God is love and love does not hold any fear within.

To impart religious tenets and to seek compliance in our children, most of the times, we choose a really menacing course of action, though unintended, we are preparing a breeding ground for various mental issues.

My four-year-old nephew approached me asking if Allah was going to toss him into the fire because he did something-of frivolous nature. His question was innocuous and dreadful at the same time, propelling me to go back into my past digging some unpleasant experience. I didn’t have the most disturbing childhood but it was to an extent. We had a joint family, not impoverished in any sense however, a bulky family with limited resources, deprivation sometimes was palpable accompanying a well-built influence of religious principles. We had a sort of small library in our home, packed with countless spiritual books, and despite my inchoate mind, I never hesitated to read them. Raja Gidh, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Parliament Se Bazar-e-Husssan Tak, Jannat Ke Haseen Manazir, Fazail-Sadaqat, and even Hayat-e-Sahaba (3 Volumes by Muhammad Yousaf, was one of my favourite books). I read at a very young age. Being a child, when the mind goes through an initial developing stage, I started to devour very complex ideas. Those concepts, owing to my unformed mind never made any logic to my intellectual capacity, yet I would endeavour to unravel them. Then there was a book, which transformed my personality completely, in a really awful manner.

According to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, we dream of contents what we might desire to have in our lives, or given fear might be wishing to rub out of our lives. I got the latter one

This book was Moat ka Manzar compiling post-death experiences and obviously Qabar kay Azab. I was very young to understand the concept of death or its horrible experience, nevertheless, I read it. According to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, we dream of contents what we might desire to have in our lives, or given fear might be wishing to rub out of our lives. I got the latter one. In my dream, I experienced death and a brief conversation with Izrael A.S dissembling my immediate cousin. I woke up with a terrible fear accompanying the physical reaction of sweating and trembling. I tried to forget the dream experience but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Being a child and from a religious family, my first instinct was to find the book interpreting dreams and I got my hand on Tabeer-e-Roya by Ibni-e-Sireen. I scanned for the specific content of my dream and I was shocked to find the interpretation. It presaged my Death. I should have stopped there, but I was alarmed and curious to find the exact translation, or maybe I was expecting otherwise, so I moved towards my elder siblings. Unfortunate circumstances had not allowed my siblings to have their education continued, but they had command over Urdu, so they followed my words and even they presumed my death.

Now, imagine a girl only of a few years was anticipating her departure from the physical world, this thought of leaving my loved ones behind and laying under six feet grave, was really overwhelming. I got panicked, my first ever panic attack. It was the night of Jumma Mubarik and I was awaiting demise in the morning, I recited everything that I could remember of, I sat on Janimaz, imploring God not to separate me from my family; I took four tablets of Piriton to stop the flow of intrusive thoughts in my mind but everything in vain. Having experienced that first panic attack at that horrible night I turned into the timidest and fearful child. After that I didn’t witness a decline in the streak of panic attacks and believe me, I had no idea what even was happening to my mind and body. The rest is history, but I am not ashamed confessing how I spent my childhood in complete mental chaos when a peer of my age would enjoy every sort of fun, I would battle fears in my mind. With the passage of time, I learned to live with my fears, to accept them the part of my personality yet I still remember those fears obscuring the normal passage of my development. I never told my family because they would not understand and might have made my problem twice as much. Just recently, I started confessing about this bleak and overpowering aspect of my personality.

From childhood, we inject fear in the minds of our children, though بسم اللہ رحمان رحیم ” in the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful” serves our preliminary introduction to our religion, next to nothing we imply that in our lives.

Here, mentioning this experience was just to make sense about the very first question that my nephew had asked. From childhood, we inject fear in the minds of our children, though بسم اللہ رحمان رحیم ” in the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful” serves our preliminary introduction to our religion, next to nothing we imply that in our lives. When our children should respect God out of love, we instruct them to fear him. RESPECT GOD, LEST HE, WOULD PUNISH YOU. This mentality, this mindset, cultivates a perilous image of God in their minds. For them, Allah becomes a source of fear, a bugbear نعوذ باللہ that should be feared. The fear then gives birth to various complicated personality issues, arising from guilt to anxiety to depression, to obsessive-compulsive disorder and so on so forth. We inculcate pests in the minds of our children and, when they reflect it in their behaviours, we wonder the genesis of the problem. Our religion should not happen to be a source of spreading hate and terror but a medium to pass on affection and care for people regardless of their class or association. We need to bring God to the lives of our children not to send him away from them; it should be his love to shape their minds, not his fear. It’s a high time we embark on our real journey towards spiritual enlightenment.

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