How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]

How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]0%

How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father] Author:
Translator: Sayyid Hussein Alamdar
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category: Family and Child

How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]

Author: Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Hakim
Translator: Sayyid Hussein Alamdar
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
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How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]
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How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]

How to Bridge the Generation Gap?: [(Pidar wa Farzand) A Comprehensive Dialogue About The Importance Of Religion Between A Son And Father]

Author:
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
English

Biography of Hujjat al-Islam Wal-Muslimeen Sayyid Mohammad Taqi Hakim

He was born in the year 1926 in the famous ancient city of Shoostar, in Khozestan Province, Southwestern Iran. Both his parents belonged to religious scholarly families and therefore he spent his childhood years in a pure spiritual atmosphere. His great grandfather was a famous learned scholar; Allamah Sayyid Nematoallah Jazari. After finishing his primary education, with encouragement of his father he started his religious studies in 1950 at Shoostar.

In his early theological studies at Shoostar he finished Sarf-e-Mir صرف مير with Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammed Jaffar Marooj; Tasreef تصريف with Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Mohammad Baqir Hakim, and Hadaya هدايه under the able tutorship of Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammad Hasan Aley Tayyib. After finishing his primary theological studies within a period slightly more than two years, he was able to join the famous Religious learning Center of Qum in the year 1942.

He was resident at famous Faiziyey School in Qum for five years. In his stay in Qum he received higher theological education under the able guidance and tutorship of eminent jurisprudence such as Hujjatul-Islam Sayyid Mohammad Kazim Aley Tayyed, Mustafa Amili, Sheikh Abul Qasim Nahvi, Sheikh Abulfazal Qummi, Shikh Abul Qasim Ashtiyani, and Martyr Ayatullah Sheikh Murtaza Motahari (r.a.).

Having completed his higher education at the Religious Learning Center at Qum, he went to the city of Ahqaz Khuzestan Province in the year 1947. He stayed there for four years and during this period continued higher theological education under eminent scholars such as Ayatullah Marza Jaffer Ansari and late Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammad Taqi Aley Tayyeb.

In order to further pursue higher religious learning, he joined the famous Religious Learning Center at Najaf in Iraq in the year 1950. During his stay over there he completed higher religious curriculum under the tutorship of eminent learned scholars such as Ayatullah Mirza Hasan Yazdi, Ayatullah Sheikh Mohammad Taqi Iravani, Ayatullah sheikh Mujtaba Lankarani, and Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul ‘Ali Sabzavari. Also during this period he attended the lectures of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Mohsin Hakim (r.a.) for Dars-e-Kharij1 as well as participated in the lectures of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Abul Qasim Khoei (r.a.) for Dars-e-Kharij (Usool)2 after completing the advance theological learning during one year and a half, he again returned to Ahwaz in 1951.

He continued his stay in Ahwaz for the next 9 years and during this period taught Jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, and literature at the religious learning centers. He came to Tehran in 1961 and accepted the leadership“Imamate” of the Hisar-e- Bounali Mosque in Niavaran, and has remained in this position till today.

During his stay in Tehran, apart from his responsibilities for managing the Hisar-e- Bouali Mosque and relevant social affairs; he has written numerous books and articles covering educational, theological, and ethical matters. Also, he is a professor of Arabic at the University of Tehran and at various religious learning centers (Howze-Ilmias) in Shemiran.

He has a good command of the Persian, Arabic languages and is familiar with English. He has written numerous articles which have been published in the famous magazines of Iran namely; Payam-e-Inqilab, Khanavadeh, Ayand-e-Sazan, Iman and Saf, He is a prominent scholar and jurisprudent and have produced valuable literature covering religious, social, ethical, and medicine etc. Some of his famous books may be listed as follows:

Sayings of Imam ibn Jaffar (as), The guide for Hajj Rituals, Arabic-Grammar Guide, how to bridge? The Generation Gap, The Philosophy and Mysteries of Hajj, The Sayings of Imam ‘Ali (as), Foods and Drinks, The Message of the Prophet (S.). The Qur'an from the tongue of Qur'an, How to recite the Holy Qur'an, Hajj Guide in accordance with the decrees of Grand Ayatullah Hakim (r.a)

He has also translated numerous literary works from Arabic to Persian. His translations include: the rights of women in Islam, and the Limits of Freedom and Rights of Women in Islam. He has recently completed a book“The life of Qazi Nourirullah Shooshtari,” (956-1019 AH) who is famous as Third Martyr (shahid-e- Thalis) in the Islamic History, and was martyred by the Moghal Emperor Jahangir, his tomb is located in the city of Agra, Province of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Notes

1. Dars-e-Kharij. The highest level of theological education relation to jurisprudence, in the form of lectures, beyond the limited boundaries of text books.

2. Dars-e-Kharij (Usool) (Ibid).

An Atmosphere for Conversation

Spring has arrived and the universe is reborn. Trees once again done their fresh, green apparel. The earth becomes green and pleasant and the spring breeze is filled with heavenly fragrance. Birds are singing sweet songs. Everywhere the air is filled with joy. Sadness turns to joy. No one can tolerate saying indoors, so people, young and old, men and women, take to the fields and meadows to enjoy the spring, this new gift from God. All with their loved ones are gathered in small groups sitting around throughout the green lawns and by flowers gardens.

It is a new atmosphere. Everyone has abandoned worries about anything. Every face is wearing a smile. In short, people are moved, from with, with new thoughts and aspirations. Some are lying down without caring about their neatly pressed garments, students taking advantage of the clean fresh air, and busy studying. Families have come here to hold a family reunion. The joy of this kind of gathering is so noticeable from every face. Smiles and play are the order of the day. When tired of sitting and visiting, they strengthen their legs and take a short walk.

In one such family, there was a father busy visiting with his child. They had put the problems of their daily lives out of their minds and were deeply involved in a heart-to-heart conversation, in a totally free atmosphere. The father had long been waiting for an opportunity to open up his heart to express his feelings openly to his child. But the pressures and difficulties of daily life would not allow him to do so. However, this was a perfect opportunity. So, he took advantage of it and he finally opened up. His child too, in return, did likewise in such a warm, sincere atmosphere for a heart-to-heart conversation.

Hospitality and Appreciation

The Father

My child! If a person invites you to dinner in his home and treats you with warmth and in a comfortable environment, undoubtedly you will thank him. And if one takes you out for a meal, again, you will thank him. If while on a trip, one accommodates you over night, you will never forget his kindness. If someone invites for a lunch or dinner at his house, you will always remember his favour. If one gives you a drink when you are thirsty, I do not think you would not offer him your thanks.

If one gives you a pen or a book for a gift, every time you use it, you will be thinking of him. If one helps you rest after you are tired, you will express your thanks. If one helps you with your studies, you will tell him thank you. If one gives you a helping hand, you will be obliged to him. If one lets you use his automobile, he will receive you thanks, as is the case when someone gives you a ride in his car or when one offers you his seat on a bus. And finally, if one is only kind to you by worlds and not by his deeds, there too, it is unrealistic to say you will not say thanks.

My child! How is it then that for all these relatively small favours you show your appreciation, but to all the love, attention, care and happiness and to all the material conveniences that you parents have provided for you, you are so indifferent and are taking them for granted?

The Child

Oh, how great it is that you have awakened me. And how appropriately you brought this to my attention! I really have been neglectful as to all you love, compassion and hospitalities and have been taking them for granted. I have done so, just as one who pays no attention to the importance of the sum simply because it rises every day. Now I confess that I am greatly indebted to you and owe you all my existence. I take this opportunity to give all my thanks and appreciation to you and my mother even though I shall never be able to compensate you enough.

Mistakes and Apologies

The Father

My child! When you realize you have done somebody wrong, or have treated him in a rude manner or with harsh words, you would ask for forgiveness. If you suspect you have been disrespectful to someone or when bumping into him, you would say“excuse me, please” in an apologetic tone.

In short, you do your best to please others and keep their respect and be nice to them as soon as your realize you have offended them in the slightest way. But how is it that you would not say even one word of apology to your father and mother even though you are certain you have disobeyed, belittled and been rude to them? And won’t you try to cherish those who reared and nourished you?

The Child

I confess that I have been wrong. And now in the name of your child who is guilty of disobedience from head to toe, I beg your forgiveness.

The Most Sincere Caring

The Father

My child! Whoever does anything good for you or does you a favour, expects something in return. But your parents, who through their most sincere services and caring as well as their material means, have done their best to raise you and guarantee you comfort while growing up, have no expectation whatsoever for anything in return or to be compensated in any way. Rather, they have done so for you simply because they love you.

My Child! Think and think hard. Try to see how your father and mother are trying hard. To provide you with whatever you want and need. Remember all their wishes directly or indirectly are aimed at your interest and welfare. And when you become what you wish to be, and when your dreams are fulfilled, they will be most happy for you. And they take it as if that gave received the answer to their prayers.

My child! Don't you ever believe there is anyone on earth who will love you, or will care for you or will stand by you in the time of grief or will come to your secure, more than your father and mother do. Your Parents want your happiness regardless of anything in return. They just love you.

The Child

The harder I took, the more I realise there is no one more worthy of respect than you, my loving parents. I know of no one kinder than you. My heart tells me your kindness toward me matches that of none. I believe it is quite natural you care for me. That is because of such caring, that you do your utmost in making me happy. I wonder how much I myself will be able to do for myself.

The Unmatchable Love

The Father

My child! It seems that you have forgotten everything. You think you were born that big! You are ignoring the different stages in your life. And how gradually you have grown through them! Think of your childhood, and the many exhausting troubles your parents were through for your sake.

Think of when you were in your mother's womb1 and she carried your weight and of how she had to suffer morning sickness and many other complications related to different stages of pregnancy until you were born. That was just the beginning. The beginning of a series of new inconveniences for her as well as for your father. Your mother would nurse you, quiet you when you were crying, she would wash you, change you and keep your clothes clean.

During the night, she had to stay up in order to feed you and to lullaby you to sleep. Many time, she would beg others to be quiet so you could go to sleep. When you were healthy, they would worry that you wouldn't get sick. And when you were ill, they would do their best to seek medical assistance until you recovered your health again. In either situation, they would alter their life style to meet yours.

When you became of age you needed, even if they would do that with pleasure and satisfaction of being able to provide your food. And when you become a little older and were able to play with toys, they purchased for you toys and games.

My Child! As you grew older, they sent you to kindergarten, primary school, high school, college, and university. They paid for all your school needs to the best of their ability. They assigned a special room for your study. Around your examination time, they worry about your test results. And whenever you receive passing grades, it would make them the happiest parents under the sun. My child! When you are happy, they are happy and when you are sad, they are sad too. Whatever troubles your body and soul, or comforts it, would bother or comfort theirs.

My dear child! In the family setting, your father and mother would rather for you to be the one to have the best food, clothing, and accommodations. They would spare you from any unpreventable inconvenience. Even if they were not concerned about their own future, they certainly cared about yours. They worked hard to send you on a vacation so you would not get tired and bored. In the summer time, they would work in the hot climate but would send you to a cool place. My child! When you were at home, looking at you brought joy to their hearts. And when you were away on a trip, you were constantly on their minds. How could they forget about you? You are in their hearts. Whoever is in one's heart is on one's mind.

My child! If you were a few minutes late in coming home from school, they would worry about you. The same way if you were late coming home after going to see a friend. Think again, and think hard. Do you have anyone else in this world who would be so much concerned about you? My beloved! You are the apple of you parent's eyes, the joy of their lives and the source of their pride. Without you, the home is such a dull place. When your parents are out, their thought are with you, and upon returning home, they step in the house with anticipation of the joy of seeing you here.

My child! After your educational goal is reached and you are ready to off to work, they will use all their night and means to help you find your desired kind of employment, so you would serve your society in the best possible capacity. And now that you are putting your education to work and starting to reap its intellectual and material fruits, your parents have nor the least expectation to share its benefit with you. Instead, they are happy for your good fortune. My child! When you are ready for marriage, your parents, with their blessings and happiness, will assist you in preparing for and make happen this joyous event of your life.

My child! By the time you enter the society and occupy you place in accordance with what you contribute to it, you have gone through many life situations and in short, you have come a long way. My beloved child! Take a good look at your past. Review and analyze every event. See who had faithfully and sincerely stayed by you and helped you.

Were they any other than your father and your mother?

Yes? It was only they. It was only they who help you with your problems; got rid of obstacles from your path and help you fulfill your dreams and accomplish your goals. It was they who put up with all sorts of hardships and hazards! Words cannot express the degree and extent of all such inconveniences. Is there anyone who can do so? Only Allah knows all your father and mother had suffered for your sake!

The Child

I shall never forget all your endeavours that you, my father and mother, have done for my success, and in my upbringing. Also, I shall never be able to tell you how important you have been in my life. Or to mention the depth of your love for me. However, I look forward to finding an opportunity to express my appreciation both in words and in deeds, indeed.

Note

1. The Holy Qur'an describes this theme as follows: (Tr)

“And We have commended unto man kindness towards parents. His mother bearth him with pain, and bringth him forth with pain, and bringeth him forth with pain, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till, when he attaineth full strenth and reachth forty years.

He saith: My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favour wherewith Thou hast favoured me and my parents, and that I may do right acceptable unto Thee. And be gracious unto me in the matter of my seed. Lo! I have turned unto Thee repentant, and lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Thee).”-(46-15)

A Gift of Allah

The Father

My child! Keep in mind that children are gifts of Allah. Do not belittle this fact. Holy Prophet (S.) once said:

الولد الصالح ريحانة من رياحين الجنة

“A righteous child is a flower from flowers of heaven.” 1

He also said:

من سعادة الرجل الولد الصالح

“Of the signs of prosperity, the righteous child is one.” 2

And Imam Zain al-Abidin (as) is quoted as saying:

من سعادة الرجل ان يكون له ولد يستعين بهم

“One of the signs of a man's prosperity is having children from whom he gets helps.” 3

Imam As-Sadiq (as)4 said:

Once there was a man who said, he did not wish to have any children until he went to Mecca. There at Arafat, he came across a young man with tears in his eyes who was praying to Allah for his father. Seeing that situation, persuaded me to have children.5

The Child

Yes, a child is a gift, and man has been assigned obligations for this gift as Imam As-Sadiq (as) once said:

البنون نعيم والبنات حسنات والله يسأل عن النعيم ويثيب على الحسنات

“Sons are gift and daughters are righteous deeds. Allah holds one responsible for a gift but be rewards one for righteous deeds.” 6

Therefore, the father are responsible for their children and they should be careful how they treat and rear them.

Notes

1. The Book Wafi, Part 12, pages 196-197.

2. The Book Wafi, Part 12, pages 196-197.

3. The Book Wafi, Part 12, pages 196-197.

4. The sixth Imam, Ja'far, known as As-Sadiq (as) (83/699-148/765). The son of the fifth Imam, he lived in an increasingly favourable climate and was able to teach openly in Medina. Large numbers of scholars gathered around him to learn, including such famous Sunni figures as Abu Hanifah, the founder of the one of the four Sunni schools of law.

Towards the end of Imam Ja'far's life severe restrictions were placed upon his activities, as a result of growing shi'ite unrest. More traditions are recorded from him than from all the other Imams together. He is so important for twelve-Imam Shi'ite law that it is named the “Ja'fari School” after him. He is buried in the Baqi, cemetery in Medina.

Ja'far's fame for religious leaning was great, greater than that of his father or of any other Twelver Imam except for Ali b. Abi Talib (as) himself. Perhaps the earliest historical reference presenting Ja'far as one of the most respected and highly esteemed personalities of his epoch, and as having profound knowledge and learning, is Ya'qubi's statement that it was customary for scholars who related anything from him to say: “The Learned One informed us.”

Even the famous jurist of Medina, the Imam Malik b. anas, is reported to have said, when quoting Ja'far's traditions: “The Thiqa (truthful) Ja'far b. Muhammad himself told me that ...” Similar compliments for Ja'far are attributed to the Imam Abu Hanifa, who is also reported to have been his pupil. As-Sadiq's (as). Knowledge was great in religion and culture, he was fully informed in philosophy, he attained great piety in the world, and he abstained entirely from lusts. He lived in Medina long enough to greatly profit the sect that followed him, and to give his friends the advantage of the hidden science.

5. The Book Wafi, Part 12, pages 196-197.

6. The Book Wafi, part 12, pages 196-197.

The Results of Good Behaviour

The Father

My child! Think and see how do you wish your children to treat you and what do you expect from them. Then you would know how your father and mother want you to treat them, and you will understand that their expectations from you are fair and justified.

My child! If you wish your children to treat you nicely, appreciate you, and fulfil their obligations to you; and in the hard times, share your sorrow; and in the good times, be the source of your pride, in short to treat you with good behaviour, then do likewise for your father and mother and set yourself as an example for them, Imam As-Sadiq (as) says:

بروا آباءكم يبركم ابناءكم

“Treat your fathers with benevolence, so that your children will treat you with benevolence.” 1

The Child

It is my ardent desire to have quite capable children to help me out, and to cherish me. Thus, as they have said, I will have to improve myself and to establish an equitable relationship between you and me so that according to the principle of equal returns be worthy of having favourite children. Right now, I pledge to treat you in no way but with utmost benevolence.

Note

1. Tohaf-al-Aqool, p.359

The Fruits of Hard Work

The Father

Whatever possessions your mother and father have, such as the house and all there is in it, real estate property and others, will someday by yours, since we shall pass away and take nothing with us.

Think hard! You may even end up making better use of them. Your parents have obtained them painstakingly and with hard work. But will take great satisfaction in putting them at your disposal. They have even bought some items especially for you.

The Child

I pray that you will live for many years in happiness and in health and fully enjoy the fruits of you hard work. I do not want anything but to be able to live and enjoy life under your auspices and your protection.

A Good Reputation and the Family Environment

The Father

My child! It is you who can earn a good reputation for yourself through sincere efforts and good deeds, thus making your parents proud. Or, through mischievous and dishonest acts making them ashamed of you. Now, is it is not better to conduct yourself in the former fashion? That way, you will not only make us happy, but also Allah will be happy with you. This in itself is great blessing for you.

The Child

Everyone, instinctively, wishes to earn a good reputation for himself and his parents. However, this is directly related to the type of environment at home provided by everybody especially the elder family members. Imam As-Sadiq (as) says:

مازوى الرفق عن اهل بيت الازوي عنهم الخير

“In every family if there exists no fellowship and adaptability, it becomes deprived of Allah's blessing and bounties.” 1

Also Samuel Smiles, the famous author says:

“In any family where love and order is present, its members will have a daily life of righteousness and good deeds, its head is wise and kind hearted. One can expect to see happy, healthy and useful children come out of it. They, in turn, will follow their parent's ways and will provide happiness for themselves as well as people around them.” 2

Of course, at times one finds misleading factors outside the home causing the youth to go astray by surrendering to their sensual desires. That is the time when, if the parents don't come in and involve themselves to save their children, they will fall to ill repute and will be destroyed forever.

Notes

1. Usul Kafi, Volume 11, p. 119.

2. The Book of Ethics, Part I, p. 41.

Harmony and Co-existence

The Father

Now that we are talking about the family environment, I should tell you: The green family tree will bear sweet fruits only when its roots i.e. parent are compassionate and its branches i.e. children have understanding. This tree, in whatever home happens to be, will bring about a warm and pleasant atmosphere of love.

The sweet fruit of such a tree is comfort and happiness, because the kindness of parents and the understanding of children bring harmony and peace. That, in return, prevents creation of problems and misunderstandings. Thus, no dissatisfaction and hard feelings will appear among them, with such co-existence, everyone will discharge his own duties and will respect the right of others. The father fulfils the duties of fatherhood; the mother that of motherhood; and the children behave like children. Oh! How fortunate is a family which comprises such members and how blessed is a house that has such inhabitants.

The Child

Your conversation having such sweet words and appropriate metaphor is every fascinating for me and in respect of content too it is meaningful and perfectly correct. There is no doubt about its wisdom.

Revenge and Forgiveness

The Father

My child! When a person insults your mother or father or even treats them with disrespect, it is possible that because of natural instinct they may keep it in their heart and may look forward for a proper opportunity to take revenge from the person. However, no matter how you, my beloved child, mistreat them or how unpleasantly deals with them, they not only will not find a hatred against you but they also will not attempt to get revenge from you.

The Child

The purity of your hearts has impressed me so deeply. No matter how bad my behaviour should cause a slightest heartbreak, you would soon forget about it and would resume your cheerfulness.

This is because of my good fortune that the Almighty Creator has created you so compassionate to treat me with kindness and love and to never ignore me.

Complaining and Hoping for Forgiveness

The Father

My child! Following our discussions in the past, I do not believe you would ever mistreat, hurt or disobey us in any manner, shape or form. Nor would you turn away from us in disgust. Whatever we tell you does not come from mere carnal desires, but it is inspired by our love to you and is in your interest. So, listen to us and do as we suggest so you will find success and happiness.

The Child

When I was a child, I was ignorant. Now that I am a young man, I am suffering from pride. These two elements have prevented me from fulfilling my obligations towards you and from pleasing you. If my immature behaviour has caused you any hardship, or if I have ignored you, I sincerely apologize. And I hope that you will forgive me, as the great people do forgive. If parents do not forgive their children, then who would? And if they do not excuse them, who would?

Sufferings and Hopes

The Father

My child! Your father and mother have suffered a lot, gone through many ups and downs and thicks and thins, joys and sorrows in raising you and bringing you up to this stage, Look now! If you prove to be a bad person, you have spoiled all their sufferings and hopes.

The Child

Whenever, in appearance, I disagree with you, in reality internally, I feel ashamed and sorrowful. The more I disobey you, the sorrier I become. I pledge that from now on, I would be beneficial to you. If not that, at least I would not cause you any harm.

The Religious Beliefs vs. Superstitions

The Father

My child! Now that you have become mature, wise and of age, instead of honouring and respecting you parents, you are calling them ignorant, old fashioned and superstitious! What you call superstition, they consider religious knowledge and tradition. And they are deeply committed to observing them. Don't you think they could be right? And couldn't what you refer to as superstition be a set of truths that can be understood only after comprehension and attention?

My beloved! Speak with your conscience for a moment. Think about the things you label nonsense. See if you are not mistaken. Think hard and apply your wisdom for analyzing your understanding regarding religious facts. If you feel helpless, you may seek assistance from the religious scholar. See what can you come out with? Do you find them to be superstitious? Or are they a strong moral code based on logic, science, and discoveries?

I bear witness in front of my conscience that if you follow this method, and if you sincerely look into the roots and the branches of religion, you will then believe in them in a scientific and logical manner. And therefore while your parents were committed to their faith on the basis of following (Taqlid)1 of the others, you will become Muslim in your own capacity on the basis of enlightenment achieved by you, after a through knowledge of the religion.

The Child

The illogical statements and irrational behaviour of some people in the name of religion make us turn away from it. The superstitions which appear as religious facts as well as hard to believe imaginary rituals caused us to flatly reject religion. Otherwise, most of us young people do believe in the Islamic teachings and we look at the Holy Qur'an with extreme respect. Further, we have no difficulty in accepting the factual aspects of the religion.

Of course, we still need guidance in understanding of what we consider ambiguous and unclear. We also need someone to touch our hearts with simple but interesting explanations about our religious obligations and to convince us of the necessity of following them.

Note

1. A Muslim must accept the fundamental principles of Islam (Usulud-din) with reason and faith and must no follow anyone in this respect without proof and conviction.

On the divine practical laws of Islam (ah-kamud-din) one must be either a mujtahid (authority) based on reasoning. Or, one must be confident enough in one's ability to cautiously judge between rulings of different mujtahids (for example: If one mujtahid forbids an act and others do not, one must refrain from committing that act, or if one mujtahid makes an act obligatory and others only recommend it, one must perform that act).

If one is not a mujtahid and does not have such confidence in himself, then one must follow a (taqlid) of a particular mujtahid and act according to his rulings.[Tr].

The Right Way

The Father

The illogical words, the inappropriate deeds of some people, and the superstitions which have entered into religion, have no relationship to Islam, and they ought not to be considered a part of it. One should not accept them. Instead, one must fight against them. Rejecting such things, is by no means for disbelief in the true religion. You must only stick with the truths of the religion and get rid of all the fallacies.

The Child

Although I do not have the wisdom to tell you what to do, but allow me to say: when you find any fault with me, please try to explain it to me in a manner that I have the capacity to understand. If I ask you a question about the reasons why some act of worship is done in the way it is, or if I question the philosophy behind some others, do not get upset with me, and do not call me a disbelieving Kafir.

In School, I have studied mathematics and natural sciences and have become mostly familiar with physical reasoning. But some religious matters seem unacceptable and complex to my mind. I have to ask about such matters. If you explain the answers to me in any easy to understand language and in a nice and logical manner, I will be convinced and will accept them. It would make me happy to feel that I have been able to find the solutions. And probably, this will help me solve other problems too. Therefore, you should be pleased with this line of my questioning, since I am doing this only to search for and to find the truth.

The Role of the Religion

The Father

Our questioning bout religious matters is a highly recommended and acceptable deed. In order to have a stronger faith, one should accept religious matters only after conducting a thorough conscientious research. These questions not only will not upset your father and mother, but rather, will make them hopeful of a happy future for you. That is because religion is the means of improving peoples conduct. The Prophet (S.) says:

اني بعثت لا تمم مكارم الاخلاق

“I was assigned (to Prohethood) so that human being may achieve perfection in good conduct.” 1

Anyone who approaches religion has a better conduct.

This better conduct in itself, is the source of happiness. Therefore, the parents are dutiful to accept such a child with open arms and to offer him religious guidance following logic of the Holy Qur'an as it says:

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ

“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching: and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (The Holy Qur'an 16: 125)

Therefore parents are obliged to provide easy answers for the different religious questions raised by their children.

The Child

It is very pleasing to see you agree with me on this particular subject. I should thank you for that and I am hopeful that with your help and guidance, I will be able to acquire new knowledge about religion.

Note

1. Mohjatul Baiza, vol. v.p. 89.