The Necessity of Teaching Our Children to Despise Terrorism & the Terrorists
Author: Abū ‘Umar al-‘Utaybī
All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, and may peace and prayers be upon the messenger of Allāh صلي الله عليه وسلم To proceed:
Allegiance & Enmity Concerning Opposition to Terrorism
The prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم said:
Each of you is a shepherd and each is responsible for his flock. The leader is the shepherd and responsible for his flock. A man is a shepherd over his family and responsible for his flock. A woman is a shepherd at her husband’s home and responsible for her flock. A servant is a shepherd over the property of his landlord and responsible for his flock. And a man is a shepherd over the property of his father and responsible for his flock. So, each of you is a shepherd and responsible and will be questioned about his flock.1
A father is responsible for teaching his children about moral virtue – to love it and act by it. And he is responsible for warning them against immoral evil, for instructing them to hate it, and to distance them from it.
So, for example, he teaches them to worship Allāh alone which is in harmony with the natural disposition Allāh created people upon. He teaches them to love worship and obedience (to Allāh), accustoming them to it. He instills within them displeasure for disbelief, immorality, and disobedience (to Allāh).
He is also responsible for teaching them a middle-balance in Islam, its tolerance, its justice and moderation, and he must explain these points for them. Likewise, he is responsible for making clear to them the dangers of intolerance, extremism – and terrorism. He tells them what corruption is and who the corruptors are.
One of the most important issues of belief parents (and anyone else in charge) are responsible for is to educate their children about allegiance and enmity, love and hate.
The strongest type of faith is to like for the sake of Allāh, dislike for the sake of Allāh, show loyalty for the sake of Allāh, and to show enmity for the sake of Allāh.2
So, it is necessary to let them know tolerance and moderation in this regard in which many people have fallen into either excessiveness or neglect. They should be taught to like Islam, Muslims, and to support them even by supplicating for them. Similarly, they are taught to dislike disbelief (in Allāh) and whatever of disbelief non-Muslims believe in without supporting them in this regard. With this, it must be explained that displeasure with nonbelievers in no way means we may oppress or harm them or show hostility towards them. Rather, Allāh has ordered us to be just with them. He has, for example, allowed us to eat the food prepared by the People of the Book (Jewish & Christians), marry among them, and to invite them to the religion of Islam, yet with wisdom and gentle preaching and only argue in a dignified manner.
Hatred for Terrorism & the Terrorists
One of the issues we are required to do is raise our children, cultivating within them abhorrence for terrorism and terrorists – exposing them, their plots, and their patterns. And we must isolate our children from them and distance children from following their way and objective.
It should be clarified for them that these terrorists are a people astray, deviously perverting (Islam). Devils have influenced them, seduced and misled them. Satan uses such people to spread evil and corruption. Even those who show enmity towards Muslims like Zionists and others may be happy to see such bombings and destruction commit by terrorists in Muslim lands.
It should be explained to our children that the bombings terrorists carry out while trying to use the Quran and Sunnah in support of it is nothing more than an attempt to deceive and betray people.
Also, they are advised to be glad when terrorists, even one of them, are stopped (arrested, etc.) and put away. Children should be taught that by even one terrorist’s arrest or being stopped, this is a victory for Islam and Muslims; it is a relief and comfort to Muslims without the evil of such a destructive terrorist.
They are certainly days of happiness and joy when we hear of a terrorist’s plot being exposed or a terrorist’s crime prevented, or even if capital punishment is carried out upon a criminal terrorist.
We must neither display nor feel sympathy for terrorists when they are defeated so that our children see no contradicting behavior nor give terrorists the benefit of doubt. And if they ever do see someone displaying any type of grief over the death of a terrorist, then it should be explained that such may be sadness in the sense remorse over their situation – how Satan deceived and destroyed them, and not in a sense of liking the terrorists.
Terrorist acts are to be taken very seriously (when discussing them with children) and treated with firm resolve and strictness as should the terrorists themselves. This is so that those who don’t yet know the truth about them don’t begin to sympathize with them.
These are not simply things we say only in our spare time and they are not lessons we could ever stress enough! But we have to make it genuinely clear to our kids the crimes terrorists commit seeking nothing more than devastation. They do so even in Mecca and Medina, even killing believers in Mecca…
We make it clear to them that these people murder men, children, women, and the elderly while the victims are peacefully sleeping. They even do so while some (the Muslims among them) are praying and reading the Quran. We must clarify to our children that the terrorists, the misguided sect known as the Khawārij, are faithless traitors when they murder Non-Muslim foreigners, those whose service our nations have requested only for the well-being of our own countries and homelands.
And we let our children know that such terrorists have no objective but killing and desolation in the name of “Jihād”. They’re deprived of all intellect and wisdom. Rather, they’re like mere devices that move only to explode and devastate with the consent of none but the enemies of the religion of monotheism.
Warning against the Path Leading to Terrorism
It’s the obligation of every Muslim and to protect himself and those under his care from any means that could lead to extremism, intolerance, and terrorism. Allāh says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
Oh believers, save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are (appointed) angels, harsh and severe. They don’t disobey Allāh in what He commands them, but do (everything) they are instructed.
[Sūrah al-Taḥrīm, verse 66:06]
It makes no sense to warn ourselves and our children against terrorism and extremism and then expose them to the very means that lead to it. Rather, it’s our obligation to caution them against and separate them from any path leading to intolerance and terrorism. So, we warn them from excessiveness and intolerance, from associating with evil people, and from sitting with misguided people. And we encourage them to spend time with righteous people and stay away from uncertain places.
I ask Allāh to shelter us and our children from extremism and corruption and to make them righteous people encouraging others to righteousness.
And Allāh knows best. May Allāh send peace and prayers upon our prophet, Muhammad.