Saying of Adhan (in the ears of a new-born child):
The Prophet [SAW] Companion, Abu Rafey relates that: I saw the Prophet [SAW] saying adhan and salaat in the ear of his grandson, Imam Hassan, when the child was born to his daughter, Hazrat Fatima (SA).
Commentary: in the above hadith (tradition) only the saying of Adhan has been mentioned, but in another tradition reported by Imam Hussain, the Prophet [SAW] prescribed the saying of adhan in the right ear and Iqamah in the left ear of the new-born child, and also mentioned its auspiciousness. He said that on account of it, the child remained safe from infantile epilepsy.
As these traditions show, the primary claim of a child on his parents is that his ears, and through his ears, his head and heart are made aquatinted with the name of the Almighty God and His Oneness and with the â€˜Call of Faithâ€™ and Prayer. The best way to it, evidently is that adhan and iqamah are said in his ears, as these impart the knowledge of spirit and the fundamental practices of Islam in a most effect manner.
When a child was born in the family of the Companion, they would take it to the Prophet [SAW] so that he would bless it, and apply the pulp of a date, chewed by him, to its palate, which the companion believed would help to keep the child safe from evils and bring it good fortune. This is called Tahneeq in Islamic terms. One of the Prophet wives Ayesha narrates that:The people used to bring their new-born babies to the Prophet [SAW] and he would bless them and perform the Tahneeq.
In almost all the communities of the world, the birth of a child is considered a blessing and some ceremony is held to celebrate the event. Besides being natural, it also serves a special purpose, and makes it known, in a suitable and dignified manner, that the father has accepted the child as his own and there is no doubt or suspicion in his mind concerning it. It shuts the door to many mischiefs that can arise in the future. The practice of aqeeqah was observed among the Arabs, even during the ˜Age of Ignorance for this very reason. The hair on the childs head was shaved off and its weight equivalent was sacrificed as a mark of rejoicing – which was a characteristic feature of Millat-e-Ibrahim (the creed of Prophet Abraham). While preserving the practice in principle, the Prophet [SAW] gave appropriate instructions, and he set an example of how it was to be done. It is reported by Buraidah that: During the Age of Ignorance, when a child was born to anyone of us, we used to slaughter a goat and smear the head of the child with its blood. Later, after the dawn of Islam, our practice became (on the advice of the Prophet [SAW] that we sacrifice a got of aqeeqah on the 7th day after the birth of a child, and shave the head of the infant, and apply saffron on it.
Since, as we have seen, the aqeeqah served as a useful purpose in many ways, and was also in keeping with the spirit of Islam and, perhaps, like the rituals of Hajj, it was among the remaining practices of Prophet Abraham, our Prophet [SAW] preserved the reality of aqeeqah, but corrected the backward practices that had become associated with it.
The aqeeqah ceremony was also observed by the Jews, but they sacrificed an animal only in the case of a male child which was indicative of the lesser value placed on girls in the pre-Islamic times. The Prophet [SAW] corrected this too, and enjoined that the aqeeqah of girls should also be performed, like that of the boys. However, keeping in mind the natural difference between the two sexes, the Prophet [SAW] laid down that while one goat was to be sacrificed in the aqeeqah of a female child, two goats should be sacrificed in the aqeeqah of a male child provided that ones financial position permitted it.
It is reported that the Prophet [SAW] said: To whomsoever a child is born, and he wants to perform a sacrifice of aqeeqah on behalf of it, he should sacrifice two goats for a boy and one for a girl.
As is evident in this tradition, aqeeqah is not obligatory, but it is among the mustahab or recommended acts, i.e., those acts which are recommended and rewardable but are not binding or compulsory. In the same way it is not necessary to sacrifice two goats for a male child. It is better to sacrifice two, if one can afford it, otherwise one is enough.
In some traditions, the giving away in charity of silver equal in weight to the childs shaved hair, or its price in cash, is also mentioned, in addition to the sacrifice of the animal. This too is, recommended act and not compulsory.
The command to perform the aqeeqah on the day of the birth has not been given, perhaps for the reason that, at the time the family is occupied with the needs and comforts of the mother and the shaving of the hair (head) can also be harmful to the child. Generally, after a week, the mother gets well and does not need special attention and the baby, too, becomes strong enough to go through the shaving of the hair.
In some other traditions, it is said that the child should also be named on the 7th day, together with aqeeqah, but from a few other traditions it appears that the Prophet [SAW] had named children even on the day of their birth. There is, as such, no harm in naming the child before the 7th day, but if it has not been done, the child should be named on the 7th day together with the aqeeqah.
The aqeeqah ceremony, as we have seen consists of two acts: the shaving of the hair (head) and the sacrifice of the animal. There is a peculiar link between the two acts and these acts are among the religious practices of Prophet Abraham. In Hajj too, they go together where, the male pilgrims have their hair (head) shaved after the Adhiyah. Thus, aqeeqah also, is practical demonstration of our association with Prophet Abraham (AS) and of the fact that the child, too, is a member of the same community.
Tasmiya (Naming a Child):
That the child be given a good name is also an obligation of the parents. Abdullah ibn Abbas relates that the Prophet [SAW] said: It is also a claim of the child on his father that he gives him a good name and teaches him good manners.
In another tradition, the Prophet [SAW] said:On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called out by your name and the name of your father. The call will be; so and so, son of so-and-so, therefore, give good names.
From these sayings and the practices of the Prophet [SAW], we get the guidance that it is the responsibility of the parents to give names to their children or have them named by a pious person.
All the Prophets, and, lastly Prophet Muhammad [SAW] have stressed that the brief earthly stay of a human being is an introduction to the everlasting life of eternity. It, therefore, follows that a greater attention is paid to the betterment of prospects in the life to come and attainment of happiness in the Hereafter, than to the affairs and interests of this life.
Thus, the Holy Prophet [SAW] has enjoined upon the parents to take care of the religious instruction of their children from the very beginning, otherwise, they will be called to account for negligence on the Day of Judgment.
It is related by Ibn Abbas that the Prophet [SAW] said: Have your children utter, first of all, the Kalima of Laa-illaha-illa-Allah (i.e. let these be the first words that they speak), and emphasize upon them to utter the same Kalima at the time of their death.
Commentary: The child begins to receive the impression of what it sees or hears from the time of its birth. The saying of adhan and iqamah in the ears of a newly-born infant, also, gives a clear indication of it. This tradition shows that when a child begins to speak, it should be taught to utter the Kalima, as a first step towards its education. It further tells that when the dying moment is near, a person should, again be urged to pronounce the same Kalima. Blessed indeed is the man who when he utters the first words, on coming into this world, it is the Kalima, and the same Kalima is on his lips when he departs.
The Prophet [SAW] said: No father gives a better gift to his children than good manners and good character.
It is related by Anas that the Prophet [SAW] said: Show respect to your children and adorn them with good manners. Showing of respect to ones children denotes that they should be treated not as a burden, but a blessing and trusts of Allah, and brought up with care and affection.
In another tradition, the Prophet [SAW] said:When your children attain the age of seven, insist upon them to offer salaat (Prayer) regularly, and when they are ten years old, punish them if they do not, and have separate beds for them (to sleep on).
Commentary: Children generally, develop the faculty of understanding at the age of seven, and it is time that their feet were set on the path of worship of Allah. They should, therefore, be told to offer Prayer regularly when they attain that age. At ten, their powers of discretion and intelligence are fairly advanced and they begin to approach maturity. At that time, the observance of Prayer ought to be enjoined strictly upon them, and they should be taken to task, in an appropriate manner, if they fail to do so. They should further be required to sleep on separate beds and not together (which is permitted up to the age of ten).
All these, in brief, are the rights of children, both boys and girls, on their parents, and the parents will have to render a full account in respect of them on the Day of Reckoning.
Showing Kindness to Daughters:
Even now daughters are considered an unwanted burden in some societies and instead of rejoicing, an atmosphere of grief and disappointments is produced in the family at their birth. This is the position, today, but in the pre-Islamic times the daughters were positively considered a shame and disgrace among the Arabs, so much so that even the right to live was denied to them. Many a hard-hearted parent used to strangle his daughter to death, with his own hands, when she was born, or bury her alive. The Holy Qurâ€™an says:
When news is brought to one of them, of the birth of a female, his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief. He hides himself with shame, from the people, because of the bad news he has had. (Asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt or bury in the dust. Ah! What an evil choice they decide. (16:59)
Abdullah ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet [SAW] said: Whoever becomes the father of a girl, he should neither hurt her nor treat her with contempt nor show preference over her to his sons in kindness and affection. Both boys and girls should be treated alike. Allah will grant him paradise in return for kind treatment towards the daughter.
It is related by Anas that the Prophet [SAW] said: The believer who bears the responsibility of two daughters and supports them till they attain puberty, he and I will be close to one another like this on the Day of Judgment. Anas adds that the Prophet [SAW] showed, by joining the fingers of his (the fingers were close to one another), in the same way will the believer be close to him on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Saeed Khudri relates that the Prophet [SAW] said: Whoever bears the responsibility of three daughters or sisters or even of two daughters or sisters, and bears it well, and looks after their training and welfare properly, and then, gets them married, Allah will reward him with Paradise.
In the above Traditions, the Prophet [SAW] has not only stated that kind treatment was the natural right or claim of the daughters, but, also that the believers who fulfilled the obligation towards them in a good and proper manner would be rewarded with Paradise in the Hereafter. He further, gives the joyful tidings that such a man will be close to him, on the Day of Judgment, as the fingers of a hand are, when joined together.
Treating All the Children Equally:
The Prophet [SAW] has emphasized that parents should be just and fair to all the children, particularly in matters of gifts and kindness, and it must not be that while one gets more the other gets less or nothing. Besides, if discrimination is made among the children and one is favored more than the other, it will lead to ill-will and jealousy, and nothing but evil can arise from this. This child who is discriminated against will bear a grudge against the father, the painful consequences of which are easy to imagine.
Moman ibn Bashir narrates:My father took me to the Prophet [SAW] and said to him: I have given a slave to this son of mine. The Prophet inquired, Have you given the same to all of your sons? my father replied. The Prophet, thereupon, said: It is not correct. Take it back.
In another version, the same narration, the Prophet asked, Do you want all your children to be equally devoted to you?Yes, of course, he replied. The Prophet said:Then do not act like that (let it not be that you give some property to one child and exclude the others.)
In yet another version it is added that the Prophet remarked: I cannot be a witness to an act of injustice.
In this version, it is enjoined upon parents not to discriminate among their children when it comes to given them something as a gift, etc. This has been condemned by the Prophet [SAW] as unjust and unfair. Some of the learned people have gone to the extent of calling it haraam, but the majority of them hold the view that though it is not haraam, it is makrooh, and highly undesirable.
It must, however, be emphasized that the command applied only to a situation where the preferential treatment is based on a consideration that is not lawful or justifiable in the eye of the Shariah otherwise no blame will be attached to it. For example, if a child is physically handicapped and cannot earn his livelihood like his brothers, a special favor to him will not be incorrect, but to an extent it will be essential and worthy of Divine reward, Similarly, should any child dedicate himself to the cause of imaan or public welfare and have no time to look after his economic needs, it would also be correct and deserving of reward, to make a reasonable allowance for him over the other children.
There is no harm if preference is shown to one of the children with the consent of others (i.e., brother and sisters).
In a version, the Prophet [SAW] says: â€œTreat all your children equally in regard to free gifts. If I were to show preference in this matter, I would show it to daughters. (If equality was not necessary and binding, I would have declared that more be given to daughters than to sons.)â€
It can be concluded from this version that though, after the death of the parents, the shares of daughters in ancestral property is half of the sons, in their lifetime, the share of both the sons and the daughters is equal. Therefore, what ever the parents give to the sons, in their lifetime, should also be given to the daughters.
Responsibility of Marriage
It is the duty of parents to arrange the marriage of their children when they come of age. The Prophet [SAW] has stressed that it should be taken seriously and with a full sense of responsibility. Abu Saeed Khudri and Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet [SAW] said: Whoever is blessed by the Creator with children should give them good names, a good training, teach them good manners, and arrange for their marriage when they attain the age of puberty. If he does not pay due heed to it and fails to get them married, on reaching marriageable age (due to negligence) and they take no ways that are forbidden, the father will be held responsible for it.
Commentary: In this version the marriage of the children, too, on their attaining the marriageable age, has been made a responsibility of the father. But alas we are growing increasingly indifferent to it mainly because we have made marriage a most tiresome and expensive affair by following and adopting the customs of others.
If we follow the good example of the Prophet [SAW] and begin to perform marriages as he had performed his own marriage; or the marriages of his daughters, the whole ceremony will be as easy and simple, as it is for a Muslim to observe and fulfill the Friday Prayers. Blessings will then flow from it – of which we have deprived ourselves, through thoughtless imitations of un-Islamic societies.
Cleanliness and Hygiene in the Family Structure:
For God loveth those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [Holy Quran Baqara 2:222]
Once the marriage takes place and the young couple start their mutual life with love and affection, they must attend to basic issues in life, and seriously avoid any indifference or sluggishness in this regard.
One of these basic issues is cleanliness and hygiene in all aspects of life.
We must pay close attention to the cleanliness and hygiene of our body, hair, mouth and teeth, clothing, the floor covering, living accommodations especially kitchen appliances and dishes and whatever is related to everyday life. Some young couples only suffice to eating, drinking and apparent leisure and ignore cleanliness and hygiene early in their mutual life. There is no sign of orderliness, discipline or cleanliness in their life. Not only is this ignorance not acceptable by our healthy nature, our mind or our divine religion, but it is also seriously despised. This may also become dominant in life through the passage of time, and may threaten the health of the family, both physically and mentally. It may also have grave consequences on the children, and turn them into indifferent, dumb, ill, weak, oppressive and burdensome individuals. They may get used to various sins and corruption.
God the Benevolent Has announced His love and affection for those who attend to hygiene and their cleanliness and keep their bodies and souls free of all impurities.
For God loveth those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [Holy Quran Baqara 2:222] Islam is manifested through the Holy Quran, the sayings of the noble Prophet (S.A.W.) and his household, that are the Immaculate Imams.
The rules of hygiene of this divine school exceed five thousand. They are partly presented in volumes one and two of Vasa’il al-Shiia. They are superior to all rules of hygiene and are extremely wonderful in that they are delicate and encouraging ones to abide by. Nearly fifteen agents have been introduced as cleansing agents in Islam. This is not observed in any other existing school of thought. Islam has forbidden polluting; being polluted or causing pollution in may respects. The one who pollutes is considered a wrong-doer and deserves divine retribution on the Day of Judgment. Either of the following can be used to clean in different situations: flowing water; well-water; spring water; rain water; stale water in a volume each of its sides being nearly three and a half feet; a small amount of water being poured on a filthy object sufficient to cleanse it; dust covered earth; direct sun-light; fire; change of state or form from one to another.
In several important traditions, the Prophet (S.A.W.) has stressed on the value of purity and cleanliness in such a way that it seems to be one of the surprising Islamic issues to any intellectual.
Cleanliness is half of faith. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.5, p.558] The first thing that is considered in the Hereafter is cleanliness. [Ibid] The Prophet (S.A.W.) was extremely sensitive to the issue of oral and dental hygiene, cleaning hair and face, clothes and furniture, lanes and streets and even the dead. He was also superior to all in following hygienic rules and cleanliness. He ordered the dead to be washed with lotus and camphor water.
Also he ordered that camphor be placed on the forehead where we prostrate to worship God. Also he ordered the grave to be dug deeper and to be careful in placing a stone above the head and a little bit distant from it, and to throw dust over the dead body in an orderly fashion. Thus the body, the camphor and the dust will disintegrate and combine together in such a way as to maintain the health of citizens.
These decrees are amazing ones and show the greatness of that noble Prophet’s knowledge and wisdom.
The Immaculate Imam Ali’s (A.S.) knowledge and wisdom are manifestations of God’s knowledge and wisdom. The Prophet (S.A.W.) was so pure and clean that Imam Ali (A.S.) introduced him as the cleanest and the purest and asked all the people of the world to use the Prophet (S.A.W.) as a model for cleanliness and purity of body and soul.
Follow the example of your Prophet who is the cleanest and purest creature in existence. In fact, he is a model for anyone who wishes to follow him in all issues related to living. [Nahj ul-Balaghah, Sermon 160]
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: In fact God is pure, He likes the pure. He is clean, He likes the clean. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.92] See how important cleaning is that there is a mention of it in God’s presence.
The Commander of the Faithful(A.S.) said: Wash yourselves free of any bad, disturbing odors with water, and be responsible for yourself.
In fact, God the Almighty is angry with those who are so filthy that others do not like their company. [Ibid]
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Clean your body, God will clean you.
In fact there is no one who spends the night clean, and is not accompanied by an angel. And no hour of the night is passed without the angel saying: O’ God, please forgive your servant since he spent the night while being clean. [Ibid]
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: The human body is filthy. [Ibid]
He also said: Filthy people perish. [Ibid]
Jaber, the son of Abdullah Ansari has been narrated as saying: The Prophet (S.A.W.) saw a man with badly disheveled hair. He asked him: Did he not find anything to comb his hair with? He saw another person with filthy clothes. He shouted: Did he not find any water to wash his clothes? [Ibid]
Hazrat Baqir(A.S.) said: Sweeping your houses will eliminate poverty. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.93] The sixth Imam(A.S.) said: Washing the dishes and sweeping your courtyards will increase your daily bread. [Ibid] The Commander of the Faithful(A.S.) said: Do not collect the trash outside your house since it is a source of evil. [Ibid] It is wonderful that the divine viewpoint of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Imams informed the people about microbes centuries before their discovery.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Do not leave the unusable food leftovers at home overnight, and take them out of the house in broad daylight. In fact, these unusable leftovers are a source of evil. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.95] He also said: Attend to cleaning with all your strength, since God the Almighty has established Islam on cleanliness. No one shall enter Heaven, but the clean. [Ibid] Imam Reza(A.S.) said: Cleanliness is one of the attributes of divine Prophets. [Ibid] The Prophet (S.A.W.) told Ayesheh: Wash these two robes. Are you not aware that our clothes worship God as long as they are clean and will stop doing so once they become dirty? [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.94] Considering the verses of the Quran regarding cleanliness and cleansing agents, and God’s love of cleanliness and purity, and many traditions in this regard, it is the duty of the members of the family to clean their body and clothes, the furniture and the house as much as they can. As the Quran has recommended mutual cooperation based on kindness and piety, the man should help his wife in cleaning. Women are morally bound to clean the house, the furniture and clothes to please their husbands and God. This will also guarantee the family’s health and will defeat pain, illness, distress and suffering. Housewives should remember that working at home to provide for the family’s comfort is a form of worship and it certainly has divine reward.
Oral and Dental Hygiene
Oral and dental hygiene are of the most important issues to be considered. Professionals say that the health of many parts of our body especially our sensitive digestive system depends on oral and dental hygiene. The teeth that God Has granted us are very important blessings, and are really important in maintaining our health. We chew food with them. If done properly, chewing will guarantee proper and natural functioning of our digestive system, which will in turn help maintain our health. Bad smell from the mouth is very annoying. This bad odor is usually a result of lack of attention to oral and dental hygiene and food left in between the teeth and under the gum. “Pyorrhea” is the name of a dangerous disease which destroys the teeth and the gum and is the source of many other diseases including heart disease. This disease is a result of unattentiveness to oral and dental hygiene. If after every meal you spend a few minutes to wash your mouth and brush your beautiful teeth and wash your mouth with some salt water, you will not only help the health of your mouth and throat, but will also save a lot of money preventing dental decay and future dental work. Then you can use your teeth for many years, even up until death. Although Islam first appeared in a desert-like area among illiterate people, it presented some important decrees regarding oral and dental hygiene. This shows how majestic and important this school is. It also proves that the Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) who brought this religion to guide the people was appointed by God. It also shows that the twelve Immaculate Imams were chosen by God. Consider a part of the recommendations of our religious leaders regarding oral and dental hygiene.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: If it was not a burden on my nation, I would have decreed that they should brush their teeth before each prayer. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.4, p.596] The sixth Imam(A.S.) said: Brushing the teeth and oral hygiene are of the attributes of divine Prophets. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.76, p.131] Imam Baqir(A.S.) said: If the people only knew how beneficial a toothbrush is, they would take it to bed with them. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.4, p.597] Imam Sadiq(A.S.) was asked: Are all the people human? He answered: Yes, except for those who do not brush their teeth. [Ibid] The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Gabriel recommended me to brush my teeth so much that I feared I would lose all my teeth if I do not brush. [Ibid] In another statement he said: Gabriel continuously recommended me to brush my teeth, so much that I thought He wants to make brushing teeth obligatory. [Ibid] Imam Sadiq(A.S.) said: There are twelve benefits in brushing your teeth: It is religious; it cleans your mouth; it improves your sight; it pleases God; it brightens your teeth; it prevents tooth decay; it strengthens your gum; it improves your appetite; it removes mucus from the digestive system; it improves your memory; it adds to the goods and it pleases the angels. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.76, p.129] Professional doctors and specialists in the field of mouth and teeth today state that we must brush our teeth slowly from its width for a few minutes. There is a very important tradition from the Prophet (S.A.W.) which considering the time of his Prophethood is one of his scientific miracles. Brush your teeth vertically, and do not do it horizontally (brush the width of your teeth, not their length) [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.4, p.599] The Prophet (S.A.W.) used to brush his teeth three times each night: once before going to bed, once when he got up to recite the Holy Quran and once before going to the mosque for the morning prayer. He used to brush with wood from Arak since Gabriel had instructed so. [Ibid]
Orderliness and Hygiene in Food
Our bodies amazing digestive system, our mouth and teeth, and our desire to eat food and drink are of the great favors of God bestowed upon us. There are many important decrees in the Holy Quran and sources of Islamic traditions that are issued regarding how to obtain food legitimately and how to use it to guarantee our physical and mental health. This will also result in the familyâ€™s and the society’s health. It seems that some of these are religiously obligatory, some are morally obligatory, and some are strongly recommended. Disobeying those decrees which are religiously obligatory is forbidden and shall cause in retribution in the Hereafter. Disobeying those decrees which are strongly recommended will cause losses and harm to the body and its predisposition to ailment. Among the most important religiously obligatory decrees in the Holy Quran, we can mention obtaining clothing, food, and housing through legitimate means.
O’ ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is Him ye worship. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:172] O’ ye people! Eat of what is on the Earth, lawful and good; And do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is to you an avowed enemy. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:168] Eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters. [Holy Quran: A’raf 7:31] The issues stressed here are to be clean; to have acquired goods legitimately and to avoid wastefulness. It is religiously obligatory to acquire clean food through legitimate means. It is religiously forbidden to waste. It is oppression to oneself and others and against God and certainly a cause for divine retribution to be careless about acquiring property by legitimate means; to eat of what has been forbidden or is dirty; or to be wasteful. It is necessary for the head of the household to become familiar with related Islamic teachings, and to transfer his knowledge to the house. In this way the house will be clean and the members of the family can grow up and develop to be a source of goodness for themselves and others.
The Harms of Overeating
The Commander of the Faithful (A.S.) said: Man’s soul is spoiled by overeating and oversleeping and brings losses to him/her. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, p.117] He also said: One who overeats is not healthy, and he/she has to pay a high price. [Ibid] He also said: Overeating is due to abnormal appetite which is a form of disease. [Ibid] The sixth Imam (A.S.) said: Nothing is more harmful for a believer’s heart than overeating. Overeating results in cruelty and sexual arousal. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, pp.117-118] God, the Almighty told the Israelites: Do not overeat. One who overeats will oversleep. One who oversleeps will pray less. And one who reduces his prayers is included among the ignorants. [Ibid] The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Abstain from overeating since it will spoil your body and cause illness and sluggishness in prayers. [Ibid] He also said: Nothing is despised by God more than a full stomach. [Ibid] Imam Musa, the son of JafarÃ¾(A.S.) said: If all people eat moderately, their bodies will be moderate. [Vasa’il, v.16, p.406] Regarding the issue of eating and drinking, the Prophet (S.A.W.) said the following which is the key to health: Eat when you have an appetite, and stop eating while you still have an appetite to eat. Certainly overeating is very harmful for the digestive system, and is a great threat to our health. The best way to maintain health and vigor, and be thin and agile and live a long life is to eat only when you are hungry and to stop eating before you get full. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, p.123]
An Educational Story
It is narrated that one of the great commanders dispatched an expert physician to Madinah to treat the patients for free. The physician stayed in Medina for a while, but either no one or only a very few people came for a visit. He was really surprised and complained to the Prophet. The Prophet (S.A.W.) told him that this is the way in this town since I have asked the people to eat only when they are hungry, and to stop eating before they get full. The physician told the Prophet: You have in one decree summarized all the rules of medicine and health. That is why the people do not get sick easily here. Imam Ali(A.S.) has said the following regarding how to start a meal: Start your meal with some salt. If the people only knew of its benefits, they would have preferred it to established medications. [Vasa’il, v.16, p.520]
The Prophet (S.A.W.) has admonished not eating hot meals. He has said that God has put the blessings in meals that have cooled down a bit, and has ordered not to blow at the food to cool it down. [Vasa’il, v.16, p.518]
It has strictly been forbidden to eat food and ignore living creatures present. Najih said that he saw Imam Mujtaba(A.S.) eating food and a dog was near him. He would eat a bit and give the dog a bite. I asked him why he did not shoo away the dog. He answered that he was ashamed before God to eat while being watched by a living creature, and not pay any attention to it. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, p.125]
Yes, we must eat and feed, since this eating is necessary for our body, and feeding is a sign of morality and nobility; a means of helping the needy; a cause of Godâ€™s Mercy, favor, reward and forgiveness. Strictness in this issue to your wife and children, relatives and the people is unjust and is similar to partnership with Satan.
Imam Mujtaba(A.S.) has said that there are twelve things that each Muslim must know about food and eating: recognizing the blessings and their Provider; being content with our share of daily bread bestowed by God; starting our meals in the name of God; thanking God at the end of our meal; making ablutions before eating; sitting on the left-hand side; using three fingers; licking the fingers; eating what is nearby; eating in small bites; chewing well; and looking less at the people who are eating around the tablecloth. [Vasa’il, v.16, p.539] Imam Reza(A.S.) has recommended us to eat a light meal at night since it helps your merits and also helps you to stay thin. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.62, p.324] The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Whoever spends more time praising and worshipping God and spends less time eating, drinking and sleeping is more eagerly welcomed by the divine angels. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, p.116] He also said: Be just to your body regarding eating, drinking and clothing. Such consideration is a part of Prophethood. [Ibid] Hazrat Ali(A.S.) said: Eating light meals, and nobility are more lasting for our health. [Ibid]He also said: When God the Glorious wishes the well-being of His servant, He shall inspire him/her to talk less, to eat less and to sleep less. [Ibid] Other important issues to be considered by the family and more importantly by the head of the family are to abstain from smoking cigarettes, using hubble-bubbles and narcotics. Smoking of any kind is religiously forbidden according to some Shiite jurisprudents, since it endangers our health and sometimes causes moral and social corruption.
Islam has also forbidden the joint use of personal things such as a comb, a towel or a tooth brush. It is hoped that these issues are considered by all the families, and especially by the heads of each family. This will aid in maintaining the physical and mental health of everyone. Since these are religious decrees, abiding by them is considered to be worshipping God and disobeying them is a sin and a cause of God’s punishment and retribution.
Children: God Trust whether in Guidance or in Care
The child is the first brick in the society. If it is well placed, the whole building is straight no matter how high it raises and how great it becomes. He is the core of the coming generation; from it branches its organs and parts. As the building needs engineering and balancing; the core needs the soil and the suitable conditions .The child tendencies and capabilities need to be balanced: he needs the good soil when he grows up and has his talents crystallized; the sources of culture he receives, the civilization he adapts to, and his upbringing all need to be purified.
The child is a world in itself; he holds all the traits of life in its different phases: turmoil and tranquility, happiness and misery; intelligence and idleness, purity and malice, superiority and backwardness, faith and atheism, war and peace as well. The maintenance of reason and passion in upbringing and growth-the basis of man happiness- must begin in childhood, since it is the best stage for learning the good way of life. The child ability of acquisition and imitation, and his sense of adoption are intense, he can receive all his movements speech and actions with a accuracy incredible enough to be compared to the lens of a camera. While the child body grows, his soul should move towards superiority and completion too. As his body is being cared for, so must his feelings and spirits be. He must be reared on cleanliness, politeness, honesty, sympathy, responsibility and benevolence and many other virtuous qualities as well. In fact, it is extremely difficult to change the conduct of those who were not accustomed to the right educational conduct during their childhood.
The happiest people are those who were brought up on the basis of good education and manners since their childhood. For this reason, parents play an important role in making their childrenâ€™s happiness- their responsibility towards them.
Imam Ali (p.) once said to his son al Hassan (p.)â€A child heart is like an empty land; whatever you give it, it takes, that why I brought you up on politeness before your heart hardened and your mind got busy. A child heart is white paper with neither a right nor a wrong idea; responsible fathers and mothers make good use of this fact to adorn their children hearts with virtuous traits and good manners. A child feelings and emotions appear before his mind, so, one can take advantage of his feelings before his mental capabilities. All around the world, children are sent to schools after the age of four or five, during which their mental talents bloom, while his feelings and senses become active a long time before. A child who does not comprehend the scientific matters and perceive them can, on the other hand, perceive emotional matters which influence him, such as sharpness, tenderness, leniency, sympathy, compassion, respect, and negligence. The development of feelings and senses is of: significant importance in the educational matters. In the first place, parents are the most responsible for performing this duty, Kindergartens can never replace the family and the mother in reviving all the hidden feelings of the child properly and guiding him to the right way. In this respect, it is worth saying that parents must take care of their children physical and spiritual proper nutrition, Due to this fact, the parents burden as responsibility is so heavy during the child early stage. In fact, disregarding safe and healthy nutrition of the body and the soul leads to uncontrollable consequences. The child development is completed in his early years; thus, his material and spiritual sides must be taken care of.
The shortage of spiritual or physical nutrition of the childâ€™s lie leads to dangerous consequences; besides, a small fault may cause a big problem which continues to influence a child up till the end of his life.
So, Moslem parents have to consider the religious responsibility they have towards their children, knowing that their children are God charge in their hands. Parents who fulfill their religious duties in upbringing their children properly deserve God rewarding. On the other hands, those who dont abide by their religious duty are betraying themselves, their children and the society they live in as well, and thus they deserve God severe punishment.
As a result, parent only role is not making an enormous wealth and inherit it to their children; wealth would load them to concoction and misery if they were nit brought up well.
The instinct of superiority and love of perfection are innate in man. The desire for progress and excellence are considered branches of self-love which reside in any man nature. The conscious guardians should make use of this psychological wealth, building the sound educational ways on this basis. Consequently, they will guide the child towards superiority and excellence. In this respect, a discourse for Al Imam Hassan (a.s..) was reported, «He called his children and his nephews and said to them, today you are children and tomorrow youll be the leaders of your people, so learn today and he who cant memorize, let him write it down and keep it at his home». In this discourse we can see that Imam Hassan (a.s.)) had employed the children self love and their innate desire for development to urge and encourage them to learn without resorting to intimidation or threatening. He made them understand that acquiring knowledge now is the way that leads them to dignity and magnificence in the future.
The method used in the above discourse in regarded as one of the greatest methods in the field of raising children and education nowadays. By following this method, every family can encourage its children to acquire knowledge, pushing them from the beginning towards superiority and excellence. Later, children will become self-motivated for seeking knowledge ;they dont need to be threatened.
In this sense, there is similarity between the atmosphere of the family and that of the Islamic government, where the social discipline is built on the principles of freedom and justice. Due to this fact, education in Islam is based on justice, freedom, and the development of the children desires for superiority and perfection.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said to his son Imam Hassan (a.s.) «Dont be a slave for others, while Allah had created you and made you a free man». By this brief saying, the great father plants in his son the greatest wealth of personality, and makes him used to mental freedom. With respect to childreneducation he (a.s.) said, «He who didnt learn during childhood, would not advance when becoming an adult». The qualified teacher is the one who makes use of the child instinct for perfection and superiority, building most of his educational methods on this basis.
The family, where a child grows up, plays an important role in his education. It is considered as a school which develops his hidden talents and teaches him lessons in great human values.
Imam Ali (a.s.) was a perfect man, with an ideal personality . All the human qualities and virtuous manners appeared in this great man, who frankly boasted of the education he received in his childhood. He told us about the great spiritual wealth he had gotten during that stage of his honorable life.
He also boasted of his great teacher , the prophet of Islam (p.) when saying, «You knew about the close kinship from the Messenger (p..) and the special rank he had given me . He put me in, his lap, took me to his breast, and made me sleep in his bed, touching his body and smelling his hair. He (a.s.) proceeds saying, «Every day he used to teach me one of his manners, and he order me to abide by it».
All of Imam Ali (a.s.) mental and emotional tendencies were satisfied during his childhood in the Prophet tender lap. On one hand, the Prophet (p.) watered his emotions from the spring of his affection and sympathy; on the other hand, he gave him lessons in manners and ordered him to follow them.
The profound, wise educational methods, that the greatest prophet (p.) had followed in upbringing Imam Ali (a.s.) revived the latter all hidden talents and led him within a short time to the highest posts of perfection, so he adapted Islam at the age of ten with awareness and perception. Moreover, he spread its creed, following the Prophet way of life. Never in his life did he deviate from the right way.
The characteristic that makes the value of the family of big importance is reviving the child individual traits. Individuals do not only differ from each other in their physical appearance, but also in their spirits and psychologies. This difference is one of the features of the divine might.[Why dont you beg God with reverence; He created you different from each other] (The Hypocrites: 8).
The Messenger (p.) said, Â«people are metals like gold and silver». Due to this reason, some children are born with certain qualities that do not exist in other ordinary children. Some individuals, perhaps, have reason, perception, intelligence, wit, memory, acuteness, generosity, and self-control in an extraordinary way.
The child upbringing should be based on man natural perception and innate tendencies, methods built on this basis are sound, and they are the realistic way for man happiness.
Therefore, what is the most important basis of education:
In the course of sound education, the first thing a child must be taught is making him feel God existence, and make him believe in Him using an easily understandable approach.
The need for believing in God is inborn, and it exists inside every man nature-when the child perception system is ready & good observation