Dear Brother, as-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Thank you for your concern regarding your 6-year-old son, who wishes to be a martyr. Please take note of the following:
Al-hamdu lillah, your son is willing to lay down his life at such an early age for the sake of Allah Most High and His deen. There are very few children at such an early age who have such deep faith and firm convictions. Perhaps his decision could have been influenced by his teachers or through his experience that his elder brothers were also martyred. There is no doubt that those people who sacrifice their life in the path of their religion earn the highest reward from Allah Most High. Fighting and striving in the path of Allah Most High is also enjoined in the Qur’an, to defend the faith and to defend the country against an attacking force.
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not the transgressors” (Al-Baqarah 2:190).
The fighting or striving can take many forms. War is only one form of striving in the path of Allah Most High.
“Go ye forth (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the cause of Allah. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew” (At-Tawbah 9:41).
This verse means that there are many ways to strive and struggle such as:
*Defending faith and nation. If there is a call for battle and there is a need to defend the country or the faith, then the able-bodied soldiers enter the battlefield in defense, but they do not transgress any limits. All battles are fought in defense only and with the most noble of intentions, respecting and observing all the rules and strict guidelines as enjoined by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Furthermore, it is then up to the will of Allah Most High as to who will be a martyr and who will not be a martyr.
*Endeavoring to ensure peace. Peace is the natural condition for Islam.
*Striving also takes the form of donations of funds or goods or property or food
*Seeking knowledge. In today’s media world of high technology and the Internet, the biggest war that is happening is in the newspapers, on TV, and in the media in general. So the real battle, the real jihad, should be with the pen and with knowledge. We are now living once again in the age of ignorance, where falsehood is being propagated about the peaceful religion of Islam. The solution to this is not to start fighting, but to seek knowledge and then to spread this knowledge in the true spirit of “iqra!” (read). Once the light of knowledge spreads throughout the world, then more and more people will come to realize that there are many falsehoods and misconceptions being spread about this wonderful religion of Islam; in this way, in sha’ Allah, the condition of peace can prevail.
There are many other wars and battles in the world today. There is the war against poverty, there is the war against oppression, there is the war against hunger, there is the war against racism and discrimination, there is the war against interest debt in Third World countries, there are so many battles to fight—these are all battles that need the pen. The example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was that he always strove for peace. The Treaty of Hudaibiyah, which was a manifest victory, is a very good example of this condition.
Now coming specifically to your child, a 6-year-old boy is still a child. He has not even reached the age of understanding. He is still at the age of innocence. His brain is still growing. The age between 1 year and 10 years is when the frontal lobes of the brain are still growing. This growth continues into the teenage years and it is only at this stage, after 10 years, that the child starts to develop the difference between right and wrong (because the cortex of the brain is still very immature before this age). So my suggestions to you would be as follows:
*Every mother and every father loves their child. So your concern for your child is understandable. Allah Most High has placed love and mercy in our hearts so that parents naturally look after their children from the time that they are born.
*It is unthinkable that a 6-year-old child can consider himself for martyrdom. This is not what Islam teaches us. A child is a child and deserves the highest protection from all sections of the community. War is for soldiers, not for children. At this age he should concentrate on his schooling; he should learn to experience and enjoy his childhood and his youth; he should develop all areas of himself, such as his mind (education), body (sports), and soul (religion).
*When he reaches the age of understanding, or when he is in his late teens, he can decide what he would like to do with his life. Perhaps he can travel the path of studying Islam and becoming an Islamic scholar or imam or mufti so that many thousands or even millions of people can benefit from his wisdom and knowledge, in sha’ Allah.
May Allah Most High guide you and reward you and your family abundantly in this World and the Hereafter.
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