As Muslims, we believe this life to be a test for the life hereafter. The primary guideline for this test’s preparation comes from the Quran, the divine revelation and the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. This book; “Real Life Lessons from the Holy Quran” aims at helping fellow Muslims to understand the Islamic way of living in the 21st century and become better human beings. It provides powerful words of advice on how to handle different situations, perform certain tasks, avoid particular actions and win the struggle against Satan, as guided by Allah SWT. Allah says:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَابِّ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ كَذَٰلِكَ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ
“And among men and moving creatures and the cattle (are) various [their] colours likewise. Only fear Allah among His slaves those who know. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving.” (Surah Fatir 35:28)
One of the bases of “that old-time religion” is a healthy fear of God. That fear, which has to be balanced by hope for God’s mercy, revolves around the awareness that God’s punishment is real. Hell and its torments are real. The retribution of those who have behaved wrongfully in the world is real. Sometimes we can become so engrossed with intellectualized discussions of our religion, so steeped in philosophical discourse, that we forget, at the end of the day, the hard realities mentioned above. Allah says:
وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
And they (will) say, “All praises (be) to Allah the One Who (has) removed from us the sorrow. Indeed, our Lord (is) surely Oft-Forgiving, Most Appreciative.” (Surah Fatir 35:34)
If as adults we are heedless concerning these things, it is difficult for us to realize their importance for our children, especially during their formative years. Compassion and respect towards the elderly is an essential element of Islamic conduct. The Prophet of Islam stated clearly:
“He is not one of us who does not show tenderness to the young and who does not show respect to the elder.” (Hadith from at-Tirmidhi)
Cultivating a healthy fear of God is rooted in the mindfulness of Him. Mindfulness is a prerequisite for fear. For this reason, one of the initial goals of the spiritual path is cultivating the fear of God. This is the initial thrust that propels the aspirant through subsequent stages of true human development. This fear is one of the keys to Paradise. Allah says:
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
“But as for (him) who feared to stand (before) his Lord, and restrained his soul from the vain desires.” (Surah An-Nazi’at 79:40)
Hence, the fear of God is something we should endeavour to instil in our children. One way to do that is to remind them that transgression incurs punishment. That punishment can occur in ways great and small. We can take advantage of situations occurring in our everyday lives to cultivate a repentant spirit in our children. If they tell a lie, we can mention how inappropriate and harmful lies are. We can then add, “You are going to have to ask God to forgive you.” Not only do situations such as this introduce the child to the idea of repentance but, they also encourage them to get in the habit of communicating with God. One of the things missing from many of our Muslim homes is active communion with God. Allah says:
وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
“ And lower to them (the) wing (of) humility (out) of [the] mercy and say, “My Lord! Have mercy on both of them as they brought me up (when I was) small.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:24)
We should try to make the space for the children to be children, to enjoy their childhood years. However, we must let them know that these years are preparation for adult life and that adulthood is very serious. That coming seriousness though should not be used as a justification to overwhelm them. Moderation provides a golden means. Respecting that means helps us to avoid the extreme of an overindulgent childhood followed by a period of perpetual adolescence, just as it helps us to avoid stultifying, rigid, overbearing child-rearing practices that can effectively rob our children of a rich childhood.
Life-Changing Lessons from the Holy Quran
Quran is the book from which you can teach all kinds of lessons from good manners, how to treat others, to healthy eating and all that can benefit others. Let’s discuss some life-changing lessons from this Holy Book of Allah (SWT).
- Do righteous deeds with all mankind Allah loves those and grant great rewards for doing righteous deeds even in this world in the form of “good life.”
- You should be conscious of time and try to use this time to do good deeds, be truthful to one another, be patient, don’t get angry and be quick in forgiveness. In Holy Quran Allah Almighty says about time in these words: “By the time, surely man is in the loss, save those who believe and do good deeds, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” (Quran, 103: 1-3)
- Be nice to all people as Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran: “Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near to kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (Quran, 4:36)
- One should be kind in your character as kind words and covering of other faults are better than charity. Allah says in Noble Quran: “Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.” (Quran, 2:263)
- One should rely only on Allah Almighty in all matters of his/her life. “And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Quran, 65:3)
- One should avoid backbiting and don’t waste your time in gossips. The Quran says don’t sow division instead, say what is good and true. That is the path to a good life. Allah Almighty says about gossipers in these words: “And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy” (Quran, 17:53). Allah doesn’t like those who backbite about other fellows in the Holy Quran Allah said: “O you, who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is a sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it.” (Quran, 49:12)
- One should speak best when talking to someone or should choose the best words when speaking. “And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy” (Quran, 17:53). This ayah of the Holy Quran also tells us that we should be responsible while speaking to others by choosing the best words.
- One should be just to all even if it is against your close relatives. Allah says in Holy Quran: And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfil the Covenant of A1laah, This He commands you that you may remember.” (Quran, 6:152)
We can change for the better if we are sincerely willing to. Let us learn to have a healthier lifestyle, to benefit from the people around us, to make better use of our time and to not allow Dunya to devour our most valuable years on this planet. May God helps us all, to fulfil our duties towards our elderly, to love and respect them as they ought to be loved and respected, and to set a good example for our children.