Grooming the Young: Firm, Gentle & Compassion
June 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
Just last night, I was attending the Maghrib solah (prayer) at my local surau (masjid/mosque). As usual, there was this group of boys (age 7-14) standing in a saf of their own (behind everyone). Boys being boys, they would chat and giggle just when everyone is standing up and ready to perform the solah, right after the iqamah. And every time, there will be this few old men (more than 60 years old) would stare back at them, scowling and uttering some harsh remarks “Be silent”, “if you want to play go outside”, “stupid boys”. etc. And every time, I shook my head sadly, wishing that a more gentle way could have been observed.
And after a sermon by a scholar, we were ready to perform the Isya’ solah and again, the same routine occurred. Mind you, this has been going for ages. Again, I was wishing and thinking…there must be a better way to do this. Right after solah, when everyone was shaking each others hands and wishing Salam, an elderly man, much to my surprise, went over to this group of boys and perform a series of vocal volleys, which was really unnecessary. Adding to my disbelief, some of the men joined in as well. I knew I had to intervene, as I could see tears building up in their eyes.
I gathered all the boys and escorted them out of the surau and quietly asked them to go about their ways, and made them promise me that they would return for the prayers tomorrow night. I hurried home, fearing that a big argument would occur if I waited for the elderly to come out. More of offering them my respect, I guess.
On the way home, sadness enveloped me remembering how the young boys were treated. That is no way to teach young boys. They are so young and yet they are already visiting the house of Allah frequently (that in itself is already a Blessing by Allah). Much more frequent than the said elder-lies, just a few years ago. And young boys, talking and running and giggling (all at the same time, mostly) are always like that. They will soon outgrow that but surely, they will never forget the utter humiliation unleashed onto them that night.
Islam is a religion of compassion and there are codes of conduct to be observed when dealing with people (especially the young ones), who have delicate souls, hearts, emotions, and feelings. People want to feel love and acceptance. They want to see warm, inviting smiles that will reflect the greatness of Islam. They need to be shown on how the Prophet SAW dealt which such matters. Rasulullah SAW surely loved kids and would never have reacted in such a manner. The Prophet SAW (peace be upon him) never sugar-coated the truth or stopped calling to the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). Yet, it was his soft, gentle approach that made his message so palatable and soul-satisfying.
The Qur’an testifies: “So, by the mercy of Allah [O Muhammad], you were gentle with them—and had you been harsh or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you. So, pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them and consult them about matters…” (Qur’an, 3:159).
Look at the beautiful advice of the Prophet SAW: “Make matters easy, and do not make them difficult; and give glad tidings and do not turn people away,” [Bukhari]. He also made gentleness a beautifying component of everything: “Gentleness is not in something except that it adorns it, and it is not stripped from something except that it ruins it,” [Muslim].
My fear is that, unless corrected, the boys when becoming older will do similar things to young boys during his time. It is how society has taught them and the cycle will repeat itself until the end of time. Lost will be the beautiful ways of Rasulullah SAW. Lost will be the chance to show Islam Is Great.
The important thing when advising the young ones is to adorn it with tact, kindness and humility. It is important to remember that guidance ultimately comes from God. We hope that by being Firm, Gentle and Compassionate, a breed of ummah with such virtues will arise in abundance, InsyaAllah.