit of the child. He cannot perform the task without knowing the spiritual, psychological, educational and practical niceties of the job.

A child’s world is a world of his own and his imaginations and fantasies will be unique to him. These cannot be compared to the thought process of the adults. The child’s spirit will be delicate and will be very impressionable. The child will be a human being in miniature that has not as yet assumed a permanent identity but it has the capability to attain this change. The mentor of the child has to be capable of fathoming and identifying a human being and, also, identifying the mind of the children. He should have a keen eye on the intricacies of the process of upbringing. He should be aware of the human capabilities and failings. He should have sense of responsibility and keen interest in the job on hand

He should be patient and courageous that the hardships don’t overpower him. Besides, the rules of training are not rigid and cannot be implemented the same way under different circumstances. In fact these rules have to be modified and applied to each individual child according to his physical make up and mental capabilities. The parents must keenly observe the physical built of the child and educate him keeping this factor in mind. Otherwise, the effort may not bring about the desired result.

The man and woman should acquire knowledge about education and training before parenting a child. The education of the child commences with its birth and, in fact, from the time of conception. During this period the foundation of the child’s nature is established and his nature, behaviour, thinking process starts taking shape.

It is not right that the parents remain unconcerned during this visibly dormant period.

They postpone the upbringing of the expected new arrival till its actual arrival. They tend to keep away this task till the child is capable of distinguishing between good and bad behaviour. While it may be easier to correct the behavioural defects in the early stages, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to effect these corrections once the habits are formed.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“The most difficult politics is bringing about changes in the habits of people." (Ghurar al Hukm, p. 181)

“Habits settle down upon people.” (Ghurar al Hukm, p.580)

“Habits become second nature." (Ghurar al Hukm, p.260)

Shunning habits is so difficult that doing it is considered amongst better invocations.

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“Overcoming bad habits is amongst benevolent invocations." (Ghurar al Hukm, p.176)

Another important factor in imparting ideal training to the child is the coordination and cooperation between the parents and other mentors like the grand parents on the programme of training to be followed. Their joint effort will produce the desired results. But if any one of them takes a cavalier attitude on the training process, the results may not me as desired.

The child should be made aware of its duty. When the parents give contrary directions the child gets confused. Particularly if they insist on their contrary points of view, there is likelihood of negative results in the process of the training of the child. The biggest difficulty in imparting training to the child is that the father makes a decision about him and the mother or the grand parents insist on a contrary course. There is always a need for such understanding between the mentors that the child is able to clearly understand what he has to do and the idea of doing anything against this does not enter his mind.

Sometimes it happens that the father is well educated and reasonable and the mother of the child is ill tempered and uneducated. Sometimes the situation is reversed, when the mother is better equipped to train the child and the father is not. Many families face this problem. Children in such families do not receive proper training. But this doesn’t mean that they should give up efforts of properly training their children.

In such a difficult situation the responsibility become more pronounced. The need in such a situation is to give more thought to the programme of educating the child. The parents should make sincere efforts to overcome the lacunae in their character and behaviour and give more attention to the children. With good actions the parents can attract the children’s attention and set a desirable example before them. The parent’s action should help the child to decide what is good for him and what is not. If the mentor is wise, thoughtful and patient he can to a greater extent counter the negative impact of his wife’s behaviour on the training of the child. This is no doubt a difficult task but there is no way out of it.

One intellectual says:

“A family in which the father and the mother think alike about the upbringing of the children and are able to mould their character and actions accordingly the impact on the senses of the children will be ideal. The family unit is a small society in which the child’s moral character assumes definite form. A family in which the members are friendly towards each other their children are generally mild mannered, self respecting and judicious. Against this, a family where the parents have the habit of contradicting each other their children will be morally deficient, pretentious and excitable."

Training through Deeds, not Just Talk

Most parents think that oral instructions and occasional talk about dos and don’ts is sufficient for good upbringing of children. They presume that the upbringing of the child is thus taken care of and they do not have to do anything about the upbringing of the child concerning other walks of life. This is why such parents do not feel any need to think of the upbringing till the child is a tiny tot. They say that the child is still a babe and is incapable of understanding anything about upbringing.

When the child comes to the age of understanding they give a thought to its upbringing. It is the period in the life of a child when he starts discriminating between good and bad. While this thinking is incorrect, the child, as a matter of fact, is ready for the upbringing the day he is born. He gets trained every moment and his nature is moulded in a particular way. Whether the parents are aware of this process or not the child does waits not for any initiative on their part. The child’s active mind and other senses are like a camera, which keeps preserving images of what happens in its environment.

A child of five to six years would have acquired a certain character. Good or bad habits would have got engrained in its nature and it would be a difficult task to bring about a change in his behaviour. The child, as a matter of fact, is a mimic. It tries to emulate its parents and the other inmates in its surroundings. The child views its parents with a degree of respect and makes efforts to copy their life style. Their actions become his yardstick for good and bad actions. The nature of a child is not cast in a mould but it takes the parents as the example to follow. The child depends more on the behaviour of the parents as a model for its actions than any amount of sermonizing.

The daughter observes her mother and learns the niceties of house keeping. She sees her father and understands the nature of men. The boy takes lessons about life from his father’s actions and from his mother’s behaviour he learns about the nature of women.

It is therefore necessary for responsible people to reform themselves at the outset and if they have any flaws in their behaviour they should avoid them. In a nutshell, they should mould themselves into good human beings before they embark on the road to parenthood.

The parents should give a thought to what sort of offspring the desire to give to the society. If they feel that their child should be a morally upright, kind, humane, freedom loving and responsible person then they too have to be owning such characteristics that they set an example for him to emulate. The mother wishes that her daughter should be responsible, kind, equanimous person who respects the feelings of her spouse then she should herself try to fit into these norms. The daughter will then observe the behaviour pattern of the mother and automatically mould herself the same way. If the mother is an ill tempered, lazy, disorderly, untidy and selfish person then she cannot expect to train her daughter only through lecturing on the norms of good behaviour.

Only those persons can competently train and bring up children properly who had similar upbringing themselves in their childhood. They will have better understanding of the nature and psyche of the children. The parents who have differences and pick up fights over trivialities will be incompetent in bringing up children. Similarly professional educators who have taken up the task only for the material remuneration, who are impatient, excitable and do not have an understanding of the child’s nature and psyche will not be able to put their trainees on the right track.

Dr. Jalali writes:

“Whosoever has the responsibility of upbringing a child should occasionally do introspection on his own character and behaviour, realize his responsibilities and try to correct his failings."

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

"The person who is in the lead should first reform himself and then try to correct others. Before teaching the norms of good behaviour to others he should set an example himself. One who educates himself in learning and manners is more deserving of respect than he who only teaches the norms of good behaviour to others." (as quoted in the edited work, Nahj al balaghah)

“You respect your elders that your children respect you." (Ghurar al Hukm, p.546)

“If you wish to reform others, then commence the exercise with reforming yourself. If you like to correct others and keep yourself flawed it will be the biggest blemish." (Ghurar al Hukm, p. 278)

“When the talking tongue is silent on sermonizing and the actions of the sermonizer speak for themselves, then no ears can keep the sermon out and nothing is more effectively beneficial than this." (Ghurar al Hukm, p.232)

One lady writes in a letter:

"…. my parents’ character has deeply impressed me. They have always been kind to their children. I never found any flaw in their words or deeds. We also acquired this habit. I cannot forget their good character and behavior. Now that I am a mother my endeavour is to see that I don’t do any thing in the presence of the children, which is not considered good. My parent’s character is the example to be emulated in my life. I try to see that my children too are brought up the same way."

Another lady wrote in a letter:

“…. When I recapitulate my past life I recall that my mother used to argue and shout on trivial matters. Now that I am a mother I feel that with a little difference my condition is nearly the same as my mother’s was. All her negative manners have become a part of my character. The strange problem is that however much I try to reform myself I am unable to make much progress. Definitely it is proved in my case that the parents’ character and behaviour has far reaching effect on the moulding of the character of their children. The saying, therefore, is correct that a mother with the good training of her children can transform the world."

Abstain from Domestic Differences

For a child the home is like a nest. He feels very much attached to it. His heart is always tied to it. If the parents are on friendly terms his nest remains durable like a warm lap. The child in such a home feels contented and secure. Getting an upbringing in such congenial atmosphere the latent qualities and capabilities in the child will truly find expression and will bring out salutary results. But if the parents are excitable and fighting type then the child will lose its calm and contentment and he will be uneasy and restless. The parents who argue and fight do not realise that the feelings of the poor child.

In such a situation the children get frightened and with hurt hearts they seek some corner to hide themselves wondering as to why their parents are behaving in that manner. Otherwise they seek the avenues of fleeing from the nest that has been so dear to them and seek refuge in some lane or bazaar. The bitterest memories of a child are the times when the parents have heated, loud arguments and fights. The children are unable to forget such scenes till late in their own lives. These events remain etched on their psyche and have deleterious effect on their natures.

Such children have weak hearts and stunted physique. They will be heart broken and spend their lives miserably. It is quite possible that daughters of such parents carry an impression that all men are as harsh and rude as their own father is. This may lead to abhorrence of the very thought of marriage for such girls. It is also possible that the sons of such homes think that all women are as ill mannered as their own mother is and decide to remain celibate all their lives.In such an environment the children become rebellious and start hating the parents and the things come to such a pass that some children become revengeful. The statistics indicate that lot of gallivanting, alcoholic and anti social children is the consequence of the disturbed atmosphere at home If one thinks of the bitter events of his childhood when the parents had bitter differences then he will feel that despite the passage of long years the unpleasant memories are remaining etched on his mind.

One intellectual writes:

“The parents should know the fact that when there is an argument or fight between the elders of the house there will be deleterious effect on the thinking of the children. The type of relations the elders keep will have definite effect on development of the children….if the atmosphere of unity and peace is absent from the house then it is not possible to give proper upbringing to the children. When the elders become argumentative and excitable they forget that the impressionable children are with them whose upbringing is their responsibility. In such an atmosphere the children do not learn any good lesson. The children then become secluded and ill tempered. Particularly children of slightly higher age find the situation very difficult. Their hearts cry over the attitude of the father. They are unable to decide whose side they should take. In some cases they become antagonistic to both the parents."

Another person writes in a letter:

"….from the most unpleasant incidents of my childhood the vividly etched on my mind are those when my parents used to fight exchanging abusive language. During these events my sister my brother and myself used to stand shivering in a corner. As long as the fight continued we used to watch helplessly. I remember my sister used to cry at such events and these fits lasted for long. She is now a victim of nervous breakdown. It seems that the wrangles of our parents had a very bad effect on the spirit of my sister…."

Another person writes:

“…. the thought of an unpleasant event of my childhood doesn’t leave my memory. My father was ill mannered, excitable and selfish. He used to invent excuses to fight at home and shout at everyone. Our parents used to fight throughout the day. I wonder they never tired of doing this. The fights generally used to be on trivialities. There was no night when I went to bed without shedding tears. This was the reason that my nerves were weak. I am a scared person and I get bad dreams. I have consulted doctors who say that the reason for my condition is the effects of the atmosphere at my home. He says that there is no cure for this other than rest and peace at home. My happy days started when I got married and I escaped from that house. Now, although my life is peaceful, I have a feeling that I am a defeated person and I cannot make much progress in life. I appeal to parents, In the name of GodIf you have any differences, do not fight in the presence of your children!"

He further writes in his long letter:

“The worst event of my life happened when I was eight years old. That day my parents had a very bad fight. All the children went scurrying to corners. The event had such a sad effect on my spirit that for a long time I couldn’t erase the thought from my memory. I was fed up with my family and myself. I used to think that I should not return home from school. I used to offer a silent prayer to God that I die of some serious sickness. Many a time I thought of committing suicide. Several times I dreamt that I was married and fighting with my spouse. During such dreams I used to plan a strategy for preserving my rights.

After my marriage I tried several times to pick up a quarrel with my wife to demonstrate to her that I am an angry person. Luckily my wife is of a cool nature. She treats me with love and affection and convinces me with good arguments and advice. It is my good luck that the ill temper did not last long with me. When I recall the mistakes of my parents I did introspection over my own failings and I tried hard to mend my nature. Now I am leading a peaceful life."

Another gentleman writes:

“…. When I was nine years old my parents separated because of acute differences. They left me, my sister and my brother in the care of our paternal grand father. We used to cry there very often. While visiting my mother I used to dream while sleeping that I wouldn’t go to my father’s house. After some time some well-meaning relatives intervened and made my parents to reunite. My mother returned back to our home. But during that short break my spirit got so much affected that even now I feel sad about it. Now I make a serious effort that whenever I have any differences with my wife, we don’t give vent to our feelings in the presence of our children."

Another letter reads thus:

“…. there are many bitter memories of my childhood and pleasant memories are but few. When I remember those days I become sad and I am unable to control the tears welling my eyes. The reason for this sadness is that I always found my parents arguing and fighting. Thus they made life difficult for us brothers and sisters. We are a family of eight children. I never argue with my husband that I do not become the cause of the bitterness of my husband and children."

In one letter someone writes:

“…. Age five is the best part of one’s childhood. When I was of this age there came about bitter differences between my parents. My father brought a second wife. Because of these differences my mother secured a divorce from my father. We were six brothers and sisters. One day turned very bitter for us. I was playing with one of my brothers when our mother came to say her adieus to us. God knows how sad we children were. Our mother went away and we remained with our father and the new mother.

We remained away from our own mother for two years bearing the pangs of negligence that our father showed to us. Then one day our mother came and took me and one of my brothers home. She had received some legacy from her mother’s property. With that inheritance she carried on our upkeep. Later on the other brothers and sisters too joined us. Our mother gave us the treatment of both a mother and a father. We cannot forget her courage and sacrifices."

Another lady writes in her letter:

“…. my parents always used to quarrel and there was turmoil in our home. My mother always used to be angry. I was eight years of age when she used to leave my other siblings in my care and go out. My sister and brothers were of age two, four and six. I used to care for them to the best of my capability. Sometimes I used to get beatings from our father. Despite all the difficulty I was trying to continue my studies but I failed in my second standard. My tutors were aware of my difficulties. They took pity on me and gave me grace marks. In such circumstances I reached high school. Now I am also a mother. I make a sincere effort that differences do not plague me and my family."

The parents who feel their responsibility and they have interest in good upbringing of their children refrain from giving rise to any differences and fights in the family and they definitely avoid airing any differences in front of the children. There is no worse act than the parents disturbing the children by squabbling in their presence and leaving them behind. If they realise the feelings of the children during such absences, however brief they are, then they would try never to fight again. Such events are remembered till the end of one’s life. However there are hardly any families where there is no meaningful difference of opinion. But in marital life there is always the need for rapprochement.

Wise and informed couples resolve their differences with cool and calm discussions. If the children learn of the differences of their parents, they should handle the matter tactfully and convince them that the matter is being sorted out and they need not worry on that count. The parents should take care that they do not talk of divorce in the hearing distance of their children. This not only affects their married life but can cause damage to the delicate minds of the children. Separation between husband and wife is a grave injustice to the children. They feel that their nest has fallen down. And their lives are shattered.

This is naturally because the children have love for both the parents and cannot imagine any one of them abandoning them. If the children remain in the custody of the father after the divorce and he gets a second wife they will be required to unwillingly live under the care of a step mother. However good and gentle the stepmother is, she cannot take the place of the real mother. General observation is that most stepmothers do not take good care for stepchildren. The newspapers carry many stories of bad treatment of children at the hands of stepmothers. If the children revert to the care of the separated mother, they still feel the void created by the absence of the father. And if the parents are so thoughtless that they leave the children to the care of foster parents, it will be very sad for the young kids.

Anyway, the husband and wife are free till they have children. But they have added responsibility after they have children and this will be the time when they have to make sincere efforts to avoid any serious differences cropping up. They must protect the good atmosphere at home and do not become the cause of worry to the children. Otherwise they will be answerable and subject to retribution in the Court of Allah.

Starting Life as a Mother

When the sperm of the man enters the womb of the woman and fuses with the ovum, the process of fertilisation and the woman becoming a mother commences. The fertilised egg(the ovum) starts fast metamorphosis and ultimately takes the final shape of a human being. In fact the age of a person can be counted from the day the process of fertilisation takes place.

One intellectual writes:

“When a person arrives in this world, he would already have completed nine months of his age. And in these preliminary nine months he passes through a metamorphosis which determines the shape he gets ultimately as a complete human being for a complete lifetime."

When a woman is pregnant, she becomes a mother from that moment. She bears the responsibility for the child developing in her womb. It is a fact that the father’s germ has a bearing on the legal inheritance, the physical and psychological make up of the person but the new arrival’s future depends more on the care of the mother. The father’s germ is like the seed but the development depends much on the developing environment it gets.

Another intellectual writes:

“The parents of a child can provide a growth environment which is ideal for it’s progress and can also give an environment which may be deleterious to its optimum development. If the growth environment is not proper it is not congenial for the immortal spirit of the off spring. This is the reason that the parents bear a heavy responsibility for the upbringing of the child."

Every person’s welfare, illness, strength, weakness, looks, character take shape in the mother’s womb. The rudiments of the child’s morals and fate are established from the very womb of the mother.

The Holy Prophet says:

“The Fate, good or bad, of a person is determined when he is in the womb of the mother." (Bihar al-anwar, v 77, p. 115)

The pregnancy is a very delicate period and puts tremendous responsibility on the expectant mother. A woman who is aware of her responsibility does not consider the pregnancy as an ordinary time and doesn’t indulge in careless behaviour. She knows that slight carelessness might affect her health badly and the baby she is carrying might get damaged. This damage could be so severe that the child arrives with irreparable defects that it may have to carry for the life.

Another intellectual writes:

“The mother’s body and the events connected with it have an effect on the child she is carrying. The child in the mother’s womb is very sensitive to the changes her body is undergoing. This is because the mother’s body is complete and the child is developing to take the final shape.Therefore it is the duty of every expectant mother to keep a good environment at the house. She can succeed in this if she knows what events can have salutary effect on the child and what will not.

A careful mother can provide the right environment for the ideal development of the child in her womb. An ideal environment for the child in pregnancy and immediately after birth is an utopia. But the parents make their best effort to see that they provide an environment as near to perfect as possible. But the accidents of ignorance cannot be ruled out. If people are not aware of the consequences of carelessness, they may be faced with problems during pregnancy and after delivery of the child. One should realise that coming into the world without any physical defect is the right of every human being.