Human Development in the Narrations about Al Al-Bayt (Peace upon them) Comparison with Western Thought

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Human Development in the Narrations about Al Al-Bayt (Peace upon them)

Comparison with Western Thought([1])

Islam and Human Development

The entire world today is interested in a discipline which they call: “Human development”. Universities are opening specialized faculties which teach it, the last of which was the University of Sulaymaniyya last year, according to what I’ve heard on the media.

About two weeks ago, I met with a PhD student in the US who was conducting a research under the title: “Religion and Human Development”. I presented to him a road map for his research according to my understanding of the title and what was narrated about Ahl Al-Bayt (Peace upon them).

The Infallible leaders (Peace upon them) were interested were interested in human development in all of its aspects. As for the aspect of quantity, meaning increasing in numbers, many Traditions were narrated about increasing one’s offspring, in stark contrast to the modern day obsession with birth control. The correct narration from Abu Abdullah As-Sadiq (Peace upon him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him and his household) said: “Marry, I will boast of your great numbers before the nations tomorrow on the Day of the Resurrection. Even the miscarried child would come to the door of Paradise, he would be told: Enter into Paradise. He would say: No, not before my parents enter it before me” ([2]). In a narration from Imam Al-Baqir (Peace upon him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him and his household) said: “What is prevent the faithful from taking a wife, so that perhaps Allah would bless him with a soul who would increase earth’s weight with “No god but Allah”” ([3]). I have often said that whoever wants to bring joy to the Messenger of Allah (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him and his household) and the Prince of the Faithful (Peace upon him), then let him marry and have four children at least, and raise them well. For then he would have heeded the Messenger of Allah’s call to increase one’s offspring.

Qualitative Interest in Development:

As for development on the qualitative aspect, the Infallible ones (Peace upon them) were also interested in it. They followed up its varied stages even before it began through selecting the good wife who would raise the children well. Many narrations were mentioned about this, such as the one from Al-Imam As-Sadiq (Peace upon him) who said: The Prophet (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him and his household) said: “Select for your offspring, for the maternal uncle is one of the two producing the child” ([4]). In another narration: The Prophet (Prayers of Allah and His Peace upon him and his household) stood and said a speech and said: O people, beware of the Khadra’ Ad-Diman (greenery grown in animal dung), they said: O Messenger of Allah, and what is Khadra’ Ad-Diman? He said: A beautiful woman grown in a foul surrounding” ([5]).

Development in All Directions:

The narrations continue with their advice and directions in the stages of the formation of child, pregnancy, birth, and education until the child becomes a full grown human and pious being, beneficial to his parents and to society in general.

On the aspect of social development and making society a coherent entity filled with love and strength, whose members deal positively amongst themselves and with others, “Adab Al-Ishrah” [The Manners of Companionship] from “Wasa’il Ash-Shia” [The Means of the Shia] and other books are filled with hundreds of noble Traditions.

As for the aspect of developing life through its progress and fulfillment and making it a happy and civilized life, Ahl Al-Bait (Peace upon them) encouraged everything which contributes to this, and establishes its components and foundations such as seeking knowledge, and achieving all the causes of power and protection and prosperity. Such Traditions were collected in the books of the intellect and knowledge from “Ussul Al-Kafi” and other books. The Holy Quran stressed repeatedly that the human function on earth is to build it as Allah (Exalted is He) says: “It is He Who hath produced you from the earth and settled you therein” [Surah of Hud: 61] and He says: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power” [Surah of the Booty of War: 60].

Human Development between Islam and the West:

The West realized the effect of these directions in the minds of the Muslims, and their tendency to quickly increase in numbers, so they began to sound the alarms, demanding from the western world, and particularly the Christian world, to wake up and take heed of this danger!! I have in my hand an American report which was issued in 2008 which under the banner: “The world has changed, it is time for us to wake up” with such statements as: “Islam is the most quickly spreading religion”, “The world will not be the same at the time of our children and grandchildren”, “The Catholic Church had recently stated: The numbers of Muslims exceeded the limits, and studies show that if Islam maintains its current rate of spreading, then it will be the dominant religion in the whole world within the next five to seven years”. With all of these numbers, they call on the Americans to act quickly.

The report also points out the fact that the rate of increase in western countries falls short of what is required for maintaining any culture for more than 25 years. The rate needed is 2.11 children per family, while the rate of reproduction in Europe as a whole is 1.38, and 1.6 in the US. In contrast, the number of Muslims in Europe and the US is increasing through both migration and the high level of reproduction between them. The report points out such facts as “France will be an Islamic republic in no more than 39 years”. “Southern France, which has one of the largest density of churches in the world now contains more mosques than churches”. The German government was the first to publicly discuss this issue, it stated that “the decrease in German population cannot be stopped. Things are out of control, and unless something is done Germany will be an Islamic state by 2050”.

Of course, these estimates are somewhat exaggerated to provoke their populations, but it is not altogether untrue. It contains several important facts. Most importantly that if Muslims remain committed to the Prophetic directions then they will conquer the world quietly and peacefully. This sheds a new light on the supplication we always offer for our awaited Imam: “Until You make him inhabit Your earth voluntarily” ([6]).

Our Responsibility at Present:

What we’ve mentioned places several practical programs before us, and requires several responsibilities from us:

1- Encouragement for marriage and making it easy. Also producing plenty of offspring so that each family would have no less than four children, the children must be raised well to create the good life. This call includes Muslims in Islamic countries and the immigrants.

2- Islam is spreading quickly and vigorously. There is plenty of interest in it and all what we have to do is to deliver its voice to the world. It is as the Imam (Peace upon him) said: “Had the people known the merits of what we say, they would have then followed us” ([7]). The Muslims in general and the Shia of the Prophetic Household in particular must not commit any action which brings shame to the faith. Nor should they innovate actions under the pretext of spreading religion and the creed such as injuring one’s self and so forth, all of which we have forbidden([8]). Pure Islam does not need such actions which cause much harm and no benefit. Let them refer in their issues relating to public affair the man of religious knowledge, described by the noble Tradition: “The man of knowledge in his time is not attacked by confusions” ([9]).

3- Turning to the corrupt reality is a motive for movement to reformation and change, in obedience for the Divine obligation to command goodness and forbid evil. But insight into the future and awareness of its requirement is greater motive for positive actions. So we must not confine ourselves to the diagnosis and treatment of the immediate problems (even though this, in itself, is a very important duty). We must not neglect the other motive.

4- Muslims in the west must do all they can to spread Islam, make other acquainted with it, and make it popular to the people there.

The fulfillment of the above responsibilities would hasten the blessed appearance of the awaited Imam (May Allah hasten his deliverance), deliver the world voluntarily to him, and pave the way for his blessed nation.



([1]) Part of the conversation held by Marja Al-Yaqubi (May his shadow be preserved) with the crowd of the sons of Al-Basra Province and Sadr City in Baghdad in the presence of a number of authors, intellectuals, and university professors from Basra and Baghdad and An-Nahrayn”, Thursday, 1 Safar 1432 (January 1st, 2011).

([2]) Wasa’il Ash-Shiah, Kitab An-Nikah, Muqaddimat An-Nikah Wa Adabuh, Chapter 1, Tradition 2

([3]) Wasa’il Ash-Shiah, Kitab An-Nikah, Muqaddimat An-Nikah Wa Adabuh, Chapter 1, Tradition 3.

([4]) Wasa’il Ash-Shiah, Kitab An-Nikah, Muqaddimat An-Nikah Wa Adabuh, Chapter 13, Tradition 2.

([5]) Wasa’il Ash-Shiah, Kitab An-Nikah, Muqaddimat An-Nikah Wa Adabuh, Chapter 13, Tradition 4.

([6]) Al-Bihar, Vol. 94, p. 394.

([7]) Al-Wafi, Vol. 1, p. 215.

([8]) For more details see: “Khitab Al-Marhalah” Vol. 6, p. 428.

([9]) Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 27.