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|Care: The mark of the Prophet’s approach|
|11/12/01 at 16:08:55|
Care: The mark of the Prophet’s approach
By Dr. Muhammad Al-Awa
Within the area of child upbringing and education, the whole idea of caring, as opposed to being hard, is often overlooked by parents and teachers. It is also felt unimportant by an equally significant group, namely, those who employ or supervise apprentices in small businesses and trades. And this neglect has far-reaching consequences for the whole community.
Caring, as it relates to kindness in education and upbringing, is a highly important Islamic principle that is not confined to the relationship between adults and the children in their care. Indeed it permeates all areas so as to include kindness to all people. An authentic Hadith related by Al-Bukhari mentions that a small group of Jews came to the Prophet and deliberately twisted their tongues so as to pronounce the greeting word, "salam" (which means peace) as "saam" (which means death). Aishah, the Prophet’s wife who was present at the time, says: "I understood what they said and replied, ‘death and curses be to you’." The Prophet said to her: "Take it easy, Aishah. God loves care to be shown in all dealings." Aishah said: "Messenger of God! Have you not heard what they said?" He answered: "Yes, and I only said in reply, ‘And to you’."
Another authentic Hadith also reported by Aishah quotes the Prophet as saying: "God is caring and loves those who are caring. Indeed, He gives for care rewards that He does not give for violence." (Related by Muslim). Abu Al-Dardaa’ quotes the Prophet as saying: "Whoever is given a share of caring has been given his share of goodness, and whoever is uncaring has been deprived of a share of goodness." (Related by al-Tirmithi)
It should be explained that the statement that God "gives for care rewards that He does not give for violence" means that the results that come about following a gentle and caring line are far better and more plentiful than a hard, uncaring attitude can ever achieve.
No one is more entitled to being looked after with kindness and compassion than the young ones whom God has placed in our care. Their need for care may not be apparent when our children delight us with their intelligence, success, or good manners. We do not need to remind ourselves to be more caring when a child or a teenager is dutiful, doing what he or she needs to do, studious and successful. Care comes naturally in such situations. But we need to remember to be caring when a child appears to be dull, lazy or underachiever. Some parents and teachers may find this intolerable and often resort to threats of violence so as to scare the child into making a better effort.
This highly ineffective method may yet achieve some results with a few children, leading an educator to think that it could bring similar results in all cases. Such educators may be elated when they achieve what they think instant success through a hard approach, overlooking the fact that a large variety of factors may underline a child’s negligence, carelessness or violence. Treating such situations may be as varied as the causing factors. Resorting to the same method in treating all cases is bound to be disastrous. It would be a case of a doctor treating all his patients with the same medicine, administering it in cases of ordinary cold as well as in those of serious and killer diseases. The result is that he leads his patients, or many of them, to the grave.
A hard, or violent, attitude by the educator is sure to demoralize the young, destroy their self-confidence, and bring about a deep-seated resentment and hatred of the educators. Children brought up in such a violent environment will be cowardly when they grow up. When they obey orders, their obedience is motivated by fear of punishment, not by love or a genuine desire to do good and to contribute to the community’s welfare.
When we meet such people in our community and have to deal with them as adults, we tend to put the blame for their upbringing on everyone else. We forget that we continue to make the same mistake every day, adding to the numbers of such people who ruin life and mar its beauty. Such people are the product of a hard, uncaring upbringing.
Should you find a person who was subjected to such violent upbringing and managed to escape its long-term effects, and you investigate the case, you will be able to identify certain factors that had their play in that person’s childhood or youth to counterbalance the effects of that early violence.
We need to remind ourselves of the importance of kindness and care when a child or an adolescent begins to show a tendency to rebellion. This is common among adolescent boys and girls. Yet many educators overlook the fact that such rebellion may be only part of growing up and the desire to feel or demonstrate one’s independence. As such, it requires particular care so as to direct it to what is positive and beneficial. We will, then, reap its very good results which make parents and educators happy and proud of those whom they have helped to bring up.
But when our attitude to such rebellious symptoms, which may very well have positive aspects, is to resort to force and suppression so as to make our youths toe the line without listening to their views, we only gift our community with a new generation of trained apes or domesticated cats. A nation with such men and women is pitiful indeed.
We are most in need of remembering to be caring when a naughty child or a rebellious adolescent behaves in an infuriating way, particularly when the child had been warned against such behavior. The immediate reaction of many parents and teachers in such situations is a slap on the face or some other form of physical force. This may break the naughty child or rebellious adolescent, but it will certainly not rectify their erring attitude. The one whose anger got the better of him or her forgets that patience and a cool evaluation of the situation would have been far more productive than an immediate and hard punishment.
A proper identification of the causes that might have led to the errant behavior, motivated by a genuine desire to help the child, is bound to suggest ways and methods of dealing with the situation which confirm the above-quoted Hadith: "Indeed, He (i.e. God) gives for care rewards that He does not give for violence." They will also confirm the other Hadith which states: "When care is part of anything, it is bound to add to its beauty; and when it is removed from anything, it will certainly detract from it." (Related by Muslim). The beauty and the detraction to which the Prophet refers are not merely the physical ones. They have a more profound significance, referring to the genuine, deeper beauty or ugliness which make wiser people desire the first and reject the second.
The Prophet himself, the supreme educator, gives us in his own practical behavior numerous examples of care, kindness and gentility. His care and kindness were extended to children and adults, pious and sinners, kindred and strangers, people endowed with knowledge and ignorant ones, friends and foes as well as those who err in their worship or in their daily life. Indeed, his normal behavior and his education were characterized by pure care and kindness in all situations. In this way, he was able to bring about the first generation of Muslims, whose men and women presented the light and guidance of Islam to the whole world.
[color=green]Article taken from the Arab News[/color]
|Re: Care: The mark of the Prophet’s approach|
|11/21/01 at 23:04:24|
Jazaki Allahu Khayran Sister Amal :)
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