Earning Salvation (Part 1)

In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful Al Attar began his corpus by saying “We came into this world and walked around to see a few places meet a few people, perpetrate some few actions and then abruptly we left”. What matters to God is not who your parents were or what colour you were or even how old you were; He knows this better than you. What matters is what deeds you rendered forth when you were living. A lot of the youths nowadays seem to have a nonchalant approach towards the reality of life. It seems very hard for people to confront their mortality; this is not at all surprising but very shocking. A lot of us choose to be passive about life, some choose boredom and most people prefer to blot out the possibility of death in their daily activities. Even those who are characterized as adventurous only do what they do for the sake of adrenaline and not a sound purpose that has to do with a spiritual life. It is quite clear that we as a people are so disconnected with our realities that we have begun to imitate other people’s failures. Whatever takes you away from God as far as we are concerned is a disaster and a manifest one indeed! Muslims aren’t really all that great anymore if you know what I mean, though Islam will always be. The culture of curiosity, thoughtfulness, modesty and many more spiritual values have been dumped away by us for some peculiar reasons and we are left bankrupt only with the urge to copy others that aren’t really worth copying. I do not think we have reached a point of no return because I am not a pessimist but I believe we are right behind the lizard’s trail that leads into a dark hole. Just the idea of becoming a practising Muslim is as bleak as it gets for many Muslims; no wonder the Prophet upon whom be peace said “There will come a time when holding on to your Iman (belief) will be like holding on to hot coals" {Tirmidhi} Undoubtedly, it has to be agreed that for many Muslims the blame veil has to be raised off them and certainly put over their parents or guardians. The way some parents raise their children is just astonishing, the traces of the Qur’an and the Sunnah are scarcely found not to talk of practise which comes with knowledge. The idea of dedicating the child’s early years to Islamic studies is hardly an excellent notion to some parents, all they seem to care about is mathematics, physics and in some rare cases sports. I am not generalizing here because there are other parents that groom their children within the confines of Islam thereby averting possible destructive traits in them. I am in total agreement that humanists can live a good life with good ethical conduct just like Muslims would. The point atheist miss is that, our life, besides living it well should also be dedicated to the worship (Ibadah) of our Sustainer. For the Muslim, living a good life is as Allah stated in the Qur’an “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did” {Nahl 97}. Good life is based on good actions and not heedlessness. The heedless fellow is he who does not care about remembering his point of origin and return and regarding them Allah has stated “And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind” {Ta Ha 124}. Bear in mind my dear reader that heedlessness of Allah equals a bad life filled with melancholy and pessimism. As for those who are upright but still in depression or generally in bad shape, you would notice that their relationship with their Lord is still unbroken (or stronger) and they do not lose faith and of course are aware of this Hadith “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials."{Bukhari}. It is unarguable that parents generally make or break their kids and the onus is on them to mould their children into good men and women as par the Shari’a entails. One of the challenges parents have to face is changing the archetypes, being an example to your herd will most definitely be a transformative force and Allah knows best. Many a parents are raised properly by their parents though when their turn comes to do the same for their broods; they fail miserably. The clumsy idea of not overtaking the child’s freedom sips into their psyche from God Knows where. They believe that constantly checking on the kids is a fundamental flaw. Most of these parents weep later when they realise how depraved their kids have become and sometimes how dangerous they become for the society at large. Of course, the other extreme is prying over the child at all times; this can turn them into circumstantial liars to avoid being rebuked constantly. I believe with no doubt that these issues could be addressed with a full dosage of the Qur’an and Sunnah and there is no doubt about this. Parents have to teach their kids simple facts about Islam at an early age. To place subjects such as physics, economics or chemistry over Qur’an studies in the sight of your child is absolute wickedness. Ample time has to be sought after and given to the Islamic education of the child. Sending your kids to read Qur’an whilst they don’t see you doing the same can stir up hypocrisy in their hearts. Parents need to become examples in practise for their offspring and that is a Sunnah. The parents are responsible for teaching their kids to speak properly at all times. Modesty is crucial notwithstanding its natural presence in young people. Regarding modesty, the parent is responsible for preserving it and not destroying it. Both males and females have to observe hijab when necessary and the concept of the Mahram has to be taught in detail. Ibn Mahmud said “The young females expressly need to be protected from the brutes in society hence the issues of excessive make up, tight clothing, gender mixing and mingling with unrighteous friends have to discussed openly with the child”. {Kitab ul Tarbiyatul Awlad} The plain truth that Allah is the Sustainer and Provider has to be taught to the child early. A horrible mistake parents often make is tying worldly success to qualifications while the concept of salvation in the hereafter is obviously neglected. Children globally are under immense pressure to pass exams even though the effects of this pressure are not realized. Due to this blunder, a frightening number of the youths grow up with a cynical view of everything around them. A lot of children under this attack grow up without the much needed capacity to love or to be loved. The child needs to be allowed if trained properly to make choices in life. The guardian can step in with authority only when the child needs it and that moment is often clear for experienced caretakers. I recommend a book by John Taylor Gatto titled “Dumbing Us Down” for a better understanding of what we have just mentioned. Reflect on the saying of the Prophet upon whom be peace when he said “Remember frequently the thing that cuts off pleasures," i.e. death." {Tirmidhi} and contemplate also on his saying, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he took Abdullah Ibn Umar by the shoulder and said to him, 'Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller on the road." {Bukhari} Certainly, any parent that wants to raise a pious man or woman should make the remembrance of death a part of their spiritual training. Allah said in His Magnificent book “Every soul shall taste death. You will be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, has triumphed. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of delusion”{Ali Imran 135}. To reflect on death is imperative because it makes the world seem insignificant and every grief unworthy of too much worry. Unfortunately, a lot of children will be raised with overconsumption as a norm but any serious parent will protect his young ones from this. Abstinence (Zuhd) is considered a pristine virtue and will be rewarded immensely in the Hereafter. Giving should be encouraged and taking, eating, sleeping and owning too much should be discouraged. Any parent that successfully creates in his child a yearning to meet his Lord on good terms has indeed earned salvation for their child, may Allah make it easy for us. I could have said more but I do want to bore you with so many words. Take what you can from what has been written and practise the best out of it may Allah bless you with approval. If I have said anything that is erroneous in this short essay is from me and I hereby ask Allah to forgive me and you. Whatever I said that is correct is from Allah and I supplicate to Him for His abundant blessing both upon me and you.

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