Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bringing Up Children in the West

Bringing Up Children in the West
By: Jan Ali Kazmi
It is one of the most important duties of the parents to protect their children from falling a prey to the evil and sinful habits and practices of the western societies. It becomes even a greater challenge for the parents living in the western secular societies because the chances of children being spoiled is far greater in these countries than in most of the eastern countries like Pakistan and India, Iran and the Gulf. And if the Parents do not perform their duties well then it becomes very difficult for the children to remain on the right track. It is just like that if a child does not know how to swim and we throw him into the river then obviously, the child will drown. Similarly, the practice of sex and lust is a river of sin and error and if we do not train our children to swim and fare safely through this river then the children cannot be expected to remain safe from being drowned in these sins.
Trust of God
Due to freedom of sex and disobeying the laws of God, people are dying in Millions by means of sexual diseases, like Aids, Cervical Cancer etc.. The sin of sex and lust can destroy not only the worldly life but also the life of the Hereafter. According to the traditions the most precious (valuable) trust and deposit (save keeping) of Allah that the Muslims have are the Quran and the Ahlul-Bait, and after these two possessions the most precious trust which people have are the children. And man is both responsible and answerable for these possessions as he has been made a trustee over them. Sometimes we see that parents feel satisfied over the fact that they themselves are following the rules and regulations of Islam and performing all their religious duties but their children sons and daughters do not care for their religious duties and obligations, and for this the parents blame the social setup and the social conditioning. However, this is not a good excuse, because it is the duty of the parents to teach their children the rules and regulations of Islam and thus save them from the wrath of the fire of hell. Because the Quran calls out that, “It is your duty to protect yourselves and your close ones from the hell.” Moreover, for this it is been stated in a tradition that the Prophet (PBUH) said that,
“On the Day of Judgment a shameless (dishonourable) girl would be thrown in hell and right after her the mother of the girl would be thrown in the hell fire, although the mother herself was very modest and used to cover herself from head to toe."
At this, the angels would question Allah as to why this treatment is been meted upon the woman. Allah would reply that,
‘She was modest herself, but did not give her daughter the lessons of piety and Modesty and Hijab”.
Then the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) continued that,
“Then a boy or a girl would be thrown in hell because these were heedless (negligent) of their Obligatory Prayers and right after them their parents (who used to perform their prayers) would be thrown in hell. Their crime would be that they used to perform their Obligatory prayers with care but never advised their children to do so and in this way they had been dishonest with the trust (Amanat) of Allah.”
Let us take an example to make this notion (idea) of dishonesty with the trust of Allah more clear and comprehensible. For instance, if a man gives me a hundred rupees, and says that I should keep the money with me as his trust or deposit, and he would come to take it back after a year during the Hajj or the Ramadan season etc. If the man returns after a year and asks for the money and I deny having any such trust or deposit then can I be called an honest person. Thus, I will be called a dishonest person and I will be answerable over the money on the Day of Judgment and will have to suffer torments (afflict) of hell for that injustices. Therefore, if a man shows dishonesty with the deposit of a human being in the world then he will have to be answerable before the man and will have to suffer for his dishonest act. Thus, the point to be pondered is that if a man shows dishonesty towards a trust of Allah, then will he not be questioned over it and will he not have to suffer for his dishonesty and carelessness. Children are no doubt the deposits and trust of Allah and the parents are no doubt answerable for this trust.
Responsibility of Parents
The responsibility of the parents is to give their child a good name then to teach them to read the Holy Quran, and to say their prayers and it is not difficult to teach them these practices at an early age. The real test of the parents begin when the children enter the age of youth, because now the chances of getting distracted (harassed) are even greater. An Example, there was a very good boy who had a very good character and when the parents were asked to arrange the marriage of the boy the parents thought it funny that the boy should be married at such a young age. After two years the same boy who was of a very good character and who used to attend the regular Majalis of Muharram was found to have run away with a European girl. The parents still think of him to be little baby.
All the cause of these problems is narrow-mindedness and following of customs, which are against reality and intellect. Secondly, the parents profess (affirm) great demands and conditions for the marriage of their sons and daughters, which is wrong and against the teachings of Islam. The only condition, which Islam holds is that the person should be modest in character, and God-fearing. Once a man asked the Imam Hassan (AS) that his daughter had grown old enough to get married but he could not find any suitable proposal for her. At this the Imam asked as to what was the reason and what were his conditions and the man opened a list of his conditions at which the Imam said that he was wrong because the only thing which should be seen in a man should have fear of God (piety). Moreover, the Imam gave a logical explanation by saying that,
"When the daughter would get married to a man who is fearful of God, then even if he would not like the girl because of some of her habits. If he is fearful of God then he would not torture your daughter. On the other hand if he had every thing which you demanded but was not God fearing then he would torture your daughter if he would not like your daughter.”
Divorce has become a business and a fashion in the west, while this act is condemned and looked down upon in the eastern countries like India and Pakistan. We find many examples where women get married to a Millionaire and then get divorced to secure money, and then they get married to another man and get divorced to secure money. Thus, it is a business and moneymaking profession of many women, because these practices are not condemned in these countries. Unfortunately, our Muslim families are becoming a victim of the curse of divorce too, and we find many cases in which thousand of dollars are been spent on divorces. The reason of all these tensions is that people do not seek an Islamic solution to these problems and react very emotionally and impulsively (sudden action) on very insignificant problems.
Conditions before Marriage
In Quetta there was an experiment carried out and people who were about to get married were made to fill certain questionnaires through which their choices for a life partner could be discerned (distinguish). These questions were been based on certain issues, which could become a problem in future and thus result in divorce so that people with the same thought process and understanding could be made to know each other and get married. For instance the male was asked to specify their choices of a life partner, whether the girl should be highly religious and performing all the obligations of Islam or could a mediocre (ordinary) girl be sufficient (enough). Then how would they want to live after their marriage, as a unit family or joint family, thirdly as to who would be the head of the family to decide over important issues like future of the children etc. and similar questions were been asked to answer. Then these people were divided into groups depending on the category of their choices and finally female members of similar aptitude were brought to know each other to get married if they wished by the marriage bureau.
It would be an excellent development if a world wide marriage bureau is created through the Internet and the Muslims throughout the world get a chance to choose their life partners through this platform then there is no doubt that many of our social problems can be easily solved. We then can also be saved from the curse of divorce. And there is no doubt in the fact that the Ahlul-Bait have advised the Muslims to be very careful in these matters and have allowed the young boy and girl to develop understanding and discuss each and every issue before marriage to avoid all future conflicts and confusions.
In Iran we see that the boy and girl get married officially some four or five years before the actual marriage. This is a good practice because then the boy instead of looking for a girl friend is satisfied with his own wife and the girl too instead of indulging in some sin can talk to her own husband-to-be, and go out with him. This is not sinful because the couple is officially married. Therefore, even if in the western countries we discard the secular practices and follow the true practices of Islam then certainly our Generation would be saved from forbidden (Haram) things and sins of sex.
Many people who follow the archaic or old traditions do not pay heed (notice) to the seriousness of the situation and do not take measures to get their children married at the right time and as a result they lose not only their son or daughter but he/she becomes a victim to the allurements of the western attractions. The infidels (unbeliever) challenge that the third generation of the Muslims is theirs no matter how much Islam they preach. This is coming out to be true because we are been caught in the conventions (practices) of either the west or we have borrowed the traditions of the Hindus. We do not care to free ourselves from the useless conventions of the Hindus customs like engagement (Mangnee) here the boy and girl do not become Mehram they cannot touch each other. Rather then engagement, nikah should be done. Therefore, if we wish that our future generation should remain true Muslims and they should be a member of the army of our Imam-e-Zamana, then we should try to counter-act these social and ethical problems and guide our future generation on the path of the true religion. In addition, it is a Jihad in the western countries that the parents try to make their children follow the Islamic practices in the midst (middle) of all the secular and immoral challenges and the entire western allurement and licentious (obscene) attractions. What is more important is that the parents should understand that the most sensitive age is the teenage from 14 years to 20 years. If they are able to save the child in this age then he will turn out to be a true Muslim and serve Islam but at the same time the parents should take some measures to satisfy the physical sexual requirements of their child and try to satisfy this natural hunger by correct methods like marriage.
Therefore, the parents in this respect should take sensible decisions and if a world wide marriage bureau for Muslims begins to function in this direction then many problems of many families could be solved. Secondly the parents should not limit themselves to only Pakistanis or Indian families but there should be some flexibility shown to include the Muslims of the other countries in the list of their approval. In this way there would be interaction and relationship formed between families and people of different countries on the basis of sharing the same religion.
Problems of Sex in the West
Yesterday we were discussing the measures, which the parents living in the western societies should take to counter the problem of sex as faced by the modern younger generation. The problem of sex is one of the major problems faced by people of the world today, and Hazrat Ali (AS) had alluded (suggested) the gravity of this problem about a thousand years ago when he said, “Sex is one of the biggest mischief or Fitna.”
Moreover, in the western countries we come across people who are so prone (subjected) to the practice of sex that they appear to be sex worshippers. To save the children from the curse of the un-Islamic practice of sex is the biggest problem for the Muslim parents living in the western countries. This is the biggest challenges to face today; if they are able to save their children from this sin then it is one of the biggest Jihads (holy war) in the way of Allah.
One of the ways, which the parents apply to prevent their children from indulging in this practice, is to frighten the children by relating the traditions, which reveal the punishment to be meted upon a licentious act.
But this method should be applied only to a certain limit because by continuously repeating the same notion of punishment might bore the children and then they might not care any more. This is because sex is a need and a physical requirement of every human being. The youth cannot be forced to avoid this act for long by fear of punishment, as we know that many complications and nuisance take place. When the Christians pronounced (decided) that a person, who avoids sex and any sexual relationship, has taqwa and piety.
This is ridiculous (absurd) as it is utterly against human nature to abstain from this sort of physical indulgence (gratify), the claim of piety. On the other hand, Islam, which is a religion of nature provides an excellent solution to the problem of sex in the practice of marriage. There is no other solution to this problem other than marriage.
Narrow mindedness, Regret later
Some people who follow customs and are narrow-minded try to suppress (subdue) or in-fact avoid facing this problem by showing confidence in their children, by saying that “Because my son or daughter is a Syed so he/she cannot commit the sin of sex," this is in fact a naïve (foolishly, credulous) appro- ach to a very serious problem. No one can be confident over these things because there are so many pressures and diversions (deviation) for the youth that they cannot protect themselves from the effect of these pressures and diversions (for instance vulgar movies, posters, and other similar attractions). Secondly, no youth is Infallible and innocent thus can be easily be caught in the sin of sex. This is because Allah has given the example, of Hazrat Yusuf in the Holy Quran and shows that only an Infallible (sinless) person like a Prophet can claim that he is protected from being lured towards sex and lust because of “Proof or demonstration (Burhan) of Allah is with the Prophet.”
The incident of Hazrat Yusuf (AS) and Zulaikha is a good example, to make people aware of the seriousness of the problem. Zulaikha who fell in love with Hazrat Yusuf (AS), she wanted to lure him towards sex and lust. The means she applied was that she made Hazrat Yusuf (AS) pass through a numerous rooms and on the walls of which were advertised vulgar and sexy pictures which would arouse (to wake) the sexual desires of a man. In addition, after passing through these rooms which were about 24 in number Hazrat Yusuf (AS) found Zulaikha seated in the last room in an extremely vulgar and nude dress. At this the Prophet of Allah admitted,
“Had I not been an Infallible, I would have been allured towards sin and sex.”
Our children and youth living in the western countries see at least sixty to seventy such vulgar scenes while going to the school daily. Thus, can we take our children to be Infallible that we expect them to remain unaffected and neutral (indifferent) among all such allurements (enticement) and attractions.
Some people are so narrow-minded that they do not like such issues to be raised by the scholars of Islam on the stage (the mimbar). This is nothing else than self deception because if the Quran does not hide such issues thus openly discussing all sensitive issues related to marriage, sex, the problems of women etc,. Then there is no harm and no shame in discussing these issues on the stage. We (the Muslims) living in the world are facing all similar problems and cannot remain oblivious (unaware) of the graveness of these issues and take no measures to avoid these acts and save our future generation from falling a prey to such crimes.
Unfortunately, no Islamic organization is working in this respect to try to counter this problem and carry out a research as to how these problems is been dealt with by the Muslim youth, living in the western secular countries. And it is not an impossible task because in the same countries if we can find examples of good and pious Muslim youth then the other bulk can also be saved from this problem but only a little effort is required in this direction to find out satisfactory solutions to this problem.
No Child is Safe, Sex Education
We find that in the schools the children are given sex education and they are taught that Homosexuality is not a sin or a crime, there is nothing wrong in this act. Although, it is one of the most debased crimes in which a man falls below the level of animals. On the other hand, we find that Islam holds homosexuality to be one of the major crimes and sins, which is not been committed even by the dirtiest and filthy animals like swine (pig) and dog. It is only man who commits this crime and thus lowers himself even below the level of animals.
Therefore, just as if in schools and colleges the children are been given sex education we should give our children a similar training and awareness on these issues. The children should not be pressurized, for example if a young boy wants to get married to a non Muslim girl then how many choices did he have before him, or did he get a chance to chose between a Muslim or a non Muslim. Moreover, it should be the responsibility of the parents to provide their sons with the means so that they may correctly choose their life partner. In this direction the children should be given the proper (correct) sex education in due time and given them a chance to choose their life partner from among the Muslim families, on the basis of mental understanding and future priorities. For example if a youth wishes to marry a beautiful girl and wants to get married to a white skinned girl, then instead of getting married to an European he should have enough choice to be able o choose from some Iranian, Albanian, or Lebanon girl. Moreover, understanding between the couple is very important to be able to counter with the problem of divorce also. In this respect, the couple can be given a chance to judge their mental aptitudes (talent) and nature through sample questioning and thus choose their partners in a scientific manner. A Muslim marriage bureau can be formed in which the Muslim youth have an opportunity to choose among many thousand Muslim boys and girls then the ratio of outside marriages can be easily countered to a large extent. And in this way the ratio of divorce can be decreased, because divorce does not take place between two people but it has its effects on two families and as a result of these act enmities (hostility) and long-lasting misunderstandings are generated between two families, which is a disturbing factor.
Marriage is for Life
Therefore a man should get married after great thinking and should not depend upon impulsive (impelling) desires because these can have long time consequences, as Hazrat Imam Jaffer Sadiq (AS) says,
“Marriage is like wearing a chain in the neck” so it should be worn (to wear, past) with care so that the neck is not strangled (suffocate) in the process. It is for this reason that in a tradition it is said that,
“A person who arranges a marriage between two Muslims gets the benedictions or reward of a Hajj.” And this is a way to solve our social problems that some youth supervised by some elder people arrange a marriage bureau and an interaction program and try to fix matches among the Muslims living in the western countries because it is in these countries that parents face most problems as compared to the eastern countries like India and Pakistan.
Thus, the task is not an impossible one only if some effort is put into it. We can create a platform in which each group have about ten thousand and more choices and the girl and boy are been asked about their preferences. For example, what type of girl or boy they want to get married to, what should be her nature, should their life partner be religious minded or mediocre or modern. Likewise, how does the couple want to live after their marriage, i.e., do they want to live in a joint family or do they wish to live solar (alone) and such related questions if they are clarified before marriage can help the couple in their future life and consequently result in happy married life.
Let us pray in the court of Allah and ask for His help to solve all our social and religious problems in this world and the hereafter. The night of Friday is the night to remember the dead ones, and we should pray for all the dead people too, this is because the spirits of the dead visit us and expect some prayers and benedictions on their account as well.

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