Children: Are they questioned for misjudgment of the parents?

Q96 :It is often said that the followers of any religion other than Islam will be questioned on the Day of Judgment for following that religion. A Buddhist may give such an answer: "I was born in a Buddhist family and surroundings, by Your will. My parents taught me the religion they were taught by their own parents and in which they themselves grew up, so I worshipped You with full faith and devotion according to what I have been taught by superiors, teachers and parents. It was not my choice to be born in that community or family, so where is my fault?" Please comment.


A96 : It is true that in the majority of cases, people tend to follow in matters of faith, the direction set for them by their parents and their communities. Indeed, the same argument was put to the Prophet by the idolaters of Makkah when he called on them to abandon the idolatrous practice they inherited from their forefathers and to accept the faith based on the Oneness of Allah. However, the Qur'an denounces them for making such an argument and rejects it altogether. It replies to them with another question: "Say. What if your forefathers have been devoid of knowledge and had no guidance?" This brief Qur'anic answer is highly significant. It points out the course of action worthy of man, on whom Allah has bestowed the greatest honor of giving him an independent mind and granted him the intellectual faculty. This aspect of Allah's grace which distinguishes man from all His creation is not meant to be used only in improving man's material well-being and to be disregarded when a person chooses the faith to follow. We may accept the traditions and practices we inherit from our parents in all material things, but we constantly try to improve them and accept new ideas and new practices. Why should matters of faith be confined to what is inherited or what is socially acceptable? Indeed, religion and spiritual matters are far more important to human well-being than other human affairs. However, the mind must have its own say in these. It is the consistent Islamic argument that when a human being uses his mind, free from traditional and social shackles, he is bound to accept the basic principle of the Oneness of Allah as the cornerstone of his faith. That will inevitably lead him to submit himself to Allah's will and this is the essence of the Islamic message. Someone may protest that a person born in a Muslim family has thus an advantage over others. The answer is that Islam requires everyone, even those born to Muslim parents, to accept its message on the basis of personal, free choice after deep thinking and serious questioning. When a person accepts Islam merely because he has been brought up in a Muslim family, he has not done his Islamic duty of proper thinking and deep questioning. Moreover, Muslims are required to convey the message of Islam in the clearest and most lucid form to all people in the world. If they do not do so, they have not fulfilled their duty and they are accountable for their shortcomings. They bear the blame for all those who remain ignorant of the message of Islam throughout their lives. Having said that, I must add that Allah is the most fair of all judges. He does not condemn any person to suffer in hell unjustly. When He determines the faith of any person on the Day of Judgment, He takes all factors into account. He then makes His judgment allowing His mercy to supersede His displeasure.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )