5 Wrong Ways to Answer Children's Questions

How do parents normally react to a question like this?: "Who made God?", a child asks. There are five - please pay attention to this - five incorrect methods of dealing with this question. And other similar questions, whether related to faith or other inquisitive areas of our children. Yes, five ways in which as parents, we are not supposed to - what - reply or deal with a scenario like this.

The first is dismissal. Dismissal means what? It means that we ignore that question, or we say, you know "This is not for you. You are not supposed to be necessarily asking this question." Why? Because we recognize that this question may be above what they are thinking. And therefore, we dismiss the need to ask this question. As a result they, the children, will turn to other sources, no doubt.

The second way in which, unfortunately some parents deal with a question like this, is that they ridicule. They joke about this, they mock in front of the child, others will be watching. Or even the child by himself or herself, they mock this particular question. Say "Are you really serious? Why are you asking this question for?" Yes, "this does not make any sense. What do you mean who made God? This does not make any sense." And then they laugh about it. What does this do to the child? Destroy their self-esteem, their self-worth. The child will now begin to formulate this idea that "you know what? I am not somebody who is worth asking this question, because my father or mother immediately joked about it." Yes. " They ridiculed it, they mocked it. And therefore, I should not ask any of these questions anymore."

Because I tell you, Allah, today, there is a silence movement going on in universities and other places. This atheism that is breeding among some of our community members around the world, from the followers of the school of Ahl al-Bayt. Yes. These questions are not being answered when they are young. And do you know why they are not being answered? Because you speak to your parents and say, "What happened to M&Ms?" You say to them, "What?" They say, "M&Ms". We are leaving everything in the hands of M&M. Not the very nice chocolate that we eat. Mimbar and madrasa. They are the source of information. They should be answering these questions. I tell you, when that boy, 16, or that 18-year-old girl goes to university, and what? Those atheists and agnostics are posing these questions, "why evil exists? Why is God not stopping this? Where is God? Who made God?" They begin to doubt. They begin to what? Have weakness in their Iman. Yes. So the second area is the ridiculing these questions.

The third is deterrence. Deterrence means what? You say "Astaghfirullah. This is Shaytan playing in your mind." have you heard this? When somebody asks a question you do not like, you immediately switch, and somehow begin to make them doubt their faith or their question. To somehow blame the enemy, the arch enemy, that being the Shaytan.

The number four area is what? Is when you start accusing them or judging them of having weak Iman or faith. A child comes forward and asks this question, you begin to say, "That means you are becoming a less of a Muslim. This question indicates that you are not a very strong believer, because you should not be asking these questions", the parent would say. I tell you, there is a professor called Professor Jeffrey Lang. He embraced Islam in the 1980s. He had many questions. Yes. He went to a particular country in the Middle East. That what, that teaches and espouses extremist Islam. Yes. He went to that particular country, he had questions. They told him, "Do not ask, because if you ask, that means you are a weak Muslim. You do not have faith, you do not have Iman, you do not have conviction in Allah." He came back to the United States. He wrote a book. 'Even angels Ask'. He wrote on it: "If the angels asked Allah, why is it that you are creating this creation that is causing bloodshed? (2:30) Why are you not answering my questions? Allah allowed the angels to ask".

That is why one of our scholars says that "you know when I was also studying, he says, I was studying in the Hawzah, I went to one of my teachers and I had these doubts. I had these questions." The teacher said to me, "Shaytan has taken you over. Go home and read Qur'an. Take the jinn and the Shaytan out of you." He said, "I was wondering, why are my questions not being answered?" We must not be of those who immediately judge an individual who has a question. But just because they have a question, we start labeling them, start thinking that they have left the faith, they have left the school of Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum as-salam.

And the fifth way in which, unfortunately, some parents deal with tough, difficult questions from their children, is what? Is when they give them wrong answers. Or they make up an answer, or they Google an answer very quickly and just give it to them. There was an individual by the name of Mustafa Mahmoud. He is an Egyptian scholar. Yes. He wrote a book, 'Rahlatun min Al-Iman ila' il-haad', My journey from faith to atheism. He became an atheist after being a Muslim. He said, "You know why I became an atheist?" He said, "In my village, there was a scholar, a scholar that people respected. Once I came to him, I said to him, "ya Sheikh, I have a problem in my house". "What is your problem?" He said, "I have many insects. I want you to give me a taweez or a du'a or something that helps to defeat these insects". He said, "Very well, recite the following and do the next few things and the insects will go away." He said, "I took what he said. That night I recited. I woke up in the morning. My house had even more insects." He said, I went back to him and said, "If you can not remove and take away insects from me, how can you remove Shaytan and sins from me? So I left Islam".

Unfortunately, sometimes we give answers that may weaken the faith of some individuals, including our children. We do not think and ponder. I remember one individual said to me that a non Muslim friend asked me about Ashura, asked me about Sayyid ash-Shuhada, about Abu 'Abdillah al-Husayn, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad]. He said to me, "What is the big deal about Karbala and the 10th of Muharram? What was wrong with this individual ruling at that time?" He said, "You know, a member of our community went and said to him, "The problem with Yazid was that he used to drink alcohol a lot and he was a womanizer". He said, "That non-Muslim said, That is not really a major issue, because I do that too."

Sometimes, the answer that we give to a question, may what? May take an individual way further, isn't it? Make it even worse. Therefore, our sixth Holy Imam, Imam Ja'far Ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], tells us: "converse with your children and answer their question," in a hadith, " lest, if you do not do so, they will have a communication with those who have transgressed and disobeyed Allah, Subhanah wa Ta'ala."