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Articles Section > The Generation Gap [Part 2 of 5] by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui Sahib

The Generation Gap -- Part 2 of 5:
by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui Sahib
The Light (June 1, 1976)

Synopsis of Part I:

1. Family life in the West and in the Americas, to such extent as it has survived, is no longer a source of happiness or comfort in most homes to either party -- the parents and the children. An experienced American psychosocial expert has described it as "a jail in which every one is in solitary confinement, trapped within their own particular suffering."

2. Children were the first to break out of this jail, take to vagrancy, juvenile delinquency and crime, drug and liquor addiction, and the adoption of hippie-ism as a way of life. What is most heart-breaking is that suicide rate has risen among the American youth between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four by 250 per cent in the last twenty years.

3. Even the parents now make no secret of their feeling that they want only "such children as could get along with them." The same American expert says, "More and more parents are not finding their children a source of joy and pleasure."

4. Experts on this subject throughout the world have failed to find a solution.

5. But there is no cause for despair as Divine guidance is available in the Holy Qur’an, the only revealed Book to have escaped interpolations, corruption or loss of the original text.

6. In the verse from the Holy Qur’an quoted in Part I, the first point made was that man must obey humbly his Creator, Who alone knows for what purpose He has created man and by what means man can achieve the purpose of his creation.

7. Allah is invisibly associated with each person for his physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual development. Visibly, the parents are the most important Divine agents for that development.

Hence, after obedience to Allah, obedience to the parents comes next. They can be wrong sometimes but no sane person can question their being the most unselfish well-wishers of their children for whom they are willingly prepared to make every possible sacrifice, even of their lives. And nobody can question that they are more mature and experienced in the ways of life than the children. So who can be better guides than they for the immature and inexperienced teenagers?

It is, however, unfortunate that the present-day teenagers are by and large in open rebellion against their parents. They ill-treat, insult and scold their parents even while living under their roof and sponging upon them for all their needs and extravagances. They break their parents’ loving and tender hearts and reduce them to tears. The justification for this disgraceful conduct is stated to be lack of harmony and understanding on the part of the parents due to the "generation gap".

The Generation Gap:
This justification is now so commonly and universally given for the ignominious conduct of the children that one gets the impression that this gap has occurred for the first time. It should have been obvious to even an idiot that this gap, in age, temperament and outlook has always existed between any two generations. So if the children put forward this justification it just shows their ignorance and unreasonableness. But what surprises me is that even the psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists uncritically and unquestioningly have accepted this excuse and tried to justify it. The situation is too preposterous for words.

Of course, the generation gap has always existed. Then why did parents and children live reasonably amicably in the past? Why not now? The answer lies in the first commandment in the text I quoted from the Holy Qur’an:

And thy Lord has decreed that you should all obey none but Him [humbly]." (17:23)

Previously, the parents tried to obey God according to their respective religion, and they also taught their children from their infancy to obey God.

Parents’ Revolt:
Now most parents do not themselves believe in God. Even if they profess to do so, they do not try seriously to obey Him in their daily lives. There is no question of the children under these circumstances believing in or obeying God. If the parents are themselves guilty of having revolted against God (Who is more Affectionate, more Loving, more Kind, more Providing, more Beneficent, more Merciful towards every man and woman than any parents can possibly be towards their children) can such parents complain if their children have revolted against them? More so when they have not taught their children to believe in and obey God?

Previously, in spite of the generation gap, both the parents and the children believed in, and obeyed God. So the parents were better human beings and a better example to their children. In any case, the children themselves were afraid of offending God and so they obeyed their parents as directed by God in all religious. There was the same generation gap previously, the same difference in age, temperament, and outlook between the parents and their children. But parents were better human beings and better example to their children, as they (the parents) believed in and tried to obey God in their daily lives. And although the children did not like much of what their parents wanted them to do, they still obeyed them willy-nilly as they (the children) also believed in God and were afraid of offending Him.

Parents to Blame:
So the parents are primarily responsible for the present situation. They have themselves to blame if the children give them a taste of what the Merciful Providence feels when the parents, who are grown-up and ought to know better, have revolted against God Who is a thousand times more to them than what they are to their children.

So the present worldwide rebelliousness of the youth against their parents cannot be remedied unless mankind goes back to the obedience of God. I shudder to say so, but the parents are being punished even in this life for their own behaviour towards God Who is a million times more deserving of obedience and love from the parents than they are from their children.

The Excellence of the Holy Qur’an:
What a sublime and wonderful Book the Holy Qur’an is! In a few words, "And thy Rabb [fosterer unto perfection] has decreed that you should all obey none but Him humbly" it has illuminated the utter darkness that otherwise prevails on this subject. Neither the parents nor the psychologists, psychiatrists or sociologists could tell why the youth today was in open defiance and revolt against its parents and other authority? Nor did the younger generation know why it had no peace of mind, nor happiness in their parents’ homes.

The polytheistic concept of God, as given to non-Muslims by their religions, could not stand the acid test of reason which mankind began to apply in this age of scientific thought to all problems. No wonder that that concept was rejected in this Age of Reason. Mankind can no longer be asked to "Believe and do not question."

The only concept of God that can appeal to reason is monotheistic. And it is well-known, and admitted even by the critics of Islam, that the Holy Qur’an presents the strictest and most perfect monotheism of all religious teachings.

Monotheism appeals to human nature as even the polytheists call upon One God when in distress. Their nature speaks up in spite of their false credo. Monotheism also appeals to reason as Science has today proved that the whole universe is governed by one law and that it must have got One Creator only. In Islam alone can one find in this very life the True and Only God, Who speaks in this religion to those who practice Islam fully and properly. Islam was in fact the religion of all prophets and all revealed books before they were lost or they suffered interpolations at human hands. This revealing truth was given by the Holy Qur’an. To quote only a few verses:

Mankind is a single nation. So Allah raised prophets as bearers of good news [for those who believe and do good deeds] and as warners [to those who disbelieve and fall into evil ways]." (2:213) And,

We sent no messenger before thee but We revealed to him that there is no God but Me, so submit to Me." (21:25) And,

The religion with Allah is Islam [only]." (3:19)

Excellence of Islam:
Since all religions were originally what Islam is today, we claim no special privilege for our own religion except that it is complete guidance for mankind while previous religions were of a temporary or parochial nature as shown by their own evidence. But we also maintain that the original religion given to other nations got lost or became blurred because the Divine books given to them either got lost completely (e.g., the Bible’s original whether Torah or Injeel are nowhere to be found) or they suffered from oral transmission for decades if not centuries, or interpolations played havoc with them. On the other hand, the Holy Qur’an was reduced to writing as soon as it was revealed. It is admitted even by non-Muslim scholars that the Holy Qur’an today is exactly the Divine Book that was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. And the Holy Qur’an is the only revealed book to claim perfection. Says Allah in the Holy Qur’an:

This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. (5:3)

And this is as it should have been, for the Holy Prophet was to be the last prophet and the Holy Qur’an the last revealed Book, so that mankind should no longer be divided by the appearance of new prophets or the revelation of new Books.

Since Islam is the only true and complete religion left, God can be found only in this religion, proof of which is that God speaks now only to those who fully practise Islam. Since Islam alone preaches monotheism in its perfection, and the only concept of God acceptable to human nature and reason is monotheistic, faith in God can be revived only when men who have lost that faith accept Islam.

And until that happens, parents who have lost faith, or at least a living faith, in God will not regain it. Nor will they be able to communicate that faith to their children. And the revolt of the parents against God, and of the children against their parents, cannot be put down.

But that may take a long time to come about. In the meanwhile, the problems that have arisen have to be tackled. And I will take them up one by one in the next article Insha Allah and show how the Holy Qur’an tackles them.

This page was printed from the 'Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam)'
located at
http://aaiil.org or http://www.aaiil.org

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