Upbringing Children – Part 1

Zahid Hussain

77

Training and upbringing children has been a matter of concern in every age and every time. Raising a virtuous child, through which he could get peace in the world and in the Hereafter, has always been a challenge for parents. With current advancements in technology, more challenging issues have cropped up, which have taken a toll on our health and well-being. Some of these reasons are mentioned below:

  1. Parents are uninformed about their children’s marital lives and preferences
  2. Parents are uninformed of their children’s wealth
  3. Importance of paying heed and attention to upbringing of children in this world and the hereafter
  4. Parents are unaware of verses and traditions related to upbringing of children and the importance attached to the matter

We implore Allah through the right of the Holy Infallibles (a.s.) that He guides us on this subject. Before delving into the verses and traditions, I would like to refer to an incident of Prophet Sulayman (a.s.), quoted by Allama Majlisi in his book, Hayat ul Quloob (vol. 1, p. 663)

Hazrat Sulayman (a.s.) once saw a bird who was calling his spouse to come closer to him so that they can give birth to a child who worships him. The Prophet said,

“This is much better to ask than my prayers (i.e. seeking ruler ship and government)”.

One important point to be noted here is that this is the true aim of coming to existence that can be learnt from animals as well. And, in the words of Hazrat Sulayman (a.s.), it can be inferred that having a worshipping child is better than having worldly wealth and government.

Mohaddis Noori (a.r.) has narrated an episode from Hasan Basri who says that the children are very bad things. If they survive, they hurt me. And when they die, their death unleashes sorrow on me.

This is contrary to the words of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who said,

“O Allah! This is not the case but the children are the best blessings. If they are alive, their prayers get accepted for the right of their parents and if they die, their intercession is accepted for the parents.”

(Mustadrak ul Wasail, vol. 15, p. 112)

From this incident, we realize that the sayings of Aimmah (a.s.) alter the entire altitude of man’s thoughts.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said,

“A virtuous child is a part of a believer. If he dies before his father, he intercedes for him. And if he dies after his father, Allah forgives the parents on account of the forgiveness sought by the son for his parents.”

(Mustadrakul Wasaael; vol. 15, p. 112)

Here are two incidents that further explain the narration.

First incident: A scholar narrates that he always tried to spend the eve of Thursday (Shabe’ Jumuah) in Najaf e Ashraf. He says that in one of those nights, I saw a dream in which people were gathered on the Day of Judgement. A light was descending over them intermittently with some gaps in between. Every soul was trying to catch those light, except one man. I spoke to that man in that very dream to try and understand the issue from him. He explained to him that since today is the eve of Friday, when believers pray in the world, Allah Almighty, the Most Merciful, sends down His protection on all those who get this light. The scholar asked him why he was not seeking this light? The person explained that he did not need it. On being questioned about the same, he replied, I have a boy whose name is ‘Hasan’. He sends me a glass of water each night which is enough for my salvation.

The next day, the scholar searched for Hasan and asked him how his father was? He replied that his father had passed away. Then I enquired what action he does for his deceased father. He said, “I am a poor man and find it difficult to meet my ends. However, every Friday night, I distribute water to the visitors of Imam Ali’s (a.s.) shrine and gift its reward to my father.” I then realized the truthfulness of my dream.

A few days later, I saw the same dream again. However, this time that deceased person was also trying to gather the light that was descending from the heavens. On enquiry, I was told that his son, Hasan, has also died.

So here we understand the importance of having a virtuous child.

Second incident: Once a person went to visit the shrine of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The same night, he dreamt that his deceased father was requesting him to pray for him as he was undergoing severe punishment. He woke up and at the same instance he went to the shrine of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and after the Ziyarat of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he sought forgiveness for his late father. I returned from the shrine and felt asleep immediately. As soon as I fell asleep, I again saw my father in the dreams, who was thanking me this time. He was telling me that as soon as you prayed in the shrine, Allah ordered the angels of chastisement to leave me.

So, now we understand that the prayers of a virtuous child are accepted in favor of his parents. This is an immense treasure for the Hereafter. Therefore it is very important to have a proper upbringing for our children since they will be a cherished treasure for us after we die. Not paying due attention towards the direction of virtuousness of our child may lead them astray. The other eventuality is utter disregard for parent’s rights not only after the parent’s death but also during their lifetime once they turn old. For example, I am reminded of an incident where a poor man took lots trouble to educate his child and attain a status in this world. When the son grew up, he invited his office colleagues for a dinner. When the people enquired him about the old man in the house, he shrugged them off saying that he is his servant.

Here we realize that having a worldly focus is insufficient when it comes to children’s upbringing. Rather, it is important to have an eye from the aspect of the Hereafter. A God-fearing child will not only never utter such a statement, rather he will never ever think on this line.

The reward of loving one’s child: No one will ever say that he does not love his children. This is in a man’s innate nature. At times, however, where we fall short of, is the lack of expressing our love for our children. This turns them away from us. I have myself heard children of some teacher who had children of marital age, saying thus, “Our father has all the time for his students but no time for us. Even when he is home, he is always speaking to his students. Our father won’t hug us even on the Eid days.” We need to ponder over it. When such a youth gets affection from a na- mahram, will he not get inclined towards that thing? The enemies of Ahle-Bait (a.s.) take full advantage in these circumstances and entangle the youth during these times.

{Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informed: ‘Indeed, there is a concealed victorious Imam from us such that when Allah desires to reveal his affair He would insert a dot into his heart and then He would reveal him and he would rise up with the divine affair.’}

Let us refer to some sayings of our Holy Imams (a.s.) to concur that Islam lays utmost importance to this affair when compared to anything else.

  1. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“Kiss your son. For every kiss that you take of your son, you will advance one level in the Hereafter. And the difference between each level is that of 500 years.” (Makarimul Akhlaq, p. 220)

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“The one who keeps his son happy, Allah will keep him happy.” (Oddadut Daai, p. 79)

  1. A person from the helpers (Ansaar) asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) as to whom should he do goodness with? Imam (a.s.) replied, “To your parents”. He said that his parents have already Imam (a.s.) replied,

“Then do goodness to your children.” (Oddadut Daai, p. 78; Wasaaelush Shia, vol. 15, p. 202)

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said,

“A person becomes eligible for Allah’s grace and mercy on account of his love with his children.” (Oddadut Daai, p. 78; Wasaaelush Shia, vol. 15, p. 201; Makaaremul Akhlaaq, p. 219)

  1. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says,

“Every sight of a mother with love and mercy is a worship of Allah.” (Mustadrakul Wasail, vol. 15, p. 170)

Indeed, one of the most tried and tested manner to save our children from the perils of this world and the hereafter,is not only to love them but also to display our affection towards them. According to a survey, those children who do not get affection from their parents are more inclined towards illicit relationships. And those who get the love from their homes, excel despite being expelled from their schools. Let us pledge to act on it from today itself and avail ourselves of the bounties of this world and the hereafter. Displaying this very affection to us, our Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) says,

“We are never unmindful of your protection, nor are we ever devoid of your remembrance.” (Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 53, p. 175, Hadees 7)

Let us also pledge to use kind words for our children. O Allah, hasten the reappearance of our beloved father. Ameen.

{Muawiyah b. Dahni from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the verse: ‘The guilty shall be recognized by their marks, so they shall be seized by the forelocks and the feet.’ (Surah Rahman (55): 41) O Muawiyah, what do they say about this verse? He replied: They think that Allah would recognize the sinners by their faces in Qiyamat. Then it would be ordered that they are caught by their foreheads and feet and thrown into the fire. The Imam asked – How come Allah the most powerful being in need of recognizing a creature, whom He Himself has created?

I said – May I be sacrificed upon you, then what does it mean?

He replied – When our Qaim rises Allah would bestow him the power of identifying faces. Thus he would order that the infidels be caught by their forelocks and feet. Then he would put them to the sword.}