SHAFAQNA-Introduction: I was asked to deliver a speech to the youth at my fathers church. Alhamdulillah, I was raised as a Christian and converted to Islam in 1991. I felt like this was a good opportunity to show Christians that we are well versed with the Bible and that we all share the same concerns. Insha’ Allah for Muslims that don’t know anything about the Bible or Christian teachings this will be a good place to show how the Bible and the Quran agree on the subject of the parent and child relationship. This is only one subject where we agree and there are many more. This speech was addressed to Christians but its message is universal. Insha’ Allah, it will be well received by all.
The parent and child relationship is a very important relationship. It is a relationship that each and everyone of us have. Today I will be talking about three verses that show us how this relationship should be. The first verse is, train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is older he will not depart (H.B. Proverbs 22:6). The second is honor thy mother and thy father so that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (H.B. Exodus 20:12). And finally, The Lord has commanded you to worship only Him and to do good to your parents. And if either or both of them reach old age with you say not to them as much as enough nor chide them. And speak kind words to them, and submit yourselves humbly to them with compassion, and pray, Oh Lord have mercy on them as they brought me up when I was little (H.Q. 17:23-24). These verses share common themes; they all have commands and promises. If we heed the command, we will benefit from the promises.
We will begin with the first verse and its command. God says train a child in the way that he/she should go. God has given us children as a Trust. Not everyone can have children so they are truly a blessing to those of us that have them. But this trust is only given to us for a season. The average person is now living to be 80 years old and we have roughly 18 years to put them on right guidance. In that short time we must set the foundation because like a building, if the foundation is good the building is good. If the foundation is bad the building is bad. We cant afford to fail this command because if we do we will end up with a society full of degenerates. If we fail to train our children dont worry, all the undesirable elements will do it for us. The streets, television, video games, and their peers that are just as lost as they are will train them for us. To insure the quality of life we desire for our future we must teach our children to revere God. We must see that they know the laws and statutes of God. We have to let them know that even when were not around God is the Seer of all, and nothing goes on outside of His Knowledge. If we train them, God has promised us that they will not depart. God has said that, he is not a man so that he should lie, so his promise is true. Our Children may stray but they will not depart.
The second verses command is directed toward the children. They are told to honor thy mother and thy father. To honor is to pay respect to and to hold one in high esteem. It is to remember that you not only represent yourself, but you represent your parents and your upbringing in all that you do. When you are out and about with your friends, in school, at the park or where ever you may be, you have to hold on to, better yet cling to the teachings that were given to you by your parents. These teachings will keep you away from drugs, gangs, lying, cheating, stealing and any other vices that may be tempting you. Take a look at your friends that don’t honor the teachings of their parents and see how their lives turn out. They will more than likely either end up in and out of jail or they die at a young age. Now here again God has put a promise with His command. Obey the command, honor your parents and receive the promise of having a long life.
The last verse is full of commands, the first of which is to worship non but God. The next is to do good to your parents and this is at all times. The third command is very special; it truly makes you reflect on the Mercy of God if you are grateful. This command says that if either or both of your parents reach old age with you¦I am here to testify today that I am truly blessed to have all of my parents here today. My Grandfather has said that when you have lost your mother you have lost your best friend. Some people never meet their parents. Some people lose their parents while they are young. It is not a given that you will reach old age with your parents and look how God makes us acknowledge this fact through this verse. Give God the Praise for the Blessings He bestows upon men. The command continues and says, not to utter ugh towards them. Notice God is not saying not to argue with them, nor is he saying not to speak harshly with them, He goes an extra step and says not to make any sound of discontent towards them. He continues with nor to chide them which is to scold them. As in asking, why didn’t you take your medicine? in a disrespectful way. But now, the next command informs us on how we should act towards our parents, it says speak to them with kind words and to submissively humble ourselves towards them with compassion. Now watch how the Almighty brings everything together, the final command is for the child to pray, oh my Lord have mercy on my parents as that have brought me up when I was little (H.B. James 5:16). This is the end of the verse and some of you may be asking where is the promise to all these commands listed in this verse. God has said, The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much. When you bring up the child in the way he/ she should go, when you teach them to only worship God, when you teach them to honor their parents and they comply, you have produced righteous men and women. When they pray they are your intercessors with the Almighty. They pray to have your sins forgiven, to improve your health, to change your financial situation and that prayer does avail much. What a Loving, Merciful, Wise, Omnipotent and Just God we serve.
The real beauty in this parent and child relationship is that we all get to participate in every facet of the relationship. Even those without biological children, and children without birth parents joins in equally. This is so because we are our brothers keepers. And we are responsible for one another and our kids too. The African proverb says, It takes a village to raise a child. That means every adult belongs to every child and every child belongs to every adult. We first see this world as children and I remember saying, I will never treat my kids the way my Mother treated me. And I always questioned, Why did she make that decision? I wouldn’t have ever made that decision. Then we change places and we become the parents and the veils are removed from our eyes and what comprehended as children as the real world quickly fades away. Its only when we experience life and become parents ourselves that we begin to fully appreciate why Momma didn’t allow us to do what the neighbors kids were doing. Its only then that we understand the decisions, which were sacrifices that had to be made so that we could have food, water, gas, lights and a roof over our heads. I find myself periodically calling back to apologize to my parents for the wrongs that I have done and begging for their forgiveness for my unfair judgments on them. After we raise our children, we get to see them come to the same realizations about life that we did. And the proof in our parenting can only be truly measured on how well our children raise our grandchildren. I will now end with the following prayer, Oh lord forgive our sins, the sins of our parents and protect us from the fire of hell. Amen. Thank You.