Rafed English

Family and the Circumstances of the First Upbringing

Adopted from the book : "A Glance at the World of Youth" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

The Islamic view point vis-a-vis the scientific perspective for the growing and formation of man through the stages of his existence manifest in the relationships between those stages, from the time of the uniting of the sperm and the egg up to the stages of elderliness. Islam shows that even the relationship between the different kinds of food eaten by the parents and the zygote, which forms the baby, as well as, the behaviors of the parents toward the child in his early stage and the community and the environment which surrounds him, all have a great role in the upbringing of a newly born child.

Accordingly, we see the holy prophet (s.a.w.) explains that a man's embracing a certain ideology and behaviour in his maturity and responsibility is related to the way he was raised and educated by his parents.

Thus, a person becoming a Muslim, having good behaviour, or a person becoming a deviant, shows that his parents and the way he was raised has had a hand in it. But, a person is, initially, born with a pure and clean intellect.

Although his intellect is subject to adjustment and the accomodating of different ideas and behaviours, it is in the first stage that a person and his nature is formed ... from this the saying of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) will become clear, i.e., "Every man is born on moral constitution unless his parents' will causes him to become a jew or christian or idol worshipper." 1 And the Holy Qur'an talks about this reality, i.e., the relationship between the early education given by the parents and the human behaviour after the grade of maturity and intellectually and bodily perfection.

Allah the most high is saying: "And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers - when you knew nothing - and He gave you hearing and sight and the hearts that you may give thanks (to Him)". Holy Qur'an (The Bee 16:78)

"O You who believe: Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones..." Holy Qur'an (Prohibitions 66:6)

In this view, the Holy Qur'an connects what man learns and obtains in his early stage, what he hears, sees and comprehends and with what comes to him after that, hence, it enjoins the parents to educate and discipline their children aright and warns them against negligence and carelessness (toward their children).

Imam Ali (a.s.) in his sermon to his son Imam Hassan (a.s) also connects between what man obtains and learns during the infancy stage and what his person will become in terms of thought and conduct at his puberty stage. He says: "Certainly, the heart of a young man is like uncultivated land. It accepts whatever is strewn upon it. So, I hastened to mold you properly before your heart hardened up and your mind became occupied, that you might be ready to accept, through your intelligence, the results of the experience of others and be saved from going through these experiences yourself ..." 3

Verily, by this, the Imam (a.s.) proves to us the basis of education, i.e., undertaking the education of a child (before his heart becomes hardened and his mind becomes occupied).

Certainly, this principle of education stands on a scientific or educational basis calling us to undertake the discipline of children and educating them before they grow up and their mind becomes busy with experiences and other corrupt teachings and ideologies, otherwise, we will have to start from the beginning and repeat the education once more. But, most likely, we cannot cure some deviations, and, if so, man becomes a victim and will be left in total distress the whole of his life. Thus, the foundation of most of the problems, social vices and corruption in conducts is the childhood stage which is not founded on the basis of goodness and piety.

The studies conducted on the rate of crimes in the U.S.A., in 1910, shows that 50 % of the 7,598 crimes came from family problems and separation, and that 50 % of the children in reformatory centres in England and Scotland came from broken homes. Also, the studies conducted by a German researcher on 144 criminals shows that all of them came from broken homes. And the research conducted by another German on some 2000 criminals shows that 26 % of them came from families in which the parents were separated for some reason or other. In 1942, a French researcher conducted research in the city of Paris on crime, and it shows that 88 % of the criminals came from separated families. 4

In general, the reason for good conduct is correct family education, and, likewise, most social vices, which a person practices in his puberty stage; like jealousy and having an inferiority complex, laziness, dependance, selfishness, aggression, drinking alcohol and using drugs, telling lies, stealing, hypocracy and showing bad behavior toward his fellow being, all these are attributed to the family education and discipline which he recieved in his puberty stage. Man's behaviour, morals and attributes grow, even though escaping from them and controlling them is possible. Thus, man is an existence having will, freedom of choice and power of change, although his education, if not undertaken properly, creates difficulties for him, and others may become victims of such erroneous education.

Hence, among the ways a man can understand his personality and the problems he faces or the positive side of his personality is that he should remember the nature of his first growth, and study the environment and atmosphere in which he grew up, in order to understand the source of his problems or the positive side of his personality.

Notes :

1. Bihar-ul Anwar, vol. 71, page 342.

2. Al-Tabari, Majma'ul Bayan, explanation of verse 30 of Surat-ur Rum.

3. Nahjul Balagah, Composition of Subhi Salihi, page 393.

4. Dr. Ali Muhammad Ja'afar, andath-ul Munharifun, page 60 - 62.

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