By Majlisul Ulama of S.A
“O People of Imaan! Save yourselves and your families (wives and children) from the Fire!, the fuel of which is people and stones…. [Surah At-Tahreem: Ayah 6]
Disobedience to parents has become an endemic problem in the Muslim Community. In this regard Muslims have followed in the footsteps of other communites among whom the dividing line between children and parents is extremely feint if not completely non-existent. Delinquency is on the increase. Kuffaar cultures and cults have made their impact on Muslim society. The embrace of westernization of Muslims have introduced all the evils of that kufr culture into Muslim homes thus bringing ruin to the holy moral fabric of the Muslim society.
Complaints of Parents
Parents are complaining of the gross disobedience of their children. From an early age the modern Muslim child displays his traits of rebellion against the parental authority. By the time he/she is a teenager there exists hardly any parental control. The child is misbehaved, displays misconduct and is rude to parents and indifferent to the demands of Islam. The behaviour exhibited by the children in these times of them being the parents and the parents the children. Children dictate the terms of their desire and parents meekly comply. Most parents in this modern age are on the defensive when they have to confront the misdemeanours of their children. In fact, parents have become scared for the reactions of their children in the event of any confrontation with them.
Parents – those who still have some religious feeling – complain about the immoral behaviour of their children; they bemoan the irreligious attitude and slack ties which their children have with Islam. When the child ultimately takes the plunge into total moral and spiritual ruin by drugs or ‘marrying’ a non-Muslim to whom the parents are violently opposed, the world of the parents comes to a crushing end. They had provided the ‘best’ worldly upbringing to their child. They slaved for the education and well-being of their child. They left no stone unturned to make their child comfortable and successful on earth, yet they are now tortured with their beloved child’s moral collapse and ruin. The child renounces and denounces his parents who can now shed tears of sorrow, grief and disappointment.
Rights of Parents
When parents are faced with the gross disobedience and obstinacy of their teenage children, they wish and pray that their children will understand the gravity of the sin of disobedience to parents. They may even tell to give their children lectures about Islam’s emphasis on obedience to parents. Some will approach others to speak and reason with the disobedient children and to make them aware of the punishment for disobeying parents. Different means and ways are explored in an attempt to bring the errant children to their senses, but all to no avail. Once the child has chosen a particular path of evil or disobedience which is his/her mind is the only correct way, he/she will walk in that direction regardless of the protests, threats and laments of his/her parents. These are daily incidents which are on the increase.
Undoubtedly, the Shariah has elaborately explained the rights of parents. The emphasis on obedience and kindness to parents is of such a high and prior degree that the Qur’an couples the sin of disobedience to parents to disobedience to Allah Ta’ala. It is, in fact, likened to shirk (association of partners with Allah Ta’ala). Hence, the Qur’an Majeed says in a number of places:
“Do not commit shirk with Allah and be kind to parents…”
After prohibiting shirk, the Qur’an prohibits disobedience to parents. A disobedient child lives under Divine curse. The rights of parents are numerous and sacred. There can be no argument in this regard. However, what is usually overlooked is that the children too have rights which are also sacred, and it is incumbent on parents to observe these rights which the Shariah has commanded.
Rights of Children
The Qur’anic verse:
“O People of Imaan! Save yourselves and your families from the fire….”
is a command to observe the rights of children as well. Since parents have grossly and miserably failed to observe the rights of their children, they are confronted in later life by the disobedience of their children. One shall reap only what one has sown. If parents study dispassionately the cause of their children’s spiritual and moral ruin, they will not fail to understand that the cause was parental neglect. The parents themselves have failed to discharge correctly and fully the sacred command of Allah Ta’ala with regard to children, hence the heart-breaking consequences they have to suffer.
The rights of children are not confined to the worldly and material well-being. Parents labour under the impression that as lomg as they have fulfilled their duty to their children with regard to food, clothes, shelter, worldly comfort and worldly kuffaar education, they have fully discharged the rights of their children. But, these provisions are only part of Huqooq (Rights) which the Shariah imposes on parents. Of far greater importance than worldly and material comfort and benefit is the Deeni Tarbiyat (training) of children. Nothing is more important than the Deeni and moral development of the child. The Qur’anic command to save one’s family from the Fire is an instruction to impart proper Deeni Ta’leem and Tarbiyat to children. Without such training it is not possible to save children from the “Fire” stated in the Aayat. The fire into which they will plunge figuratively speaking, commences right here on earth. The moral ruin and spiritual destruction which follow in the way of parentap neglect represents the Fire on earth which will devour children. In Qiyamah, the fire is of course, Jahannum in which they will be punished for their evil conduct here on earth. But, parents should remember that they have paved the path of Jahannum for their children by failing to observe the rights of their children.
The Attitude of Parents
Most parents in these days Islamically fail their children. While they slog night and day for the worldly well-being and welfare of their children, scant regard is shown for the Deeni Ta’leem and Tarbiyat of their children. The domain of Akhlaaq (Islamic Morals) has been largele excised from the lives of modernstically inclined Muslim parents. As long as the children are materially provided for and their secular education attended to, parents are satisfied. Beyond this ectremely short-sighted policy their imagination cannot dwell.
Even the smattering of Deeni Ta’leem which children are allowed to pursue in their part-time Madrasahs after kuffaar school time is imparted grugdingly and disconsolately. The little Deeni Ta’leem provided by the impoverished Madrasahs are also made subservient to kuffaar secular education. Most children emerging from these part-time Madrasahs after doing a stint of Ta’leem in haphazard fashion lack adequate ability to even correctly recite the Qur’an Shariff. As far as the necessary Deeni Masaa’il are concerned, they are grossly deficient. The issue of Akhlaq does not even feature. What then can be expected from such a child lacking entirely in spiritual and moral background.
The Most Fundamental Right
Of all the rights which the children hold over their parents, the most important is the Haqq of Tarbiyat (Islamic Morals and educational training). Since man has been created for the Aakhirah, his spiritual welfare has prior importance. The Qur’an and Hadith make incumbent on parents the provision of proper moral and Islamic educational training to their children. This department is of fundamental importance. It has a greater status than even the provision of food , shelter and clothing. The best Sadqah a man can give is to train his child in Akhlaaq (Islamic Morals).
In the program of moral training, of vital importance is the company and circle in which the child spends time and moves. Echoing the instruction of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the Mashaa-ikh say:
Better than virtuous acts is virtuous company and worse than evil acts is evil company.
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) supplicated:
“O Allah! I seek refuge with you from an evil moment and from evil company”
In this sphere the parents in this age have grossly and miserably failed their children. This Shar’i command has been completely ignored and children are exposed to the worst kind of shaitani company and influences which utterly corrupt and ruin them. Instead of ensuring that their children remain in pious company or, as a last resort, in the home environment where pious company is not available, parents are not only content, but actually encourage their children to associate with fussaaq, fujjaar and kuffaar. The best period of their formative life is destructively squandered in the ‘suhbat’ (company) of fussaaq and fujjaar secular teachers. Men and women of dubious and immoral character in secular schools become the guides and instructors of Muslim children. Children are constrained by their parents to live in the liberal and immoral school and university environment for up to twenty years or most part of their delicate lives. They mix with the opposite sex in co-ed schools. Their playmates and confidantes are non-Muslim teachers and schoolmates. While parents are too much engaged in their worldly pursuits, their children are involved in the immoral pursuits of cults and cultures of kufr to which they are being exposed. What Akhlaaq – what Islamic character can be expected of such children? How can intelligent Muslims expect such children to be obedient to their parents and obedient to the Laws of Allah Ta’ala? The logical consequence of such evil exposure is moral ruin, scepticism, atheism and delinquency. There is, therefore, no surprise when children display all their traits, habits and characteristics of the kuffaar.
Parents have to realise that they are the prime cause for the moral and spiritual destruction of their children . They have violated the sacred terms of the Amaanat and Pledge of Allah Ta’ala by their abdication of parental duty. The sins children perpetrate will be laid at the door of parents who will share the punishment in the Hereafter.
The oblique intellectual vision and corruption of intelligence of modern Muslims today have made them completely indifferent of them demads of Imaan and Islam. For the sake of worldly gain and transient pleasures and comforts they are prepared to barter away the Najaat (Salvation) of their children. Their goal in life is primarily worldly progress and perfection. In the process of worldly pursuit and acquisition the Deen and the Imaan of their children can be confounded. It does not matter to them.
Parents of this ilk are in reality the enemies of their children. They pave the path for the ruin of their offspring. The obedience to parents which the Shariah imposes as a sacred and obligatory duty on children is not related to such traitorous parents. Children are not under Shar’i obligation to obey the evil and haraam commands of such parents.
When a child has been allowed by his parents to associate and mingle with a faasiq or Kafir member of the opposite sex for years at school or university, then such parents forfeit the right to debar the child from marrying that person when the couple has gone overboard in their immorality. It then becomes permissible for such delinquent children to marry without the consent of their fussaaq parents who were instrumental in the spiritual and moral ruin of their beloved children.
It is imperative to understand that the basic cause of delinquency, disobedience and immorality prevalent among Muslim children of this age is PARENTS who have abdicated their office of parenthood by shirking the parental obligations towards their children.