Preparing for Imam Mahdi Lecture 5: Duties of a Parent

'A'udhu bil-Lahi, al-'Aleem, min al-Shaytan, al-la'yin, al-rajim. Bismillah, Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim. Al-hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi 'l-Alameen, "Al-hamdulil-Lahi alladhi hadaana li hadha, wa ma kunna linahtadiya lawla an hadana Allah" (7:43). Thumma as-salat wa as-salam 'ala asharafi ala Sayyidina, wa habibi qulubina, wa shafi'i dhunubina , wa tabibi nufusina, Muhammad Ibn Abdi Allah wa 'ala Ahli Baytihi at-tayyibin, at-tahirin [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Qala Allahu Tabaaraka wa Ta'ala fi kitaabihi al-Karim, wa qawlu ul-Haqq wa Huwa Asdaqu as-Saadiqin. Bismillah, Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim. "Wa wassa biha Ibrahimu baneehi, wa ya'qoobu ya baniyya, inna Allaha istafa lakumu ad-deena fala tamootunna illa wa antum Muslimoon" (2:132). Aamanna bi-Llah, Sadaqa Allahu al-Aliyyu al-Adheem [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].

A'dhama Allah ujoorana wa ujoorakum bi musaabina bi abi Abdillah al-Husayn, alayhi afdalu as-salaati wa as-salaam. Amma ba'ad, as-salaamu alaykum jami'an, wa Rahmatu Allahi, wa barakatuh. Wa alaykum as-salaam, wa Rahmatu Allahi, wa barakatuh.

Yesterday, we began the discussion when we looked at the function of a family, the role it has to play, especially the parents during the ghaybah of the twelfth Holy Imam, because we realized that the parents are the initial teachers of children, they are the most influential, and hopefully the most trusted of teachers for these children throughout their entire lives. We broke our discussion into four sections of which we covered two. The two sections we covered was that we addressed - as a parent, who is it that is my responsibility? Does Allah (s.w.t) inform me as to who I am responsible for? Is it for my biological family only? And secondly we looked at the type of education that you and I are to provide our children with.

As for the first point, we said that the Qur'an indicates the dhurriyyah - descendants - that you and I will not simply be concerned about our own children, but we have to be concerned about the seeds that we plant within our children that may actually reap into weeds or flowers in their progeny to come as well. And secondly, we looked at the education and we said that it's clear from the hadith of the Imam, the first Holy Imam, that the goal of having children is that we see piety within them, that we continue and expand this ummah with individuals who are pious and therefore all types of education that we provide to our children, doesn't only mean religious education regarding the faith, it means that all beneficial knowledge that we provide to our children has to be that which will lead them and allow them to be pious individuals.

Today we wish to finish this discussion and conclude it by looking at the second two points, the last two points. The first is a question, that as I grow older and as my children grow older, does my relationship with these children have to change? Does my duty simply end once this child becomes mature and baligh and now knows what is right from wrong? Or when this child lives and becomes more mature, lives his own independent life, do I, as a father or a mother, still have duties until the very last breath of my life upon these children? And secondly, what should be my concern? What does the Qur'an say that I should be concerned about for my children again, until my very final breath.

With regard to the relationship that I need to cultivate with my child, need to explore and change throughout my life, you and I know that whenever there is a structure, there needs to be hierarchy in a structure. For a structure to be beneficial there has to be a decision maker at the top. And when our children are young, you and I as parents tend to hold this position of being the decision maker, we tend to be very authoritative with our children. I mean, we ensure that we tell them what is right and wrong, what they should do and what they should not do.

And sometimes when we bring about these do's and do nots, we do not provide them with a reason. We simply tell them that this is how it is meant to be. However, authority has its place, it has its time, especially when the children are very young. But we need to be fair and we need to be just in exercising this responsibility that Allah (s.w.t) has placed on our shoulders. We need to be extremely careful that the child does not feel that we always have a hand above them at all times, such that the child becomes afraid of the parent - so afraid of the parent that they no longer trust this parent. They only have a relationship with the parent because they know that something is going to go wrong if I do not adhere to the commands and the wants and desires of this parent. That trust that was meant to be there as a foundation between me and my child, that is meant to be there in the whole of my family, is actually broken now because everybody in my family actually fears me. I have moved that authority that I have to a total excessive authority.

I exercise it continuously. Such that no longer do I have an open channel of trust, communication with my children. We are told that building up trust is very difficult and at the end it is like putting a droplet on water in our hands. As soon as it drops, it is not possible to pick it up. It is very difficult. For you to gain somebody's trust is very difficult. But to lose that trust, it can happen in a moment and an instant. And the one group of people, the one set of people that a child needs to be able to trust throughout their entire lives is not their friends. It is not their community, it is not the majority of people. The one set of people that the child should be most comfortable with, to go back to these individuals with whatever is in their hearts, should be these parents that the child has been blessed with.

When a child is inquisitive when they are young, this is where it starts. You know you go on a car journey and the child - being children, and this is what they are meant to do - they are meant to explore as children. Nabi Musa (a.s), when he was in the palace of Fir'awn, then he wanted to go towards that, you know, when they put fire on one side and they put some sort of attractive, playful element of toys on the other side. And Musa (a.s) was going towards that, which was safe, but the general child would have gone to that which was on fire because it had some sort of burning effect, it was attractive. Even at that time, we find, that Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, shows us that children have to be inquisitive, they have to ask questions, they need to learn. Let them explore!

When a child asks his parents fifty questions, it is easy to simply silence that child. It is easy to tell that child that you are asking too many questions. Just be quiet for a moment. There is a manner, and an etiquette, even to speak to the youngest of the children. Is it not strange how the greatest of human beings would be seen on his fours with Hasan (a.s) and Husayn (a.s) on his back [Subhana Allah]. Does not it teach us that there is a way to even act with these children. Why is it that the Imams tell us that when you speak to your children, however old you may be, speak to them in their language, in the language of children, of babies, that even the sounds that come out of your mouth should be the same sound that are uttered by them when you are playing with them.

Be like them, be on their level, allow them to obtain and gain confidence in you and take trust in you. You know what happens when the father or mother tells the child, be it in the car or anywhere else, that you are asking too many questions. That parent could have said, let us pause for ten minutes. Let us think about something else. Let us play a game, let us try and be silent for ten minutes, we will come back to the questions. That does not affect the child.

When a parent says you are asking too many questions, a simple statement like that, the child can be molded easily. When that seed is planted in the child's heart, the next time the child wants to ask a question, he or she will be fearful of asking. And the more a parent does this, the child begins to lose his or her self-confidence. And you notice when a parent praises his child, when a parent is loving with his child, that child grows up to have self confidence in what he does.

He may not be the best of the best. Nobody is going to be perfect, but he is confident in what he does. When he goes to work, he goes with his head higher. When he speaks, he speaks eloquently and with confidence. But look at that child that has always been spoken down to. Look at that child who has not been given the platform and the space to blossom. Look at that child who is always being compared to somebody else. That you are like this, but this person like this, your cousin is like this, your friend is like this. That continuous comparison pushes that child to remove so-called self-confidence from within them. The child next time will feel that his questions are useless, are of no benefit are too basic, he is not on par with what the parent desires from him.

But our religion tells us something totally different. The religion says question. Question, even if you want to question the existence of God, question. Question with the want of what? With the want to understand more. To realize more. To grow into a greater human being. Question, anything and everything that you want so that you and I can learn. Because through questioning what happens? One of two things. When we question and we gain an answer, either we break the foundations that we thought were strong because the answer proves that what we believed in was incorrect, and now we are building stronger foundations. Isn't that something that is praiseworthy? Or that when I gave the answer, my foundations that were correct from the onset only gain more strength, there is only benefit in questioning.

How strange that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says in the Qur'an many a times, that don't you ponder, don't you think for yourselves? "Fas'alu ahl adh-dhikr" (21:7) You don't know the answer go and ask the people of knowledge! That is why Allah is not made two people the same! So that you can always benefit from one another! If two people were equal, they would not benefit from one another. If a husband and a wife were equal, they would not be able to continue a relationship. There has to be differences, because we learn through differences. We spot each other's mistakes through differences. But you know what the strangest of questions in the Qur'an is? The strangest of questions is from Khalil, is from the friend of Allah. The individual who was termed as an Imam, even though he was a Prophet.

You know that the title of an Imam is greater than that of a Prophet? Ibrahim, alayhi as-salam - Ibrahim not only was the friend of Allah, not only was a Prophet, was given the title of Imam. But what does Ibrahim question Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala about? "Rabbi arini kayfa tuhyyi al-mawta?" (2:260) - Oh my Lord, please show me how do you bring back life from the dead? How do you bring back the dead? Imagine if a child turned around and told us. "I don't quite believe, I don't know, how does Allah (s.w.t) bring back from the dead?" Imagine if one elder asks and questions. How is it that Allah brings back from the dead? Think to yourself chosen after 50 - 60 years you are doubting whether or not Allah can bring back from the dead?

This is a Prophet of Allah! An example being given to us in the Qur'an of an anecdote in history where one of the closest people to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, questions and says, how is it that you bring back from the dead? "Qala aw alam tu'min?" (2:260) Allah says, "What, don't you believe?" Don't you think I can bring back from the dead? What does Ibrahim say? He doesn't say "no, I disbelieve" he does not say "I'm trying to doubt." He says "Qala bala" - no Allah, I believe! "wa lakin li yat'mainnu qalbi" (2:260) But, Oh Allah, I want that my heart is brought to ease. I want an answer that will remove any unrest which is within my heart. If the prophet of Allah, that Imam of Allah, that Allah appoints as Imam, if such an individual can be permitted to question, then why can't our children also question even the basic tenets of things?

If we do not allow our children this channel of communication with us from the onset from when they are young, if we don't give them this ability to be easy and free with us, then you know what will happen? The result will be that even when they grow up, they won't find any benefit in spending time with you and I as parents. We want that when we come home, that our children want to see our faces, that our children run to us, that they greet us. But what happens in many homes? We have been in people's homes. We have been in our own homes. Maybe when they were young, they used to run to us. But when they are older, what has happened to that relationship? What has happened to that relationship where you can even joke with one another, you can laugh with one another, you can speak about anything and everything with your children?

Unfortunately, many a family today, especially when the father comes home, the fright has been instilled with the children. If you are all 20-30 years old, you should ask your parents about how their family was back in Africa. You will find that there was a lot of this - do not question. Just listen. Just obey. A fright that when the father comes home, everybody has to be silent now, nobody can mess around. You can't play or you can't make noise anymore.

That is not the type of family that Islam has dictated for us to build. I do not want to come home - I do not want that my children should be afraid when I enter the house that everybody is afraid to speak to me. My wife thinks that she is about to do something, I am going to pick on it and I am going to argue with her. That I come home after a difficult day's work and I think that I have done my duties so now I can relax in the lounge and just switch on the TV until I go to bed.

You know, if that continues for even a short while, then what do you think the benefit of that father is in the eyes of this child? It is just that he pays the mortgage. It is just that he provides food on the table. It is just that he provides the shelter over my head, but this father is doing no other role. If this father goes tomorrow, what will the child miss? He would not miss much. But surely Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has not given parents such a great station, such a great station so that they can simply instill fright in their children. We cannot create barriers for our children to communicate with us. However old they are they should still know that there's a guide on the other side of the world if they live on the other side. They can pick up the phone and still speak to us.

It starts by action in my family. You know, even the way I treat my wife or my wife treats me will have an impact on my children. If my children see that I argue with my wife. If my children see my hypocritical side, that at home I don't respect this wife of mine, but when I go out, I seem to be the best of the best husbands. I speak in such a beautiful manner. They will pick up on this. They don't need to be taught this. You don't need to teach your child speak to your wife in a polite manner. He will do the same to his wife as you did to your wife, because he will learn through action. He will absorb whatever you and I do within the four walls of our family. And that is why the home is the first madrasah [Subhana Allah] which teaches us that if I am going to be a teacher through action, that means I have to ensure that I practice what I preach.

Does not the Qur'an say, "Lima taquloona ma la taf'aloon?" (61:2) The Qur'an admonishes man and says, Why is it [that you do] that you say that which you do not do? You speak a lot, but your action is very little. It's minimal. "Kabura maqtan 'inda Allah an taqulu ma la taf'aloon" (61:3) - You know what Allah hates it that man says that which he does not do. That he preaches something to his children, but he does not do it himself. You and I know the pressures of the society around us. We know the difficulty our children are in. We want, do we not, that if my child is about to fall into a sin, who should be the first point of contact before he sins - even during the sin? Even after the sin? Who should he gain guidance from, whatever age he is? I want that he comes back to me. I do not want him to feel ashamed. I do not want him to feel that my father is going to judge me. I want him to come back and say that I am having this problem. I do not know, maybe you had this problem. Maybe you did not. Maybe I am different. Is there something wrong with me?

The child needs confidence that everyone makes mistakes. Everybody sins, everybody slips. But the strongest person is not the individual who lives in heaven and does not have any temptations around him. The stronger person is the one who lives in an environment where there are temptations around him. And then if he slips he repents and he comes back stronger than how he was on the initial sin. Then he becomes a stronger person. He has fallen, but now he knows what sin is.

Isn't it strange that Allah made us fallible? What does it mean? Why, if Allah makes us fallible, what does that denote? What is the conclusion? If he made you and I fallible, that means whether you like it or I like it we are going to sin. We have to sin! Otherwise we are not going to be fallible. We are allowed to make a mistake. If we realize that mistake and we return back to Allah stronger. Not that Allah wants us to make a mistake, but by default, by being a human being, we will make mistakes and we need to return back to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala stronger than how we were.

I want my child to come back to me. But if I am creating barriers in communication, by Allah (s.w.t) he is not going to come back to me. When he is confused, that trust is no longer going to be there. You know, who he is going to go to? He is going to go to the outside world. And I am not going to like the answers that the outside world gives to my child. And I am going to complain and I am going to scold him. And I am going to tell him that "Wasn't I here? Wasn't I the one who fed you? Wasn't I the one who brought home halal money? Wasn't I the one who put a shelter on your head? I bought your first car! I helped you in your first property! Still, you did not come to me?" The children do not want money. The children want a father and a mother. If they wanted money, they would simply get a bank loan. That is enough. The children want an individual who will spend time with them, not judge them, assist them and guide them.

You and I, as parents in the 21st century, have to realize that if we were not born in this country, then parenting has changed. If you are from Africa, from Afghanistan, from Iran, from Pakistan, any other part of the world, especially in the East, you have to realize and I need to realize that we cannot bring up our children in the same way as we were brought up. The pressures are difficult. Can you open a newspaper without seeing a scantily dressed woman? Can you drive down the highway without seeing one of these billboards in the same manner? Can you walk into a mall except that you see this paraded all around you? Is this not one of the most difficult desires that man has to control? The desire for the opposite gender? Did the same father in Africa have this? Did he walk into malls and did he see this around him? Did he see this in every newspaper he picked up and every advert that he watched on the television?

He did not. His pressures were different. His environment was different. And this environment is very different as well. Allow the children to ask questions and be their guide. Do not silence them. But then the question arises, that I am not a scholar, so how do I know answers to these questions? Believe you and me, believe me, that even scholars do not know answer to these questions. Just because somebody has studied Islam, does not mean that all of a sudden they know answers to a question.

When a child comes and said that how do I control my base desire when I'm attracted to the opposite gender? What I do now? What will the scholars say? Fast? OK, what if it is Ramadan and I'm still attracted to women, not what? I'm fasting, now what? Practical life skills will only be passed on to a child if the father lives with the child in his same environment and grows with him. When I go to my child's university, I see the environment around. I think to myself, what does he do? How does he control himself, how do I guide him? I go to his place of work, I go to the mall with him, I go on holidays with him. I don't just say you are married, you take your family. I am with my wife, I take my family we will go different sides of the globe. We live together.

"Qul seeru fi 'l-ardh." (29:20) Doesn't Allah say in the Qur'an -go and travel the Earth. Look at what the end of the sinners were. Go and explore, but with your children! Bring about these life skills so you can and I can pass them to our children. If we live as fathers in our cocoon, inside business and home, business and home, we will not know the pressure that our child faces. So the child will feel that I am disconnected with him. I am totally disconnected. I am sixty. I am fifty, he is thirty. How can he speak to me about the pressures he has? How will I understand it? But if I lived the life with him, naturally I will be able to understand and guide him.

To do this, one of the best ways, I feel, to spend time with our family, especially in the hectic lifestyle, this rat race that we live in, one of the best ways to implement this is at dinner time. If we live with our children, it is a great blessing as parents. It is a great blessing as children to live with our parents as well. But put a rule in our family - my advice for what it is worth - put a rule in our family that we will eat dinner together. If we live in close proximity, even an hour away, ok, let us eat dinner at least once a week together. But there are a couple of rules for this dinner. The major rule is no mobile phones. That you sit on the table, but the phones are put elsewhere, because this is family time.

This is when we will not start eating dinner until you come and you sit here as well, so the child knows he has a responsibility to get back. Just because he is married does not mean he only takes care of his wife and children. And when you sit on that dinner table, do not show authority. Become a friend. Let them ask, let them discuss. Speak! Question them! We have begun to bring about this one word generation, have you noticed?. How are you? Al-hamduli-Llah. What did you do today? I went to work. How was work? It was good. That is it? It is one word! Is that all the communication I'm going to have with my child? That is all I know about him? Open up these channels of communication.

Interestingly, we are told that when it comes to dinner time ahadith tell us that "Spend as long as you can on the dinner table" with table manners observed! Does not mean you have to eat continuously, "spend time on the dinner table" Why? The Imams tell us "fa innaha awqaatun la tuhsabu min a'maarikum" [Bihar al-Anwar, v.63, p.411] Why? Because when you sit at the dinner table, the time spent is not taken from your life. Can you imagine the benefit there is in sitting with our family at dinner, such that Allah (s.w.t) doesn't even take it away from our lifespan? Let them discuss, let them ask. If I don't know the question, if I don't know the answer, 'afwan, if I don't know the answer, then let me try and discuss with them. What about this? What about that? I am not going to give you a conducive answer, I am not going to give the conclusion. Let us explore it together. Tomorrow. Next week. Let us come back with the same question that we had. Let us explore the answer that you and I have gained.

Have you noticed that many of the things that open our eyes come from children and youngsters and youth? That as an elder sometimes I am set in my way. I do not see, I do not have a perspective on the world like they have. It is a blessing that they ask questions because it opens my eyes. When a youth asks his father, Dad what is the state of the Muslims? Today around the world, are there any Muslims that are starving? The father would say yes, of course, there are Muslims around the world who are starving. Are there any Muslims around the world who lack basic access to medicine? Many!

Are there any Muslims around the world who do not have shelter? Any Muslims around the world who are homeless? Yes, many. Is it only Muslims that we should be concerned with? No! Don't we take pride in the hadith of Imam when the Imam says if he is not your equal in faith, if he is not your brother in faith, then he is your equal in humanity. That everybody is the same. I'm looking at anybody in the eyes of humanity I should be concerned about as his welfare as well. So people are in need around the world, right father? Yes, people are in need, people are begging, people are dying, people are starving.

So then the child asks a question. He says people are starving, people do not have wealth. Can you tell me why is it that the dome of the Imam is made from gold? I mean, people are starving. Why is it that the shrines are being expanded on a regular basis? Shrines, not because they are congested. No, shrines, because people have put so much money into those shrines and you have to use it in the shrine. So we put a gold dome. It is a simple question. I will not give you the answer. I am not saying what is right or wrong. I am saying if a child asks such a question, he is opening his mind and you and I have two options. We will silence him and we will say, how dare you answer such a question! This is the Imam! We should do anything and everything for the Imam! Or we say no, that is a good question!

If the child asks the father, so if this is the state of the Muslims, why did you just buy a brand new car? You say because I can afford it! Why is it that we travel business class? Well we can afford it! So just because we afford it, we should do it? This brand new car is probably the worst investment that a man, a sane, intellectual man can make. Anybody who knows anything about the economy will know that you only invest in that asset, which appreciates, but a car is something that as soon as you drive it out of the showroom will depreciate at least by 10 percent, if not 20, on its value, because it's become a used car with a second driver.

Just because I have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank does not mean I have to use it for myself. Hadith of 'Unwan al Basri if you have not read it, search it tonight, go and find it, it is translated into English. The sixth Imam meets who? Does not meet a youth. A 94 year old man in Madina when he finds out that Ja'far, alayhi as-salam, has come to Madina, stops studying with Malik and goes to Ja'far and says "Teach me" and Imam says "I am busy right now." He is not satisfied with that answer. He goes home. He does not go to the lessons of Malik because he knows that there is a fountain of knowledge in front of him. He stays inside his house, he only goes to the masjid to recite the Salah. His heart can not bear it any more. He goes to the grave of the Prophet, he recites two raka'at Salah. He raises his hands and he says, "Oh Prophet, please give me a space in the heart of Ja'far".

He goes to the house of the Imam, he knocks the door and the helper allows the man in and Imam begins to give him pieces of advice - nine pieces of advice -interestingly, many of them are related to food. Nine pieces of advice. In one of those pieces of advice the Imam says "a servant will only attain true servitude if he realizes that what Allah (s.w.t) has given him is not his". He does not own what Allah has given him. It is owned by Allah! He is simply a custodian, an individual who has to spend it. If you ask the treasurer of the Jamaat. Can you spend money how you want? No! Will he spend it on himself? No! He will spend it in the way that Allah (s.w.t) needs and desires that he spends, he is answerable to the 12th Imam on how he spends this wealth.

If you and I have been blessed with wealth, it is not so that we use it on ourselves. It is so that we use it and disperse it in a correct manner. When you look at the Imams, you know, many of them had wealth! Amounts of wealth, but you never found them hoarding it. You never found them keeping it to themselves. You find that Amir would turn off a candle when somebody comes to question him about a personal life issue, because the candle was bought from the money of Bayt ul-Mal and he would switch on his own candle. [Subhana Allah, Subhana Allah]

When his own brother wanted excess funds, he put that which was iron hot towards his hand to ensure that his brother does not think that just because we are related I am going to be able to take more from Bayt ul-Mal. Isn't that what we need to teach our children? Isn't it you and I who teach our children by our mouths that it is this same Amir who would eat stale bread, but make sure the people of Kufa ate meat and had water at night as well. [Naare Haidari! Ya Ali!]

So the child has a right to ask and they will open our eyes, but what it teaches us is that I have to act in accordance with that which I preach. The way I want my child to be, I have to act in the same manner. When the child asks me, "Father, isn't it true that the Imams have dictated and taught us about unity," I say yes. "Is it not true that the Amir stayed silent for many a years so that he did not cause absolute division in the Muslim ummah?" Yes.

"Isn't it true that Salat ul-Jama'ah is encouraged so that we can all pray in a unified manner that provides and shows strength to the ummah, that we should pray together united, that we should do du'a in a united fashion, we should do things together and collectively, we should not bring about division in the community?" Yes, that is what Islam teaches us. So we just went for Ziyarah in Najaf, but why is it that I saw four Salat ul-Jama'ah in the Haram? Why is it that I saw different people, praying different Salat ul-Jama'ah?" The father can silence the child, "Don't you know we have maraje', great scholars in Najaf? If it was something wrong, they would have stood up to it. How can you ask such a question?"

Interestingly, a few years ago we were in the presence of one of these four great maraje' who are present in Najaf, and a lady asked the same question. She said, paraphrasing, it is disheartening to see that we have come to Najaf, Mawla al-Muwahhideen, we come to him, to his grave, and we see people praying different Salaat ul-Jama'ah behind different Imams. And all this great scholar said - firstly he gave a short answer - Then he said, paraphrasing again, he said "it is very political, that even us as maraje' are not able to rectify the situation, even our hands are tied".

I ask you a question; that individuals who desire fame, individuals who want a fictitious seat of authority, do you think when the twelfth Imam comes, they will be willing to give up their authority and put it in the hands of the Imam? That they have worked so hard to achieve this title and this station in front of the eyes of people, you think tomorrow that individual will give up all the fame he has and become a member of the general public? That is why the conclusion that we emphasize regularly, daily, is that we have to act in the same manner in the ghaybah so that we can act in the same manner when the Imam reappears.

If I desire fame, position, I want people to stand up when I walk in, I want people to greet me - not me greet people - I want beggars to open their hand to me. I want beggars to go through a whole interview of where they are going to use the money, how they are going to use the money, how they are going to repay the money before I give it to them. That is what I want. Do you think I am going to hand over the same authority to the Imam that is rightfully his?

An interesting anecdote when it comes to charity, the second Holy Imam, Imam al-Hassan, alayhi al-salam [ Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad] The Holy Imam, a man came to him from Shaam and he says, Oh Amir, I am in need". You know what the Imam does? Imam has a helper with him, he says, "Go to the safe, go to the Treasury. The funds that I am allowed to use", he says "take whatever is in there and give it to this man" He comes back with either 2000 or 200 dirhams of either gold or silver coins and he gives it to this man. The man is perplexed, that I just said one sentence and I just said I am in need, he questions and he says, "Oh, Imam, oh Amir, don't you want to find out what I want or why I need it?".

Imam gives the most prolific statement. Imam says that Allah has made it a habit with me, that when I am in need, He does not question me. [Subhana Allah, Subhana Allah]. So I have made it so I have made it a habit with people that when they ask, I do not question. [Subhana Allah] He says, "I'm fearful. I'm afraid that if I begin to question people when they ask from me, then He will begin to question me when I ask from Him!" [Naare Salawaat! Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhamma.]

Allow our children to blossom, to grow and allow them to question. Give them the space. There is nothing wrong. All it will do is build that freedom and ease of communication. And if my children are old now, I can start from now. I have to make the first step. If I am the one who was wrong initially, if I brought about the barriers that I need to tear them down, I need to speak to them, go out with them, spend time with them. If they are on the other side of the world, speak to them regularly. If they are not calling, you call. Break that barrier.

Finally, as our time is short, what is it that you and I should be concerned about as parents? What does the Qur'an tell us, that even until the final breath, we should be concerned about? The Qur'an Surat ul-Baqarah verse one hundred and thirty three, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says, "were are you witnesses when death approached Ya'qub?" Ya'qub had many children. Obviously, the whole incident of Yusuf takes place. He has seen what has happened with his children. He has seen some of them going against others, but then repenting. He has seen everything in front of his eyes. Now, when death is approaching him, what does he say to his sons? On his deathbed is he worried about inheritance? Is he worried about who is going to take my property? How is my wealth going to be distributed? Who is going to look after who?

No. You know what Ya'qub says to his parents [children]: "Idh qala li banihi ma ta'budoona mim ba'di?" (2:133) "Oh my children, I want to ask you a question. Who is it that you are going to worship after I die?"[Subhana Allah] I want to know that I have raised you and brought you up on the right path such that I can go back to Allah (s.w.t) in peace, knowing that even if I am not here, you are still going to worship Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Do you know why? Because if they worship Allah (s.w.t) and if they are steadfast then they will look after one another. If they are steadfast, they are not going to fight over the wealth and inheritance are they? How many a blood brother have you seen separated from his blood brother because of wealth? Because when the parents go disunity is brought about in this family. Until the very end, you and I must be worried about the religion and the steadfastness of our children.

I wish to end here by reminding ourselves that there are many pressures, many environmental factors that are going to attack our children, whatever age they may be. It is our duty to facilitate for them for a path out. I will leave you with a question and we will come back to it tomorrow when we change our discussion. We have ahadith that tell us that if man wants to ensure that he reaches heaven, he has to control two desires - his stomach and his private parts; his desire for the opposite gender. If he controls these two very strong desires, then it is easy for him to take a path towards heaven. With regards to food, we have touched upon it, we will touch upon it every now and again, but we know our duty.

But as parents, when this 19 or 20 year old child turns around me and says, I am in need now, I need help, I do not know how I am going to control myself. Is there something wrong with me? Are these desires wrong? They are not wrong because if they were wrong, they would not have been given to the Prophet. They were given to the Prophet. But they need to be channeled in the right manner. What is the duty of the mother and the father when a child reaches such great heights of maturity that he does not go out towards sin? He comes back to his parents and says, help me now that this desire is affecting me. Many of the desires we have sometimes can overtake us such that we become blinded to the truth.

This is what we find happened in Karbala. You know, Umar ibn Sa'ad when he was present in Karbala, Ibn Ziyad was sending troops after troops after troops from where? From Kufa. You know, many of these individuals who stood before the Imam were asked by Umar ibn Sa'ad, I give you a message, go and take it to Husayn (a.s) and ask Husayn (a.s), why is it that he has come here? What does he want? Do you know how many people in told Umar we c annot go because we are ashamed. Why? Because we are the same people who wrote to Husayn (a.s) telling him to come to Kufa.

What happened? A few months ago, a few weeks ago, you were so steadfast that you are writing letters, your swords were with Husayn (a.s), your body was with Husayn (a.s), your family was with Husayn (a.s)! What has happened to these desires that they have become so strong for this world, that you are willing to stand in front of the final son of Fatima, alayha as-salam. Finally Ibn Ziyad sends so many troops that he sends a letter to Umar ibn Sa'ad. He says, oh Umar, do not turn around and tell me that I have not given you enough manpower. You have thousands of troops now. Now, I want you to take the bay'ah of Husayn (a.s) Or kill Husayn (a.s).

During Ashura', Habib ibn Madhahir - Habib was this childhood friend of the Holy Imam. Habib was a companion of Amir ul-Mu'minin. Habib was a companion of Al-Hassan (a.s). Habib was now a companion of Imam al Husayn. You know, at the time of Amir ul-Mu'minin, Habib met Maytham al-Thammar, and they spoke to one another in Kufa, and they told one another - Habib says "I see a man who sells watermelons, who is going to be hungry because of the love he has for the Ahlul Bayt, and his stomach will be punctured" and Maytham says "Oh Habib, I see a man who is old, who will be martyred and he will be beheaded when defending the grandson of Rasul Allah." They were telling each other about the other's fatal end.

Maytham died in that manner. Now, it came to be a time of Habib. Before Ashura' set in Habib goes to the Imam, this old man who is said to have to tie material around his waist so that his hunchback could have become straight. Habib did not let go of Imam. His age was not a factor. He was not willing to see an arrow coming to the chest on Husayn (a.s) while he was still breathing. This old, frail man turns to the Imam and says, "Oh, my Imam I am from Banu Asad. Nearby here in Karbala' I know the Banu Asad live. Allow me to go to them, allow me to call them that maybe they should also help us." Imam gives permission.

Habib goes towards the Banu Asad and he speaks to them. He says, "Do you know who I am?" They say, "we know you oh Habib". He says, "Do you know that the grandson of Rasul Allah, the son of Fatima (a.s), is alone with the wolves standing in front of him in Karbala'? Do you know that they have come to sever his head? Do you know that they have come whilst his family is in front of him, yet they provide no respect to the womenfolk? How many of you are willing to stand up to the challenge? And by Allah (s.w.t) I promise you that if martyrdom comes to you, that you shall be successful in the next life with the Holy Prophet".

Individuals, one after the other, stand up. Oh Habib bear witness that I am the first to accept that your call. Oh, Habib bear witness. I am willing to defend the grandson of Rasul. Ninety men. Ninety men get on their horses. Ninety men head towards Imam Al Husayn (a.s). When Umar ibn Sa'ad finds out about this, he brings an army to block them. They begin to argue, Habib says, move from our path. We are going toward Husayn. A battle breaks out, swords are unsheathed. You know what happens to these ninety men? They realise that they are about to die. So they turn their backs and they go back. Not only do they go back, but that same night they flee from where they were because they are afraid of Umar ibn Sa'ad and his army.

Habib ibn Madhahir, who had told the Imam, and gave this Imam a possible light that people will come to help you, goes back to the Imam all alone. Do you now see why the Imam says that my companions were the best of companions. No one can match my companions. They were not afraid of anything that came to them. Habib comes back. He tells the Imam that they left. Imam says "La hawla wa la quwwata illa bi-Llah al-Aliyyu, al-Adheem".

The day of Ashura' is approaching and Imam al Husayn (a.s) begins to dig wells. The enemies see that there are wells being dug and water being drunk. A message is sent and a message is brought back that move Husayn (a.s) from the Euphrates! Don't let him be anywhere close to the water! Let us sap them of energy for I hear that Husayn (a.s) knows how to dig wells.

They were more vigilant on the Imam. They did not allow any water to get to the Imam. On the day of Ashura', these men who were thirsty - not all of them were young. These were old men, some of them - their strength came from their imaan, not their physical body. They went battle one after the other. It approached Salah time, one of the companions of the Imam turns around and says, "Oh, Imam, I would like to meet Allah (s.w.t) after I have said the prayer."

The Imam prays for him, sends mercy upon him, that at this time you remember the prayer. You know, when the enemies hear that the Imam wants to pray, an individual, an enemy of the Ahlul Bayt made by the name of Hassin turns around and calls to the Imam and says oh Husayn (a.s)! Do you know that your prayers are not even accepted? What is the worth of you praying? Habib's blood boils. He turns around and he says, "Oh, Hassin, do you think that your prayers are going to be accepted? You individuals, who we saw in being intoxicated by wine last night, you think your prayers are going to be accepted and the prayers of the son of Fatima (a.s) are going to be rejected?!" What Habib says this, Hassin drives towards him, taking out his sword, coming to attack. Habib, Habib deals a fatal blow upon his head and he falls to the ground. His companions come and take him.

But when they take Hassin, their eyes are now locked upon Habib. He took one from our rank. We won't settle down until we take your life. They begin to come in combat one by one towards Habib ibn Madhahir. Habib takes permission from Imam al Husayn (a.s), he goes towards the battlefield and he gives a cry. He says, "I am Habib. (My son) my father is Madhahir. He was a horseman on the battlefield that was unreckoned by other people. You are well-equipped. You have thousands in your army. But we are more obedient to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala than you. We are more pious than you are." Individuals come one by one, Habib kills 60 individuals until a man comes. He does not just come and kill Habib! He strikes Habib on the head and Habib falls to the ground. But this was not enough for the enemy.

They saw that Habib is still breathing on the ground. They did not want him to come to his final breath. They came towards Habib. One of them inflicts one blow on Habib. Another comes and inflicts another blow on Habib. Until one final individual comes and says "Bear witness in front of the amir in Kufa that I am the one who is going to sever the head of Habib ibn Madhahir Al-Asadi!" He severs Habib's head and now they raised his head on a lance. That this is our war booty in front of us, in front of ibn Ziyad. One of the individuals who took pride in killing Habib, comes and says, give me his head, I want to parade it around Kufa. I want to be the one who will show the Amir what I did.

He takes the head of Habib. He does not leave it on the battlefield. He does not return it to Imam al Husayn (a.s). He attaches it to the neck of his horse and he begins to ride around the camp and around the tents. "Oh people bear witness that this is the head of Habib. I am the valiant and brave one who brought swords to Habib's neck." When these heads were taken to Kufa, the head of Habib was still on this horse attached to its reins and its neck. You find a young boy by the name of Qasim. Qasim sees this head, sees it attached to a horse. He begins to walk behind this horse. When the horse begins to trot, this young boy begins to run behind the horse.

The horseman notices that there is this young child - wherever I go, he is following me. I am parading the head of Habib, what has this young child got to do with Habib? - He turns around and says, "Oh, my dear son, why do you follow me?" He says, "Oh, horseman, do you know that head is the head of my father Habib. Oh horseman I ask you to give me the head of my father so that I can bury it". The horseman says, "Oh, my dear son, the Amir in Kufa will not be happy if this head is buried, he wants to see it as his war booty paraded through the streets of Kufa".

Ala la'natu Allahi 'ala al-qawmi adh-dhalimeen. Wa sa ya'lamu alladheena dhalamu ayya munqalibin yan qaliboon. Inna li Allahi, wa inna ilayh raja'oon.

Ya Husayn! [Ya Husayn!] Ya Husayn! [Ya Husayn!] Ya Husayn! [Ya Husayn!] Ya Husayn! [Ya Husayn!]