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January
10
2012
Seminars and Lectures – Australia – 3rd Journey - Lesson (05-25) – How to raise up our children and what their rights are
Last update:2012-08-02
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Introduction:

 Dear listeners, welcome to our program today, in which we have Dr. Rateb Nabulsi as our guest. On my and your behalf, I would like to thank him for being here with us. Dr Nabulsi, welcome and may Allah reward you for giving us your time; I ask Him to bless you and grant you a higher rank; and Allah is the One who responds to supplication.

Dr Nabulsi:

 May Allah bless you all, cause goodness through your hands, and make this Radio a beacon of truth for the nation; may He bless all its employees and reward them abundantly. I also ask Allah the Almighty to make this Radio a means of calling to Allah the Almighty because He says:

((And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims."))

[Fussilat, 20-21]

The interviewer:

 May Allah reward you.
 Dear listeners, we intend to devote our today's programme to an important topic, which we hope will be of great interest to most of you. Dr Nabulsi, offspring is Allah’s gift to us. Children bring joy to our hearts and talking to them often eases up things for us. However, the fact that some of them go off course in this country does break our hearts. Therefore, if Allah wills, we hope to benefit from this meeting, and begin by asking the following question: How should our children be raised?

Raising offspring is the first challenge encountered overseas:

Dr Nabulsi:

 In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful; praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may He grant peace and blessings to Sayyidina Muhammad, the Honest and the Trustworthy, and to his Family and his Companions, his descendants and all those who allied with him and followed him. O Allah! Be pleased with them and us, O Lord of the Worlds!
Lead us out of the depths of darkness and illusion unto the lights of knowledge and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Proximity.
 In fact, the issue mentioned by you in the introduction is a particularly serious one, and I can venture to say that it is the most dangerous one faced by Islamic communities in the west and the east; why is that?
 I never tire of repeating that even if you reached the most prominent position on earth, acquired the highest scientific degree, and collected the greatest imaginable wealth, but your son were not as you have wished him to be, then you would be the most miserable creature, and that is because there is a crucial connection between parents and children in terms of destiny.
Suppose, by way of example, that you spot three adolescents smoking cigarettes in the street. You don’t know the first one, the second one is your nephew and the third one is your son. You will fly into a rage seeing your son smoking; you will fell much less resentment as regards your nephew and care still less about the third one. This example proves that there is a crucial connection between father and son. Hence, let me repeat that even if you reached the most prominent position on earth, acquired the highest scientific degree, and collected the greatest imaginable wealth, but your son were not as you have wished him to be, then you would be the most miserable creature. This is why the following supplication is mentioned in the Qur'an:

((And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious))

[Al-Furqan, 74]

 Having a pious son fills the father with joy and it will be his greatest pleasure to see his son settle down, work hard, be well disciplined and reverent; have excellent reputation.
Hence, the biggest problem for emigrants is raising children because when one has made one's dreams come true; when one has a beautiful house, huge income, a cushy life and lots of civil rights, yet his son is not as he has wished him to be, he will be, despite all that, the most miserable creature on earth.
 From there arises the importance of the topic we are dealing with in this meeting as it directly concerns the Islamic community.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, sometimes we impose our will on our children, such as insisting that they should be doctors or lawyers, and this against their own preferences. Would you agree?

Children are parents' trust and they should take caer of their religion:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Indeed, it is one of the problems we suffer from as the father sometimes wants his son to be successful in terms of secular orientations, neglecting the religious ones such as his salah. We should bear in mind, though, that this son will never be able to respect his father when the latter neglects taking care of the religion of his son. The simple fact of a son having been brought up in a religious environment will make it possible for him to realize his parents' values and consequently respect them. Countless real-life stories tell us how some children were undutiful to their parents because they had been deviated from the Path of Allah.
 I remember a wealthy man back home who died leaving 4000 million. Two days after his death, his son was asked by someone he met where he was going, to which he answered -and I beg your pardon for saying it but it is necessary- he answered: I am going to drink a toast to my father’s soul.
 This is a very serious matter as he who doesn’t raise his offspring properly will be in a great loss. If your son is not what you have intended him to be, you will be the most miserable creature on earth.
 It should also be taken into consideration that raising children doesn’t take five minutes. It is a life-long process, which begins on getting married and having absolute certainty that this son is a trust on your hands.
 Some scholars even went as far as saying that the first duty a father has towards his children is to choose well their mother, that is choose a wife who will help him raise their children, is a believer, is chaste, pure and genuine.
 A woman complained once to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Allah heard her complaint. She said: "My husband married me when I was young, beautiful and rich; and had my kindred around me. When I got older, out of shape, and my kindred got dispersed and my wealth was gone, he said to me that I was to him like his mother's back. I have children by him who will be lost if I leave them and who will go hungry if I have their custody."
 The mother raises the offspring and the father spends on them. Therefore, their roles are complementary and support each other, as the former is the earner and spends on his children and the latter raises them. In fact, there are three parties involved in raising kids –the family, the school and the media. If any of these three parties is corrupted, generation after generation will be raised who are nothing but a burden on this nation (Islam) instead of being its servants. Let me put it this way: the great nation is the one who takes care of educating their young generation.

The interviewer:

 Therefore Dr Nabulsi, if the house, the school and the media are the cornerstones of education and instruction, and given that we are afflicted, or we afflict ourselves, with schools which are not really raising the young properly, nor is it done by the media, the question arises whether the family and home are enough to take over the other roles.

Setting a good example is an effective way of educating:

Dr Nabulsi:

 In fact, there is not a party on earth, no matter how great, that can be responsible for raising your son more than you are.

The interviewer:

 Does that mean that the family plays the role of both the school and the media?

Dr Nabulsi:

 Home is the foundation and it should instill discipline. It is a rule of thumb that the father teaches his son honesty by being honest himself and the mother teaches her daughter chastity by being chaste herself. Therefore, setting a good example in educating and raising children is the most influential method. This is why I always say that being a good example precedes your preaching and your honesty precedes your persuasion. Hence, open your heart to your son by being honest in order to make your son open his mind to your words. The honesty of the father is the best course of all in a household. If a wife says to her husband when he gets home that she hasn't gone out at all, but in fact she has visited, together with her daughter, a neighbour of hers, she will be lying to her husband in front of her daughter, and thus will be teaching her not to tell the truth. That is why the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to a woman whom he had heard tell her daughter "come and get it": What did you want to give her? She answered that it was a date. He responded: If you hadn't, that would have been a lie.
The upright father and the virtuous mother are the best educators of their children through their righteousness, before their speeches, instructions, advice or observance. On the other hand, a child who learns to lie from his parents will be corrupted forever.

The interviewer:

 That is because the eye catches before the ear does.

Dr Nabulsi:

 The problem we are facing is that he who lacks something is unable to give it to others. When a house lacks discipline, honesty, and sometimes chastity, and when the parents are unconcerned about their children's conduct, those will imitate them, and the apple never falls far from the tree:

If the father is a drummer
The whole family will be dancers
* * *

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, having successful children in terms of secular affairs is of little importance. Take, for example, people here (in Australia) –they complain about their undutiful children, saying they have sacrificed themselves for them; have put them in the best schools and brought the best teachers to educate them; have even taught them music –and they keep talking about these material facts, forgetting to say that they have never taught them religion, and now, after having done all that, are forced to complain about having been put by their children in old people's homes.

Old people are in need to live with their children:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Indeed, nothing is dearer to the seniors than living with their children. The western world tends to send them to old people's homes and they is proud of it, whereas it is generally considered as a disgrace in our countries, where, no matter how old the father is, he will always live together with his son (or daughter).
 One may say proudly and justly: I have five kids, and when I am old, I'll be living with them.
 A survey was run in an old people's home in France on one hundred seniors; the results showed that ninety to one hundred percent of them wished to die and they wished for nothing else, because they missed being with their children so much. By contrast, the old father in the Middle East watches his grandsons and granddaughters playing, and can be close to them, kiss and hug them; he feels the joy of being among them as, naturally, the grandchildren are the source of happiness to their old grandparents.
 One of the greatest scholars in Damascus told me once that he had eighty three grandchildren; many of them were doctors, architects as well as huffaz (those who have memorized the Qur'an by heart); and he was a hafiz, too. So I thought when I left him: Glory be to Allah! How great the system of Islam is! Look at this three-layer pyramid: the first one being the married couple; the second –their sons and daughters, who eventually get married, bringing into the family pious sons-in-law and chaste daughters-in-law; and the third layer is formed by the grandchildren. This marvelous moral pyramid starts with a licit sexual intercourse (marriage) and it leads to the superior Divine gift. Yet, this very intercourse could be carried out illicitly, in any way outside marriage, leading thus to eternal misery.
 Accordingly, when you abide by Allah’s Law, you will fulfill your desire through licit ways. I am in the habit of saying that there is always a lawful way to fulfill any lust installed in the human being. In other words, deprivation is not to be found in Islam, there always being a great alternative for every human situation.

Parents-children relationship denotes Allah’s Greatness:

 I was once told: "I used to be corrupted before marriage as I would have dates with my girlfriends, not to mention my other deviations, but let me tell you, and what I am about to say causes me pain in the heart, that half an hour with my wife equals hundreds of hours with a woman whom it is unlawful to be with." Admittedly, you are here on the safe side because Allah says:

((And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth ))

[Ar-Rum, 22]

 The "heavens and earth" is a Quranic term denoting the universe, which means hundreds and thousands of galaxies which are the outcome of the earth:

(( And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth))

[Ar-Rum, 22]

((And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves))

[Ar-Rum, 21]

 Thus, the entire universe is put on one side and the marriage system and parentage on the other side. That's why Allah says:

(( I swear by this city (Makkah);))

[Al-Balad, 1]

 It has been also interpreted by some as "the earth with all its boons":

((And you are free (from sin, to punish the enemies of Islam on the Day of the conquest) in this city (Makkah), And by the begetter (i.e. Adam) and that which he begot (i.e. his progeny);))

[Al-Balad, 2-3]

 Namely, in the same way as the universe is the greatest sign of Allah’s Greatness, so is parenting.

The educator is the first one to get the fruits of his good upbringing:

 You might read much about the Divine Entity, the Glorified Names, and the Best Attributes. However, you should also know how happy Allah is when you repent to Him, exactly like the wealthy and knowledgeable father who is in no need of his son, yet, he will be overjoyed when his son turns out to be pious and will consider him "the apple of his eye", this feeling being unknown to those who have not tasted it. The hands of a pious, chaste, brilliant and upright son will always bring about goodness.
 Teaching and raising is the first and foremost task of the educator; it is also well worth mentioning that all the benefits from raising their children will return to the father and the mother, as the happiest parents on earth are those who have been blessed with pious children.

The interviewer:

 The prudent usually weighs the pros and the cons of every, even quite little, affair of his life. This being the case, is it beneficial for a husband and a wife in this country (Australia) to be well-off as regards their finances or is it better to care less about them in order to bring up pious offspring?

Succeeding in worldly life and losing one's children is a great loss:

Dr Nabulsi:

 As far as I know, if the father has gained success in worldly life and has lost his children, his earnings will come to naught, will be void. A relative of mine who happened to be very wealthy because of his industrial and commercial activity looked carefully at his children a few days prior to his death and found them utterly corrupted, so he said to his wife: We took the ore and we left the gold.
 The greatest remorse one can feel is when one realizes that one hasn't educated one's children correctly, and that they have become lascivious and corrupted, and believe me it is scary.
I don’t consider myself as pessimist; however, on a scale from one to ten, raising kids will be the top one among all the problems faced by our brothers in their countries of immigration. As for the immigrants themselves, they arrive in these countries in their thirties or forties as married couples and most likely they are not in danger of committing fornication; there is discipline in their families to a certain point, as they perform salah, they fast, they perform hajj, and they make a living in legitimate ways. Hence, I see no problem with those. However, the problem arises when those immigrants realize that their children have gone awry.
 I paid a visit to one of our believing brothers in Australia as he invited me to have lunch with him. To my surprise, he cried, so I said: I hope everything is fine? He said: Whenever I said to my son this was haram, he answered back: Why is it haram? Whenever I said to him that was a shameful act. He responded: Why is that? And some time later his brother followed in his footsteps.

The interviewer:

 But Dr Nabulsi, lots of us are confronted with the word "why" coming from our children, and I think they need a mature answer, and not once but twice and even thrice till they stop asking.

We should think of the results when we take a decision:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Well, when this man's son said it, he didn’t mean it that way, as he wasn’t interested in the shameful nature of his acts, and he cared less about anything haram, which is a big problem. These countries grant immigrants freedom, nice views, huge incomes and classy society in terms of material achievement. Yet, people are surprised when they find out that the price for all that was their offspring.
 Let me mention something rather accurate: Science ceased to be descriptive and became quantitative, for example mathematics. Let me give you an example of what I mean. We used to say "this is a noisy place" (to somebody living near an airport). This is a descriptive statement, just like when you say that this is a noisy place and it is unbearable. But how noisy is it? We couldn't tell. Now the noise of a landing plane can be measured –it is 125 decibel. Thus, science has moved from describing things to measuring them. Accordingly, if I were able to create a unit of measurement for educating and raising kids (like the decibel is noise measurements), I would say: If your son is in an Islamic country, he will be in need of one thousand educational units in order for him to become pious; but in countries like Australia he will be in need of one million of such units, which means ten times more, and that is because the distractions are countless.

The interviewer:

 Then we must provide somehow these one million units.

Dr Nabulsi:

 Distractions and barriers, which carry within suspicion, are many; and these are advanced countries; yet, they lack religion. Therefore, he who loses his religion will lose his Hereafter and his entire existence, and that's why it has been said: If you want something badly, inspect its consequences.

The interviewer:

 And the consequences are obvious enough and were mentioned in the introduction.

There are numerous distractions and barriers in advanced countries:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Whenever you find bringing up your children in the way of Islam impossible, you should go back to your home country, where you can do that. It is a fact that you can raise your children in any country; yet, there are lots of difficulties here because of the distractions, barriers and the system in general.
 I was asked once at the Nabulsi’s Mosque about the issue of living in a foreign country from the point of view of Islam. There was a water cooler in front of me, so I said to the inquirer: If one of those present here, goes straight to that cooler and drinks a glass of water, do you think he will be doing anything wrong? The person said: No, he wouldn't be doing anything wrong, this a common act. So I said to him: By Allah, as far as I know, in these countries fornication is as easy as drinking a glass of water, and they don't feel they have done something wrong afterwards, this being a perfectly normal situation there; even the virgin girls in those countries are considered to be a sign of backwardness. A politician in north Indonesia, where an earthquake took place, said: I am proud that we don’t have any virgin girls here.

The interviewer:

 Therefore, Dr Nabulsi, choosing the right wife is step number one, in case this takes place, Allah forbid the opposite, what is the next step as regards the million units you have talked about?

Having a believing son or daughter requires an effort:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Let me elaborate on this point by giving the following example: In order to be able to write the abbreviation "Dr" before your name, you need to have elementary education, secondary education, high school education, license or bachelor degree, master degree, and finally a PhD degree. Thus, acquiring this abbreviation requires years and years of studying. Similarly, if you want your son to be a believer, which is a high level of science, morals, and conduct –rest assured that it can't be achieved without making substantial effort. Is it possible that someone goes to sleep and wakes up in the morning with a BA degree? No one can bring up children without making a great effort, being concerned, guiding them, checking their whereabouts all the time, checking up on their friends, their morals and how they spend their spare time. However, if the father is busy with satisfying his needs, desires, social life and is neglecting his son, then the hour will come when he will bitterly regret it.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, when does educating children start?

Raising children starts from the day they are born:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Well, I studied this topic at university and believe it or not educational process starts from the day of birth. When a baby cries, you feed i and you change its diaper. If the baby keeps crying, you should leave it, or else, this baby will develop the habit of crying to have you there whenever it feels like it. Therefore, raising kids starts from the day of their birth and revolves at that time mostly around eating, drinking and crying. However, every age has its challenges and you need special instructions for it. In the books about educating infants they talk about what is called pre-school education, post-school education, and puberty education; each one of these phases has its specific procedures; these being imitating, observing, and a third –punishing and then rewarding.

The interviewer:

 We have dealt so far with three steps: the first is to choose a wife if you are not married yet and the second one is acquiring education in order to set a good example for our children.

Reasons behind successful education of children:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Choosing a wife is the crucial element of success in educating and raising children, as she should be pious, believing and knowledgeable, and that will be the best gift that can ever be offered to the children by their father.
 There are bad mothers out there, who set up bad examples for their children, such as lying to the husband in front of the children and running after superficial matters. Therefore, our first duty towards our children is to choose well their mothers, followed by psychological self-education in order to be able to set up a good example for them.
 On the other hand, you can educate excellently without saying a single word, and that is by being honest. When your son hears you lying to his mother he will learn how to lie. When he sees you sell a locally manufactured commodity as an imported one, lying thereby to the customers, he will learn how to cheat.
 You should know that the matter of setting an example for your children is not as easy as it might sound, as your son is watching you when you lie, when you earn ill-gotten money, and when you feast your eyes on women’s beauty, and he is learning it from you. On the other hand, even if you don't say a word, yet you are chaste, you lower your gaze, you tell the truth, and you are honest, you will be setting a good example for him, and this is the most influential means because enforcing values without setting a good example is worthless.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, you said raising children begins on the day of their birth. Does this need any kind of awareness?

Raising children requires awareness:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Awareness is something I would like to see spread far and wide. I was told that in some Islamic countries (Malaysia for example) they used to suffer from a particularly high divorce rate. To solve this problem the government over there established special schools in which would-be spouses attend six-month courses in which they are made aware of their rights and duties as husbands and wives, such as education, household tidiness and other related issues, and because of these courses the divorce rate decreased by 10 percent.
What is the purpose of such an arrangement?
 You should know that as an individual you have characteristics of your own and traits such as quietness, reading before going to bed, morality or having certain views. In every individual there are more than one thousand characteristics, so the prospects for marriage success are high if the two spouses share about nine hundred of these characteristics; or other words, the more characteristics the couple share, the more affection they will have, and this is a rule of thumb. You will never get bored by sitting even for hours with someone quite like you, someone with similar values, ambitions and features, as this will help establish intimacy between you. The believer, thus, chooses a believing wife, to whom salah and honesty are as sacred as they are to him. Hence, the more characteristics the spouses share, the better mutual understanding there will be between them.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, phone calls from our listeners are beginning to come in and I would like to take this opportunity and request our callers to ask questions related to the issue at hand. Dr Nabulsi will answer these questions, if Allah wills. Please call us if you have any questions with regard to the topic of child rearing.
 Dr Nabulsi, you mentioned something about punishment and reward, and this is one of the problems we face in our houses. Actually, our kids lack nothing, so what should we promise them as a reward? How should we handle the issue of the reward?

Between rewards and punishments:

Dr Nabulsi:

 In the high school we run in Syria we follow the method which has proved to be successful. We have set up lists of positive acts and negative acts, and have provided our students with an electronic device which they carry on them while at school. Thus, when a student performs something positive, doing his homework, for example, he receives ten points, which are recorded on this electronic device by the teacher. Thus, the student can see immediately that his doing his homework has led to receiving these ten points. When he goes slack, he will be losing five points; when he chats with his friend in class, he will be losing another five points, and so forth. The total of the points registered reflects the behavior of the student –his discipline, his negative and his positive sides, and so on. At the end of the academic year, whoever has collected, say, 3000 points, will gain a bicycle, a lap top or another attractive gift of this sort. For this purpose an exhibition is organized in which these gifts and appealing presents are demonstrated, so that the student is able to shop for whatever he wants according to the number of his points.
 Furthermore, during the year, every week is dedicated to a particular good deed, such as being respectful to parents, for example. Each student is asked whether he has shown respect to his parents, yes or no? We discover thus that, for example, thirty three percent of the students were courteous, whereas the rest were sluggish, and so forth; the question is changed every week. In this way I am provided with the statistics of good deeds of the six hundred students I have, so if I discover that one third only have been respectful to their parents, this will focus our guidance and education on the issue of respect for one's parents. The same goes for the question like "did you perform salah fajr on time", and so forth.
 This method enables us to avoid applying punishment, detention, and calling parents, and as you see, the student realizes that he will be held accountable for every act he performs and he is the only one who can adjust his behavior or shift it towards positives (longing for the gifts and valuable stuff).

The interviewer:

 If we were to take up this method in our houses, wouldn’t that be the reason for grudge among our children, if one of them excelled?

Honest competing keeps enmity at bay:

Dr Nabulsi:

 By giving them equal opportunities, you are granting them honest competition. Why has one of them gained more points than another? Because he has been more disciplined. Therefore, the other son should do the same, and this is a positive competition.
 Remember that negative results and grudge occur when one of the siblings is ranked higher than the others because he is more handsome, for example. This can be considered a crime and the cause of complaint among children. However, if the parents treat their children fairly and one of them excels more than the others, he should be rewarded and the others should be punished (and this should never cause grudge as they were treated fairly by their parents but one of them was slack).

The interviewer:

 Let us take in a call now. Assalamu alaikum.

The caller:

 Walaikum assalam; first of all, we thank Allah that Dr Nabulsi is safe and sound. I want to inquire about the following issue: I have kids and have taken pains to raise them well. We have Islamic schools here, and if we were to go back to our home countries, our children also be exposed to bad influence there, as corruption exists here and over there. So what is the solution?

Good education saves from backsliding:

Dr Nabulsi:

 You are your own judge; will you guarantee righteousness for your offspring in this country? I attended once an Islamic conference in San Francisco, the USA, and there one of the most famous scholars said: If you can't guarantee that your son will be a Muslim in these countries, you shouldn’t remain there.
 A year later, and for a profound wisdom, doctors from Detroit held a medical conference in Damascus. The daughter of one of them was getting married in Damascus and he invited me to her wedding in which I gave a speech and I repeated the words of that scholar pronounced in San Francisco. On finishing my speech, a doctor came to me with tears in his eyes. "By Allah," he said to me "my grand-grandson is not a Muslim."
 If you can't guarantee that your grand grandson will be a Muslim –that is three generations– you should never stay in those countries.

The caller:

 How can I guarantee such a thing? I guaranteed for my son and daughter to be Muslims, but how can I guarantee that for my grandchildren. Isn't that a real problem?

Dr Nabulsi:

 Bringing up your son as a believer will make him look for a believing wife, and both, most likely, will have believing children, so this process is automatic.

The interviewer:

 May Allah reward you dear brother. Dr Nabulsi, this brother seems to be asking about our disability to guarantee that our grand grandchildren should be Muslims in this country (Australia).

Dr Nabulsi:

 I admit corruption exists everywhere. Nevertheless, children are more controlled in Islamic countries than in other countries.

The interviewer:

 Keeping our children in Islamic countries will expose them to conflicts and this is something we won’t be held responsible for. On the other hand, shall we be held responsible for bringing them to these countries?

Dr Nabulsi:

 Definitely!

The interviewer:

 Let us take another call.

Neglecting children leads to Hellfire:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Let me tell you this: the daughter who has gone astray and got corrupted because of her father’s negligence will say on the Day of Judgment: O Allah! Admit my father in Hellfire because he was negligent in the way that he looked after me. O Allah! Take revenge on him because had it not been for his negligence, I would never have come to a bad end.

The interviewer:

 Let us respond to another call, assalamu alaikum.

The caller:

 Walaikum assalam, I would like to ask Dr Nabulsi and you a question about another topic, if I may. We are absolutely astonished at what we hear in the media about the situation in Syria. Is what going on in Syria real or is it just media fabrication?
 My second question to Dr Nabulsi is about the battle taking place now, which is the same that took place between the Pharaoh, Musa and the Children of Israel; so could he, please, tell us who is the present-day Pharaoh, who is Musa and who are the Children of Israel?

The interviewer:

 May Allah reward you. Dr Nabulsi, before we take another call… you have just said that the son or the daughter on the Day of Judgment will ask Allah to admit their father to Hellfire before they are admitted there. My question is: Is neglecting children really punished by Hellfire?

Dr Nabulsi:

 Those are the exact words: O Allah I will not enter Hellfire till you admit my father before me because he is the reason of my torment.

The interviewer:

 All of us may know it, actually. Yet, one does need, from time to time, to hear what one already knows. Does, then, neglect for our children take us to Hellfire?

Raising your children properly is your best gain in this life:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Definitely, because this is a serious assignment as you are the only thing your son has got, whereas non-Muslim kids have this and that, isn't it true? If the children are not guided by the father; if he doesn't set a good example for them; if he doesn't teach them their religion; if he doesn't look after their secular and religious future, and if he doesn't teach them honesty and modesty, then who else will do all that? That is why the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

((Pious children are man’s greatest gain.))

[Tabarani, on the authority of Abi Burdah Bin Nayyar]

 Namely, your greatest gain of them all will be bringing up your children well.

((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.))

[At-Tur, 21]

 That is, the father will be held accountable for all his son’s deeds.

(( "O my Lord! I have delivered a female child," - and Allah knew better what she delivered, - "And the male is not like the female))

[Aal-‘Imran, 36]

 The female child she delivered would give birth to Prophet Isa, peace be upon him. Therefore, all Isa's great accomplishments will be added to his mother’s scale of deeds.

The interviewer:

 Assalam alaikum.

The caller:

 Walaikum assalam. I would like to welcome Dr Nabulsi, may Allah reward you. I always supplicate for the sake of my kids in my night prayers and after salah fajr, and I ask Allah to reward you for every word you enlightened us with and thank you for your insight and clear vision.
 If a mother, such as I, has brought up her kids on religious values, and they got married, but she had nothing to do with their choice of husbands and wives, but mainly she did her job as regards raising them and looking after their salah, enrolling them in Islamic schools, teaching them to recite the Qur'an, encouraging them to fast since they were seven years old, teaching them how to differentiate between haram and halal, and she never refrained from making any effort to rear them so that they may turn out to be good Muslims; yet, I had to leave Lebanon because of the civil war after my husband had died, and had to bring them here, so I was chosen, in a way, to do this job (since their father is gone). Do you think that this mother, myself in this particular case, will be rewarded? Given that I brought them up for the sake of Allah, and I educated them, and I always ask for Allah’s forgiveness in order that He may forgive me.

One should do his/her duty and seek support from Allah:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Parents educate and bring up their offspring in the sense of fully doing their part, and then they ask Allah to do His Part.

The interviewer:

 Each of us first and foremost should do their best, then ask Allah for acceptance.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, are we rewarded for educating and bringing up our children?

Dr Nabulsi:

 We have to bear in mind that all our children’s deeds are added to our scale of deeds, now what reward am I talking about? It is like when your son wins a hundred million –you will be winning the same amount.

The interviewer:

 Do you mean like the man who has eighty three grandchildren, most of whom are huffaz?

Upbringing good children is the best deal with Allah:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Not only their being huffaz will be added to his scale of deeds, but so will their deeds, and the proof is in the following ayah:

((And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring))

[At-Tur, 21]

 To them shall we join their offspring.

((And We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. ))

[At-Tur, 21]

 The most profitable trade one can have with Allah is to have pious children, and more importantly –that all their deeds will be added to your scale of deeds.

The interviewer:

 By Allah, it will be out of pure disregard to miss such a chance.
 Assalam alaikum, please, ask your question as we are running out of time.

The caller:

 Walaikum assalam, this is the first time I ever heard that raising kids starts on the day of their birth. I have one daughter, and given that I am so jealous and strict, everybody is telling me that this is a wrong way to raise her.

The interviewer:

 If Allah wills, we will answer your question. A sister asked when raising children begins, and we told her that it is from the day of birth, didn't we?

Children's habits and values are formed in the first years of their lives:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Let me tell you something rigorously true: I have met the best psychologist in Syria, and he said to me: All children's habits, adopted behavior, values, principles, goodness and evilness are formed over the period of time running from the day of their birth till they are seven years of age. So I asked: What about the rest of their lifetime? To which he said: This is of not much use, as the first seven years determine whether the child shall be a liar or an honest person and whether he will perform salah or not; the first seven years develop habits, adopted behavior, principles, and values.

The interviewer:

 The sister who asked the question said that she had been strict with them since their infancy, but you said that raising kids doesn’t have to be done through severity.

Avoiding severity in raising children:

Dr Nabulsi:

 This is true because severity has its bad influence on kids.
 The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to be friendly with children; he used to carry his grandchildren on his back, and he, as we all know, is the best example for us. Once he was at the minbar delivering a khutbah when he saw his grandson Al Hasan walking in, so he came down, lifted up the child, climbed up again and went on speaking. This is a lesson for us –he used to play with children and compete with them because, all in all, they need someone who is friendly with them:

((Whoever has children, let him play with them and act like a child.))

[Al Jame’e Al Sagheer, on the authority of Abi Muawiyah]

 One should be childlike, playing with his children for seven years, then educating them another seven years, and lastly observe them seven more years.
 From day one till seven years old, the kids should get fun, affection, love, kisses, and hugs; until fourteen years old, they should be educated and instructed by telling them what is wrong and what is right; from then on, they will be your friends.

The interviewer:

 Let us take another call, assalam alaikum.

The caller:

 Walaikum assalam, I wanted to say that I agree with you in everything you said one hundred percent. I don’t have a question to ask. However, I have children and I am sure that all your listeners will go along with your opinion. Glorified be Allah! We hold living in this country in certain awe and we have lived quite a time here. We have settled down and had children and we raised them; and let me tell you, it is hard to take the decision of going back to our home country after all that. Nevertheless, may Allah bless you for all what you have said and the advice you have given us. I am one of your listeners, either of your khutbah or your lectures, and we perceive clearly that raising our offspring is of great interest to you, and indeed this is the biggest problem we face in this country. Finally, Dr Nabulsi, may Allah bless you and reward you with goodness, assalam alaikum.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, it seems that all of us feel the same way and I know of lots of people who send you their greetings and supplicate Allah to reward you, so we ask Allah the Almighty to direct your steps towards Paradise. We have five minutes more at our disposal and we still have lots of calls.

The caller:

 Assalam alaikum, I want to ask Dr Nabulsi about high heeled shoes and what is the Islamic stance in respect of hijab? What I mean is whether what we see nowadays is hijab, and what about niqab and those who undermine it? I have another question, and it is in respect of women who eat in restaurants, and about watching soap operas and cartoons.

Levels of obedience differ according to circumstances:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Let us take a hint from the following story: Musailamah Al-Kathab (the liar) captured two of the companions and upon asking them to testify that he was a messenger of Allah, the first one said "I heard nothing", and as a result, his head was cut off, and the second one said: "I testify that you are a messenger of Allah." Now listen to the Prophet’s comment on that incident, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:

((As for the first, he honored Islam and Allah will honor him in return.)) Then he said: ((And as for the second one, he took Allah’s rukhsah (permit, for this situation). ))

 We understand from this hadith that every act can be performed at a minimum level, at which acceptance lies, and at a maximum level, at which heroism lies. The same goes for hijab, and women can adopt the minimum level by covering their hair or the maximum level by covering the whole face or keep only the eyes uncovered, and so forth. In Islam, obedience has many levels, so she who wears niqab (covering the whole face) should not look down on the one who reveals her face, and vise versa, as both their positions are accepted but they differ in the level of obedience, and only in the case of having a very beautiful face niqab is a must.

The interviewer:

 We ask Allah to reward you. I have two more points I wish to mention to you. Dr Nabulsi, we talked about rewarding children and that the father can give a reward to the child who performs salah fajr, right?

Jealousy has been installed in children:

Dr Nabulsi:

 Instead of beating the one who hasn't performed salah, we reward the one who has. This will make the other child healthily jealous, and jealousy has been installed in children's nature.

The interviewer:

 And by reminding the children of salah by saying: Who has performed the prayer? Who hasn't? And that before and after the salah.

Dr Nabulsi:

 A more effective way is when the father and the mother perform the five prayers in front of their children in the right way, and this will be the best teaching their children can ever get. Or by saying "let us pray together". I know a family whose members wake up one hour prior to fajr, they do dhikr (remembrance) of Allah, they recite the Qur'an, and when the call for salah is given, they pray together, and by eight o’clock, all of them are ready for work or school. This is considered an Islamic house and the situation there is sound.

The interviewer:

 Dr Nabulsi, this is in regard of the father who is at home. Let me tell you that we hang by a thin thread in this country, as our children bring ideas from school and we ought to refute each one of them. So, in this case, should we build up on those ideas or just reject them?

Reasonable argument is the best way to debate with children:

Dr Nabulsi:

 You should teach them the objective scientific argument. Say to them: You don’t accept a thing without a proof nor do you refuse a thing without a proof, and without a proof anyone can say whatever they want. There should be a scientific debate in the house wherever there is a wrong idea that is not authenticated by Allah’s Method.
 Allah is the Creator of the universe, He has made the Qur'an descend, which is the Creator's book of instructions for us (the manual). It (the Qur'an) resembles the manual of a very expensive complicated machine. So this Qur'an is the manual given to us by the Creator. If the All-Aware (Allah) prevents us from doing something, it means that it is harmful for us. Thus, it can’t be rational to think that one can obey Him and then get hurt nor that one can disobey Him and be successful.
 This is how a scientific debate should be oriented. Accordingly, the father should acquire deep knowledge in order to know the justification of each act of worship and of each order. Allah the Almighty says:

((Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it ))

[At-Taubah, 103]

 Allah Most High puts in our hands justification and given that Allah does that, the father can be expected to give his son a justification as well and with even more reason.
 When you order your son to be honest, saying "O son! Honesty is your safety belt, it raises up high your station, it gives you clear consciousness, and it grants you strong personality", by saying so, he will be giving justification for the act of honesty, and one should do so with every order or prohibition one lays down; one should demonstrate both the negative and the positive aspects. Thus, we shouldn't proclaim blind orders but rather instructions with their justification.

The interviewer:

 The father should be aware of all these suspicious matters, shouldn't he?

Dr Nabulsi:

 Of course the father should acquire the minimum level of knowledge, or else he shouldn’t have got married. He needs the minimum level of knowledge to be able to raise his children.

The interviewer:

 Glory be to Allah! This is really a very serious and momentous matter.

Dr Nabulsi:

 It is indeed a very serious matter and it concerns families in Islamic countries; and it also concerns, and even much more so, the families in countries if immigration.

The interviewer:

 You said we need millions of units here instead of a thousand needed back home.

Dr Nabulsi:

 I swear by Allah that the father who neglects his children, and then, when it is too late, realizes that he has lost them; that they have broken far away from religion, have gone astray, eat ill-gotten money and follow their lusts, this father will suffer punishment which, if applied to a mountain, would crush it.

Conclusionl:

The interviewer:

 I ask Allah the Almighty to protect our offspring and to reward Dr Nabulsi with the best reward, and I hope that we haven't overburdened you in this meeting.

Dr Nabulsi:

 Indeed you haven't, and may Allah help us help each other.

The interviewer:

 May Allah bless you, we thank you so much. Dear listeners, till our next meeting, if Allah wills; and I give my best regards to all of you.

Translation  : Noura Al-Sharabi
Edited by      : Najat Rozko