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Egypt’s Great Ethics and Civilization

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It is no doubt that Egypt is a great nation graced with great leaders, scholars, men, women, young men and women, history and civilization. Also, Egypt has a leading intellectual, scientific, cultural, military, civilizational and humanitarian role in the region. What matters most indeed is Egypt’s open horizons and viability of pardon and tolerance. It is graciously capable of avoiding low and mean matters following the logic expressed in the following statement: The fool face me with filthy stuffs Yet, I feel repugnant to reply The worse his absurdities grow, The greater forbearance I show Like agarwood increasingly burned Only for sweet-smelling to be turned However, there is a distinctive difference between the strong forbearance and the weakness and humility. Egypt is forbearing and not weak. Like an elder brother who yearns for the familial solid union and does his duty to the utmost of his ability to prevent family disintegration and disunity, Egypt is keen to keep the Arab union and will never disgrace wrongful brothers at times of urgency. Following the example of an elder brother in his family, the leading Egypt never overlooks the Arab issues. Meanwhile, it is further above all fake attempts to tempt Egypt to conflicts, imposed or ordained by other parties who, contrary to the Egyptian political prudence and wisdom, lack the necessary prudence and evaluation of consequences. Over a long and morally rich history of Egypt, the Egyptians were not known for dishonesty, betrayal, violation or aggression, unless it be for a just cause. At all times, Egypt powerfully stood by their sister and friendly states. Again, over history, Egypt is famous for good neighborhood and the Egyptians are noted for their tolerance, affability, gentle treatment and tender hearts. Extremism and fanaticism never had a place in Egypt. Temporary and accidental violence rarely occurred at some eras, which signified odd phenomena exogenous to the Egyptian community endowed with pure nature and substance. Like a summer cloud, such transient violence soon faded away. The Egyptian civilization assimilated many aspects of other civilizations and availed itself of what is useful and beneficial to the exclusion of what is harmful and evil. Over more than thousand years, AlAzhar’s noted tolerance and balanced moderation acted as the main guaranty of the Egyptian tolerance and moderation inside and outside Egypt in the Arab world, the Muslim World and the world as a whole. I versified some lines in celebration of this meaning saying, Egypt, the Quiver, is divinely saved and protected As, in the Wise Remembrance, Guaranteed t may transiently slip, But soon it stands up As a strong bulwark of Islam And a safe shelter for the noble Arabs Seekers of its peace are granted Yet, for war mongers its men challenged Free from aggression and Humility Here true manhood has the construction Only Two ends are there with no Third Absolute victory or martyrdom shared Ask the history about her Heroes To understand why the Prophet mentioned her hosts The best of hosts are those of Egypt, so give Egypt its due merit and Value Behold Al-Azhar, filled with ritual and scholarly moves Preserving and keeping sciences through centuries Teaching people of all corners of the world As tolerance is the title of our faith Send prayers to the Chosen Ahmad The Best and leader of all humankind

The Concept of National Security

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There is no doubt that the stability of any country is closely associated with protecting the national security and the extent to which each citizen is concerned about the level of security and protection, especially of those close to the circles of decision-making in issues related to international relationships and their mechanisms.

If the national security of an independent and a sovereign country is a red line that cannot be crossed or whose crossing cannot be tolerated, the preservation of this line requires an ongoing, scholarly and methodical awareness, culture and education about the concept of national security. I can say that holding intensive courses about this concept for persons expected to occupy leading positions has become an urgent necessity, because the technical, technological and administrative skills may not be sufficient in forming a comprehensive vision that leads to the correct direction and course as long as persons have no farsighted and comprehensive vision of the effect of any decision they take on the national security.

It may not occur to some people that the decisions or the actions that they take or the relationships that they establish may have a negative effect on the national security. This might not be intentional, but it might be the result of lack of knowledge or insufficient knowledge of national security. However, the current stage and the circumstances that the country, the region and the whole world undergo necessitate that ordinary citizens, let alone those in charge or the decision-makers, be thoroughly familiar with the national security of their country whether in taking the decisions or in establishing relations or in concluding agreements and protocols.

If the level of awareness of the importance and danger of everything related to national security varies from one person to another for many considerations including: culture, keenness on the national interests, showing concern for the homeland and giving the national interests priority above any other considerations, then the following procedures are necessary:

  • More education and awareness of the concept of national security through holding intensive courses for all those who are going to occupy leading positions.
  • Raising awareness of the concept of national security and the necessity of preserving it on the part of politicians, thinkers, writers, intellectuals and the media, especially those who have a penetrating vision and mature awareness of the concept of national security. This should be considered one of the most important elements of the country’s stability.
  • The necessity of advance coordination with the concerned bodies before concluding any agreements or protocols with any foreign institutions to avoid any penetration or negative effects on our national interests even if not on purpose.

Before any important decision, the concept of national security requires familiarity with the internal and foreign political conditions as well as the regional and international political conditions along with the consideration of our Arab and African depth and Muslim world dimensions. The positive and negative effects of important and vital decisions on each of these relations as well as the priorities, the significance positions and the margins of movement in all directions must be studied.

There is no doubt that the political, military, economic, cultural, technical and media relations affect one another because it is no longer possible to separate them completely so that each institution can act as if it lives in a world that is specific to it. However, each institution should take into consideration the effect of their procedures on other national institutions. There is no doubt that this consideration requires a deep national sense and a considerable practice and experience. It also requires that we all work as a team. All people in charge must shoulder full responsibility for the tasks assigned to them with a high level of understanding and awareness of the work of their team and the requirements of taking decisions in the institutions to which they belong.

It is a truism that nations cannot achieve stability only with good intentions without awareness, planning and watchfulness in a world where the strong devour the weak. The Second Caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “I am not to deceive, nor do I allow someone to deceive me!”

Al-Mughira Ibn Shu‘ba said, “Were it not for Islam, I would use cunning that the Arabian Peninsula would not tolerate.” There must be good work with good intentions. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Say, [O Muhammad], Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work” (the Quran, 18: 103-104). That is why the Quran stresses the conditions of trustworthiness and competence, because none of them alone is sufficient. Allah says at the tongue of the daughter of Prophet Shu‘ayb, “O my father, hire him. Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and the trustworthy” (the Quran, 28: 26). Allah also says at the tongue of Prophet Yūsuf (Joseph) (peace be upon him), “Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian” (the Quran, 12: 55).

The True Believers from the Quranic Perspective
Jumada al-Ula 17, 1437 AH / February 26, 2016 CE

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Sermon Plan

  1. Knowledge and Faith
  2. Faith is associated with Good Deeds
  3. Believers’ Qualities:
  4. God-Fearing
  5. Placing Trust in Allah
  6. Keen and Humble Observation of Salah
  7. Giving in Charity
  8. Telling the Truth, Honesty, Keeping One’s Word, Shyness and Good morals
  9. Divine Rewards Promised to the Believers

Sermon Text

 It is out of the divine mercy and kindness that Allah sent messengers to humankind to guide them to the truth and lead them on straight path. As such, no one can have an excuse against Allah. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Those messengers brought good tidings as well as warnings so mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise” (the Quran, 4: 165).

Faith is the highest relation that messengers (may Allah’s peace be upon them) preached; it is the firm belief in Allah, His angels, scriptures and messengers as well; as the last day and the decree, good or bad. The believers shall abide by the necessary condition of faith; namely, the enforcement of the duties—commands and prohibition, in conformity with the divine plan as delivered by Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him).

Knowledge is the first step of faith: Allah, the Almighty, says, “Know that there is no god but Allah and seek forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and women. Yet, Allah knows of your movement and your resting place” (the Quran, 47: 19). Faith and good deeds are inseparably associated. The Quran expresses this fact in several verses, of which the following are exemplary:

  • Allah, the Almighty, says, “But they who believe and do good deeds – those are the residents of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally” (the Quran, 2: 82).
  • “Surely, those who have believed and done good deeds – their Lord will guide them because of their faith. Beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure” (the Quran, 10: 9).
  • “Those who have believed and done good deeds – they will have the Gardens of Paradise as a lodging” (the Quran, 18: 107).

Faith is heightened by obedience and faded out by disobedience. It has many practical dimensions, which vary from a believer to another in line of one’s degree of faith in Allah. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Faith has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration that no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah; and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith” (al-Bukhari and Muslim). Good deeds are rightly a reflection of good faith. The facts of faith are made clear in the famous account of Gabriel’s visit to the Prophet as reported by ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that:

“While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him), there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) rested his knees against the knees of the Prophet and placed his palms over his thighs, and said: “O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) replied: “Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah (prayers), pay zakah (obligatory charity), fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (in Mecca) if you can find a way to it.” He said: “You have told the truth.” We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right.

He went on to say, “Tell me about faith.” The Prophet answered, “It is to believe in Allah and His angels, Books and Messengers as well as in the Last Day, and in predestination, good or bad.” He said, “You have told the truth.” The man said, “Inform me about isan.” The Prophet said, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, but if you cannot see Him He sees you.”

He said, “Tell me about the Hour.” The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” “Well, tell me of its signs, he said.” The Prophet said, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings.” Thereupon, the man went off. After a while of waiting, the Prophet asked, “O ‘Umar, do you know who that questioner was?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said, “He is Gabriel; he came to educate you in your religion” (Muslim in his authentic collection).

In His wise Book, Allah, the Almighty, mentions many of the believers’ characteristics as follows:

  • Perfect fear of Allah as a high and grand status of a believer: “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts are held in fear, and when His verses are recited to them, they are raised in faith; and upon their Lord they rely – the ones who establish prayer, and from what We have provided them, they spend. Those are the true believers; for them are degrees of high position with their Lord and forgiveness and noble provision” (the Quran, 8: 2-4). This perfect fear personifies the perfect apprehension of Allah, as Allah says, “Indeed, those who are apprehensive from fear of their Lord; and those who believe in the signs of their Lord; and those who do not associate anything with their Lord; and those who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord— It is those who hasten to good deeds” (the Quran, 23: 57-61).
  • Allah, the Almighty, also says, “You shall only warn those who follow the reminder and are in awe of the Most Merciful while unseeing of him. So give him good news of forgiveness and noble reward” (the Quran, 36: 11).
  • Indeed, the Prophet set us the example of the best fearing-God human being. Mutarref narrated from his father who said, “I saw the Prophet praying while his chest is loudly sounding like a boiling kettle” (Ibn Khuzaymah). The Prophet even used to supplicate Allah for a good watchful heart filled with apprehension of Allah.
  • Abu Mejlaz said, “Once ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir led us in a prayer, which he made brief. Some people disliked his act. He said: ‘Have I not perfected its bowing and prostration? Yes, they replied. However, I have made a supplication that I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
  • “O Allah, by Your knowledge of the unseen and Your absolute power over the creation, keep me alive so long as You know that life is good for me and cause me to die when You know that death is better for me. O Allah, decree me to harbor fears of You in all circumstances; and to say the truth in times of pleasure and anger; and to prove prudently moderate in poverty and riches; and grant me the everlasting joy of looking at Your face and longing for your meeting. I seek refuge with you from a harmful calamity or a misguiding trial. O Allah, beautify us with the adornment of faith and make us among those who guide and are rightly guided” (Ahmad).
  • A poet once said,

Fear God and hope Him for all calamities and obey not a disobedient soul to escape regret

Be between fear and hope, and have good news of divine pardon if you’re proved a true Muslim

  • Placing Trust in Allah: It is also a sign of good faith to rely on Allah and sincerely put your trust in Him in securing benefits and avoiding evils of all matters. One should have firm belief that the only one who can benefit and harm and relieve from evils is Allah alone. A believer should take all necessary means leading to perfect work without placing trust in anything but Allah. Sincere trust does not contradict taking necessary means. ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying: ‘If you really put your trust in Allah as due, you will be given provision like birds; they go out hungry in the morning and come back with full bellies in the evening” (al-Tirmidhi). As to the claims of putting sincere trust in Allah without good endeavors and work, it is not a case of trust but a case of idle dependence against which the Prophet forewarned.
  • Mu‘adh Ibn Jabal narrated said “I was riding behind the Messenger of Allah on a donkey known as ‘Ufayr when the Prophet said: Mu‘adh, do you know what right has Allah over His slaves and what right have His slaves over Him? Mu‘adh said: Allah and his Messenger know best. Upon this the Prophet remarked: The right of Allah over His slaves is that they should worship Allah and should not associate anything with Him, and the right of His slaves over Allah, Glorious and Sublime, is that He does not punish anyone who associates not anything with Him. Mu‘adh said to the Messenger of Allah: Should I give this good news to people? The Prophet said: Do not tell them this good news, for they may trust in it alone” (Muslim in his authentic collection). Placing trust in Allah is closely associated with a believer’s life. Indeed, securing the benefits and fending off harms can only come true with placing sincere trust in Allah.
  • Keen and Humble Observation of Salah: It is also a sign of good believers that they permanently perform the prayers in humbleness and submission. Allah, the Almighty, says: “Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive” (the Quran, 23: 1-2).
  • Salah is the symbol of Islam as asserted in several Quranic verses: “And establish Salah and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]” (the Quarn, 2: 43). It is also one of the main five pillars of Islam. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “Islam is based on five pillars: testifying that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger; offering the prayers perfectly; paying Zakah (i.e. obligatory charity); performing Hajj i.e. pilgrimage to Mecca; observing fast during the month of Ramadan” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
  • Admittedly, people vary in their humble performance of prayers; some get the full reward when others only suffer and toil unrewarded. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying: “Many people fast and get nothing from their fast but hunger; and many others pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night” (al-Bayhaqi in his sunan).
  • Salah is also a means to good behavior and lofty character; it drives a person from bad deeds, sins and indecencies. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing” (the Quran, 29: 45). Humble observation of prayers in full submission is a duty indicated in the narration of Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “What is the matter with people who lift their gaze to the sky while praying?” He spoke sternly against that until he said: “They must stop that or else they will certainly lose their eyesight” (al-Bukhari in his authentic collection).
  • Giving in Charity is also a sign of true believers. Charity here is generally applied to all forms of giving, be they obligatory or voluntary. The Prophet said, “The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. the giver of charity is better than the one who receives it) and one should first provide for his dependents. Yet, the best charity is that which is given by a wealthy person but whoever abstains from beseeching others for financial help, Allah will give and relieve him sufficiently” (al-Bukhari in authentic collection).
  • Abu Mas‘ūd al-Badri narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “If a man spends on his family (with the intention of having a reward from Allah) sincerely for Allah’s sake, it is a form of alms-giving in reward for him” (Muslim in his authentic collection). A believer knows that he is just in charge of the wealth and that all graces only rest in the hands of Allah; s/he is generous and Allah is generous to him.
  • Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “While a person travelling through the wilderness, he heard a voice in the cloud saying: Water the garden of so and so. The clouds soon took aside and poured water on a stony ground filling a certain channel. The traveler followed the water to come upon a person standing in a garden busy with changing the course of water with a hatchet. He said to him: O Servant of Allah, what is your name? He said: So and so. Surprisingly, it is the same name heard in the clouds. The farmer asked: O Servant of Allah, why do you ask about my name? He said: I heard a voice from the clouds of which is the downpour, saying: Water the garden of so and so mentioning the like of your name. What do you do [to receive this divine grace]? He said: Now, as you said that, I look what yield I get from it and give one-third as charity, one-third to sustain myself and my children; and one-third I return to cultivate a new harvest therewith” (Muslim in his authentic collection).
  • The Noble Quran also mentions other qualities for which the believers are distinctively noted, e.g. turning away from idle talk and fulfilling their trusts. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Successful in deed are the believers; (1) they who are submissively humble in their prayer; (2) and they who turn away from idle talk; (3) and they who persistently pay the charity; (4) and they who guard their private parts (5) except from their wives or the female slaves in their possession, for indeed, they will not be blamed— (6) yet, whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors— (7) and they who are true to their trusts and promises; (8) and they who carefully maintain their prayers— (9) those are the inheritors, (10) Who will inherit paradise therein they will abide eternally” (the Quran, 23: 1-11). These verses show the good characters of believers as including humbleness in prayers, avoidance of idle talk, payment of charity, keeping away from illicit relations, maintaining trust, repaying them to their owners and fulfilling one’s promise.
  • A true Muslim shall assume these highly Quranic ethics to join the people of true faith and save himself in this world and in the hereafter. A true faith that controls a believer’s heart helps him/her escape all forms of deviation, intransigence and fanaticism. The believer loves for others the same good he loves for himself; s/he avoids perjury, lying and idle talk sessions and works hard to achieve the welfare of his community and nation. Conversely, pretenders of faith are morally deviant even if their behaviors are apparently legal but their faith is imperfect and meaningless.
  • Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) once came out when a young man of al-Ansar called Harithah ibn al-Nu‘man met him. The Prophet asked, “How are you this morning, O Harithah? He replied, I have become a true faithful in this morning. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Consider what you are saying, for each true essence reveals real facts, what are the real facts of your faith? In reply, he said: “My soul is really turned away from the world, so I kept my night praying and kept my daytime fasting. It seems as if I look at the Throne of my Lord outstanding and look at the residents of Paradise visiting each other and at the residents of the Fire aggrieving one another. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “Really, you know the truth, keep to that. What a servant whose heart is divinely illuminated by faith!” (al-Bayhaqi in Shu‘ab al-Iman).
  • A believer is also characterized by good morals; he is truthful, honest, faithful, generous, shy, upright, merciful, tolerant, modest, just, benevolent, altruist and perfectly follows the Quranic ethics. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe, fear Allah and be with those who are truthful” (the Quran, 9: 119).
  • Allah, the Almighty, also says, “And those who faithfully keep their trusts and promises” (the Quran, 70: 32).
  • It is also a sign of the true righteous believers that “they fulfill their promise when they promise and are patient in poverty and hardship and in battlefield. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous” (the Quran, 2: 177).

For believers of noble morals Allah promises the best reward saying: “Indeed, those who have believed and done good deeds will have the Gardens of Paradise as a lodging wherein they will abide eternally and never will they desire any other substitute” (the Quran, 18: 107-108).

Children’s Rights to Good Education, Honorable Life and Hopeful Future
Jumada al-Ula 10, 1437 AH / February 19, 2016 CE

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Sermon Plan

  1. Children, a Divine Grace Worthy of Thanksgiving
  2. Islamic Care of Children
  3. Principles for Good Upbringing:
  4. Choice of Good Names
  5. Natural Breastfeeding
  6. Kindness 
  7. Fair and Equal Treatment between Children
  8. Guaranty of Honorable Life for Children
  9. Importance of Hope in our Life

Sermon Topic

The grace of children is a great divine grace comes next only to the grace of having faith in Allah. It is with this grace that human future generations continue. Children are the joys of eyes and a grand divine grace that Allah gives whom He wishes of His slaves. Allah, the Almighty, says, “To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills and gives to whom He wills female [children] and whom He wills males. Or He makes them both males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent” (the Quran, 42: 49-50).

Children fill life with happiness turning the darkness of houses into light; they are the lamps of houses, the joys of souls and the beauties of life. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Wealth and children are but adornment of the worldly life. But the lasting good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for one’s hope” (the Quran, 18: 46).

The grace of children is worthy of great thanksgiving to Allah. Prophet Ibrāhīm, (Peace be upon him) thanked Allah, the Almighty, after giving him the grace of children saying: “Praise to Allah, who has granted to me in old age Ishmael and Isaac. Indeed, my Lord is the Hearer of supplication. (39) My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication” (the Quran, 14: 39-40). Actually, the more you thank the greater graces you receive; Allah, the Almighty, says, “Your Lord have solemnly proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe” (the Quran, 14: 7). It is highly important to give due care for this grace, so the new generation becomes a godly-oriented generation well acquainted with the rights of Allah as well as the rights of parents, nation and society.

Islam gives due care for child-raising and education with the aim of helping both children and parents achieve happiness and success in this world and in the hereafter. Indeed, the Islamic care for children begins very early even before their arrival to life. For example, Islam makes it compulsory upon a person desirous of marriage to choose a good partner. It is in the houses of faith that one gets blessed with happiness, prosperity and success. In his tradition, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) indicates this meaning saying: “Win the one who is religious, may you win the bliss” (Muslim in his authentic collection). The Islamic care for children is prior to the rise of the international child organizations. For Islam, this phase is very serious and impressive in human life.

Childhood is a very crucial phase of human life through which man moves towards the age of majority. Child care aims to introduce children as a positive addition and active element in the society. Many laws are in force for the benefits of children and family and in turn the whole society gets benefits.

The Islamic care for children began very early during the fetal stage of development. Several laws organize this starting serious period with the aim of guaranteeing the fetus’ right to life, dignity, due maintenance and inclusive care. While in the womb, a child is guaranteed the right to life and, as such, abortion is declared a crime.

The mother is deservedly entitled to receive due care during pregnancy insomuch that she is allowed to break the fasting during Ramadan when she fears any expected harm, so the fetus has a full natural growth. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Allah has remitted half the prayer to a traveler (s/he may pray only two units instead of the four-unit prayers)) and fasting (during Ramadan and must make up for the days missed), the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant (also have the same concessions)” (al-Nasā’i).

Aspects of Islamic care for children are many; the parents shall choose him a good name. Unlike the bad names, a good name brings about comfort and serenity in hearts. Abu al-Dardā’ (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your fathers’ names, so give yourselves good names” (Abu Dawud).

After giving birth, the parents shall choose a nice name to their child. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “It is necessary for a boy to have a sacrificial animal sacrificed for him on the seventh day; he should also be given a name and has his head shaved” (al-Tirmidhi). The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) encouraged Muslims to choose the best of names and the most beloved names to Allah. Nafi‘ narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and with his father) that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The most beloved of names to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Raḥmān” (Abu Dawud in his Sunan).

According to the narration of Imam Muslim: “The most beloved of your names to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Raḥmān.” The Prophet also prohibited bad names, lest their ugly impression causes children any psychological injury or pains. A man once came to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allah be pleased with him) complaining of his son’s disobedience. ‘Umar summoned the boy and rebuked him for disobeying his father and neglecting his rights. The boy replied: “O Commander of the Believers, does a child have no rights over his father?” “Certainly,” replied ‘Umar. “What are they, O Commander of the Believers?” He should choose him a good mother and a good name and teach him the Book (the Quran), ‘Umar said.” O Commander of the Believers, my father did nothing of this. My mother was a black bondwoman owned by a Magian (fire worshipper). He gave me the name of Ju‘l (meaning dung beetle or scarab) and did not teach me a single letter of the Quran. Turning to the father, ‘Umar said: “You have come to me complaining about your son’s disobedience but you failed to pay him his due rights before he disobeyed you; you had wronged him before he wronged you” (Tarbiyat al-Awlād fi al-Islam).

Sufyan al-Thawri said, “It is the right of a child over his parents to choose him/her a good name, provide him/her a good education and help him/her marry when they are adult.” Good names help children escape any ridiculous and slight signs and inspire them with good feelings when mentioned. The name is the title of a personality.

Islam also imposes a certain period of breastfeeding; Allah, the Almighty, says, “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is their [i.e., the mothers’] provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity.  No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the father’s heir is a duty like that of the father. And if they both desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them. And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Watchful of what you do” (the Quran, 2: 233).

According to this noble Quranic verse, the period of breastfeeding is two complete years as a child in this period needs a certain kind of food to help his/her body formation. Mother’s gifted milk is the best meal a child may have in this stage as divinely planned by the Creator, who said, “Does He, who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?” (the Quran, 67: 14).

However, if the mother has any medical barrier to lactation, or if the child stopped sucking, or if the mother dies— it is obligatory upon the father to hire them a nurse and guarantee their safety. Recent medical and psychological studies prove that the two-year period of breastfeeding under the Sharī‘ah is essential for the child healthy physical and psychological growth. It strengthens the child sense of warm feeling, kindness and security as closely related to the mother. As such, a child grows healthily and lives honorably.

It is also substantially important for child-raising to give the children good treatment in kindness without any cruelty or harshness. It is a truism that kindness begets nothing but good outcome. ‘Aishah—the Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “O ‘Aishah, surely Allah is kind and He loves kindness and grants for kindness that which He does not grants for cruelty and even does not grants for anything else (but kindness)” (Muslim in his authentic collection). Harsh upbringing and education lead most children to dislike educators and disobey them.

Contrary to this harshness, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) was reported to have carried his grandsons al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn on his shoulders. His principal way of education was kindness and gentleness. Ibn Buraydah narrated from his father Buraydah who said, “While the Messenger of Allah was on the pulpit, Al-Ḥasan and Al-Ḥusayn came, wearing red shirts, walking and stumbling. He came down and picked them up, then said: ‘Allah has spoken the truth: “Your wealth and your children are only a trial.’ I saw these two walking and stumbling in their shirts, and I could not be patient until I went down and picked them up” (al-Nasā’i in his sunan).

A good educator, a parent or a teacher, should consider this great principle of good and kind treatment. Mistakes shall be wisely and mercifully addressed. Cruelty begets fears and cowardice and may lead to psychological disorder, repugnance and hesitation. In one of his advice, al-Aḥnaf Ibn Qays said, “Do not be a lock of your children. Or else, they would hope for your death, dislike approaching you and feel boring with your life.” Kind treatment is different from discreet, and wisely used, punishment when necessary.

Justice and Fair Treatment: Justice and fair treatment are essential for good child-raising. For Islam, justice is an original Islamic principle that must be well considered. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do” (the Quran, 5: 8). This principle must be applied, especially in the child-parent relationships.

The Prophet directed parents to take care of and abide by this principle. It is even coupled with God-fearing as narrated from ‘Amer that he heard al-Nu‘mān Ibn Bashīr (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) on the pulpit saying, “My father gave me a gift but ‘Amrah Bint Rawaḥah (my mother) said that she would not agree to that unless he made Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) as a witness to it. My father went to Allah’s Messenger and said, ‘I have given a gift to my son from ‘Amrah Bint Rawaḥah, but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Allah’s Messenger(may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him). Allah’s Messenger asked, ‘Have you given (the like of it) to everyone of your children?’ He replied in the negative. Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Be afraid of Allah and be just to your children.’ My father then returned and took back his gift” (al-Bukhari in his authentic collection).

Likewise, ‘Abd al-Razzaqq narrated in his al-Muṣannaf that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) received an invitation from a man from al-Anṣār. In the host’s house, his son first came and the father kissed and hugged him placing him to his side. Later, a daughter of that man came and her father only placed her to his side. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “If you proved just in treatment, it would be much better for your; be gently just with your children even in kisses.”  Just treatment between children has some great benefits. It is a main cause for fair gratitude. It also introduces a good generation to the society and helps fraternity to dominate the relationship of brothers and sisters in essence and form.

Contrary to justice, unfair treatment is the worse source of ingratitude, family disintegration and hate. It is the seed of malicious grudge sowed in the children. Psychological research proves that most of mental and social disorders that a child suffers originate from feelings of injustice and unfair treatment compared to his brothers and sisters. Examples of this fact is found in the story of Yūsuf (Joseph, peace be upon him) and his brothers when they misunderstood the treatment of Ya‘qūb (Jacob, peace be upon him) with Yūsuf and saw it a sort of unfair preference. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Certainly were there in Joseph and his brothers signs for those who ask, [such as] (7) When they said, “Joseph and his brother 558 are more beloved to our father than we, while we are a clan. Indeed, our father is in clear error. (8) Kill Joseph or cast him out to [another] land; the countenance [i.e., attention] of your father will [then] be only for you, and you will be after that a righteous people” (the Quran, 12: 7-9).

Islamic Education: Islam also makes it necessary to educate the children according to the Islamic teachings, as the Quran commands fathers and mothers to work on relieving themselves and their families from destruction. Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded” (the Quran, 67: 6).

Child education and training according to the Islamic principle are religious duties and a right of child over his/her parents. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah’s be pleased with him and his father) narrated that they said, “O Messenger of Allah, we knew the rights of parents on their children but what are the rights of children on their parents? In reply, he said: “They should choose him/her a good name and teach him good morality” (al-Bayhaqi in Shu‘ab al-Imān).

Al-Tirmidhi narrated in his sunan that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “There is no gift that a father gives his son more virtuous than good manners.” It is highly important to teach children good education, direction and moral conduct. Education and training should be kindly given without upsetting the children, especially in front of foreigners.

The Prophet’s gentle example of education is indicative of this method. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah’s be pleased with him and his father) said, “One day, I was riding behind the Prophet when he said, “O boy! I will teach you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights and He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, beseech Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up” (al-Tirmidhi).

The noble Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) used to educate, guide and instruct children gently. ‘Umar Ibn Salamah (may Allah’s be pleased with him and his father) related the Prophet’s good example saying, “I was a boy under the care of Allah’s Messenger and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah’s Messenger said to me, ‘O boy, mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you” (Muslim in his authentic collection).

Imam al-Ghazali said, “A child is divinely entrusted to his/her parents; his/her pure heart is a precious pearl when getting accustomed to good, s/he learns it and earns happiness and success in this life and in the hereafter.” A good educator should be an ideal for the children in assuming the loftiest of noble ethics before directing them. Children are the best imitators of their fathers. What a wonderful is the following line saying:

A child grows up following the habits s/he earns from his/her father

It is considerable to mention that the process of child education is not the sole duty of parents but the duty of teachers and schools as well. For children, the teacher is symbolic of the ethical vales of the society and, as such, they should educate the children in the values and ethics of society. Child education is the responsibility of the whole society; all members shall care for their good behavior and discipline. Child education is a very heavy duty that all should undertake. This sort of collective social duties is indicated in the Prophet’s statement: “Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for what is in his/her custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and is responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it.” The narrator added, I think that the Prophet also said, “A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it, so all of you are guardians and responsible for things under your care” (al-Bukhari in his authentic collection).

For Islam, the parents are responsible for maintaining their children. Qatadah narrated from al-Ḥasan that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Surely, Allah would hold accountable every guardian for what was under his/her custody, whether s/he maintained or wasted, until a man would be questioned about his own household” (Ibn Ḥibban).

In Islam, the child is a perfect human being, who is entitled to physical, psychological, financial, educational and pedagogical rights. Furthermore, Islam imposes the respect and protection of these rights to guarantee children an honorable life within a civilized human community. Only then, the spirit of friendship, kindness, love and mercy predominate.

Finally, it is highly important to have hopes in better future for us and for our children. Man cannot live and prosper without hopes. Indeed, a hopeless life is not a life, so hopelessness shall have no place in life. In the view of the people of knowledge, despair, discouragement and disappointment are all grave sins.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah’s be pleased with him and his father) narrated that a man once said: O Allah’s Messenger, what are the grave sins? In reply, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Associating others with Allah in divinity or worship, being despaired of the relief of Allah or hopeless of the Mercy of Allah. I guarantee Paradise for anyone that Allah relieves from that.”

558 Benjamin who was born of the same mother as Joseph.