Protecting our Children from Atheism
Why Belief has to be Coupled with Thought
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and the night are evidence (of the existence of God) for people of reason.
It is these who remember God while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, ‘Lord, you have not created all this without reason. Glory be to you. Lord, save us from the torment of the fire’ (3:190-191)
In this particular verse Allah Almighty is drawing our attention to the magnificence of His creation. He is provoking the mind to reflect, to think, to ponder on His creation. It is an invitation from Allah Almighty to use our intellect.
The Need to Use our Head
Reflecting and thinking is important part of our worship. As well as a way of nurturing our children, our communities, and ourselves, it is one of the fundamentals of Islam. If we were to search the verses of the Qur’an for the word yatafakarun – ‘those who reflect’ we find it in 11 verses. And ‘yakilun’ – those who use their intellect, occurs 20 times. And if you search for their root words there are even more references. The reason behind this is that Allah Almighty wants us to worship him using our intellect, not blindly. This is the distinction between unthinkingly following our cultures, traditions, or habits and the true religion of Allah Almighty.
The Prophet (peace be on him) encouraged the companions on many occasions to think. For example, before he sent his companion Muadh bin Jabal to Yemen he tested him first. He asked:
‘How will you give a judgement or settle a dispute?’ Muadh answered; ‘I will refer to the Qur’an.’ The Prophet (peace be on him) then asked, ‘What will you do if you do not find the decree you are looking for in the Qur’an?’ Muadh answered, ‘I will refer to the Prophet’s sunnah.’ The Prophet (peace be on him) asked, ‘But what will you do if you do not find a decree even in the sunnah?’ Muadh readily answered, ‘I will judge between mankind by resorting to juristic reasoning (ijtihaad) to the best of my power.’ So the Prophet (peace be on him) said ‘Alhamdulillah that He eased the way for the messenger of the Messenger of Allah’
And there are plenty of examples in the sunnah of the Prophet where he encouraged people to think. Young and old. The Qur’an throughout its verses invites people to think and reflect. It’s always an invitation to use our intellect. Why? Again, because Allah Almighty has favoured us with intellect. He wants us to use it. For those who really want to reflect and ponder they will see Allah Almighty in whatever they are doing be it science or physics or whatever. It will lead to Allah Almighty.
Those who freeze their minds cannot see past their whims and desires. And this is exactly what happened in previous nations when people would say ‘We will follow our forefathers’ footsteps.’ It isn’t thinking. It is blindly following culture. We do this sometimes. We need to use our minds and reflect upon the verses of Allah Almighty. And these verses come in two types. Talking verses and recited verses. Talking verses are the universe. And recited verses are the Qur’an. The signs around us are plenty, some are beyond our comprehension. We need to encourage each other to see the signs of Allah Almighty.
The Growth of Atheism
Some of you may be asking why I’m touching upon this topic today. It is because I’ve seen a trend. It is growing. A trend of atheism, growing like fire. They’ve even created slogans. ‘It’s cool to be an atheist’. I’ve seen posters and stickers. We need to nurture our children against atheism. We’re a community of believers and we need to strengthen our imaan to enable us to refute these accusations. We need to enable ourselves and our children to argue for the existence of a God.
Some people say there is no space for God in the 21st century. This is dangerous, and we need to face it. I know some of us are not aware of this issue, but this is an important matter and it is being discussed in their schools and universities.
Going back to the Prophet (peace be on him) he always used to encourage the companions to reflect upon Allah Almighty’s verses, which strengthens our imaan, which makes us closer to Him, which gives us evidence of Allah Almighty’s existence.
There are some Muslims who leave the ummah to join these groups. The other day a sister called me and told me about her husband who was a good, strong, practising Muslim. And he got into a debate online with some atheists. After a few months he was converted and left Islam. And she had had three children with him and she asked me what she should do. This isn’t an isolated incident.
Knowing Allah and Loving Allah
We have a trend that is spreading. We need to be careful. It isn’t about enforcing Islam, it’s about embracing Islam and understanding the message and loving Allah Almighty and believing in the Messengers.
It isn’t a culture of enforcement. We aren’t policing our children we need to nurture them and nurture our community. So, we need to be very careful. When we go back to the Qur’an we see that Allah Almighty constantly reminds us to reflect. We need to encourage ourselves to reflect upon the heavens and earth.
Don’t underestimate the lure of atheism. We aren’t immune. We can’t be negligent. We need to be careful. There is a real danger around us. The Prophet (peace be on him) used to look after young companions as he looked after everyone in the community. He said to Abdullah bin Umar,
‘Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you’.
He was nurturing young people of the time and teaching the principles of imaan, which is exactly what we need to do. We need to have intellectual debates with our children. It will strengthen their imaan. We are responsible for them. We will be accountable before Allah Almighty for our children. We need to teach our children. And if we can’t, we need to find someone who can. We need to contribute to their safety. Not only physically but also mentally. And we need to update our manner of teaching. Just as you update the protection on your phones and computers you need to update the way you teach your children as they grow and different things start to work and other things start to fail. The most valuable thing in life is your imaan. More valuable than anything else.
Khutbah delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim
Transcribed by Zayn Khan
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