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Islam and Spiritualism ( 6 Jan 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islamic Ethos Underlines Character Building With The Best Of Manners


By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

7 Jan 2013

·         "O you who have believed, save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones"  (Surah At-Tahrim 66 -6)

A family is a unit of a society. The society is, as the families are. It is the family where we come into this world. Family is, a group of people in our life, whom we hold dear and do anything to help them when needed even if it is through personal sacrifices. A family is with whom we generally agree with everything they do.  The bond with the family remains intact even in difficult circumstances.  It is in the family that we get our values and views.

On various occasions the Holy Quran and revered hadiths have highlighted the importance of the religious and cultural values injected in a child by the family. One Hadees, according to Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol.2, #3662, goes on to say that the family is responsible for Heaven and the Hell of a person.

·         A man asked the Prophet (s a w): 'What is the right of parents on their offspring?'

·         The Prophet (s a w) replied: "They are your Paradise and your Hell."

(Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2, #3662)

Reading the following Hadees,

·         "The best among you are those who have the best manners and character."" (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 8: Page 560, reported by Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Amr (r a))

Islamic ethos underlines character building with the best of manners.  The above mentioned Hadees enlightens us the importance of ‘the upbringing’ and as to why Islam has kept parents on such a high pedestal of the society. God loves people with decent manners and character. We know where we get the manners and cultures, where our character is built, who are the persons responsible for it. It is the family. A strong bond of love, cooperation, respect and mutual understanding make a family a social hub of best manners and characters which lead to heaven.

Broken cultural and social values generated by half baked, half understood and the most misunderstood religious teachings has brought in all the vices Islam is facing today. Family ties have become very weak. The words like father, mother, brother and sister now cease to generate any emotion related to them. The sensitivity of the blood relationship has somehow evaporated into thin air. It is shocking and shameful to watch today’s relations as these have limited themselves to “Hi” and “See you”. Some of us even feel ashamed to say “Assalam o Alaikum” or “Wa Alaikum Assalam” if they happen to be with their non-Muslim friends. Using the words like “Alhamdu Lillah” and “Masha Allah” or “Insha Allah” is a far cry.

When a child is born, according to Islamic understanding, he/she has all the natural elements of Islam as, the Holy Quran mentions:

·         Every child is born in on the of ‘Fitrah’, (Surah Rum: 30)

As the nature (Fitrah) of God is embedded in our soul, we are born in a state in which ‘Tawhid’ (believe in the oneness of God) is a quintessential part of our nature. According to the mentioned Ayah God Himself implanted the primordial faith, i.e. ‘message of submission to His will, in our nature. And the Prophets (peace be upon them) came to remind and guide us to our natural instinct of ‘oneness’ to which they themselves practiced and then taught to their followers.

So, by birth every human being is an ‘angel’, a soul with no negative trait or ingredient. Under mentioned Hadees of Sahih Muslim says:

·         The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “No one is born except they are upon natural instinct; then his parents turn him into a Jew or Christian or Magian; as animals produce their young with perfect limbs, do you see anything defective?”

In another Hadees:

·         "I created my servants in the right religion but devils made them go astray".

There are many devils in the world which make innocent human soul go astray but their upbringing makes it easy or difficult or almost impossible, as the case may be. If the responsibilities by the parents are not fulfilled properly they are also a devil in an unrecognised form. Let us see how the parents should play their roles to perfection.

The father: As the man is a customary head of a family he has more responsibilities. He has to see to it that he leads the members concerned not dictate his terms. Dictating his terms will leave his children psychologically half nourished either a very meek one or a very rebellious one. A father being more responsible and head means a relationship of service, love and affection with the family. A father needs to be involved in the happiness and sorrows of the family. In this era of materialistic thoughts, parenthood is also being taken in material terms. Today’s parenthood means children to be well fed, well educated and being provided good opportunities for the development and prosperity in the world.

Islam has made ‘the man’; father/husband the leader of the family and Shariah takes the leadership as the responsibility. Thus it is the responsibility of a man to uphold the Islamic education of his children. God will hold him responsible for the Islamic development and nurturing of his children. This responsibility should not be seen materialistically only. It will be highly foolish. The responsibility of a father towards his children has been clearly outlined in the following Hadees:

·         ‘That man unto whom a child is born should give it a good name and ensure the beautiful and correct Islamic nurturing of the child. When the child comes of age, he should get the child married. Should the father fail to do so and his offspring indulges in sin, then the weight and punishment of it will come to bear upon the father’ (Mishkat)

Dear fathers, this need not be taken as a burden, God helps them who help themselves. This kind of Shariaite upbringing of your children will be a source of ‘Sawab e Jaria’, continuous reward.

The mother: In Islam motherhood is greatly revered. It is the mother who introduces the child to the world. It is commonly said that ‘mother’s lap is the first school of a child’. The child’s outlook towards the world fully depends on the teachings of the mother, religious or otherwise. The lessons given to a child in his initial years have lasting effects on his character. A mother has to embed all the virtues and qualities in her children so that they are able to build a strong and virtuous society. It is said that it is easy to bear a child but difficult to raise him.

To underline the importance of motherhood see the below mentioned Hadees:

·       Each one of you is a guardian (shepherd), and each one of you is responsible for his charges . . . so the man is a guardian over his family, and is responsible for them. A woman is a guardian over the family of her husband and his children, and she is responsible for them.

In the worlds of Imam Jaafar as-Sadique (a):

·         Fortunate is the person whose mother is chaste and virtuous.

God grant us wisdom to be perfect parents.

The modern Muslim family is in conflict with two sections of Islamic ideology. While one advocates the moderate ways in keeping with the changing times, the other, the fundamentalist section claims that Islam cannot be compromised in order to adjust to the modern times. But Islam neither supports vulgarity, nudity, night club culture or mixing up of men and women in public nor is it synonymous with big beards, abhorrence to science and English or ‘pyjamas above the knuckle’. Therefore, Islam endorses a balanced approach to the world and religion and permits Muslims to adjust to the modern times through ijithad (progressive thinking).

Islam asks Muslims not to transgress limits and overdo what it teaches but teaches us to be generous and live a simple, cultured and civilised life with family and friends.

Muslim families in the non-Muslim environments encourage their children to compete with the others in the race of modernity. They are not being taught ‘modern’ living with their cultural bases but to win the race even if it requires being against the tenets of Islam. Islam being the most modern of all the religions and the most complete of all of them knows the demands of the changing times thus has enough space to adjust with the times.

May God guide us to the right path.

واللہ اعلم با لصواب   (And God knows the best what is right)