It is one of our common observation, that no particular system of coaching is established to teach that language which a child speaks. A child starts uttering the words, which he hears from his parents. In the beginning when he imitates his parents the words are not pronounced clearly but with the passage of time he starts speaking his mother tongue so fluently as if he was born with this fluency. Besides this the child learns dietary habits from his parents. He eats what they eat. If the atmosphere of a house is pleasant, clean and tidy then the child also possesses a neat, clean and tidy personality. If abusive language is used by the parents then the child too will not be hesitant in doing so. A child accepts all the effects of the atmosphere at home and when he enters the world outside the four walls of the house the effects of that atmosphere cast their influence upon the mind of the child.
Everyone who is born in this world, according to the spiritual point of view, is half trained by the parents and half by the society. After this initial involuntary training the second round of training commences, that is, what do the parents intend to make their child. If they transfer the traits of show-off, pride and fake vanity to the child the child remains under the influence of the ostentatiousness. If the parents educate moral values and etiquette to their child the child grows into a well-mannered and well-behaved person who is respected and honored in the society. And if the parents have materialistic approach then the child will also automatically develop the same approach of thinking inclined towards material world and its riches. There are basically two methods to bring up and train a child. One is involuntary and the other is voluntary. The involuntary method is that the child accepts and adopts what he observes in his house. He learns from his parents by imitating them consciously and unconsciously. And, in voluntary method, the parents consciously impart training to their child by telling him what to do and what not to do when he is in the society. Upon maturity this person has his own personality resulting from this up bringing.
It is necessary for the formation of character of a person that he should be provided with a particular atmosphere which could enable him to cultivate the desired approach of thinking. Just as the society, parents, educational institutions and relatives plays an important role in up bringing and formation of the character of a person similarly for up bringing and character building of a spiritual person his association with such a person is necessary whose own character is encompassed with spiritual values. Such a person, in terms of Sufism, is called Murshid (mentor). The character of a mentor is distinguished from those who are ignorant of spiritual realities. The more one draws near and closer to one’s mentor the more spiritual qualities and characteristics are transferred to him from his mentor; the spiritual teacher. And, each and every part of the mentor’s thinking approach is inscribed on the mind of the spiritual associate; the disciple. This method, in terms of mystics, is called the spiritual associability (salook). This is the only way which is followed by the spiritual associates to acquaint themselves with the spiritual potentialities existing in them. They explore and equip themselves with latent spiritual abilities by following this path of spiritual associability.
It is established from the events and instances quoted from the lives of prophets in the Holy Quran that it was their mission to preach a particular approach of thinking. Everyone can distinguish between good and bad, vice and virtue, right and wrong with the help of prophetic teachings and the standards defined by them in this regard. To wit, prophets have given the concept of good and bad to the mankind and man enjoys distinction over the other creatures because he is familiar with the concept of good and evil. Man has been given this knowledge that a particular approach for living the life would make him good and the other approach would take him away from goodness and righteousness. Besides this, this also comes to his knowledge that for becoming a good person one is required to be aware of one’s own reality. Acquaintance with the reality helps him to have that knowledge which enables him to discover the unexplored hidden abilities from within himself. One’s character becomes virtuous and pure accordingly as the latent potentialities are put to use. Contrary to this, one’s character remains shady and under as much as one is oblivious of one’s latent potentialities.
If the lives of a goat and a man are comparatively examined, it is found that both live their lives almost the same way. The only thing which distinguishes man is his ability to make use of his latent potentialities. If a person is oblivious of his hidden qualities and is ignorant of his self then he cannot be distinguished from a goat or any other animal. For acquainting with the hidden abilities it is necessary that he enjoys the affectionate guardianship of such a father who is well versed with the mystical knowledge and a virtuous atmosphere is available to him. Here father is an epitome of the spiritual teacher or mentor and the atmosphere epitomizes the spiritual associability.
The conscious of a child is formed from the up-bringing by parents and the atmosphere available at home. If there is congestion, restlessness, anxiety and filth in the atmosphere of home, the child will also become a prey to anxiety and perturbation. But, if there is peace and tranquility at home the child’s parents are soft-spoken, affectionate and enjoy mental peace then the child will involuntarily have a peaceful character. It is our common observation that the children of those parents who have harsh tone to address their kids or speak yelling loud also speak harshly and yelling. Children of greedy and lustful parents are also greedy and covetous. Children of parents with superiority complex will behave arrogantly. Parents of stubborn and aggressive children are sure to have these traits in their children. Children of sober and affable parents possess the same qualities. Generous parents usually have generous children.
It is recovered in the history that once when the list of the prisoners of war was presented to the Holy Prophet, he found, amongst others the name of a woman having the last name as Tai. When inquired it was found that the lady belonged to the tribe of the legendary munificent Ha tam Tai. The Holy Prophet ordered her release. When the lady was told that she has been set free, she refused to have freedom and said that it is against her family traditions that she should abandon her tribe in distress. When the Holy Prophet came to know about her decision he not only granted freedom to the companions of the lady but also awarded gifts and valuables.
A study of prophets’ lives leads us to conclude that God, the most Exalted has established a system which is based upon people of particular character. Those who associate themselves with this chain devotedly enjoy the same values which are the distinguishing characteristics of people of that particular character. It is necessary for a spiritual associate to have the guidance of someone on the paths of spiritual associability so that he could enjoy the affectionate patronage of a spiritual father and thrive on the atmosphere of spiritual associability, required for the up-bringing of spiritual.