Dear spectators, may the Peace, Marcy and Blessing of Allah the Almighty be upon you all. Welcome to a new episode of the TV programme Faith is Good Conduct. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Muhammad Rateb Al-Nabulsi, the Professor of Scientific Inimitability of the Noble Quran and Sunnah in both the Faculty of Islamic Law and the Faculty of the Fundamentals of Islamic Religion in Damascus. Dear Dr. Nabulsi you are so welcome.
Thanks, Mr. Alaa', may Allah reward you handsomely.
Last episodes we talked about the causes of marital discord and how harmony in the family can be maintained. In fact, the family is the most essential element of society. When we build a good and coherent family, we will have a good and coherent society as well.
Dear Dr. Nabulsi, one of the greatest tasks of the family is raising children up properly to be righteous, active and productive in their society. As we mentioned earlier, what we mean by the family is the parents; the father and the mother. In some families, the mother, as well as the father, may attain great success at work or in certain fields, but they may fail in their most essential duty; they may fail in bringing up their children well (according to the teachings of Islam), and in disciplining and educating them well in order to be productive members of their society. Unfortunately, these cases are widely spread in our society where the parents fail in raising up good children. Dear Dr. Nabulsi, is it acceptable for a father to attain success at work or in social relationships, but to fail in bringing up his children in best manner?
Real success should be comprehensive not partial
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings upon Sayyidina Muhammad, the honest and the trustworthy. Mr. Alaa', may Allah reward you with goodness for raising this important subject. Basically, partial success is not real, because in order to be successful in life, man should achieve comprehensive success with regards to four basic fundamentals: first, his relationship with Allah the Almighty which should be based on deep knowledge, adherence to His Orders, and getting closer to Him. Second, his relationship with mankind; he should do good to them. The Noble Ayah below mentioned the words of Prophet Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him. He, peace be upon him, said:
"Has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat"
Thus, the first fundamental in man's life is his relationship with Allah the Almighty which should be based on performing acts of worship, loving Him, getting closer to Him, adherence to His Orders and Prohibitions, wholehearted devotion, being sincere to Him, and putting trust in Him. The second one is his relationship with people; he should be beneficent to them. It seems that the following two points summarize the essence of Islam: knowing Allah the Almighty and doing good to His creatures. Thus, getting to know Allah the Almighty is what matters most in man's life; it is the most important thing to know. Also, when man's acts of worship are right and perfect, he will be saved and successful. As I have mentioned, the second point is doing good to people around him like his wife, his children, and so on…
The third fundamental in man's life is his work, i.e. how he earns his living, asserts himself and achieves excellence in his life. The fourth matter is protecting his health. Consider the following point carefully: the failure in one of these four fundamentals will definitely affect the rest. In other words, if the failure in one of these four points (the relationship with Allah the Almighty, the relationship with people around, at work and in protecting his health) had not had any effect on the other ones, partial success could have been considered a kind of success. Whereas I deeply believe, according to social experiments, that any failure in one of these points will inevitably affects the sh3er.
Good Relationship with Allah and relationship with people:
When man does not have a good relationship with his Lord, he will not have good manners at his home, and he will not raise his children properly, but rather he will be a self-centered person who only cares about fulfilling his own pleasures, who responds to sh3er harshly, who neglects his children and who shows no respect or compassion towards his wife. Also, when he fails to have a good relationship with Allah the Almighty, he will not perform his job perfectly and sincerely, because he will lack motivation for performing deeds with sincerity.
Should the motives for performing deeds sincerely be material or immaterial ones?
They should be moral ones. If one's relationship with Allah the Almighty becomes bad, he will never keep his desires under control. Furthermore, his relationship with people around him like his wife and his children will also be affected negatively. Besides, his performance at work and his health will be badly affected as well. On the other hand, if someone has poor health, he will be incapable of performing righteous deeds or his duties. Also, if he has great relationships with his family but he neglects his work, his boss may reprimand him, and this will keep him annoyed for many months.
Based on my own long-lived experience, one will not attain genuine success until he succeeds in all of these four basic fundamentals. This fact was mentioned in the following Noble Hadith in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"The best of you is the one who is best to his wife"
Man's true manners are only revealed at home
When man is outside his home, he takes care of his clothes and his outer appearance in order to have good relations with people and have prominent social position. However, he does not have such intention at home, as there is no one watching him closely, so his true good manners are the ones he has at home. This point is highlighted in the following Noble Hadith in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives."
The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to enter his home with a smiling and cheerful face, he said:
"Treat women in an honourable manner. By Allah, none but a noble man treats women in an honourable manner, and none but an ignorant man treats women disgracefully. They defeat the noble man, but they are defeated by the ignorant one, and I would rather be a defeated noble man than a defeating ignorant one."
From my own point of view, man is not considered a truly successful person unless he achieves comprehensive success. Consider the example of a person who travels abroad to make money. This man leaves his family for a year affecting them negatively; his children have not been raised properly (according to the teachings of Islam), but rather they are always outside home playing with bad friends. Also, his wife does not wear modest clothes, and she wastes her time with her neighbors talking nonsense. After making a large amount of money, he comes back home only to find that his family is morally devastated. Therefore, all the money he collects will be valueless. Thus, the real success should be comprehensive (should be in all aspects of man's life).
Dear Dr. Nabulsi, I would like to reflect on the issue of being the best. Basically, as you have kindly mentioned, the best of people is the one who is the best to his closet kindred. Hence, the one who is the best to his society should be the best to his family, otherwise his goodness outside will be merely an illusion.
He who is ungrateful to his own parents will not be so to anyone
Based on this nice and valuable comment, I would like to say that one should never ever enter into business partnership with he who is disobedient to his parents, because there is no goodness in the one who is extremely ungrateful and disrespectful to his own parents.
Does that mean when someone for example asks for the hand of your daughter or a female relative under your care, you should first ask about his relationship with his parents?
By the Bounty of Allah, according to the Islamic social rules and culture, child-parent relationship in our Islamic countries is still fairly strong, unlike the one in other cultures. For example, a man travelled to a Western country, and he saw a young man standing by the Seine River completely absent-minded. When he asked him what concerned him, that young man answered, "I just want to kill my father, because he married the girl I love!" In contrast, in our country you hear a lot about a person who sells his own house in the city (Damascus) and buys a cheaper one in its suburb in order to support his sons financially when they get married. Doing that, the father reaches the state of ultimate happiness, because he helps his children have prosperous future. Thus, the family relationships in our society are still fairly strong.
Objectivity lies in mentioning pros and cons of everything
It really saddens me that we, as Arab Muslims, practise all the time what is called, "self-flagellation"; we criticize ourselves severely, while our countries have great ancient civilization, high principles and values, family cohesion, and love and mercy which are spread in our society. Hence, we should not forget these positive aspects while comparing our underdeveloped countries to the most developed ones. On the other hand, when one describes the modern life of non-Muslims in the West, he should mention the negative aspects in their life (not only the positive ones), such as wife swapping, pornography, homosexuality, and all other negative aspects. It is recommended that when you describe your own country you should mention the positive aspects as well as the negative ones. Verily, that is the rational attitude you should adopt.
Dear Dr. Nabulsi, I was granted a scholarship from the Public Broadcasting Corporation to study in Germany. The first lecture I attended there was delivered by a senior professor in which he said, "Perhaps you are quite amazed by some matters concerning our highly developed country which distinguish us among other countries. However, we suffer from many serious social problems. Just as everywhere in the world, in our country there is a light side and a dark one next to it." The critical point is that one should be objective; he should mention both the advantages and the disadvantages of everything to reach a kind of balance. As you have kindly mentioned, we have some positive aspects which distinguish us among sh3er, such as high moral principles and social cohesion. On the other hand, we should find solutions for our drawbacks.
I would like to affirm that we are civilized people with regards to our high moral values and standards, while the West (the non-Muslims) have made dramatic progress with regards to all aspects of their life, but when it comes to dealing with underdeveloped nations, they become quite uncivilized. Thus, we are civilized people, but at the same time we are still underdeveloped, while the other party are highly advanced nations, but they treat other nations like savagely.
Dear Dr. Nabulsi, do children's misery inevitably, necessarily or definitely cause parent's misery?
Children's wretchedness will surely cause parent's wretchedness
Mr. Alaa', may Allah reward you handsomely for referring to this point. Consider the precise meaning of the following Noble Ayah in which Allah the Almighty says:
"So let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery."
In Arabic, the transliteration of the following phrase "that you be distressed in misery" is Fatashqa not Fatashqaya which means the pronoun you in the above mentioned phrase is a singular masculine pronoun not a plural pronoun. While the pronoun you in "let him not get you both out of Paradise" is a plural pronoun.
Scholars of the science of Balaghaa (Arabic rhetoric), explains this Ayah saying that when man's life is miserable, his wife's life will be miserable as well. Accordingly, when children are miserable, their parents will be also miserable. Once I delivered a lecture in the United States of America in which I said, I "If you are able to reach the highest political position in the world such as that of President Clinton (who was the U.S. President at that time), if you are as rich as Onassis, and if you are as knowledgeable as Einstein, but your son is not well-mannered, righteous and educated as you wish him to be, you will be the most miserable person in the world."
When I meet someone who is fairly successful, but his sons and daughters are heedless of Allah; they turn away from His Path, they come back home too late at night, and no one dares to ask them where they have been, I believe that such a father is the most wretched person among all people. Thus, unless your child is as you wish him to be, you are the most miserable person in the world. Allah the Almighty refers to this point in the following Du'a (invocation) that is mentioned in the following Noble Ayah:
"Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes,"
A righteous son is better than the whole world's wealth
By Allah, Mr. Alaa', the feeling of happiness which fills the father's heart when he realizes that his son becomes a righteous person is really indescribable. In business terms, even if one has 1 billion dollars, having a righteous child is more valuable than this considerable wealth. Usually parents neglect bringing up their children properly at their early age, but when their children grow up, they find that it becomes too late.
A scholar, who is specialized in making leaders of children, visited our country once, and he delivered a lecture. He stressed the importance of the first seven years of a child's life, he stated that "unless one raises his children properly during these years, all efforts exerted after that time are perhaps useless." Let me give you an example of teaching a baby in his first year. If your 3 month-old- baby is fed, dry and worm, yet he keeps crying, you should not carry him to stop crying, because then he will use crying as an effective means of bothering you (forcing you to carry him whenever he cries), so you should not carry him.
When you care deeply about bringing up your child properly during the first seven years of his life, you will inculcate fundamental principle in him, such as honesty, fidelity, moderation in eating and drinking, taking care of teeth, taking care of personal hygiene, and tidying up clothes. When you teach your child those values, they will become lifelong habits. Whereas in most households, there is lack of order, and tidiness, so eating, drinking or relationships are but a complete mess! Those small mistakes become serious over time then the house will turn into a piece of Hell.
The purpose of marriage is not merely to fulfill desires, as some people mistakenly think, but rather it is a huge responsibility for which the spouses will be called to account before Allah the Almighty. It was mentioned in the tradition that on the Day of Resurrection, the deviated girl will stand before Allah the Almighty and say, "O Allah, I will never enter the Hellfire but after my father, because he was the main cause of my moral deviation (he did not raise me according to the teachings of Islam)."
Your child is part of your fate
Let me tell you that whoever has children should devout himself to them and should care deeply about their faith, morality, health, education, social relations, and so on. As you have kindly mentioned, Mr. Alaa', the one whose children are well-disciplined will be one of the happiest people in the world even if he has a low-paying job, eats cheap food, and lives in a modest house in a poor district. On the other hand, some people live in luxurious houses while in fact their life is a piece of Hell. Allah the Almighty says:
"But verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider's house;"
It has been scientifically proven that the spider silk is five times stronger than the steel, which means the frailty or the weakness stated in the above mentioned Ayah is not related to the structure of the spider silk itself; it is not material weakness but moral frailty, because the spider female eats its male and its children. Actually, the family in which the familial ties between its member are fragile, disorder, discord and self-centeredness prevail, some children stick up for their father while the sh3er stick up for their mother, and absolute chaos is manifested, could be compared to the spider weak house.
I would advise every father to sit together with his children at only one mealtime at least. As you have kindly stated, when the children are distressed, their parents will definitely have the same feeling, which is a very trivial and self-evident thing. Actually, I may meet a person who is remarkably successful, but when it comes to his delinquent son, I find that his heart is filled with bitter sorrow because of him. Unfortunately, it is true, stark, and self-explanatory fact (to be miserable if your son is miserable).
Man's relationship with his father or his mother is a matter of fate. Once a man told me that he was in disagreement with his mother, so I advised him jokingly to divorce her! He was quite astonished at my answer, so I told him that having this mother is his fate (it is one of the unchangeable matters related to the Qadar (Divine Decree). Similarly, having your child is your fate, even if you neglect him, he is still your child. Therefore, when he is distressed you will have the same feeling, and you will be deeply depressed by his moral deviation.
No one wishes to see anyone better than him, unless he is his own son.
The father's love for his child indicates Allah's love for His worshippers
Mr. Alaa', may Allah bless you, consider the following point which I deem quite clear: how could Allah the Almighty make us acknowledge His Divine Character while no vision can grasp Him? It is through the father-child relationship. As if Allah the Almighty has made it as a simple example of His relationship with His worshipper. To illustrate this point, consider the example of a man who enjoys perfect health, and who is financially independent, which means he is self-sufficient, and he does not need his children's support, neither financially, morally, nor socially. Nevertheless, his heart will be filled with great happiness when his son becomes a highly successful and righteous person. This is a moral relationship that is not based on personal benefit. Allah the Almighty says:
"And by the begetter (i.e. Adam) and that which he begot (i.e. his progeny);"
It seems that Allah the Almighty has made the father-son relationship an example of His relationship with His worshipper and has made it one of Allah's signs which indicates His Existence. Once Prophet Musa (Moses) peace be upon him, saw a women baking bread in the oven, and whenever she baked one loaf, she kissed her child and embraced him. Upon watching this, Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, said, "O Allah! How merciful this mother is!" Allah the Almighty said, "This is a part of My Mercy I put in msh3er' hearts. Look what will happen if I take it out of her heart" What I am telling you is just an allegory. After Allah the Almighty took mercy out of the mother's heart, she threw her little child in that oven the minute he cried. This strong emotional bond exists between the father and his children or the mother and her children is an indication of Allah's Mercy and Love. Allah the Almighty says:
"And I endued you with love from Me"
Some scholars say that the father's love for his son indicates Allah's Love for him. If it were not for this love, no one would bring up his child. Unlike Muslims, many people in non-Muslim countries take care of their pets (dogs for example) instead of their own children.
This is what we notice; as if they replace their children with puppies! Dear Dr. Nabulsi, what is the symbol of the continuity of man's life, is it the prominent position or wealth?
A righteous son is the symbol of the continuity of man's life
The things you have mentioned are temporary and evanescent. Actually, the real symbol of man's continuity is the pious child. Once, I attended a condolence ceremony of a great scholar in Damascus who used to be the Khateeb (is the person who delivers Friday Sermons)in the Umayyad Masjid. That 3 –day- ceremony was held in the same Masjid, and on the last day, his son, who was also a scholar, delivered a sermon (just like his father). I was deeply touched by seeing him, thinking that although the great scholar died, he seemed to be alive (metaphorically) as long as he left behind a son who is a religious knowledgeable scholar and a successful preacher like him.
I hope every son be a symbol of continuity of his father's life, because instinctively every human being is very fond of his existence, safety, perfection and the continuity of his existence. The safety of one's existence is achieved by obeying Allah the Almighty, and the perfection of his existence is achieved by doing one's best and making every effort to perform righteous deeds so that Allah the Almighty will raise his rank. He says:
"And the righteous deeds exalt it"
As for the continuity of one's existence, it is achieved by raising up his children properly (according to the teachings of Islam). Actually, man's real success lies in bringing up righteous, truthful, faithful, and chaste children who excel in their school, and who treat sh3er with respect and dignity. Whenever you meet such a child you spontaneously make Du'a for his father.
That sense of continuity is mentioned in the following Noble Hadith in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"a righteous son who prays for him."
This Hadith goes as follows: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him."
"Ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah)" means to participate in or to contribute to building a Masjid, an orphanage, a hospital, a school, etc... "beneficial knowledge" means the Islamic books he had written, "and a righteous son who prays for him."
This Hadith includes the sense of continuity we have discussed; these kind of righteous deeds continue after one's death until the Day of Resurrection.
The good deeds of your righteous descendant will be recorded in your book of deeds
Mr. Alaa', it was mentioned in the relic that after one dies, his good deeds which are mentioned in his book of deeds will increase when his righteous son, whom he brought up properly, makes Du'a to Allah the Almighty for him. Furthermore, all the good deeds his righteous children perform will be recorded in his book of deeds as well as in theirs. The proof in mentioned in the following Noble Ayah:
"And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything."
Some scholars of the interpretation of the Noble Quran say that "we join their offspring" refers to the good deeds of their righteous offspring. For example, if someone has a righteous son, and his son chooses a righteous wife in order to bring up his children properly, and if his grandsons also have righteous children and so on until the Day of Resurrection, all the good deeds of his righteous descendants (who perhaps become 3 million people), will be recorded in his book of deeds as well as in theirs. Verily, this is the way Allah the Almighty grants us His Great Bounties abundantly. He says:
"And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything"
Dear Dr. Nabulsi, would you kindly mention a brief and perfect method of raising up children properly?
Everyone should guide his children
1- The father should guide his son regarding his faith
You should help your child get to know Allah the Almighty, know the reason why he was created and know what kinds of deeds he should perform in this life. He should explain to him why Allah orders us to adhere to His Orders and Prohibitions and that these Orders and Prohibitions are not meant to restrict our freedom, but to keep us safe (from Allah's Punishment in the worldly life and the Hereafter). Let me elaborate, if you see a high-voltage sign, do you think that it is hung there in order to restrict people's movement? Absolutely, it is not. It is hung to assure their safety. Man will fully comprehend the essence of Islam when he realizes that Allah's Orders and Prohibition are intended to ensure his safety.
Thus, the father should sit down with his child for considerable time and talk to him about many important religious matters, such as the merit of gaining money in a Halal (lawful) way. Also, he should tell him about the fact that there is no deprivation of enjoying pleasures in Islam, because there is a lawful and pure way to fulfill every lust Allah the Almighty has created inside man. For example, when someone marries a righteous wife who will raise his children in the future properly, his house will turn into a piece of Paradise, unlike the one who fulfills this lust through an unlawful relationship; he will have no value in the Sight of Allah, and people will despise him for that. Actually, there is a huge difference between the two cases.
Thus, every man should provide his children with the adequate religious education. He should tell him about the purpose of one's creation and the meaning of Halal, Haram, righteous deeds, goodness, evil, and so on. Those basic principles should be learnt at an early age. In addition, the father should ask his son to refrain from what Allah prohibits, to avoid lying because the one who lies will lose other's respect, and to avoid careless mistakes at work, because people will no longer trust him, and so on. In brief, every father should guide his children to have a good religious education.
2- He should guide him to have good morals
Consider the slight hint in the following Noble Hadith (in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, stressed both good manners and religious commitment):
"If there comes to you one with whose character and religious commitment you are pleased, then marry (your daughter or female relative under your care) to him,…"
Consider the following tradition in which Ja'far Ibn Abu Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, who was chosen as the spokesperson for the Muslims to the King An-Najashi (Negus), mentioned some of the Islamic morals such as faithfulness, fidelity, etc… He said:
"O King, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sorts of abomination and shameful deeds, breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah sent us a Prophet, one of our own people whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity were well-known to us. He called us to worship Allah alone and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors used to worship besides Allah. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed. to avoid obscenities and false witness and to refrain from appropriating an orphan's property and slandering chaste women."
Thus, Islamic method of raising up children focuses on moral education, but it should be preceded by religious education.
3- He should guide him to be psychologically balanced
Also, children should get psychological education. They should be taught how one blames himself, how he should be a self-reproaching person, how to avoid being arrogant, feeling superior to sh3er or building his success at the expense of sh3er (building one's glory on the ruins of sh3er), how to be humble and beneficent, and so on… Children learn such matters through psychological education.
4- The father should guide his child to be socially healthy
Children should get social education; they should know how to apologize, how to perform deeds perfectly, how to communicate with sh3er, and so on… In Netherlands, job applications include a certain condition which may seem strange to us, as Arabs. It is the ability to work in a team, whereas many people prefer to work in an atmosphere of competition not cooperation.
I wish we could continue our discussion but we are running out of time. Next time, insha' Allah, we will continue talking about these great and interesting subjects which will really benefit us in our social and economic daily activities and our social relationships.
Let me say one last point: the most effective way to bring up your children properly is to set a good example for them.
would like to conclude this program by thanking Dr. Muhammad Rateb Al-Nabulsi, the Professor of Scientific Inimitability of the Noble Quran and Sunnah, and by being grateful to him for the clarification he provided. Next time, insha-Allah, we will continue this discussion.