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Moral Vaccination

By Omar Tarhuni

 A-th billhi minash shaytnir rajm.      Bismillhir Rahmnir Rahm!

We praise Allah, and we bear witness that there is no God but Him, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger and Prophet. We ask Allah to send His Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, upon his family, his companions, and his followers to the Day of Judgment.

The subject of my Khutbah a today is immunization. I do not mean the medical vaccinations but the Moral vaccination and immunization, which are very important to protect our young Muslims and protect our Islamic values and identity as a minority in a non-Muslim country.

You all   know, that when a new baby is born, the parents are advised to make sure that he or she gets the necessary vaccination shots, a vaccine against measles, against diphtheria, polio and German measles ..etc.

They do that because they care for the health of the new baby, because it is the right thing to do and, because such vaccines give the child immunity against those diseases.

Someone may ask: “since these babies are at home and are not exposed to infections, why then do they need the vaccination so early?”  

The answer is that it is important to give the immunity before exposure to infection, so that later on, they would have acquired the immunity and they would resist that particular disease. 

So, in order to protect our bodies we take vaccines and immunizations, but we are not only made of a physical body. We also have a soul, and morality.    There are moral ills and diseases and they are just as contagious as physical diseases and illnesses. The medical principle of early immunization also applies to the moral state of our soul. We need a moral vaccination to immunize the soul in order to resist these moral ailments.  It is common knowledge that our society is full of moral ills. This is an undisputed fact that needs no proof.  Modern society is infected with violence, pornography, greed, racism, homosexuality, drugs and alcohol. The list goes on.

Let us consider some recent news reports. Not too long ago, two children killed a toddler. A Group of nine-year-old boys raped a girl of the same age in their school.  There are repeated cases of assaults on pensioners. There are beatings, muggings, and assaults on teachers and parents.  Children are abused at home, at school and at care homes.

We all hear about these incidents from time to time. These are just a few symptoms of the moral ills that afflicted this society.  These social and moral ills are very infectious and our children are exposed to them in this society. In the early stages of their childhood they accept as the truth without question whatever they are told by Mom or Dad. But then at a later stage, the situation is different. They can hear and see what goes around them in the street, at the school, on the TV, the radio, the cinema, the newspapers and every where else. They become exposed to all the vices and ills of this society.  They become exposed to peer pressure from their friends in the street or at school.

At this stage, the maximum influence on the child would then be his peer group, his mates and friends, not his parents.

They will influence his thinking, and provide the food for his thought.  Unless the child is immunized and previously vaccinated he/she may catch some of those horrible diseases.

Parents who care for the well-being of their children and families should not be limited only to the physical and health aspects.

The love and care we give our children should be for their well-being in this life as well as the next. This is why the moral aspect is very important and should not be neglected.

If we really care, then we should make sure that in the narrow window of time that we have, which is early childhood, we do our best to protect our children and immunize them against such moral diseases. This is when the parents need to spend more quality time with their children trying to plant the seeds of goodness in them. Providing a good example is extremely important. Children learn more by imitating their parents, than merely by being told what is right.

So instead of pressuring them and forcing them to pray, you must set an example and they will follow. If they see you helping the poor and the needy they will be interested to do the same later.

If you train them to fast gradually and reward them for their effort they will grow up, ready for Ramadan. It is no good lecturing our children about honesty and telling the truth if we fail to do the same, ourselves.

Many parents lie to their children by using the phrase “Inshallah” as a cover, so “inshallah”  becomes in their minds synonymous with insincerity,  lies and dishonesty.  

 The moral immunization I am talking about is not a quick fix that could be arranged in few days, like the vaccine for Measles or Chicken Pox.

This type of immunization is a responsibility that we owe to our children.  It is a responsibility to give them proper Islamic tarbiya or upbringing; responsibility which must be carried out with great amount of patience, love, dedication, knowledge and wisdom.  It is a tough responsibility but with great rewards for the children and their parents. The proper upbringing that we may provide our children today will be a good investment for the future, especially after death.  

The Prophet said: “When the son of Adam dies his deeds cease or discontinue except three; a running charity, a beneficial knowledge and a righteous child who makes Du’a for his parents.”  

This Islamic upbringing is a duty we owe to our children as Muslim parents.  It is a noble duty that cannot not be left or  assigned to others. It is the joint responsibility of the parents who will be asked about it, at the day of Judgment. The Prophet said: “every one of you is a shepherd and every one is responsible for his flock.”    

Some parents fail to take their responsibility seriously.   They are either too busy earning a living, making money, or are unaware of this responsibility at all, either because of ignorance or indifference. 

When things start going wrong and they see their children go astray, they may wake up and they may realize the need for action to protect their children and save them from falling in evil and Haram and following the wrong path.

Some people think that because children are children, they will always be children. Some parents think that because they are Muslims, their children will be Muslims. This is not true always.

Many parents have been through this experience. They gave their children love and affection. They provided them with a good education, expensive clothing and whatever their children wanted.   

But they failed to provide a good example for their children, they did not care to immunize them and protect them from moral diseases. They were unable to bring up their children the Islamic way.  Religion and morality for them was a secondary thing.

They failed to discharge their duty as Muslim parents. They failed as leaders and shepherds for their families.

They neglected the introduction of Islamic values, reminding their families and children about Allah, that He wants us to do what is right and avoid what is wrong and evil, that we have the choice and we bear the consequences. They did not listen to the verse, which says:

“O you who believe save yourselves  and your family from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones”

When things started to go wrong they suddenly remember their forgotten responsibility.  When it is a bit too late, they were shocked and devastated, because their spoiled daughter has a boyfriend or that she ran away to marry a Hindu or an English boy or when their son comes home drunk or when he is arrested for taking or selling drugs.

I am sure you have heard many similar stories. Those parents who ignored their responsibility towards their children, for twenty years or so, should not expect their children, who are not children any more, to be good Muslims in a day or two.

Such an attitude is a sign of shortsightedness, because you do not prepare the soldier for the battle during the battle.

He should be prepared for it a long time before it starts.

When the disease is caught, you are not looking for immunity; you are looking for treatment.

But it is immunity that we would like to cultivate in our children so when a Muslim child is offered drugs or a beer  he would say “No!”  When his friends say, “Come on, you are not a child, be a man”. He would have the courage to say, “No we do not do that, I am a Muslim.”  And when the girl is ridiculed for not having a boyfriend, or not going for a dance, she too would say: “we do not do that, I am a Muslim.”

The young generation should feel proud of being Muslims, they   should say and live, the saying of Allah: 

“Dignity is to Allah, and His Messenger and the  Believers..” So that one Muslim child in a whole school, would not feel that he is a minority or inferior because he or she is straight.

When invited to sex, drugs or such things, he/she would have the courage to say, “I am a Muslim, I do not do that.”

Only a Muslim, properly prepared, properly brought up, would say “No I do not do that!”  In this case the Muslim would be providing a role model to be followed.

Statistics show that most of those children who fall into vice, think that they have to do that because they were overwhelmed by peer pressure.  They just cannot resist the pressure of their companions and their classmates.

When things go wrong we should not despair. Even for those who have gone astray and committed the most heinous sins, the gates of repentance are always open.   We are told in the Quran that even those who commit serious crimes such as murder or Zena (unlawful sexual intercourse) could be forgiven if they repent and return to Allah, to His right way with faith and righteous deeds.

Unless he repents, believes and works righteous deeds. For Allah will change the evil of such persons into good. And Allah is Often Forgiving. Most Merciful. 25/70

9/9/98. Edited from an article by.A.H.Sakerhttp

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