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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) - 10. Knowledge and Skill

Article Index

"knowledge and awareness", man is incomplete! Man gains celebrity by "knowledge and skill". It may be more appropriate to say, that without That is why, right at the start of the Islamic movement, the first "divine revelation" which was "tutored" to the Prophet was:-

"Oh Prophet! commence reading by the name of your Nourisher, who is the Creator of the entire universe. It is He, who gave birth to Man, from the clotted (speck of) blood. Yes (of course), do read, and your Rabb (Lord, master) is very gracious. Who deliver education through (the) pen. He educated (informed) Man, regarding what he knew nothing. 89

And what a miraculous approach was adopted by the Last Prophet (SAWAW), that the light of the caravan of knowledge and understanding, so expeditiously spread far and wide, that not only a complete illiterate nation turned literate, but: in no time started educating the whole world!

Here we do not intend to mention the historical details, but our only objective is, that everyone should bear this in mind that while educating if he is unable to engrave upon the minds of his kids, the profound impression regarding the importance and significance .of "knowledge and wisdom", then the greatest wrath has befallen upon him!

The life void of thought and culture, is like a scorching desert, in which neither water nor shade is available, even to the limits of thought or idea! The Greatest Source of mercy. Hazrat Muhammad (SAWAW) says:-

"To act upon the injunction of Allah knowledge is essential. Knowledge is required for submission to Him. The good of this world, and the success in the Hereafter is dependent upon Knowledge and the evil of the two worlds is linked with ignorance!" 90 And Hazrat Amee'r (ASWS) states:-

"Alas! Had I known, what that person acquired who remained void of knowledge, and what one did not receive, who was gifted with the blessings of knowledge and wisdom?" 91 Further at another occasion while addressing a man of piety, the Holy Prophet (SAWAW) revitalized the human vision, in the following manner:-

Oh you who have accepted faith! bear in mind that the worth of your being, is due to the wealth of knowledge and etiquettes. Utilize all possible means to acquire it, because the rate at which your knowledge and etiquette would develop, to the same proportion would be an increase in your honour and dignity. 92

Whenever our fourth leader, Hazrat Imam Zain-ul-Abedeen (ASWS) used to see youngsters acquiring education, he used to call them by his side, and say:-

"May you be happy and prosperous! You are the guardian of knowledge and the watch guard of wisdom. Today you are amongst the youngsters of a nation, and in the transformed society of tomorrow you would be called the elders, you would be considered the revered (old wise)." 93

And the Sadiq-e-Ale Muhammad lmam Jaffar Sadiq (ASWS) says:-

"In the world there are only three classes of people! Those who have completed their education, those who are still studying, and those who could be termed as worthless sticks and straws! that is, one who is neither a learned, nor a student! 94

But mind it, that the knowing of the alphabets and the recognition of the words, cannot be termed as knowledge! But, if due to education, the structure of the heart and brain, and the style of thinking and intellect gets so much developed that, the elegance of civilization, the reverence of culture, the grandeur of realism, and the zenith of foresightedness, starts manifesting itself, then it could be perceived that the impressions of knowledge have just started taking their shape!

You must note, that just by going through some text, or acquiring the ability to write, or the knowledge ability of some specific terminology, and the receipt of some certificate or degree in a particular subject, from a specified institution, could help resolve the problems of bread to eat, clothes to wear,

and house for shelter, but still the battle 'is not won, due to which such a revolution starts throbbing in oneself, that the aspiration of acceptance to the acknowledged principles and theories (ideology) starts, shaping itself, that one unveils an amicable standard (scale) for organising all the movements and styles of his life, learns the technique of optimal utilization of his various potentialities bestowed upon him by nature, and gets aware of the purpose of his creation, and thereby fully commits himself for it's attainment, by every actions and deeds!

Well, these issues should be considered as the a, b, c, of knowledge, and even if this a, b, c, gets sticked in some-ones temperament, then believe me, it is a great success.! Now an educator, who intends to help develop an exactly true, real coloured, extremely attractive, and distinctively visible carvings of "knowledge and wisdom" on the highly delicate and blank (virgin) mental canvass of the youngsters under his guidance, under all circumstances, has to sincerely follow these few instructions mentioned below.

Firstly, all guardians know well, as to what role they have to play, for the education of their children!? The first step in this regard is to develop in a child, the ardent desire "to read and write", utilizing (interest generating) motivational techniques. And when they have deve1oped this inclination, then keeping in view their age, slowly and gradually start making them feel the significance of "knowledge and skill".

The parent must themselves know the fact that, according to the "Islamic philosophy", the acquirement of the treasures of "thought and concept" in all the domains, necessary for the development and progress of the Islamic Ummah, and for the existence and solidarity of the Islamic state, is regarded as essential. However spending time, energy and money on irrelevant subjects, is considered as extravagance.

Hazrat Amir (ASWS) says:"

Anyone who would involve himself in useless affairs (tasks) would never be able to surmount the actual (real) expedition of life. 95 Well, it needs to be further emphasized that, the Islamic code of life, does not accept, just book cramming (reading) as knowledge, but paves the path for concentration, foresightedness, and prudence. And furthermore, stresses upon the acceptance of theories, experiences and specialization.

They may be the religious faculties of knowledge and wisdom, or the beneficial sections of science and technology, all are the significant assets of the Muslim school of knowledge. Would the Islamic countries, forever continue awarding contracts to non-muslims, for the exploration of oil and for the operations of their petro chemical industry? Please note, that the worldly needs are in exhaustive, and therefore we certainly require atomic energy, and there is no reason whatsoever as to why we do not master the art of exploring the space! or remain deprived of the faculty of the conquest of stars and galaxies. Just as there is a requirement of artificial satellites for the tele-communication system, similarly the need for modeling of the space stations, for a strong fortified defense system cannot be ignored!

But the fulfillment of all these needs, is dependent upon the respective fields of art and technology! The leader of the pious, informs his intelligent student and dependable (responsible, faithful) follower, Kumail lbne Zia'd Nakha'ei: -

Kumail! there is no task, and no movement in this world, for which you are not dependent upon Knowledge! 96

Moreover the Holy Prophet, right from the instance of laying the "foundations" of the Islamic society, directed that "for the gaining knowledge, no one should have any hesitation in traveling to, as remote an area as, China", and if the light of knowledge and wisdom, could be gained from galaxies, then space journeys should also be made a routine of life.

However, we must not forget that, the sign of a true Muslim is, that the only Allah's will should glamour from his conduct and behavior!

A person may study whatsoever he likes, but two things necessarily be remembered! Firstly, there should not be any suspicion of dissension in the "subject", and secondly, the intent" should be, that whatsoever would be gained, be utilized for the service of the people of Allah, for the achievement of Allah's pleasures and proximity!

In other words, "knowledge and skill" should not be an economic beast! But it should be a means of producing the "submissive servants" of Allah! Well of course! we must educate our youngsters by only keeping the above theme in mind, and right in their youth, make this fact rooted deep in there intellect! This is why during childhood, religious education has been preferred above all. Because if the correct religious concepts and approach does not get rooted during the period of the growth then "education and upbringing" makes no sense.

Therefore the guardians of the Holy Book, ordained the teaching of the Holy Book as one of the standard accepted rights of the child, and a compulsory obligation upon the parents. lmam Ali (ASWS); has instructed:-

"The right of a son on his father is that, he should give him a good name, decorate him with decent education, and then impart him the education of Holy Quran." 97 The scholars who have deep insight in "child psychology", say that the period from five to eight years, is of great significance.

According to the research of Dr. Dodson, fifty percent (50%) of intelligence is developed during the age of four to eight years, and then there is an increase of thirty percent (30%), during the period of eight to thirteen years. 98 Some scholars of psychology say that, every thing that our children read, learn and observe, during this life span (i.e. 5-8 years) gets engraved, deep in to their hearts, and the memories of this period is always remembered.

Therefore this period has been selected for the education and practice of prayers, and the parents have been stressed to make their off springs habitual of praying Hazrat lmam Jaffar Sadiq (ASWS) says:-

"Stress your children to say prayers, when they have attained the age of seven years." 99 Moreover, so much information regarding the principles and commandments, beliefs and universal truths be imparted that they may not be led astray.

The great traditionalists and jurisprudist Sheikh Muhammad lbne a1-Hasan al-Ami'li, in the fifteenth volume of his precious works. Wasail ash-Shia' has casted light on this topic, and has written a chapter, spread over more than hundred pages, titled "Ah'karn ul-Au'lad (the Rights of Children)". In this chapter he has mentioned quite a lengthy list, of the responsibilities of the parents regarding the religious education and upbringing of their children.

All this arrangement is there, so that right from the start, the new generation besides comprehending monotheism, be a well wisher and a worshipper of Allah,; so that they may not be effected from any evil, and could never get detracked from the righteous path.

But, whenever you intend to reform your beloved and dear ones, it should be carried out in such a skillful and refined manner that the transference of guidance be directly from heart to heart! The style of child education, by the patron be such that on viewing the esteem environment and the approach of presentation, the child gets highly fascinated!

However the problem is relatively difficult! But it is imminent to surmount it, and the only way of it's attainment is, that the tutor needs to control himself, and have a through command over his passions. When the child perverses (baffles), does not obey him at such an occasion he must not be over powered by his temperament, be cool and calm, and try to investigate the root cause of this divergence? Why did he got irritant? and how could he tame him for the task?

Remember! the path of agony, never leads to destiny! It has a very wild reaction. Suppose that a youngster is busy in leaping and hopping, or is doing some other mockery. You do not like his attitude, and reacted violently! Instead of making use of the strength of wisdom, utilized all the power of your slaps and blows! The child would get frightened and dismayed!

Just think, what would happen on his fragile and tender fabric like mental nerves, by your strong and pounding tone! and if such explosions, become a daily routine, then no one could guarantee the normality of his mental status? No, definitely not!

That is why it is said, "do not turn mannerism to censure (penalty)". The task of the guardian is, to take interest in the personality development of the supplings. Do not gain reputation in antagony and rage!

When the Gracious Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWAW), was inquired by a father, regarding the methodology for developing good and virtuous traits in his son, the Holy Prophet enumerated some of the guiding principles, one of which was:- In educating a child, he should neither be so much burdened that, it goes beyond his endurance level; nor so much strictness be observed that he could not bear it. 100 Well, many persons are persistently irritant regarding education. They would be over sensitive to each and every issue, Where ever you find them, they are ill-tempered, and impatient. They may always be ironic to their children, and are scolding them!

By this attitude, the tender emotions of the new off-springs, who have just entered the arena of life, gets extremely negative effects! Anger; annoyance, irritation, and latter on refusal, deviation and rebellion, is it's fate! In the document on "the philosophy of ethics", written by Hazrat Amir (ASWS) to his beloved son Hazrat lmam Hasan, the light on this aspect of human psychology, has been casted in the following manner:-

Scolding and rebuking the child all the time, triggers rebelliousness in him. 101

If we wish, and are sincere in our desire, that our beloved, our delight, and our nourished child, develop in all respect into an ideal and a complete personality, then we have to thoroughly evaluate our own methods, habits and customs.

Because the children are not like "audio tapes"! They are live organisms, which observe more than they hear. And since, basically they are imitators, so whatsoever they observe, they try to imitate! Or in other words, they are the replica of the deeds and actions of their father and mother. Therefore, there parents ought to be extremely cautious in their practical lives, and have to prove highly responsible.

lmam Muhammad Baqar (ASWS) says:-

it is only the honesty and piousness of the parents, which could safeguard the children from evils. 102 And Ishaq lbne Ama'r has communicated to us, this tradition of Sadiq-e-Ale Muhammad:-

Due to the successful life of a believer (momin), Allah Almighty bestows upon welfare and prosperity to his. Sons and grandsons. 103 It should be remembered that the Holy Quran has termed the honest and obedient children as virtuous (sa'lih).Observe, how the friend of Allah Hazrat lbrahim, with both hands raised in His Grace, supplicates before Him:

"Oh my Lord! Bestow me with a virtuous son." 104 And it is stated in Surah An'biya:-

"And We bestowed upon lsma'il, a son like Isha'qh, and a grandson like Ya'qoob, and made all of them virtuous." 105 Sadiq-e-AIe Muhammad says:- "Virtuous children, are the signs of good luck for a person." 106

But the question is, does the, virtuous children, decent from above being already developed, organised, and pre-modelled, or something needs to be done, along with supplications and desires? The reply is quiet obvious, that it is not so! A lot of efforts have to be put in. The parents feed in their life blood, before their desires get accomplished!

I have already mentioned, that we have to eva1uate all the dimensions of our words and deeds. There should not be any lacking in our verdict, there should, not, be any deficiency in our daily life affairs. Otherwise, what the children would hear and observe, the same they would act upon! For example, in Surah Ana'm, the Allah Almighty has mentioned two distinctive features regarding the completeness of his Last message.

Veracity and Justice. If we have inclination towards the Islamic code of life, then in any case we cannot forego these two special elements, i.e. honesty and justice. Which means that, while we are in the limits of religion, neither their can be any wrong affair, nor a possibility of any excess, and God forbid, if some one could not follow these principles, then from the Islamic view point, his ideological status would be considered as unreliable.

Self respect, catering for the rights of the others, safeguard of trust fulfillment of promise, and in the same way, the security and protection of other "ethical virtues", are the essential elements of these two fundamental qualities. Therefore, the guardians have to demonstrate, extreme care and height of responsibility, otherwise all the plans would be topsy turvy!

If someone comes to see you, and you do not intend to see him! But in front of the child you instruct the servant, "Go, and tell, that I am not in! "The visitor left. You felt relieved, but the innocent is stunt!

The telephone bell rang. Your dear one lifted the "cradle" Inquired the name of the caller, and with an awful look, you directed, "Tell him; my son! Father is not at home!" The child mechanically uttered the same …….but?

"The princess of the House", bought a sweater for her daughter, from the "Local Market". By chance, at the same instance the neighbourer dropped in. She got sugary on seeing the attractive sweater! "May God bless you, . . . Oh what a charming, colour! From where did you bought it?" she inquired. with utmost soberity, the mother replied "It's not local. My brother brought it from San Francisco!"

The Mother boasted of it…………..But, the daughter was caught in an amaze! Seemingly these are just ordinary trifles of daily life! But from the poison they contain, the pungence they emits, it's hardly difficult to evaluate their detrimental effects.

Your innocent son, is by nature honest, without guile, and unaware of vice. On continuously hearing the incorrect statements of the family, in the beginning for a while, he would remain in doubt, but then he would start experimenting some minor fallacious deeds, and with the passage of time, lying would develop into his habit, which later on would turn into his second nature!

Primarily it is essential to realize the gravity of the problem. Well, the fallacy in daily affairs, bears two grave havocs. Firstly, that we become sinful, due to lying, and your child, who is the bounty of Allah, and a life line of the Islamic Ummah; you have not only paved the path for the utter devastation of the society,

but have also indulged in the breach of trust, which was bestowed upon you by the Allah Almighty! Regarding safeguard against falsehood, the Holy Prophet says:-

"Prevent from lying! If you think that you would "succeed" by telling lies, then believe me, it is not at all possible Lying would definitely drown you away." 107 Yet, at another instance, the True Guide (SAWAW) says:-

"The greatest decline in manly qualities occurs due to lying." 108 There is a saying of the Last Prophet (SAWAW) Refrain from lying. It disgraces a person. 109 Hazrat Amir (ASWS) says:-

(Even) if you do not have the feelings for sin, (still) refrain from lying for (the preservation of) your self respect. 110

Baqar-ul-Uloom Hazrat lmam Muhammad Baqar (ASWS) says:- Hazrat lmam Zain-ul-Abe'deen used to says to his sons:

"Falsehood, may it be minor or major, it is necessary to safeguard yourself against It. Similarly, it may be a serious issue or a joke, if something is being expressed, in no case should an incorrect, because even if a person utters a minor lie, it provides him courage to tell a major lie (later). " 111 Amongst the "creative wealth", provided to this world, is one of the chapter titled "Aqa'l(wisdom), by Bab-ul-Hawa'ij lmam Musa Kazim (ASWS). Our seventh Guide gave this document to one of his diligent student, Hasha'm lbne al-Haka'm. 112

One of the thought-provoking sentence, of this detailed instructional document, is: - "Oh Hash'am! Even if a desire is being fulfilled by an incorrect statement, still a wise person would never tell a lie." 113

Besides this, there are many other issues which are quite significant in education, but we have limited our discussion only to the fundamental issues. Therefore we intend to conclude our discussion, by just considering one more pivotal issue. See, what the Almighty Creator directs:-

"Fulfill your promises, definitely you would be questioned regarding your oaths." 114

And lmam Musa (ASWS) informs us regarding this saying of the Holy Prophet (SAWAW):-

"The person who does not fulfill his promise, should not be considered a Muslim." 115 Now here the meaning of the fulfillment of the oath or the promise, is not just only regarding a verdict or acceptance, related to big dealings, in politics, government, business or social affairs, but it do includes our minor promises, personal and in family life.

For example, the parents go for shopping, or to see someone, and do not intend to take their child along with them, but he is not willing to stay home!

Now to make him agreeable to stay home, they say. "You are a very nice child! and good children obey the advice. See, on return, we would bring a pack of candies or a battery operated car for you!" The child compromises on this attractive offer, and he starts an eager wait for their return! He impatiently pay attention to every knock. The child has a confidence in the saying of his "parents"! Many a times he models the image of his favourite object, and feels the pleasures on it's concept! And lo, the parents return! His innocent hearts palpitates in rejoice! But this continuously waiting, fully desirous child, when demands the thing from his parents, which they have promised to bring, finds that all those assurances have been lost to some unexpected situation, event, laziness, indifference, lame excuse, or antoher sensational excuse!

Believe me! no one can foresee the devastating reaction generated on the velvety heart and delicate mind of this innocent child, due to the non-fulfillment of the promised gift! Above all this, what evil attitudes and negative effects would this bitter experience generate on his innocent soul?

Moreover, if this or similar wrong promises are repeated over and over again, then how could it be expected that the child would ever honour or respect truth? and would abide by his words and promise? And moreover, when he is not convinced about the importance and significance of "promise and oath", then how it could be expected that he could become a responsible person and a model Muslim!

That is why, our leaders have given us the following directions: -

Sadiq-e-Ale Muhammad (ASWS) says: It is the saying of the Holy Prophet:

"Love your children. Be affectionate to them, and when ever you promise something with them, fulfil it without fail; because the children consider you as their nourisher, "that you are their Godfather, you are the one who provides every thing to them". 116 And Hazrat Ali (ASWS), has stated a saying of the Holy Prophet (SAWAW) as follows:-

The Prophet of Allah (SAWAW) says:- "If anyone of you have promised something with your innocent child, then he has to fulfill his promise." 117 And the Holy Prophet (SAWAW) himself strengthens our ethical values, on the following topics. He (SAWAW) says:-

"It may be a serious discussion or a joke, it. does not . benefit anyone that he utter any falsehood, and it is not also correct that someone gives a word to his child, and then does not fulfill it". 118 At another occasion He (SAWAW), guides us as follows:-

Beware! Do not make a promise, whose fulfillment is beyond your means, and do not take a responsibility, which you are unable to endure." 119 And finally, my Lord (ASWS) has defined the "fulfillment of promise" Let us engross it on our mind mid conscience.

He says:-

"By the fulfillment of promises, the virtues glittered even more". 120