Training methods of Lady Zahra (PBUH)- Part 3
A comparative review of the training methods of Lady Zahra (PBUH) and the training methods of the Modern Age
Prioritizing other people’s needs over one’s own in order to help them out- which is one of the most significant and valuable humanitarian principles of teachings in our religion- is attributed to Lady Zahra’s family in the 76th chapter of the Holy Quran. The beginning verses of this Surat, is about the story of this family’s three days of fasting and giving their own food to the poor people which shows this noble family’s supreme sense of sacrifice and perseverance. This way of modeling for children bestows on the society the children like Imam Hassan, Imam Hussein and Lady Zeinab (Peace Be upon Them), in addition to flourishing the human nature of forgiveness and sacrifice in the child, gives him/her the sense of cooperative donation.
Another significant dimension of Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) lifestyle is her entire obligation to modesty, hijab, and purity which influenced her children’s manners significantly. Her using of hijab in the presence of a blind man, is one of the greatly known examples in this regard (ibid, p.91).
Many examples can be mentioned for the sake of model making from Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) lifestyle from different aspects of life: worshiping, individual, social and familial ones all of which are beyond the scope of this article, and generally speaking it should be said that individual edifying of parents is one of the basic training principles in Islamic viewpoint; since children, due to their natural features, are always modeling themselves on their parents, primarily their mothers and then their fathers. Therefore, after some time, parents usually see their own behavior done by their children. In the comprehensive model of Islam on training as well as in Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) lifestyle this very important and fundamental aspect has been seriously practiced.
- Righteous preaching method: preaching is explicitly mentioned in the Holy Quran as a way to invite people to righteousness and also as one of the training methods of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (16:125, 34: 46). “Preaching means to make someone refrain from something by scaring” (Raqib Isfahani, 1412 A.H. (1991) under the word preaching). Allameh Tabatabaei says: “Preaching is an expression which softens the addressee’s soul and purify one’s heart” (Tabatabaei, 1997, vol.12, p.372). In Qur’anic verses preaching is preceded by the adjective righteous or good to separate it from the preaching of wrong deeds. Righteous preaching can be performed when the proper circumstances are prepared. One of the proper conditions is that preaching must be done with the aim of good deed, by using sweet words, away from snubbing and insulting and in private (16: 90).
It is said that Lady Zahra (PBUH) used to preach her son Imam Hassan (PBUH) in the form of nursery rhymes while playing with him: “Oh, my son, Hassan! Be like your father; separate the rope of truth from that of tyranny. Worship the God who owns various blessings and never befriend those who are tyrant and cruel” (Ansari, 1372, p.89). In addition to referring to the training method of preaching, these words indicate preaching for children must be in the form of sweet words and while playing. The content of this rhyme also shows the Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) deep thinking, in treating her children. Form their very childhood, she encourages her children to oppose injustice and seek justice and flourishes their humanity.
- The allegory, metaphor and storytelling method: This method which can abundantly be found in the Holy Quran (29: 41, 43. 18:45), is used to express deep spiritual and rational concepts and ideas which are beyond the ordinary people’s level of perception. This method is very practical and appropriate in child training.
As it was mentioned in the previous part, Lady Zahra (PBUH) uses the language of poetry to teach her child the grand concept of opposing injustice and by using this method she helps her child in realizing its importance.
- The method of forming right habits from childhood: one of the major basics Lady Zahra (PBUH) emphasized was forming proper habits in the child from the childhood.
It is said that Lady Zahra (PBUH) used to encourage her children to perform prayers and speak to God and also formed this habit in them in practice. On the 23rd night of Ramadan, she made them stay awake and she had plans for the night in a way that she used to be careful about the child’s sufficient sleep and rest during the day so that the child could benefit from the spirituality of the night and get used to worshiping and observing the night (Ibn al-Hayyun 1385 vol.1 p.282).
- The method of showing affection and kindness to the child: One of the basics of proper child training is to form a relationship between child and parent based on mutual respect and affection. In fact showing affection is an important method in child training; it is because by using kind words and manner one can, first of all, convey the significant social and individual concepts to the child and then prepare the propitious field for the influence of other training methods and moreover cause to achieve kind manner in the child.
This method which is seen in all the Ahl al-Bayt’s training lifestyle, is rooted in the Prophet Muhammad and Lady Zahra’s (Peace Be upon Them) verbal and practical lifestyle, considering children. There are some narrations about Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) forming an emotional relation with her children by embracing, smelling and kissing them (Nilipour, 1387, p. 180-182). Even in her will, Lady Zahra (PBUH) asks Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH): “After me, marry my niece Omameh since she is very kind to my children” (Majlesi, 1403 A.H. vol. 43, p.193).
It was mentioned that training is a purposeful planned program to develop and actualize the potential talents of human beings. Training, based on the two views of Islam and the psychology of modern age, differs fundamentally regarding features, definition, purpose, scope, pivots and characteristics of training and also the methods of training. To answer the primary and secondary questions of this study, it should be said:
- The definitions of training are different based on the two viewpoints of modern age psychology and Islam- as the foundation of Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) training method of child upbringing; since each of these viewpoints, is based on a different value systems and intellectual principles. The concept of training in modern psychology, is mostly defined as academic and official training and also it is the study of a child’s mental and physical development. Whereas in Islam, training relates to the developing of the innate and human potential talents of an individual.
- Consequently the aims and scope of training differ in these two viewpoints. From the western psychologists’ views, the main purpose of child training and developing is to make the person compatible to the environmental, traditional, and social circumstances in which he/she lives. But Islamic training methods are based on the purposes like God worshiping and justice seeking and also these methods mostly depends on morality, purity and developing humanity. That is why Islam doesn’t encourage to follow a wrong deed if it becomes habitual and practiced in the society. Moreover, the Islamic training school, comprehends all dimensions and aspects of humans and it presents a comprehensive plan from selection of a spouse up to pre-pregnancy and pregnancy planning, breastfeeding and then child growth process. Moreover, in all these phases, the main purposes of Islamic training and the fundamental basics of Islamic value system are emphasized. Whereas modern age psychology hasn’t considered the spiritual aspects of human beings regarding training.
- Every theory of modern psychology which is developed according to an individual’s reflection, will be challenged by another scholar with quite different intellectual basics. Although this process seems very functional in developing scientific purposes and improving the proposed theories, but it also faces a serious problem which is the harm done to the children raised up under a wrong an inaccurate theory. While according to the Islamic view, many of the training methods are practical at any period or age and in any culture, due to the universality of human values.
- The training methods of modern psychologists are often based on a child’s natural and physical evolutions. Briefly, these methods include factors such as operand and classical conditioning, modeling, rewarding and encouraging motivation, imitation and role playing. Some of these methods are similar to the training methods of Lady Zahra (PBUH) such as modeling, fine preaching, using allegory and metaphor, storytelling and forming proper habits from childhood. Yet, the details and quality of performing these methods are different in these two approaches. For instance in Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) training method of modeling, the model presented to the child should have values different from the modern psychology’s values, in order to be a proper model for the child. Refinement and edifying are prerequisites for a model based on the Islamic viewpoint. Concerning the maternal role in child training, there are also fundamental differences in these two viewpoints. In Lady Zahra’s (PBUH) a mother is not just a mere good nurse and she has got an irreplaceable role in a child’s upbringing and training. However, in modern psychology, anyone who can follow a specific instruction about the child is considered to be qualified for taking care of the child and there is no emphasis on the presence of a mother beside her child for a comprehensive training.
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