Would you please show me the causes of the good and bad phenomena I find in children?

Question: I am a father and a teacher in a school. Would you please show me the causes of the good and bad phenomena I find in children? With great thanks.

The answer: There are correlations between the methods of education used and their consequences. Parents and those in charge of education should realize this fact. For example, on the negative side, the child who often hears criticism learns to criticize bitterly. The child who lives among enmities learns spites and grudges. The child who is often punished without being taught what he should or should not do learns injustice and aggression. The child who lives with fears learns cowardice. The child who lives with excessive kindness and pity learns humility and regression. The child who is often mocked at learns to live with a weak personality.

On the positive side, we find the child who is often encouraged learns self-confidence. The child who is accepted by others learns to love them. The child who is given knowledge learns purposefulness in life. The child who lives under cooperation learns generosity and liberality. The child who is treated truthfully and fairly learns truthfulness and sincerity. The child who is treated with love and kindness learns that life is beautiful. The child who is taught to bear sufferings becomes patient in life.

Since you are a father and a teacher in a school, your responsibility increases before Allah and the people. I hope that you live among your family with comfort and satisfaction with what Allah has given you. Thus, you will teach your children and your pupils how they can live without troubles. This is a firm basis in education. Paying attention to this basis and other bases of the task of education is a continuous necessity that will bring for you the delight of your heart with your children, your future, and the future of your religion and society. If you are successful in this life, you will be successful in your afterlife too.

Is the worldly life not the farm of the afterlife? Be careful of what you should plant in your children and the children of other people in the school, and you and we both shall see what you and they will harvest. And tomorrow is near for those who wait; therefore, take lessons, O you who have eyes! Dear teacher, may Allah make you successful in making pious people!


What are the most important education fallacies we live with due to the effects of foreign cultures?

Question: There is no doubt that we, due to the effects of foreign cultures, unknowingly live with educational fallacies. Would you please point out the most important of these?

The answer: Yes, there are many widespread errors that people do not notice, not even educationists. Here are some of them:

1. It is wrong to believe that education means habituating the child to a certain behavior without making him understand the goal of that behavior.

2. It is also wrong to think that the best education is the one that subdues and subjects the child to the parents’ will.

3. It is wrong to think that the correct education is manifested by the apparent behaviors without paying attention to the inward purity.

4. It is wrong to prevent a child from undertaking some tasks that befit his age and powers because if he does not become acquainted with difficulties, he will not be successful in undertaking his actual responsibilities in life.

5. It is a popular fallacy that when a child falls to the ground or collides with the wall and feels pain or cries, his parents hasten to him blaming the ground or the wall, and, in order to calm him, they beat the ground or the wall with their hands as a kind of punishment.

Here, the child learns false justification, unreality, and blaming of things instead of being shown the truth to recognize his actual mistake that caused him to fall to the ground or collide with the wall. If he is shown this fact, he will know how to avoid the same mistake again and will know that life means seriousness and not mockery.

6. It is wrong when a child falls to the ground for others around him to hasten to lift him from the ground. Thus, he learns dependency and loses the sense of independency and self-confidence.

7. It is wrong to frighten and threaten a child, and the worst of that is to frighten him by illusions or imaginary ghosts. For example, parents will describe to their child a monster coming from the darkness, or they will imitate a sound and tell the child it is the voice of the jinn, etc. In this way, parents make their child weak, cowardly, and illusive. Parents may mean, by frightening their child in this incorrect way, to calm him and make him stop crying, but they ignore the bad effects that will linger in the child’s mentality throughout his life. This is a crime that is unknowingly committed against the child.

8. Some people say bad and severe words full of debasement and humiliation to a lazy or an introvert child. This is another crime committed against a child suffering from a temporary psychological trouble that can be better solved by some lenient words, a warm kiss, or an embrace full of love and kindness.

In fact, the child who is tense at home, unsuccessful in school, and strained in society reveals the defects of his family or the deprivation his family has imposed on him. This is what educationists and psychologists notice in the personalities of the parents and close relatives of that child. Therefore, we find among the educational principles in Islam that it is prohibited to call one another by bad nicknames. Parents and others are not permitted to call the child with bad names that demean and humiliate him. Unfortunately, this is widespread in our Muslim societies!

We hear many bad words from the old when they call the young as if they were calling beasts! What would you expect from the young after that?

What is odd is that the old punish the young when they hear them uttering the same words they have learned from the old themselves! Children become confused before the contradictions of the old. On the one hand, they find their parents using such words, and on the other hand, they are punished when they themselves use these words. Children think that if these words are bad, then why do the adults use them, and if these words are good, then why are they punished for using them. It is not odd when we realize these parents, whom we call adults, have acquired this wrong education from other preceding adults, whether at home, in society, in school, or from the media. So, the problem is deeper than deep!


How should we deal with a son who was once religious but left religion?

Question: My son used to be very religious. He used to offer his prayers in the mosque and recite the Qur’an and other books of supplications. But when he became twenty years old, he changed little by little, and now finally, he has given up these rituals and mocks at them. How do you justify this case, and why has he become like this? Do you have any suggestions to save him?

The answer: If actions of worship are done out of understanding and satisfaction, they will not die away. Rather, they will take one to the highest degrees of nearness to Allah the Almighty, to spiritual and material happiness, and then to the eternal bliss of Paradise.

However, as for the opposite effect that appears in your son, it shows that his practicing of worships was without any apprehension of their essence. Before the age of twenty, circumstances might have taken him towards prayers, the mosque, the Qur’an, and supplications, and then at the age of twenty, other circumstances might have taken him towards the opposite side. Usually man slips into bad spheres through bad friends.

If the worships of your son were done with understanding and apprehension of the real meaning and goal of worship, he would influence those with whom he correlated and would guide them towards the right path and so would earn more reward for his afterlife, but since he was not so, he failed in the test and went towards the opposite direction.

I think reforming him will not be difficult. The one who can reform him should be wise in dealing with and advising him and should discuss the matter with him in a proper way. You have to look for someone with these qualities to associate, in a clever way, with your son.


How can we face the mutinous conduct of juveniles and prevent them from making friends with deviants outside the house?

Question: How can we face the mutinous conduct of juveniles and prevent them from making friends with deviants outside the house?

The answer: A youthful person likes for his parents to stop regarding him as they did during childhood. If parents change their view towards him, the relations between them will be normal; otherwise, he will behave in a way that will not please his parents. He may not mean by his mutinous behavior anything else than to prove to his parents that he has passed the stage of childhood and that they have to stop considering him as a child.

This matter forms the basis of the behavioral contradiction between the young and the old. Parents, before their children arrive at this critical stage, should make them understand the concept of adulthood, which is reason, equanimity, and discipline. For example, some youths may think that smoking, shouting loudly, haughtiness, accompanying older youths, and returning home late are the signs of adulthood and independence!

If parents notice these incorrect concepts and try to correct them in their children’s minds before they reach the stage of adolescence, they will clear the way for mutual understanding between them and their children after that stage. But, by being ignorant and indifferent to this, they should not wonder if their obedient children turn upside-down and become mutinous, obstinate, and disobedient.

A mistake may have a prior cause and that cause may lead to one mistake after another. However, standing against the youth is just a mistake resulting from the prior cause.

For example, it is wrong when parents treat their children unequally by preferring their daughters to their sons or vice versa or when they punish their children immediately as soon as they commit a mistake without having warned or advised them before. Parents may abuse their children and call them names because of some defects in the children such as unattractiveness, weakness in study, or a handicap. Some parents may call their children bad names full of hatred and suspicion, such as “liar”, “stupid”, “donkey”, etc. These names and those manners are the first steps in making the youth rebel against Islamic values and their parents. Thus, in fact, parents themselves are the ones who lead their children to be undutiful towards them and to turn their backs on religion as well.

It is very important for parents to show sincere love for their children. They should make their children feel their care by being merry, active, and careful towards their children at home. They should sit with their children, talk about and discuss different subjects with them, and consult with them on their affairs. When the children’s opinions are right, they should be praised, and when their opinions are wrong, they should be taught the right in a pleasant manner that does not demean them or degrade their personalities before others. This conduct can protect the youth from becoming mutinous, going astray, and befriending deviants.


What is the best way to teach adolescents so that they will follow good advice?

Question: I am a teacher in an intermediate school. The girls whom I teach are in the stage of adolescence, the stage that determines the coming stages of their lives. Would you please tell me how and in what way I should talk with my students so that they will be influenced by my advices?

The answer: First, I would like to pray to Allah for you and everyone who is sincere like you. Your question shows your feeling of responsibility and love towards others’ welfare. As for the answer, here are some points:

1. You should think deeply about the subject you want to explain to your students.

2. You should make use of nice words and in attractive phrases with a voice full of love, kindness, and sympathy.

3. When your students are in a state where they do not want to hear preaching and advising, you should stop advising them until a suitable opportunity arises where they can perceive the goal of your speech, except if you are so eloquent that you can treat their state and make them accept your advices and instructions.

4. Let them find in you a practical example of all that you say to them, and let them feel in you truthfulness and sincerity.

5. When they talk, you should be a good listener and not interrupt them.

6. You should strengthen your friendship with them and through that you will assure the effectiveness of your advices on them.

Through these points, and with an easy and calm manner, you can have a great influence on them. Since you are a teacher, these manners are not limited to giving advices in the school only, but you can also follow them with your children if you are a mother, and you can make use of them in society for the sake of Allah and in the way of goodness and benevolence.


How should we address concerns about globalization of Western culture, television and Internet?

Question: The train of our present age has entered into a tunnel of corruption of all kinds. This is because of the satellite stations that appear on television in every house, every room, and every hall. These satellite stations have destroyed the minds, the families, and the youth and have turned morals upside-down. On top of this, globalization and internet multiply these distresses. We do not know how to deal with these terrible dangers! Do the clergymen have any practical and civilizational projects in mind to face this destructive monster?

The answer: I have read such a thing in a project presented by the religious authority Great Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad ash-Shirazi, but I could not obtain the Arabic copy that was published in 1415 AH. However, I will translate for you some selections from the Persian copy that have recently been published under the title “What Do We Do With The Satellite Stations?”

Ayatullah ash-Shirazi says,

1. The Islamic Conference Organization must ask the United Nations Organization to prevent the corruptive western satellite stations from being broadcasted into the Islamic countries because they affect the morals of our societies.

2.In order to force the Muslim governments to execute this task, we should make use of different media, Human Rights organizations, and international laws.

3. Public pressure on governments in peaceful ways and by different classes of the society should transpire.

4. Participation of all of the foundations and establishments in society, like the cultural centers, religious societies, political parties, and all local and national blocs, is required to achieve this goal.

5. Exposing the companies that produce corruptive films and distribute them among all peoples is very necessary in this concern. Those companies belong to Zionism, the Mafia, freemasonry, and whomever their agents may be in the Islamic countries.

6. Preachers and good authors and journalists should be encouraged to spread the religious and humane cultures among people and to warn them against becoming involved in corruption.

7. Protests, marches, and demonstrations should be organized without destroying or attacking anything but rather acting according to the saying of Imam Ali (a.s.), ‘The messenger of Allah has ordered us to meet sinners with gloomy faces.19’

8. Protective programs should be created in the mosques, houses, and libraries.

9. TV and radio stations should be established only to be run by religious people.

10. Serious and practical thinking should be employed by charitable committees and governmental departments to solve the problems of the youth concerning career, residence, marriage, and sports.

11. Good morals and virtues should be emphasized in society, and many lectures on piety and the good end should be given regularly.

12. The Ulama’ and preachers should pay great attention to these matters and regard them seriously because they concern the religion, beliefs, morals, family, nation, and high position of man in general.

13. Muslim experts have to devise an electronic means to block the corruptive satellite stations.

14. Alternative satellite stations for Muslims should be established and attractive Islamic films with high technology should be produced. Such stations can be established by cooperation between the governments and the private sectors, investors, scientists, scholars, and technicians.

I would like to say in addition to that: the religious authorities should issue fatwas in this concern and the Ulama’, preachers, wealthy people, and the religious youth should found committees to implement those fatwas and suggestions.


Why my daughter chews her nails and is often absent-minded?

Question: My daughter chews on her nails and she is often absent-minded. What are the causes of this and what is the solution?

The answer: This bad habit shows that either she is worried or she is overstressed in thinking about something that she is hesitant to determine or she suffers from something that she wants to conceal.

You should know the harms of chewing on one’s nails with the teeth. The microbes stick to the tongue and sneak into the body, the stomach, and the intestines and cause troubles and diseases to the digestive system. You should also know that this bad habit shows to others your daughter’s mental state that she wants to hide, and this is a sign of weakness in personality.

The mother has to befriend her daughter until she reveals to her what is hidden in her heart and shares her personal problems. Then, the mother should try to find successful solutions and give effective advices to her daughter.


What are the concerns about putting children in day care or in the care of non muslim-maids and schools in order for both parents to work?

Question: My brother and his wife work in some offices. Their three children are brought up by a foreign maid in their home. She is very fanatic. She sticks to her own habits and traditions. I have another elder brother who sends his children to an Indian school, which is thought to be a suspicious missionary school. My family has objected to the actions of both of my brothers and explained to them the dangers of these matters, but they do not change their situations. One claims that English lessons will bring a good future, and the other says that his salary will not meet their needs if his wife remains at home without a job. This state of my brother reminds me of a wise saying I once heard in one of your lectures, ‘How ignorant man is! He spends his health to get money and then he spends his money to get health!’

The answer: This problem has specific causes and consequences. As for the causes, they are:

1. The foreign cultures and values that have replaced our Islamic culture and values; your brother and his wife, as an example, have taken those cultures and values from school, university, and the media, which are supported by big companies and centers of finance and trade in general and which determine the way of living for people everywhere.

2. The absence of the goal of the afterlife from the lives of such people; they do not care with which face they will meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection.

3. The preference of material interests to moral and religious interests.

As for the consequences, they will result in a bad education of the children. A child who grows up away from morals will be as a curse on his parents who will ultimately spend all their wealth, which they have exerted themselves to collect, on his problems and troubles. It will suffice for such people to read about the horrible accidents published in newspapers and magazines everyday. Such accidents are not committed by religious persons who are educated by religious families.

The dangerous influence of a foreign governess on the future of the growing generation is like the influence of the satellite stations that play with the minds of parents and children according to the will of their managers, who are away from Allah.

I have read an article in al-Ra’iy al-Aam Kuwaiti Newspaper saying:

“I wonder how our children will be in this century! Will the satellite stations control them? Or will the networks of the internet direct their conducts? Will our children learn morals and values from those shining satellites?

We fathers have been busy away from them either in looking for a job to increase our incomes or in building a new house, whereas mothers also have become busy running here and there to meet the unending requirements of schools from the kindergarten until the university.

If the father and mother are busy…it is not an excuse. Where is the role of the grandfather and grandmother in teaching our children our true morals and habits?

Where is the role of the mosque and the public meetings in planting values and completing the role of the home?

Where is the role of the teacher and the educationist? I think his name alone is “teacher” while his role is limited to just giving lectures, and thanks to the programs of the Ministry of Education and the modern methods of teaching…!

Yes! We have been in a merry-go-round that does not stop at all! Is it the rule of life? Or it is we who have made this our way of life?

A cry from the heart of a father to every father and everyone in charge: Save our children!”

This is the disease and with it is the call! But as for the solution, it lies in a harmonious expedition to find the Islamic understanding with its active spirit and attractive method for the man of this age. The responsibility of this expedition falls upon all due to the call of the Prophet (S): “Each one of you is a guardian and each one of you is responsible for his subjects”.

The government with all its bodies must set about to undertake the great task of deliverance. Clergymen, speakers, imams of the mosques, teachers of schools and universities, and officials of the media also have great roles in this task.

The task begins by inviting the experts and specialists of each one of these classes to a meeting where this subject will be discussed thoroughly, and then the meeting should present its reports to executive authorities in the government, in the centers of teaching and education, and in the religious establishments.

All the factors that make people desist from religion must be avoided, such as unjustifiable disagreements, manifestations of underdevelopment, and presentations of the religion in old methods; otherwise, the disaster will sit heavily on every family. A poet says,

“Let him whose neighbor’s beard is shaved

pour water on his beard.”

It is related that Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘How many are the examples, but how little is the taking of lessons from them!’

I would like to invite these two brothers and those like them to know the real value of children, to know the role of intellect and culture in determining their futures, and to know how much love and kindness children need from their parents to live straightforwardly and confidently. If they know the real value of their children, they will not leave them with those who will inject poisons into them. Their example is like the one who draws in darkness and then laughs at his drawing when he looks at it in the light. Except, I fear he will cry bitterly instead of laughing at himself!

It is reported that once a man came with his son to the Prophet (S) and asked him, ‘What is the right of my son on me?’

The Prophet (S) said to him, ‘You should give him a good name, bring him up with good morals, and educate him well.’

O Muslims, have you named your children with good names, brought them up righteously, and educated them well?


Could you please list the main point of Islamic education for the younger generations?

Question: I am a teacher of the Holy Qur’an in a mosque. I give short lectures on religious education and manage some programs on certain Islamic occasions. I have read some books on education. I would like you to show me, and those like me, what you consider to be fundamental in the education of the new generation according to the Islamic values in which we believe.

The answer: I thank you for your trusting in me in this concern. As for your question, here are some teachings that we have derived from the Islamic values according to the views of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.):

1. Religious education should be carried out in an attractive manner with clear examples, nice stories, and meaningful gestures of the face and the hands. Such a manner will have a great influence on the new generation and will help to plant and retain these ideas in their minds throughout their lives.

2. You should follow everything you say to your listeners so that they will find in you the practical example and will thus be certain that the religious teachings can be applied.

3. You yourself should believe in what you say to your listeners.

4. You should try to discover what things your listeners like and, through those things, get to their hearts. In this way, you can establish the religious concepts in them.

5. On every occasion, you should try to make them love Allah. Show them the greatness of Allah, His mercy, favor, and love for us. Show them that the cause of some of our problems is due to our ignorance, and the cause of some others is due to our enemies. In general, these problems are tests by which Allah tries our faith and will in this life.

6. Punishing, insulting, and ignoring deprive religious teachings of their spirit.

7. Using puzzles and confusing questions is a good manner in teaching that activates the students’ minds and attracts their attentions to the lectures. However, it would be better to choose questions whose themes concern the practical affairs of life.

8. Graduality, systematicness, and unhurriedness in speaking are important factors in teaching and explaining themes and ideas.

9. Quoting from the stories of the prophets and from the lives of Prophet Muhammad (S) and the infallible imams (a.s.) is very important in teaching.

10. You should praise and appreciate the good features and deeds of your listeners.

11. You should keep your gravity and calmness and not resist an idea put forth by one of your students just because he is a student.

12. You have to watch for any change in the conducts of your students and always pay attention to their affairs.

13. You have to make use of modern equipments, such as computer, internet, films, and recorders, to develop educational methods. It is good to allow the students to work with these equipments by themselves.

14. You should not ask them for fees. You should be satisfied with your sincerity to Allah for He, Who will assure your reward in the afterlife, will assure your livelihood in this life from where you do not expect it.


Could you please give me some educational recommendations for my seven-year-old son?

Question: I would like to ask for prompt educational recommendations with which you may help me deal with my seven-year-old son. With my regards.

The answer:

1. You should discover the hobbies and interests of your child and see which of them attracts him more so that you can direct him rightly.

2. You should explain to your child all the affairs concerning him and how he should behave when at home, in the school, on the street, or at other places.

3. You have to consult with him on issues concerning him.

4. You have to let him do certain things by himself because this will make him self-confident and help him discover his own abilities.

5. The child should be given his due freedom within the possible activities of the family.

6. When explaining to the child an idea or a matter that concerns him, you should use an easy language and understandable examples derived from his daily life.

7. At the same time when you are serious in dealing with your child, you have to be lenient to him too.

8. The child’s being angry, escaping from school, and practicing aggressive acts show that he suffers from a psychological problem. Therefore, instead of beating or scolding him, which will make him mutinous and obdurate, you should identify the cause behind his psychological problem or problems. Being patient and wise in your dealing and talking with him will be the shortest way to get to his heart and then solve his problems radically and constructively.