“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” (Pablo Picasso) But how do people find their gifts? Allah (swt) inspires hearts through different means. Some are motivated simply by observing the magnificent signs of Allah (swt) in His creations. Others are guided by the turn of events in their lives. Yet for some it is the role models around them that lead them to a higher purpose.
When we explore the men in our history, almost all of them are found to be leading their kith and kin to higher lives. It was not their mission to earn careers and leave behind monetary legacies. It was their centre of focus to raise a child who was God-fearing, chivalrous, and intelligently serving the community. And many of them naturally began with their own sons, students, or subjects. Following are some incredible stories and incidents:
- Motivation for memorization
Ibrahim Ibn Adham narrated that his father offered him one Dirham to memorize one Hadeeth as a reward.
- Naseehah from a child
A boy came to Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) with a group and started talking. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz asked (rtam): “Is there any elder person in your group?” The boy replied: “A man is known by his heart and tongue not by his age. Otherwise, you would not have been the Khalifah.” Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) agreed: “You are correct. Please proceed.” This boy was eleven years old. At the end of the conversation, Umar (rtam) said: “Give me some Naseeha.” The boy did.
- Reliance on Allah (swt)
Malik Ibn Marwan visited Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) at his deathbed and said: “You have left your children as Fuqara (destitute); let me give 1000 gold coins to each.” He replied: “They don’t need it. When they will need something, they will take it from the Khazain (treasures) of Allah (swt). I have taught them this.”
- Obedience to Allah (swt) increases Rizq
Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) on his deathbed called his seven or eight sons. He saw them and cried: “I haven’t left any money for you. If you are obedient to Allah (swt), He will take care of you, and if you are mischievous, then I don’t want my money to be used for any such act.”
- Preparation of a future soldier
Zubair Ibn Awam (rtam) participated in the Battle of Yarmuk. He took his son Abdullah Ibn Zubair (rtam) along, who was ten years of age, just so he could witness the war and aspire to become brave.
- The significance of Salah
Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) was left by his father with an Alim Salih Ibn Kaisan for Tarbiyah. The Alim sent a letter to his father, complaining that Umar (rtam) was once late for Salah because he was combing his hair. His father sent a Qasid, and the Qasid shaved Umar’s head completely.
- Unconditional submission
“When his Lord said to him: ‘Submit!’ He said: ‘I submit myself to the Lord of all the worlds.’ And Ibrahim exhorted the same to his sons, and so did Yaqub (Jacob): ‘My sons, Allah has certainly chosen for you the faith. So, let not death overtake you but as Muslims.’” (Al-Baqarah 2:131-132)
Who will be your savior?
“O mankind! Be afraid of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father. Verily, the promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. (Luqman 31:33)
Adapted from a workshop titled “Cool Fathers, Super Sons” by Asim Ismail – Principal of Fajr Academy, Karachi.