Excerpt from the Friday Sermon
The second cause or impediment in the effecting of a practical reformation is the environment and the tendency to copy others. Allah, the Exalted, has placed this tendency to copy in the nature of man and this makes itself apparent from the earliest part of our childhood. And it has been made a part of our nature certainly for our benefit but its abuse or wrong use leads sometimes to man’s destruction even, or takes him towards destruction.
It is a consequence of this tendency to copy and an impact of the environment that man learns language from one’s parents or learns other things, good things and learning these the child becomes a well mannered moral person.
If the parents are righteous and observe the Salat and recite the Holy Quran and live with each other in an atmosphere of love and affection and abhor falsehood, then the children, under their care and influence, will also be such as will adopt virtues.
But if, on the contrary, lying, fighting and disputes, abusive talk of others in the house or of disrespect to others, not taking due regard of Jama’at affairs even, or other such bad actions; when the child sees these, then because of that tendency to copy or because of the impact of the environment the child learns these same bad things.
Similarly the wrong deeds of the father leave an impress on the child’s brain and whatever wrong replies that the father gives, the child registers them in his or her brain. So the mother and father both, from the point of view the training of the child, if they are acting wrongly or doing wrong things they are taking the child in a wrong direction and imparting to him wrong education by their own actions. And when the child grows older he replies with these same types of answers.
So if we want to carry out a real practical reformation of our future generations and our children so that the level of our practical reformation is high, then the parents will have to keep an eye on their own situation and actions also, and will need to have friendships with such people who are alright from their practical actions point of view.
So this is a very great responsibility of the parents that they, by their actions, should make their children such as observe prayer. They should, by their actions, establish their children upon the truth and by their actions they should also impart to them the other high moral qualities also so that they too can adopt those high moral qualities. They should avoid taking false oaths so that the children too can be safeguarded against these things.
Hazrat Musleh Maood (ra) says that actions, because they can be seen, so the people can copy them and then this seed goes on growing; but belief is not something that can be seen, so it remains in its own limited circle. And the example of belief is like that of propagating a plant by attaching a cutting whereas the example of action is like a plant that propagates by planting of seeds. The seed grows by being planted in soil and it begins to grow by itself as soon as a suitable climate becomes available.
So it is very easy for bad actions to propagate and spread. And this spreads in society by the bad actions of our own people as well as through the bad actions of outsiders. So there is a great deal of impact of the society on the spread of good and bad deeds. So we must always keep these things in front of us.
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