Home Quranet Chapter 5 Is it permissible to judge a child according to her father’s actions?
Is it permissible to judge a child according to her father’s actions?
Chapter 5

لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلأنفُسِكُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ ابْتِغَاء وَجْهِ اللّهِ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ(سورۃ البقرة, آيۃ 272)

It is not required of thee (O Messenger), to set them on the right path, but Allah sets on the right path whom He pleaseth. Whatever of good ye give benefits your own souls, and ye shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good ye give, shall be rendered back to you, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly. (Surah 2, Verse 272)

Yusra is in the ninth grade, a quiet, polite girl who does not have many friends. Her school work is average. Recently her grades have dropped and she tends to draw away from her friends. She appears lonely and depressed and has begun to neglect her appearance. Her father is in prison and this is apparently why she has lost her self-confidence and begun to suffer from a sense of inferiority and to feel different from her classmates. She feels rejected. Her friends have not given up on her and keep trying to encourage her, with the exception of one good friend who is keeping her distance at her mother's urging.

The teacher decides to summon Yusra's friends for a discussion of her condition so that they can think together how to help her. She starts the discussion by quoting Verse 272: "Whatever of good ye give benefits your own souls, and ye shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good ye give, shall be rendered back to you, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly".

She explains to the girls that by helping Yusra they would be helping themselves. Several of the girls do not understand her meaning so she talks about the positive feelings they would have after helping their friend and of the reward they would receive from Allah. Nobody can foresee the future and know who will have need of help, she adds. The friend whose mother insisted that she keep away from Yusra sits in silence. Then she says: "Now I know what to say to my mother. I'll read that verse to her and it will convince her to let me go on seeing Yusra."

The teacher praises her and says that what she herself thinks is much more important that what others say and how good she will feel after helping her friend.

The next day the principal hears about the teacher's initiative, summons to his office, takes his copy of the Quran and reads out the same verse to her. "You too deserve this compliment," he said.

Explanation: life is not easy for a young girl whose father is in prison. Society often takes a poor view of the entire family and people say that the daughter is probably like her father. Such an attitude is liable to drive the daughter to engage in criminal behavior because her milieu has abandoned her. She may see this as a way of taking revenge on those who rejected her. It is not true that a daughter will inevitably end up like her father. In many cases the reverse is true. Some children of criminals act blamelessly and contribute to society. Hence generalizations of this kind are unfair and harmful. Moreover, Yusra should be encouraged not to be ashamed of her father's actions. They are his and not hers and elsewhere in the Quran there are verses which clearly emphasize the fact that every individual is responsible for his or her actions. In this case the teacher has stressed a very important fact, namely that when we do good to another we are actually benefiting ourselves. We are making peace with our own weakness in the understanding that we too need help. When we give to others we are giving to ourselves and accepting the fact that we are not perfect. This is a highly significant psychological process which the Quran clarifies in this verse.