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

The Child’s Rights

The Father

My child! In order not to judge in a one sided manner, I should tell you that as any child is obligated to his parents, they in return are obligated to him too. In reply to a man who had asked about his obligations to his child, the Holy Prophet (S) said:

تحسن اسمه وادبه وضعه موضعاً حسناً

“It is for you to give him a good name and to raise him in a good manner and to teach him an appropriate trade” 1

The Holy Prophet (S) has other points in this respect such as:

علموا اولادكم السباحة والرماية

“Teach your children swimming and archery.” 2

يلزم الوالدين من العقوق لولدهما ما يلزم الولدلهما من عقوقهما

“Parents are equally obliged to discharge their responsibilities towards their children and are accountable in case of failure. Similarly children are responsible to discharge their obligation towards parents” 3

رحم الله من اعان ولده على بره قال قلت كيف يعينه على بره قال يقبل يسوره ويتجاوز عن معسوره ولا يرهقه ولا يخرق به

“May Allah have mercy upon those parents who help their children so that the children could reciprocate the same towards them. They asked how they can help. He replied by accepting any easy task he may fulfill; and by not requiring him to do hard labour; and by not being rough and unfair to him.” 4

Imam ‘Ali (as) says:

لا تقسروا اولادكم علي اخلاقكم فانهم مخلون لزمان غير زمانكم

“Do not force your children in having the same characteristics as you do. Because they created in an era which is different from yours.” 5

Further he said:

وحق الولد على الوالدان يحسن اسمه ويحسن ادبه ويعلمه القرآن

“A father has three obligations towards his child: 1. To give him a good name, 2: To raise him in a good manner, and 3: To teach him Holy Qur'an.” 6

I think, by this, he does not merely mean the pronunciation of Qur'anic words, but rather the practice and implementation of its commandments, method, and its exalted moral guidelines in their day of day lives. You should familiarize yourself with the sublime realities in the Qur'anic text, so that you can meet your spiritual needs. What better honour is there to lead a life according to the teaching of the Holy Qur’an?

Our fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (as) says:

واما حق ولدك فان تعلم انه منك ومضاف اليك في عاجل الدنيا بخيره وشره وانك مسئول عماوليته من حسن الادب والدلالة على ربه عزوجل والمعونة له على طاعته فاعمل في امره عمل من يعلم انه مثاب على الاحسان اليه معاقب على الاسائة اليه

“You should be aware of the fact that your child has come from you and that people associate his good or bad deeds with you. You are responsible to teach him good manners, and to guide him to the way of the Creator of the World and to help him on obeying Him. Most assuredly, you will be rewarded for the being good to your child, and will be punished for abusing him.” 7

Imam As-Sadiq (as) says:

برالرجل بولده بره بوالديه

“He who is beneficent to his child, is so to his parents” 8

Our seventh Imam, Imam Musa al-Kazim,9 (as) says:

يستحب عرامة الغلام فى صغره ليكون حليما فى كبره

“It is appropriate to encourage a boy during his childhood to do difficult work in order to grow up a patient and meek adult.” 10

The Child

As you admit for the most part, rearing a child and preparing him for a material and spiritual life is up to his parents.

Notes

1. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211

2. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211

3. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211

4. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 219-211

5. Al Imam Ali, vol. III, p 733

6. Nahjul Balagha, p. 546.

7. Wafi, Part III, p.127

8. Wafi, part II, p. 211

9. The Seventh Imam, Musa, entitled al-Kazim (128/44-183/799). The son of the sixth, he was contemprerary with such Abbasid caliphs as al-Mansur and Harun al-Rashid. He lived most of his life in Medina with several restrictions placed upon him and finally died in prison in Bagdad. After him, the Imams were often not able to live in their traditional home of Medina, but were forced to remain near the caliph in Baghdad or Samara. He is buried in Kazimayn in Iraq.

10. Wafi, Part II,P. 211

The Responsibilities of Fathers & Mothers

The Father

My child! Based on the verse in the Holy Qur'an that advise benevolence to parents, next to worshipping of Almighty Allah, it is understood that next to our obligations to Him, there is no greater obligation than that to our parents.

The Child

My honourable father! Your responsibilities to me as parents are as great as your authority over me. It is all up to you as to how you raise and rear me and how to educate me. Our times are different from each other’s. Our environment too is different from that in which you were growing up. A simple life, with no means of corruption and not too many social obligation or luxuries, raised you to the way you are. But I was born into this world in the age of Atom, machine and cinema and in a polluted environment.

As if I were to spend all day and night serving you would not be too, much, you should do likewise for me, and have a watching eye day and night one me in this rough sea (of life). If I am about to drown, grab my hand and rescue me. Parents should periodically go to their children's schools and inquire about their education and behaviour from their teachers. Ask about their associates and close friends and particularly to ask about where they spend their time when they are out for the evening.

At night at home they should help their children with their homework by offering them guidance. If they are about to engage in an unwise activity, they should stop them by explaining to them the harms that may be involved. In this way, they will learn from their parent's past experiences. Of course, their involvement should not be detrimental to the children's independent personality or to their confidence building.

Rearing of a Child

The Father

My child! Speaking of rearing of a child, I must agree that a child is capable of being trained. If it were not so, we the parents, would not have been obligated for your upbringing.

He also is capable of improving. Many evil doers who received the right kind of advice became righteous people. And many ill-tempered accepted guidance and converted into good natured gentle individuals.

So, in this manner, it is only wise for parents to offer their good advice to their children whenever they note the later are starting to misbehave or weaken their religious beliefs. Not by beating them up or by putting them under material pressure, or by kicking them out of the house. Rather, by offering advice or by having a mutually trusted individual talk to them and give them guidance. Furthermore, in a sympathetic way, they should pray to Allah that the child be corrected. They should rest assured that he will then be guided.

A man named Dawood (David) went to Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) complaining about his own son that he had wasted a large amount of his money. The Imam said to him:

استصلحه فما ماة الف فيما انعم الله به عليك

“Try to correct your child. And know that compared to the blessings of having a child, one hundred thousand Dirhams (dinars) are nothing.” 1

The Child

As you just mentioned, the best way to rehabilitate a child and bring him back to doing good deeds again, is by telling him the solutions in a soft voice and in a respectable manner. One should avoid harsh words so the child would feel that all that is being said is well intended and is only for his welfare and that the purpose is to change his course to the right path in life.

Note

1. Wafi, part XII, p. 211

Importance of Mother's Rights

The Father

My child! Please be aware that the rights of mothers are more important than that of the father. An individual once asked the Holy prophet (S)“To whom should I be kindest?” He replied:“Your mother.” Then he asked:“After her, to whom” He again said: Your Mother”. The man asked the same question for the third time. The reply was the same, Your Mother”. And he repeated his question for the fourth time, the Holy Prophet (S.) answered him“Your Mother.” 1

Again a man asks the Holy Prophet (S.) about being kind to parents. In reply for three times, he said:“Your mother” : and only then he said“Your father.” 2

Perhaps there are two reasons for this importance: (A) Motherly affection, and (B) Mother's influence on the child's character. Perhaps there are two reasons for this importance: (A) Motherly affection, and (B) Mother's influence on the child's character.

A. Motherly Affection

It is the mother who suffers more pain in taking care and in protection of the child. She nourishes and brings up the child in her love filled lap until she delivers him to the society. One would be quite astounded to realize what a mother does for her child. Only then, one would agree that none would match a mother. Not even an affectionate maid or babysitter. Suppose a maid or a babysitter is able to offer the services, they do so in return of a wage, not merely for the affection to the child. It is the mother who suffers more pain in taking care and in protection of the child. She nourishes and brings up the child in her love filled lap until she delivers him to the society. One would be quite astounded to realize what a mother does for her child. Only then, one would agree that none would match a mother. Not even an affectionate maid or babysitter. Suppose a maid or a babysitter is able to offer the services, they do so in return of a wage, not merely for the affection to the child.

B. Mother's Influence on the Child's Character

The mother lays the basic foundation of the child's behavior and character. As through her mild she provides nourishment for the body, through her teachings, she strengthens his spirit. Consequently, the child inherits his mother's mannerism, habits and other characters since early infancy and will keep them throughout his life. Finally, the child's happiness depends on the way he is reared by his mother.

The Holy Prophet (S) says:

لا تسترضعو الحمقاء العمشاء فان اللبن يعدى

“Do not select foolish women or women with weak eyesight to nurse your children, because these characteristics pass into the child towards the milk.” 3

Imam ‘Ali (as) says:

انظروا من ترضع اولادكم فان الولد يشب عليه

“Be careful as to who nurse your children since they will grow up with same milk.” 4

He also says:

ما من لبن رضع به الصبى اعظم بركة عليه من لبن امه

“No milk is more blessed for a child than that of his own mother.” 5

Imam Al-Baqir6 (as) says:

استرضع لولدك بلبن الحسان واياك والقباح فان اللبن قد يعدى

“Choose good natured women for nursing your children and avoid the evil one because milk transfers character.”

Samuel Smiles, writer, journalist and Scottish politician of 19th century, said:

“Those who swing children's cradles are more influential than those who run the government.” 7

“Rearing of a child begins at the time of his first smile.” 8

“Infancy is like a mirror. It reflects whatever is placed in front of it.” 9

“The model constantly present in front of the child is his mother” 10

“Mother has far more influence on the child than does his father.” 11

An Ancient Greek once said:

“If you put your slave in charge of rearing your child, soon you will have two slaves.” 12

George Herbert says:

“One good natured mother is worth one hundred teachers.” 13

John Randolph, the well-known American politician says:

“Only one thing saved me from becoming atheistic. That was the thoughts of the moments when my mother in her death bed took my hands and placed me on her lap and made me repeat after her, her belief in the Lord.” 14

It has been said that:

“A good mother is nature's masterpieces.” 15

Napoleon Bonaparte used to say:

“A child's good and bad behaviour always depends upon that of his mother.” 16

Adams, the American President, says:

“During infancy, I had the greatest blessing anyone could have. That, having a mother who was capable of raising a family in an excellent instructions from her. If there are any shortcomings and deviations in my life, it is of my own fault and it has nothing to do with her” 17

Joseph Demister, after discussing the inventions and art works produced by some famous men, continues that:

“It is true that women have produced no such things, but what they have done is far more important than all these works because it is women who have raised such pious and industrious men.” 18

He throughout his works, refers to his mother with love and respect. In one instance, he says:

“Good natured mother was a heavenly angel who was bestowed a human body temporarily by God.” 19

Goethe had a great affection and love for his mother. About her he says:“My mother had excellent qualities for living.” 20

And when he was in Frankfurt, he would meet with all people who had in any way been kind to his mother and would thank them for that.

Samuel Johnson talks with extreme respect about his mother.

“She was a wise and well educated woman who enforced religious sentiments in him since early childhood. And in appreciation, he, with his small income, would provide all kinds of conveniences for her.” 21

The Child

I admit that the rights of mothers are extremely important. That is why to mother, I say“I shall never forget about your contribution as my mother, I have read that Heaven is under the footsteps of mothers like you and happiness comes through being obedient to you. I consider that a big mistake on my part if I am not a decent and worthy child, for you. And a life in which I do not fulfill my obligations to you would be a miserable life.”

I am certain that you will be happy with me even if I am not good to you. And no matter how nasty I am, you will forgive me. You’re being happy with me, and your forgiveness is enough to make me happy in life on this earth and to save me forever from Allah's wrath on the Day of Judgement.

Notes

1. Usul Kafi, New Edition Tehran, Vol. II p. 159

2. Usul Kafi, New Edition Tehran, Vol. II P. 162

3. Wafi, part XII, p. 27

4. Wafi, Part XII,PP. 27-27

5. Wafi, Part XII, pp. 27-28

6. The Fifth Imam, Muhammad, known as al-Al-Baqir (57/675-114/732). The son of the fourth Imam, he was present at Karbala at a young age. Because of changing political and religious conditions, among them the general revolution following the events at Karbala, many people came to Medina to learn the religious and spiritual sciences from him. He trained numerous well-known men of religion, and mainly for this reason is the first Imam after 'Ali from whom large numbers of traditions are recorded. He buried in the Baqi cemetery in Medina. [Tr]

7. The Book of Ethics, Part 1, pp. 38-48

8. The Book of Ethics, Part 1, pp. 38-48

9. The Book of Ethics, Part 1, pp. 38-48

10. The Book of Ethics, Part 1, pp. 38-48

11. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

12. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

13. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

14. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

15. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

16. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

17. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

18. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

19. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

20. The Book of Ethics, Part, pp. 40-54

21. The Book of Ethics, and Editions, Part 1, pp. 50-54

The Exciting Words

The Father

My child! We have inherited from our fourth Imam, ‘Ali b. Husain (as) a precious encyclopedia in the form of supplication and requests from Allah, by the name of al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah. I am going to read to you a passage from this book on the topic of our discussion. I hope to draw your attention to some exciting words in connection with one's obligations to his father and mother. The honourable Imam with much fear in his heart, sits in prayer in front of glory and majesty of Almighty Allah and in a humbling voice says:

اللهم صل على محمد عبدك و رسولك واهل بيته الطاهرين و اخصصهم بافضل صلواتك ورحمتك و بركاتك وسلامك واحصصهم اللهم والدى بالكرامة لديك والصلوة منك ياارحم

الراحمين اللهم صل على محمد و اله والهمني علم ما يجب لهما على الهاما واجمع لى علم ذلك كله تمام

“O Lord, bless Muhammad, Thy servant and Thy Apostle and the holy people of his house.

Distinguish, O Lord, my parents with excellence before Thee and grace from Thee, O Most Merciful!

O Lord, bless Muhammad and his descendants.

Acquaint me by inspiration with the knowledge of what is due unto them from me.

Collect for me the complete knowledge of all this.

Cause me to act according to what Thou reveal to me by inspiration.

Give me grace to penetrate into such of this knowledge as Thou teach me till I omit to perform nothing Thou have taught me. Do not let my limbs grow heavy (so as to prevent them) from the discharge of what Thou reveal unto me.

O Lord, bless Muhammad and his descendants as Thou hast exalted us with him.

Favour Muhammad and his descendant as Thou has given us claims upon Thy creation because of him.

Make me fear my parents as I would fear a despotic ruler and love them with the tenderness of an indulgent mother.

Let me obedience to my parents and beneficence to them be sweeter to my eyes than sleep is to the drowsy, cooler to my beast than drinking water is to the thirsty, till I give preference to their wishes over mine and precedence to the satisfaction of their needs over mine.

Let me over-value their benevolence to me, even in small things and under-value my beneficence to them, even in great things.

O Lord, let me lower my voice for them.

Let my speech be arguable to them

Soften my conduct towards them.

Let my heart be kind to them.

Make me tender and lenient unto them both.

O Lord, reward them for bringing me up.

Recompense them for loving me.

Guard them as they guarded me in my infancy.

O Lord, whatever pain they may have received from me, whatever displeasure may have been caused to them by me or whatever duty owed to them that was left unperformed by me, let that be a pardon of their sins, and exaltation of their rank and an addition to their good deeds.

O Thou, who does change evil deeds into multiplied good deeds!

O Lord, that speech in which they were unjust to me, or that action in which they were extravagant against me, or such of my claims as they failed to satisfy, or such debts as they failed to discharge, verily, I forgive it to them and favour them therewith.

I turn unto Thee with a view to removing the penalty thereof from them.

For verily I do not accuse them falsely of having done something to my hurt, nor do I deem them negligent in doing good to me, nor do I despite the care they took of me, O Lord!

Because their claim upon me is so great, their benevolence to me so magnificent and I am as highly obliged to them, that

I cannot fairly meet, it nor repay them as they deserve.

O my God, how can I repay them for their tedious employment in bringing me up?

For their hard labour in guarding me.

For their self-denied to lavish comfort upon me!

Alas! Alas (I cannot).

Their claim can never be satisfied by me, nor can I perceive what is due from me unto them nor can I fully discharge the duty of serving them!

Therefore, bless Muhammad and his descendants. Help me, O best of all those whose assistance is solicited. Give me grace, O Greatest of Guides, towards whom people turn.

Do not let me be of those who wronged their fathers and mothers on the day wherein “every soul shall be paid what it has merited and they shall not be treated with injustice.

O lord, bless Muhammad and his descendants.

Distinguish my parent, in particular with the best distinctions which Thou hast conferred upon the fathers and mothers of Thy true believing servants, O Most Merciful.

O lord, do not let me forget to remember them after my ritual prayers, at every time of my night and at every hour of my day.

O God, bless Muhammad and his descendants.

Forgive me for the sake of my prayers for them.

Grant a sure pardon to them because of their goodness to me.

Be perfectly satisfied with them through my intercession for them.

Bring them by Thy Mercy into places of safety.

O God, If Thy Pardon for them has preceded (my prayers), then make them intercessors for me.

If Thy pardon for me has preceded (Thy forgiving them.) than make me an intercessor for them so that we may be gathered by Thy Mercy in the place of Thy grace, the place of thy pardon and Mercy.

For verily Thou art the one Whose Munificence is Great, Whose kindness is eternal. Thou art the Most Merciful.” 1

The Child

No matter how hard or how long I tried, I would not be able to observe the sensitive and important subjects on fathers and mothers as it is apparent from the beautiful and meaningful and concise words of our Fourth Imam. Every single sentence of his statements are an indication of how deeply he thinks and of how knowledgeable he is.

Such words can come only from an individual of excellent calibre and a pious man as Imam Sajjad (as). Hearing him had such an impact upon me as if he woke me up from a deep and long sleep. I pray to Allah, by the glory of this holy man and his words, to grant me that ability to put these words practice.

Note

1. Al-Sahifa Al-Sajjadiyyah, Prayer number 24 (For parents)

The Limited Obedience

The Father

My child! As important as it is to obey your father and mother, you should know that is is not an absolute must. In instances where the parents are corrupt and they encourage the child in doing wrong and illegal actions, one ought not obey them. Nevertheless, treating them with respect is always recommended. The almighty Allah says:

وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَاۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًاۖ

“But if they strive to make thee join in worship with me, things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration)” (The Holy Qur'an 31:15)

Imam ‘Ali (as) in Nahjul-Balaghah, which after the Glorious Qur'an is the best guide for mankind, says:

ان للوالد على الولد حقا فحق الوالدان يطيعه في كل شىء الا في معصية الله سبحانه

“An obligation of a child to his father is to obey him in all but not sinfulness actions.” 1

The Child

Yes, what you are saying is absolute truth. Of course, breaking Allah's rules even upon the instant of father and mother is wrong.

Note

1. Nahjul Balaghah p. 546

Forever

The Father

My beloved child! You are not only advised to treat your parents with respect in their lifetime, but after they die too, you must speak of them with honour. You must beg Allah to forgive them. For, if you are a child worthy of your father, you can still earn your parents rewards from Allah.

Imam As-Sadiq (as) says:

ليس يتبع الرجل بعدموته من الاجر الاثلث خصال: صدقة اجراها في حيوته وهى ترجى بعدموته وسنة هدى سنها فهى يعمل بها بعدموته او ولد صالح يدعوله

“After a man dies, he can still rewards from Allah in three different ways:

1. From what he has left behind which still benefits he public.

2. From establishing a useful tradition be followed by others after his death, and

3. From prayers done in his name by pious child.” 1

So, when your parents are dead and no longer are able to do rewarding deeds for themselves, you can come to their help. You can be thinking of them and make them happy by asking Allah to bless their souls. As they thought of you throughout their lives.

The Child

I pray to Allah to keep you and protect you for many years to come, and to succeed in doing my best in fulfilling my obligations to you; and to make both of you absolutely happy with me.

Note

1. Wafi part 13, p. 90

The Eldest Brother

The Father

My child! In the same way as fathers are worthy of everybody's respect, the eldest brother is ought to be honoured by all their siblings. Furthermore, the later should regard him as their father.

Our Eighth Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) had a saying in this regard:

الاخ الاكبر بمنزلة الاب

“Your eldest brother is like your father.” 1

The Child

Of course, he deserves such a high respect provided that his attitudes towards all his siblings are as that of his father. He is to treat them with brotherly love and compassion. Be nice rather than cruel to them at times. In short, be like a father to them.

Note

1. Wafi, part 14, p. 79

Caring For the Family and the Mankind

The Father

My child! In same manner that one should honour and respect his parents, it is appropriate that he be compassionate to his spouse, children, brothers, sisters and all his relatives, so life would become pleasant for him.

Lord Aviboury says:

“One must have love and kindness in every aspect of life. What is a home without love likes? How is life possible in such a home? It is possible to have a beautiful building equipped with all facilities and appliances. But such a place without love is nothing less than hell. On the other hand, if you base your home on love and friendship, you can live there in happiness forever after.” 1

He further continues:

“Life in this world is like dream. 2 It does not last long. Here man is like a drop of dew that shines of a few moments then suddenly he disappears. In this case, why should we spend this short life with misery and hardship? In our short lifetime, we should love one another and enjoy each other’s friendship.” 3

The Child

Of course, loving and caring for family, relatives and friends and all mankind, brightens our hearts and makes life a more pleasant and joyous one to live.

Notes

1. In Search of Happiness, pp. 107, 139

2. In a poem written in 1982, William Buttler Yeats commented on the brevity of human life: “From our birthday until we die is but the winkling an eye.” Also the Holy Qur'an says as follows: He says: “What number of years you did stay on earth?” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day, but ask those who keep accounts.” (The Holy Qur'an 23: 112-113 [Tr])

3. In Search of Happiness, pp. 107, 139

The Spiritual Fathers

The Father

My child! As in the same way that you are greatly indebted to your parents, we are obligated to the Holy Prophet (S.) and to our other religious pioneers and leaders. Our Holy Prophet (S) founded the religion of Islam. Imam ‘Ali (as) and other Imams strengthened its foundation as far as they possibly could propagate it, and struggled diligently for the betterment of Islam and the Muslims. They took great pains in strengthening and protecting Islam's roots against dangerous and cataclysmic events throughout their lives.

These true leaders have always had people’s interest in mind and have issued instructions for people to follow in order to achieve complete happiness in life. Through their divine influence on masses, they were able to attract their unshakeable loyalty. The later were even willing to sacrifice their own lives for the Imams.

Through following their philosophy, one can learn about perseverance, faith, strong belief, struggling for the cause of liberty, self-sacrifice, serving others, suppressing injustice, assisting the oppressed and finally bout love for human beings. My child! The entire world pays homage to the excellent thoughts and firm institutions of our religious leaders.

The Child

Of course, to be fair to our religious leaders is to put their words of guidance into practice, and to model our actions after their actions. If we could sincerely implement their guidelines our society will become the most dynamic, prosperous community of mankind. Simply, knowing their noble characters and greeting and remembering them with honour, is not enough.

I say so, because I know of people who speak of their love and respect for our Imams and utter excellent salutations after upon hearing their names and even in some instances, will rise in their honour, but when it comes to act according to their instructions, it is something else. They forget all about them.

In my opinion these sort of people simply deceive themselves, and feel happy that they are the followers of the Holy Prophet (S.), Imam ‘Ali (as), and other religious leaders. Because their acts and deed do not reflect any traces from these exalted leaders. Certainly, the Prophet and innocent Imams are unhappy with these type of people. As Islam is a practical religion, only those who adhere to and practice according to its principles, will benefit from Islam.

The Teacher's Rights

The Father

In addition to parent’s obligations, Islam attaches special regards for the teachers’ right.We must appreciate their existence and should discharge our duties and obligations towards them. It is believed that Imam ‘Ali (as) has said.

من علمني حرفاً فقد صيرني عبداً

“The one, who had taught me one word had indeed earned the rights of master hood upon me.”

It is the teacher who fights ignorance or in other words fights illiteracy. He sacrifices his productive years educating and nourishing people’s minds. Finally, it is he who delivers these services and through his endeavours brings value to the society.

A famous Iraqi poet known as Rassafi has written a beautiful and meaningful poem in praising teachers, describing their contributions in an appropriate manner, as follows:

اذا كان هل الناس مدعاة غيهم

فليس سوى التعليم للرشد سلم

فلو قيل من يستنهض الناس للعلى

اذا ساء محياهم لقلت المعلم

معلم ابناء البلاد طبيبهم

يداوى سقام الجهل والجهل مسقم

وما هو الا كوكب في سمائهم

به يهتدى السارى الى المجد منهم

فلا تبخسن حق المعلم انه

عظيم كحق الوالدين واعظم

فان له منك الحجى وهو جوهر

وللوالدين العظم واللحم والدم

الا النما تعليمنا الناس واجب

وان على الجهال ان يتعلموا

وما اخذ الله العهود على الورى

بان يعلموا حتى قضى ان يعلموا

“Whenever ignorance misleads people, there is nothing for progress except learning. If I am asked, 'when people are deep in corruption, who is the one who can save them out of it? I would “the teacher'. The teacher of the children of the country, are also their physicians who treat their ignorance. As lack of knowledge is pathogenic. The teacher is like a brightest star shining in the society's sky, who guide the knowledge seekers to glory and greatness.

Do not underestimate your indebtedness to your teacher. It equals that to your parents and even more. Your wisdom comes from your teacher while your muscles and bones are from your parents. It is our duty to teach the illiterate and it is theirs to learn. Allah has not commanded the people to learn without first making arrangement of divine teachers (the prophets) and the heavenly books.1

A Persian poet too, says:

مقدار معلم ز پدر بيش بود بيش

اين پرورش تن دهد، آن پرورش جان

“Higher than rank of the father is that of the teacher. As the former nourishes one's body while the later, his soul.

“George Herbert says: “O God! You have provided for us in every way. At first with our parents to bring us up, and later with our teachers to nourish our minds and to teach us the laws of intellect.” 2

Immanuel Kant says:“It is only through education that man can culturally become a most complete or perfect human being. In fact he is the result of his education.” 3

The Child

In general, teachers, professors and those serving others through educational activities play an important part in people's happiness. One can easily state that the people's future depends on the way the educators educate them.

Of course they should be sincerely devoted teaching and should bestow knowledge upon their pupils. They must possess a pure heart and be of excellent character to succeed in educating good-natured and enlightened students, because to receive good quality education and to learn good character, the students are entrusted to them.

Only after they have successfully taught their students, the teachers have fulfilled their grave duty. An accomplished teacher succeeds in replacing evil characters by good ones. Of course, such teachers are worthy of high recognition and respect and are considered valuable and useful to the society.

Notes

1. Iraqi poet Rassafi

2. The Book of Ethics, Part 1. p. 37

3. The Philosophy of Education, Vol. 1 p. 41

The Fatherly Guidance

The Father

My child! Do take advantage of your youth and do not waste it. Use those unreturnable years to prepare yourself for your golden years. Bravery is not when one spends his younger years in lewdness and drunkenness. Rather, it is when, in spite of his youthfulness and energy, protects himself against any kind of sinful act, and to put his future’s well-being ahead of his sensual desires and to follow his intellectual judgment in every situation.

There are some young people who know nothing about good mannerism and good behaviour. They should try to better themselves while there is still a chance and before it becomes too late. They should also free themselves from indulgence in their own desires. Instead, they should try to conduct themselves with modesty and to protect themselves behind a strong shield of chastity.

But, unfortunately, sometimes they are so deeply involved in such a degree of neglect that they cannot find a way out and fail to have any foresight. Undoubtedly, someday they will be sorry. But then, it will be too late as they have lost all their chances. My child! I am afraid you will grow up to be one of them. Choosing to lead a rebellious life, you may have a future similar to theirs.

The Child

Your fear about my future is justified because one can expect just about anything from an unexperienced young individual. But, I am hoping that with your guidance and advice you will help me find the right path and that I will be able to follow it steadfastly.

A Word of Advise

The Father

My child! Improving and refining you character and manners in more important than learning a trade or a skill and it is of more value for you than an education. I say so because an education without a good character to accompany it, and a skill in the absence of a good nature are just useless! My child! Arm yourself with good morals and pay as much attention to your conscience as to you physical appearance. My child! Do you wish for me to be like a mirror for you to tell you about your good and bad deeds? And you good and bad qualities?

And if I ever tell you of them, will you then stop the bad ones? And will you keep up with the good ones? And will you better yourself in this way? How nice it would be if you decide to do so. My child! Stay away from associating with evil-natured people. Avoid mixing with them, as it will destroy you. Many a celebrated youth who kept company of unsuitable people became misguided: and many corrupt individual who associated with the virtuous became virtuous himself.1

My child! If you do not learn from my advice, nature itself will teach you! The life's hardships and difficulties will punish you. The common everyday problems in life will knock you off your feet. Only then, you will realize that we have always had your interest and will-being in mind. And so far, all we have shown you has been a straight and safe path - and not a slippery one. And what we have warned you against has been a slippery path - and not a straight and safe one!

The Child

What an honour and pleasure for me that you be my tutor to bring to my attention my good and gad characteristics through honest criticism. So if you see any wrong doing in me, please first make me aware of it. And then show me the solution and how to correct myself. If I am corrected, it would be only, because of you and if I am not, please do not persist in correcting me. And do not turn away from me and please do not set me free on my own.

Note

1. According to famous Iranian poet Sa'di whoever associates with bad people will be see no good. If an angel associates with a demon He will learn from him fear, fraud and hypocrisy. Of the wicked thou canst learn only wickedness. A wolf will not take to sewing jackets. (The Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sa'di, p. 246). Also there is a famous verse from Molavi as follows: The son of Prophet Noah associated himself with bad people; because of that his family tree was lost forever. On the contrary, the dog of the companions of the cave (Ashab -eKahf) Sura 18 of the Holy Quran, by associating himself with the righteous people, acquired human characteristics. (Tr)