Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Beginnings of Man / Adams Creation

To David Livingstone,

This is a letter to try and show you evidences that in Quran, what is mentioned byGod as Al Jinn, are in fact nothing more than mortal men who live and die on Earth. Infact I believe Al Jinn is simply the title given to the race of men who descended fromIblis (Satan) by God. Al Jinn as it is found in Quran is simply the antithesis to Al Insanwhich is the God given name of the bloodline of Adam. Two races of men are identified by God in Quran.

One is Al Insan or the bloodline descendants of Adam and the other isAl Jinn or the bloodline descendants of Iblis. Adam was the father of a black race whileIblis may have been the father of a white race. It is this race of Al Jinn which I believenow make up the few blood families that are attempting to govern the planet and who areindeed worshipers of the devil.I will now attempt to support my above claims by using evidence as found inQuran and Bible as well as from historical facts I have come across.

I do not wish to dwell too much on contrasts of skin tones between these two proposed races, as I have read some of your works, and understand that you are familiar with these ideas. Instead Iwill focus more on scriptural evidence that Al Jinn as described in Quran are merely a race of men on Earth who are descended from their first father Iblis (Satan). Let's startfrom the beginning...

In Al Quran we find the most detailed story of the origin's of Adam, so it is herethat I will begin.Before mankind as we are familiar with, existed on this physical Earth there wasan episode taking place in the metaphysical world. This very important event isdetailed here in Al Quran:
Al Hijra – The Valley 15:28-31

And when your Lord said to the angels:Surely I am going to create a mortal of the essence of
black mud
fashioned in shape. So when I have made him complete and breathed intohim of My spirit, fall down making obeisance to him. So the angels madeobeisance, all of them together, But Iblis (did it not); he refused to bewith those who made obeisance.

The above episode is very significant to understanding not only man's beginnings but also his condition for a number of reasons. First there is the mention of Adamscreation, his form and spirit (the highlighting of black mud will be touched on later)and perhaps of even more importance is the reaction of the personality called Ibliswhen he was asked make obeisance to Adam. The telling of Iblis' disobedience at thistime of Adams creation is repeated six more times in Quran at 2:34, 7:11, 17:61,18:50, 20:116 and 38:74.

This important moment in mans early metaphysical beginnings is not representedas completely in the Bible, however we do find some agreement between Bible andQuran regarding the metaphoric description of the creation of Adams form and spiritas seen here:
Genesis 2:7

And the LORD God formed man [of] the DUST
of the ground,and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a livingsoul.
Because both the Old and New Testaments have undergone so much tampering, itis difficult to rely solely on it's written word to completely understand such events,however above we see that both Bible and Quran confer that Adam was first made toform from an Earthly substance and then a spirit was metaphorically breathed intohim, by God, to give this empty form life.

What is missing from Biblical text is theevent of Iblis (Satan's) initial disobedience and refusal to make obeisance to Adam,and it is this single action that plays a crucial role in understanding mans currentcondition on Earth. In fact the entire New Testament is almost silent on the mentionof the personality of Satan and this personality is non-existent in Old Testamentduring any mention of Adams creation.

Satan as a personality only plays a key role inmuch of the book of Job and a little in Zacharia. Further, the word devil or thecharacter devil is completely absent from the Old Testament and it only takes on astrong supporting role in many writings attributed to Paul in the New Testament.Also, the New Testament is completely mute on the subject of Adams creation.

What needs to be addressed now is the question of who this Iblis character is, but before I do that I want to show what the result was of his initial disobedience andnarrate this story a little further. This is what happened after Iblis initially disobeyedHim and refused to make obeisance to the newly created Adam.

Al Hijra – The Valley 15:32-41

He said: O Iblis! what excuse have you thatyou are not with those who make obeisance? He said: I am not such thatI should make obeisance to a mortal whom Thou hast created of theessence of
black mud fashioned in shape. He said: Then get out of it, forsurely you are driven away: And surely on you is curse until the day of  judgment. He said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they areraised. He said: So surely you are of the respited ones Till the period of the time made known. He said:

My Lord! because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and Iwill certainly cause them all to deviate Except Thy servants from amongthem, the devoted ones.

He said: This is a right way with Me:

Following the story we see that it was Iblis' arrogance which made him think he was superior to this created thing of black mud and refuse to prostrate, and we also see that his punishment for this disobedience was banishment. What is more important to note is Iblis' appeal and promise that he makes after God proclaims his banishment. Here Iblis first asks for respite, which is granted, then again out of arrogance and proclaiming it was God's fault for making him evil and doing such a thing, he promises to do everything in his power to divert the sons of Adam (them) from God's straight path. This is very significant, as we will see later on, in understanding our present condition on Earth. The above scenario is also repeated a number of times in Quran. Now before I continue this narrative I want to turn my attention to the character of Iblis and ask the simple questions..

Who and what is Iblis?

The answer to what Iblis is or was is very simple and quite clearly stated in thefollowing verse from Quran:
Al Kahf – The Cave 18:50
And (remember) when We said unto the angels:Fall prostrate before Adam, and they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was of the jinn,...
Above we see that this personality of Iblis is described as a Jinn, and in the following verse we see mention of the creation of Jinn.
Al Hijra – The Valley 15:27
And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.

We can see that this Jinn race which Iblis was one of, was created before Adam and the creation process of the Jinn involved a scorching wind. Contrary to popular  belief, the Jinn were not made from fire but from an intense heat as is seen below in anumber of different translations of the same above verse:

And the Jinn , We created him from before from (the) fire's burningwind .

As We fashioned jinns before from intense radiated heat.

And the jinn, We created afore time from the smokeless flame of fire.

and the jinn before (the human being) of smokeless fire.

These Jinn are described as being created from an intense heat or a smokeless fire.Of course fire must produce smoke but heat can exist without the presence of fire,such as we find in the process of baking with an oven, and it is this scorching wind or intense heat that played a role in the metaphysical creation of the Jinn as described inQuran. I will touch more on this creation process later as well as the differences between the metaphysical and physical worlds and there respective conditions but now I want to explore more of who Iblis was.

We now know that Iblis is identified as a Jinn or of the race of Jinn but it is alsoimportant to understand him as a unique and single personality and not an abstractconcept or idea. In all seven occurrences of the narration of Iblis' refusal to makeobeisance to Adam, the Arabic word 'Ibleesa' is used by God in Quran to identify this rebellious personality.

Iblis is in fact the proper name of this personality as given byGod, much the same way that Adam was the proper name of the first man that Godcreated from black mud or clay. Much confusion arises when other English words areused to describe this personality such as Satan or Devil, but as I will show, Quranmakes a distinction between these titles and makes clear that although Iblis is often identified as Satan or the Devil, his proper God given name was Iblis, and it is he who played the part of antagonist in the telling of Adams creation in Quran.

The next chapter in the story of Iblis disobedience and Adams creation takes placein what is often called paradise or Eden, but before I continue on to that, I want to tryand make clear the Quranic definitions of Satan and Devil, as we already know that Iblis was a single free willed personality who was present during Adams creation inthe metaphysical world.

Satan and The Devil

The confusion that exists today regarding the meanings of the words Satan and Devil and where they came from has also led to confusion as to the identity of the character Iblis who appears in Quran. Iblis is often considered to be Satan by many Muslims and in fact many translators of Quran have substituted the Arabic Ibleesa (the God given name of Iblis) with the English word Satan but this has only compounded the problem.

The Arabic word identified with Satan is 'shaitan' and the etymology of this word is still not definitely known. It is often thought that it may derive from a Northwest Semitic root śṭn, meaning 'to be hostile' or 'to accuse' but inorder to find out what it means according to God in Quran, we have to turn to Quran itself to give us the explanation.

In most instances that the Arabic word 'shaitan' appears in Quran it is translated as the English word 'devil' or 'devils', and sometimes it is simply translated as the common English equivalent 'Satan'. In fact, many translators just leave the word alone and translate it using the transliteration of the Arabic word.

However it is in the following verse from Quran that God gives us a clear meaning of the word 'shaitan'.Below are four different translations of the same verse using the different English versions of the Arabic word 'shaitan'. I have added the word shaitan in brackets to show where it appears in the original Arabic

Al An'am – The Livestock 6:112
Thus have We appointed unto everyprophet an adversary – (shaitan) devils
of humankind and jinn who inspire in one another plausible discourse through guile.That is how We have made for each apostle opponents, the (shaitan) satans
among men and jinns, who inspire one another with deceitful talk And thus did We make for every prophet an enemy, the Shaitans from among men and jinn, some of them suggesting to others varnished falsehood to deceive (them),Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy,- (shaitan)
evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception.

It is clear that the Arabic word shaitan is intended to be an adjective describing the qualities of a given group or individual and is not a proper noun, name or title.Satan is not any single individual nor the name of any particular personality. Based  on the above verse we can see that both Humans and Jinns can earn the descriptive title of Satan based on their actions to deceive.

In fact the Arabic form of the word shaitan may fall into the category of being what I call a 'uniquely Quranic word'. That is, it may be absent in pre-Islamic literature and first appeared in its form and context with the revelation of Quran, thus making it difficult to translate. This is why many translators simply refuse to translate it and instead use the transliteration of the Arabic word. This is also true for the Arabic word Jinn.

This word is also never translated because it has no pre-Islamic history in its form and context within the semitic languages, in other words there is no English equivalent. There are other such unique Quranic words but I wont go into detail regarding them now. In fact this phenomenon of uniquely Quranic words is something that has been unscrutinized by Islamic scholars even today and more research must be done on this subject. (I will later touch on the etymology of the word Jinn.

Understanding that this phenomenon does exist in Quran, we once again must turn to Quran itself to try and understand the meaning of such words. Though the word 'shaitan' may harbor meaning from the semitic root śṭn, I also feel there is evidence that it may be a contraction of two other Arabic words and this theory has been put forth by other scholars. Below is one scholars idea of the origins of the word 'shaitan'. These scanned images are from a book which covered a debate between a Sunni Muslim and a Muslim of a more reformist persuasion. The debate was about the identity of the Jinn.

The above reference breaks down the word 'shaitan' and shows how it can be formed by a contraction of the Arabic words 'Shay' and 'Tiyn' which would mean 'a thing of clay' in English. It also mentions that this was the physical state of Iblis, who was a Jinn, when he came to Earth. This makes perfect sense when we consider the conditions of a physical existence that we live out on this Earth and a metaphysical existence that was inhabited by both Iblis and Adam before they came to Earth. I will touch more on the differences between physical and metaphysical planes later. But now is the perfect time to continue the narration of what happened after Iblis had disobeyed God and was banished or cursed by God.

Tragedy In Paradise

Continuing the narration starting with Adams creation, Iblis' disobedience and his subsequent banishment, the story then jumps forward and relates to Adams dwelling in Janna, the Arabic word for paradise, or as the Bible calls it, Eden. Below is one of the three narrations in Quran that tell of this episode in mans early existence.

Al A'araf – The Purgatory 7:19 – 25 "Adam, reside with your mate in the paradise, and eat from wherever you please; but do not approach this tree or you will be of the wicked." But the devil whispered to them, to reveal their bodies which was hidden from them; and he said, "Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree except that you would become angels, or you would be immortals." He swore to them: "I am giving good advice." So he misled them with deception; and when they tasted the tree, their bodies became apparent to them, and they rushed to cover themselves with the leaves of the paradise; and their Lord called to them: "Did I not forbid you from that tree, and tell you that the devil is your clear enemy?" 

They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, then we will be of the losers!" He said, "Descend as enemies to one another; on earth you will have residence and provisions until the appointed time." He said, "On it you will live, on it you will die, and from it you will be brought out."

The Arabic word for paradise is Janna which is also known as Eden and sometimes referred to as heaven. This was the place where the above episode took place between Adam his wife and Satan or Iblis. This is also the same place where the righteous are promised to dwell in the afterlife. Where this place actually exists is unclear to many, myself included, but notice how in this part of the story Iblis is no longer mentioned as Iblees by God but is instead described as a 'shaitan', thing of clay. 

The above translation translates it as devil. It seems to argue that perhaps Janna does exist in a place where certain aspects of physical laws still apply. It may be a place that exists between the physical Earth and the place where Adams metaphysical creation and Iblis' insubordination occurred. A place where consciousness exists in physical form but the ruling law of cause and effect as we know it on Earth are substantially different. Concepts of contrasting planes of physical and metaphysical existence will be touched on later. What I want to focus on now is the consequences for all three of the main characters in the above story after Adam and his wife had eaten from the tree.

After Adam made the mistake of listening to Iblis, all three characters were commanded to descend or go down to Al Ard which is Arabic for the Earth. So not only was Adam and his wife condemned to live out a temporal life on planet Earth but so too was Iblis or the shaitan. Further God proclaims that they will be enemies of one another for 'an appointed time' and on this Earth they will all live and die.

Iblis was a Jinn, and although his metaphysical creation describes the use of intense heat in fashioning his form, this is absolutely no evidence of Jinn being invisible, supernatural or spooky. In fact, as he was sent to earth along with Adam, Iblis too was now bound by the universal physical laws that govern our temporal existence on this Earth. Iblis, like Adam, lived here and eventually died here and while here, maintained his consciousness and personality inside a mortal physical body. 

Using the mention of Iblis the Jinn being formed from intense heat and claiming invisibility, is the same as saying, because Adam was fashioned from mud, he must have been sticky and malleable.
Later, I will give definitive proof from Quran, that Quran never mentions the race of Al Jinn as invisible spooks but instead tells us that they are simply mortal men. But first it is important that I show some evidence of the differences between the metaphysical and physical worlds and the rules that govern them.

The Physical and Metaphysical Worlds

In Al Quran there appears to be mentioned three distinct planes of existence. 'Al Ard', the Earth, 'Janna', Paradise and the unnamed plane where episodes such as Adams creation, Iblis' rejection and a series of other events occurred, some of which may or may not be relevant to my topic but might be touched on later in this letter. I will first try to break down each plane of existence from the perspective of Quran.

1. Al Ard – This Arabic word is found about 462 times in Quran it is almost always translated as Earth. That is it is usually used in Quran as the name of our planet, this physical rotating sphere we live upon. Below is a scan from a Quranic dictionary showing the various meanings of this word.ii

This Earth is our physical abode. It is on this stage where the continuing dramas of our lives are played out as a consequence to actions that occurred in the episodes I mentioned before about Adam and Iblis. This Earthly realm is a separate realm from both Janna or Paradise and the unnamed realm where Iblis' initial act of disobedience occurred. 

In this earthly realm we are not only bound by the physical laws of cause and effect but a number of other universal physical laws that exist such as the law of gravity. It is also a law that we are physical beings in this plane which is why when Iblis came here along with Adam, he too, even as a Jinn, had to comply with these laws of physicality. 

Further, it is this earthly realm that we witness everyday and which we can measure and observe to not only understand and comprehend its laws but also use our physical minds and intellect to bend these laws. This does not however hold true for Janna or the unnamed realm which exists in a state we can not observe or measure and therefor can not comprehend with our physical minds. This distinctive difference will play a big part in supporting my argument as I will explain later on.

Among many reformist Muslims today, there is the idea that Janna is not a separate realm and that it existed as a physical place on Earth but I will show how this idea is false. The verses in question which fuels this idea appear in Al A'araf – The Purgatory 7:19 – 25, which I have written above. In that verse we first learn that Adam, his wife and Iblis the shaitan are in this place of Janna or paradise. 

Then later on it is narrated that all three were then commanded to descend or go down to Al Ard or the Earth. Indeed from the context of the verse we can see that they are two separate places, but are they two separate planes of existence? The truth of this is quite plainly explained in Quran
First of all, Janna, as it is used in Quran, not only represents the place where Adam and his wife resided and were duped by the shaitan but it is also used to refer to the place that all righteous people will abide forever after the last day. This place is most commonly referred to as heaven in the western world. Below is an example of this second use.

Al Baqarah – The Cow 2:82 As for those who believe, and lead a righteous life, they will be the dwellers of Paradise (Janna); they abide in it forever.

Al Nisa – The Women 4:124 As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise (Janna); without the slightest injustice.

We can clearly see that Janna is also the final destiny of the righteous after the final judgment. If this is true and Janna is indeed a place in the earthly realm, would we not be able to see it and observe it? Would we not be able to now travel to it to witness it and comprehend this place of final destination for the righteous? It is obvious that Janna is indeed a different plane of existence from Al Ard and therefore would most likely be governed by different universal laws. And if Janna is a different plane of existence then we have no way of comprehending it with our physical minds and human understanding. Below God gives evidence to this fact.

Muhammad 47:15 The allegory of Paradise (Janna) that is promised for the righteous is this: it has rivers of unpolluted water, and rivers of fresh milk, and rivers of wine-delicious for the drinkers and rivers of strained honey. They have all kinds of fruits therein, and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are they better) or those who abide forever in the hellfire, and drink hellish water that tears up their intestines? 

We can see that God must use an allegory and not a literal description of this place when explaining it to us because we cannot comprehend it with our mortal minds. Janna is clearly a completely different plane of existence from Al Ard following different governing laws. So different, that we must approach its concept in the form of allegories.

God also explains to us further about His use of allegories in Quran and it is this explanation which will also give further evidence to support my claim that Al Jinn are nothing more than a mortal race of men while on Earth.

Ali' Imran – The Amramites 3:7 He sent down to you this scripture containing straight forward verses which constitute the essence of the scripture as well as multiple meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning there of except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, "We believe in this-all of it comes from our Lord." Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

Islam and the Race Question Paul Hardy, M.A. (Oxon.) Ph.D (University of Chicago)

The racialized discourse prevalent in our own era has over the centuries proven alien to the societies which developed under the inspiration of Islam. Even more alien to those societies has been the tendency found in the West to articulate personal identity almost entirely in racial terms. For in racialized nations like the United States, Europe, South Africa or the Caribbean, appearance or physical attributes, such as hair, skin and bone structure, have been more consequential, more starkly invested with social signficance, than anything else such as family, wealth culture education or personal achievement.

            It goes without saying that this investing of bodily marks with so high a degree of significance is sociogenic in origin and not phylogenic. To think otherwise would be to place racism beyond the possibility of eradication. It is a historical accident, not a necessity  of nature, that produces racist perceptions, actions and discourse. Some historians say that the concept of race did not enter European consciousness until the fifteen century. But certainly, by the midpoint of the nineteenth century Benjamin Disraeli could declare that “all is race.” That is, the basic human condition—and thus economic, political, scientific and cultural positions—are taken to be determined by race. So by the twentieth century, Cromer and Balfour, the most highly-esteemed of British colonial administrators, took it as a matter of course that Europeans and the English in particular, were the master race. All others were “subject races.”

            The contrast with societies that grew up under the influence of Islam is considerable. Although Islamic so­ci­ety was multi-racial from the beginning, in none of the regions where the religion became dominant did the concept of race enter Muslim consciousness. In fact, Arabic had no word at this time which would correspond to the semantic range covered by the English word “race.” The word that is sometimes translated as “race” in versions of Classical Arabic texts is “jins” or “genus.” “Jins” is a classificatory term taken over from Aristotelian science and is used regularly in Islamic law, for example, to define the value of commodities. For example, the eleventh-century Transoxianian jurist Abu Bakr as-Sarakhsi, who writes:
The free and the slave are of one genus. As far as his origin is concerned, the human being is free. Slavery intervenes as an accident . . . So slavery does not bring about a change in genus. (Kitab al-Mabsut (Beirut: 1398/1978) XII, 83-84.)

In the fifteenth century, as racist ideology emerged in the West, the Muslim Ottoman empire was also coming on the scene. “Racism”, however, could not have formed part of its legitimating apparatus. It formed no part of the Ottoman Muslim legacy.
Of course, social differentiation did and does exist amongst Muslim peoples. This cannot be denied. In the tribal society in which Islam was born there existed differences in social status between the various tribes. Moreover, the societies of the Roman, Persian and Indian worlds where Islam planted its roots were highly articulated in terms of occupational differentiation. But while we find instances of discriminatory exclusion founded on a people’s social standing, this did not take on a predominantly racial character.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Importance and Methodology of Tarbiyah
(Education & Upbringing)
by Shaikh Ahmed Aways

Tarbiyah in Islam is very important, for indeed all of the Deen is based upon tarbiyah (i.e. the education and upbringing of the people). This starts first of all with the education and training of our own selves, then of our families, and then of the community at large. But this tarbiyah is most important with respect to our children, so that they are brought up upon the correct path of Islam. Because of this, many of the scholars take care in discussing this aspect of tarbiyah more so than the others.

After the benefit of al-Islam and our very creation, from the best of benefits is that of having children. We see their benefits both in this world and after we have passed to the next. As for the benefits in this world - when a person becomes old and unable to earn a livelihood, all of his friends and companions leave him alone and it is his children who look after and care for him, bearing his problems and burdens. As for after his death, then a person benefits from his children as the Prophet said: "When the son of Adam passes away, all of his deeds are stopped except for three. Some kind of charity that is continuous, or knowledge which the people are benefiting from, or a righteous child who is praying for him."

Also from the benefits of having children is that if they were to pass away whilst still children, they will intercede for their parents. This is authentically reported from the Prophet , who said: "There is no Muslim individual, male or female, who has three of his children pass away whilst they are young and he is patient with that, except that they will come and intercede for him on the Day of Judgment." So 'Umar asked, 'What about two [children]?' Upon this the Prophet said, "It is the same for two [children]." (Al-Bazzaar, al-Haakim. Sh. al-Albaanee mentions it in his book, Kitaabul-Janaa-iz)

As for the person who has one child who passes away and he is patient with this, seeking his reward from Allah , then he shall also find a great reward with Him. As in a hadeeth wherein it is reported that the Prophet used to sit down in his sitting place and his companions would sit in front of him to seek benefit and learn from him. From amongst them was a man who had a small boy; he used to come to the Prophet from behind his back by way of respect, then he used to sit in front of him and sit his son in front of the Prophet . The Prophet asked, "Do you love this child of yours?" The man replied, "Yes, and may Allah cause you to love him also." Then it happened that this child passed away, and the man was so sad that he used to refrain from coming to sit with the Prophet . So the Prophet asked his companions about this man saying, "Why is it that he no longer comes to my sitting place?" And this was from the Sunnah of the Prophet , that if he had people who would come to him and then stop coming, he would ask about their condition and their affairs. 

So the companions told him that the man's son had passed away and that he was sad because of that. So the Prophet went to meet this man and asked him, "What has happened to your son?" And the man told him that he had passed away. So the Prophet said, "Do you wish that your son could be here with you spending time with you, or do you prefer that your son would reach Paradise before you, waiting at the Doors of Paradise to open them for you?" So the man said, "O Messenger of Allah. I wish that my son would go forth before me and precede me to Paradise." So the Prophet said to him, "Verily, this is for you." So upon this, one of the companions said, "O Messenger of Allah, may I be sacrificed for your sake! Is this (reward) only for this man or is it for all of the people?" He said, "No, this reward is for all of the people (i.e. those who lose a child and are patient with their loss)." (Al-Haakim. Adh-Dhahabee declared it Saheeh as did Sh. Al-Albaanee)

Also from the benefits of having children is that if one has daughters and is patient with them, bringing them up correctly, then for him is a great reward from Allah. Our mother Aa'ishah said, "A woman with two daughters and who was very poor came to my door requesting charity. All I had was three dates, so I gave them to this woman and her two daughters. The woman gave a date to each of her daughters and kept the third date for herself. But when the two daughters had finished their dates, they both looked up to their mother wanting the date which she had. So she felt mercy for her two daughters and split the date into two halves, she gave a half to each of her daughters and then she went away. When the Prophet came back I informed him about what had happened. He said, 'Anyone who has daughters and is good in bringing them up, then they will be as a barrier between him and the Hell-Fire'." (Bukhari & Muslim)

It is obligatory for the parents to take care of their children as the responsibility for them is upon their shoulders. As the Prophet said, "All of you are shepherds and will are responsible for his flock." Unfortunately, many of the people look down upon this affair of bringing up the children correctly and consider it as a small matter and unimportant, instead busying themselves which affairs such as politics and those things which it may be beyond their ability to reach. They look to those things which are seen as more important and so look down upon the affair of raising their children correctly. In this, they are mistaken, as whoever the Imam or the leader of the believers may be, even if he was the most righteous of all righteous people and the most just of all rulers, if a person does not take care of their own affairs then no-one else is going to come into their house and look after their children for them. 

And if this Imam was the worst of all the people, yet a person was to take care of their own family as is his responsibility, then how is his harm and his condition going to affect that person? Allah says,
"Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves." [Qur'an Ra'd 13:11]

So it is upon us to change our own condition and the condition of our own families, and then to look to the condition of our communities and the community of the Muslims at large. For if we were to neglect this responsibility then we would never achieve the correct tarbiyah - training, upbringing and education - of our societies.
Indeed the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and the Sunnah of the Prophet encourage us to bring up our children correctly; ordering us with righteousness and good conduct ourselves as well as ordering us to prevent our families from falling into that which would result in their own destruction. 

As Allah says,
"O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones." [Qur'an Tahrim 66:6]
And He says,
"And enjoin Prayer on your family, and be patient in offering them (i.e. the Prayers)." [Qur'an Ta-Ha 20:132]

The Prophet said, "Order your children with Salah when they are seven years old, and beat them upon it (i.e. force them to do so by hitting them) when they are ten years old, and (also) separate them in their sleeping place." So by the preceding Ayat and hadeeth, Allah and the Prophet teach the believers about the importance of Salah and worship, and also in the hadeeth the Prophet is teaching his Ummah about how to live this life free from all types of doubts and misconceptions, by avoiding those places and situations where such doubts and misconceptions may arise. So the order is that one should raise one's children upon the most blessed and praiseworthy of characteristics.

So what follows are some practical steps in bringing up the family correctly.

Seeking Righteous Children
When an individual wants to get married, they should have the intention to have - and ask Allah to give them - righteous children. They should be patient upon this and seek their children with the correct intention i.e. to increase the number of the Prophet's Ummah, and seek Allah's reward in this life and the Hereafter by way of his children. As the Prophet said, "Marry those women who are loving and fertile, for verily I want to be amongst those (Prophets) who have the most followers on the Day of Judgement." So when a person gets married he should seek children with the intention to have many children which will go towards making up the Ummah of the Prophet and that these children may become righteous slaves of Allah so that he may benefit from them in this world and the Hereafter. This is because the intention has a special and important place with regard to the outcome, as the Prophet said, "Verily, every action is by its intention." So if one has the correct intention at the beginning of the action, then he has its correct fruits at the end.

Setting A Good Example
The parent should be a good and the best example for their children. They should hasten to do all good and, likewise, hasten to leave all evil. This is because children follow the example of their parents as they love them and respect and admire them. So the parents are the greatest of all examples for their children. Therefore, whatever the parents are upon, the children follow them. It is not possible, however one may try, to hide one's evil characteristics from their children. A person may go into his home, closing the door behind them, but it is the children who know the reality of their affairs. They know how their character truly is, what they watch and what they see, and they know their situation perfectly. So we should try and be good examples to our children; having the best characteristics, being good towards the people, and remaining upright in our Deen.

Placing Importance Upon The Deen
The parent should make the most important affair in his life and that of his child the Religion. They should raise their child to know that the most important aspect of his life is that he be upright in his Deen, correcting it and clinging to it firmly. Allah said,

"And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahem upon his sons and by Ya'qoob (as), (saying), 'O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) Religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam." [Qur'an Baqarah 2:132]
And He says,
"And he made it (i.e. Laa ilaha illAllah - none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone) a Word lasting among his offspring (True Monotheism), that they may turn back (i.e. repent to Allah or receive admonition)." [Qur'an Zukhruf 43:28]

So this should be our greatest concern with regard to our children, that we make clear to them the importance of their Religion and their being upright. We should not be concerned with their Dunya i.e. that they bring home food or drink or wealth, rather we should be most concerned with their remaining upright Muslims. After this, the believer should make du'a to Allah and supplicate to Him that He guide his children and make them upright, for indeed there is no power nor strength except in Allah. No one has the ability to guide his children himself, or to keep them upon the straight path, rather this is in the Hands of Allah. So one should make du'a to Allah as His prophets did before. Allah says that the believers say,

"Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqoon (i.e. pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much [abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden] and love Allah much [perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained])." [Qur'an Furqan 25:74]

And also Prophet Ibrahem (as) mentioned in a long du'a,

"O my Lord! Make me one who offers prayers perfectly, and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation." [Qur'an Ibrahim 14:40]

So we should follow this example of the prophets in making du'a to Allah and taking the necessary steps in educating and bringing up our children upon this Deen, and asking Allah to keep them upright in their Religion. The Ayah which was previously mentioned is general for all of the believers. That is, that when one reaches the age of 40 he should make du'a for his parents and that Allah should keep him upon the Guidance, and he also makes du'a that Allah keeps his children upright and correct their affairs.

Showing Love & Kindness Towards One's Children
The parent should control his affair with love, kindness and softness, and should not always use harshness and beating to bring up his children. Rather, he should make his way to be primarily a loving and concerned way. However, if the situation requires that he should also use harshness and hardness and even hitting his children, then he should do so as and when the situation requires it, but he should not make this his way i.e. that he is always hard and harsh towards his children. We should not be like those people who are always hard upon their children as this may lead them towards further corruption and going astray. Neither should we be like many of the Europeans are i.e. that they leave their children without any discipline so that they follow whatever way they like and do whatever they like. Rather we should take the middle course (balanced), sometimes using harshness and sometimes softness, according to the situation. We should always try to exercise balance in raising our children, balancing their affairs correctly and making the uppermost characteristic that of kindness, softness and mercy.

Teaching Good Character
The parent should raise his children upon good character from a young age. He should teach them the Qur'an, the Seerah of the Prophet and that of the Companions also (ra). One should not leave his children to continue making mistakes saying that he will correct them when they get older, because indeed it becomes increasingly more difficult to correct a person when he has grown up upon incorrect actions and bad characteristics. 

As a poet said, "Whoever grows up upon something, he grows old upon that same thing." So we should teach our children from a young age the correct Aqeedah and belief, for example that Allah is above His Throne, and we should teach them love for the Prophet and his Companions (ra). We should also teach them aspects of good character, like being courageous, kind, generous and modest etc. Then if one of our children makes a mistake, we should point out this mistake to them and explain that the action is wrong, not leaving them and saying 'they are just children' or that we will tell them when they grow older. This is because of the saying, "Whoever grows up upon something, he grows old upon that that same thing." And from the guidance of the Prophet is that he used to train and bring up the children from a young age upon good manners and character. As can be seen in the hadeeth of Hasan , in which he narrates how he once took a date from the dates of Sadaqa, and the Prophet shouted at him and told him to take the date out of his mouth. The Prophet explained to him that the dates were for Sadaqa, and that Sadaqa was not allowed for the Prophet or his family. 

So the Prophet did not leave Hasan alone, rather he reprimanded him for what he did and explained to him the correct way, using intelligence and Hikmah. Likewise in the hadith of the son of Umm Salamah, who narrated that he used to stay in the house of the Prophet , and that he used to eat in an incorrect way i.e. from everywhere in the plate. So the Prophet said to him, "O boy! Mention Allah's Name i.e. say 'Bismillah', eat with your right hand and eat that which is in front of you. So this Sahabah went on to narrate that he continued to practise this etiquette of eating until that day (i.e. until he had become older). This shows that the Prophet would correct the children by pointing out their mistakes, and also he did so in such a way that they would continue upon the correct way which he had taught them until they became older.

Exercising Justice With Regard To One's Children
The parent should not oppress or wrong any of his children. He should not show one of his children due favour more so than the other, by giving him more than his other children or praising him more than any of the others. Indeed this type of oppression and favouritism can be a reason for the children swaying from the correct path and developing personal problems later on in life. The Prophet said, "Fear Allah and be just with regard to your children." Indeed, being just can positively affect the children's tarbiyah, just as being unjust can have negative affects upon their tarbiyah. Of these negative effects is that the child may feel that if he cannot find justice with his own parents, then who can he find justice with? And he may carry this problem and this feeling in his heart all of his life.

Spending Upon One's Children
The parents, both the mother and the father, should spend upon their children. They should take the necessary steps to earn money and spend upon their children correctly. Indeed, anything, which one spends upon his family with the correct intention, will have a reward for it. As in the hadeeth of Sa'd ibn Ma'aadh , who narrated that the Prophet said, "There is nothing that you spend upon your families, even the food that you put into the mouth of your wife, except that you will get a reward for it." Also there is a hadeeth which is collected by Muslim, which states the importance of spending upon the family and that it is the best of all actions with which one draws nearer to Allah . In this hadeeth the Prophet said, "Two dinaars which you spend in the way of Allah, or two dinaars which you spend by way of sadaqah (charity), or two dinaars which you give to the miskeen (poor), or the two dinaars which you give to your family - with which of these is the greatest reward? Indeed the greatest of these as regards reward is that dinaar which you spend upon your family."

So, in conclusion, everyone should take care of his family, for if it were the case that everyone in society were to take care of the upbringing of their families and their financial needs, then this would be good for the society as a whole. And if everyone were to leave the affairs of their families and their children, then this would lead to the corruption of the society and poverty would be widespread. By spending upon our families and taking care of their tarbiyah, this is how we train them and help them to remain upright upon this Deen of Al-Islam.