A few weeks ago a friend told me of this elderly man who used to constantly gamble. Apparently this old gambling man lives by the belief that children, more particularly his son, has no right to question his father about his habit. This is wrong on so many levels. Yes Islam teaches us to respect our elders & parents, however Islam also tells us to stand up for Haqq & rightfulness. Enjoining good & forbidding evil.
Anyway, the story below sheds some light on these type of situations. At the end of the day, Islamic duties & rights take precedence over all other rights & laws.
Ali Makes a Decision
Prophet Muhammad (s) had grown up in the home of his uncle Abu Talib after his parents and his grandfather had died. Abu Talib had looked after him lovingly and taken care that he got a good education and was trained to be a businessman.
But Abu Talib was not rich, and he had many children. When the Prophet Muhammad had grown up and had he and his wife Khadija had their own business, they accepted Abu Talibs youngest son Ali into their family. Thus Ali grew up with the Prophet’s own children and soon started to learn the things that would be important for his future profession. At the age of twelve, he nearly was a little businessman himself.
One evening, Ali came home and found the Prophet (s) and Khadija standing there in silence, facing the Kaaba and quietly whispering words. After a while, they bowed down, then they stood straight again, then they knelt down, putting their foreheads on the ground twice, then they stood up again. Ali was amazed and watched them how they repeated the same actions several times. Finally they said a greeting to the right and to the left, and Ali asked, “What are you doing?” “We have been praying,” Khadija replied.
Now Ali knew very well that people prayed in different ways. Most people in his home city Maccah frayed to carved idols that they had put up at the Ka’bah, and they also sacrificed animals to them. The Jewish merchants used to assemble on Sabbath to recite long prayers in Hebrew and to read from a scroll. In a similar way, Uncle Waraqa who had become a Christian prayed to the One invisible God, and he read books in strange languages and could tell many stories from the past. But Ali had never seen this kind of prayer. He felt attracted by it and asked, “Why do you pray like that?”
“You remember last Ramadan when we lived in a tent in the desert, don’t you?” said Khadijah. Well, this was something Ali would never forget. For the children it was always some kind of vacation to get out of the hot and dusty citiy for a couple of weeks and live in the desert like the Bedouins. But last time, something had happened the adults never talked about even though it must have been very impressive for them. Ali sensed that it had to do with this kind of prayer. He nodded.
The Prophet Muhammad (s) then told him about his experience in Ramadan. He had walked out into the desert quite some distance away from the family camp. There he had sat down in a cave in order to think. Maccah was a rich city, but there was a lot of injustice and selfishness. Many of the rich merchants misused their power in order to oppress and to deceive the poor. Some men in certain influential families even believed that their gods had chosen them and given them special rights. Muhammad and his friends had often tried to protect the poor and to help them to get their rights. Once, during an epidemics, Khadija had opened a hospital for people who did not have enough money to pay a doctor. And even the children had often shared their food with the orphans. But all this seemed so little when most inhabitants of the city only thought of themselves.
So the Prophet Muhammad (s) had been sitting and thinking when an angel had talked to him and gave him a message from God. He had been very shaken because it is a great responsibility to bring God’s message to the people. But the angel had also taught him to remember, in prayer, that God does not leave His sincere servants to themselves. “This is when we started to pray like this,” the Prophet (s) finished his story. “Whben we stand, we remember the words of God’s message. And we do not only thank Him with words but bow and prostrate with all our body. We also remember former messengers of God and ask for blessings and peace for them. And finally we give the whole world, right and left, a greeting of peace.”
Ali had listened thoughtfully. Wouldn’t it be great if people listened to God’s message and be honest, friendly and helpful to each other instead of thinking only of themselves; if the rich shared their wealth with the poor and deal justly; if peope didn’t have to be afraid because they always remembered that God is there to protect us?
Ali said, “Tomorrow I will ask my father if he agrees that I become a servant of God like you.”
In this night, Ali lay awake for a long time. What if his father would not permit him to be a servant of God? Perhaps he would say that a servant of God cannot be a successful businessman. Uncle Waraqa was an example of a servant of God who lived like a poor man and fasted much and had no wife and no children. But Muhammad was a servant of God and a businessman at the same time, even one who was known for his honesty and generosity all over the city. Finally he was overtaken by sleep.
Next morning, Ali said, “I have thought about it. God did not ask my father when He created me. So I think I do nor have to ask my father when I want to be God’s servant.”