Thursday 18th of April 2024
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The Rights of Children Upon Their Parents

Children are the fruits of marital relations. They are the adornment

of the house, the beauty of the family, and the seeds guaranteeing

the continuation of life. That is why Allah has made maternal

affection the strongest of all other living instincts. Childbirth is

linked to the desire to survive and be eternal and children represent

the continuation of the parents' survival in life.

Islam expresses and interprets these and innate human feelings

through its laws and legislations, regulating marriage, parental

relations and responsibilities, defining the parents' relations with

their children and designing the rights and duties of each member in

proportion to his role in the family.

a. The father is responsible for providing sustenance for his

children as well as meeting their other needs as long as they are

below adulthood and even after it, should they be unable to earn their

own livelihood due to reasons accepted by Islamic law, such as illness,

disability, and the like.

In this way this relationship and the principle of reciprocal

undertakings continue. These relations have material and moral

dimensions effective in the construction of the family and the society

and in strengthening the ties among the members of the family. So the

father is the one who is responsible for arrangements to bring up,

nurse, suck and attend his children during their childhood. The

mother is exempted from this task. Islam gives the mother the right to

be paid for giving suck to her children and for nursing and bringing

them up, as the mother is not responsible for that. But she is

responsible for proper care and guidance for her children and to bring

them up as best as she can, since her role at home is that of a

teacher, educator and guide.

But if she volunteers to take care of her children, give them the

suck, nurse them, etc., it will be a deed Allah likes to see, and

rewards her for it. Actually, Islam encourages her to do so but

without any compulsion or obligation.

b. The second right of the children upon their father is the latter

duty in bringing them up with proper guidance, and treating them with

the spirit of love and affection.

Naturally a child needs paternal care, love and affection, much as it

needs milk, medicine, clothes, etc. The following Traditions urge love

and affection towards children:



"Love children and have mercy on them. When you promise them, keep

it, as they think it is you who support them."



"Whoever kisses his child, Allah the Exalted writes for him a reward;

whoever pleases his child, Allah will please him on the Resurrection

Day; and whoever teaches his child (how to read) the Qur'an, he and

the mother (of the child) will be dressed in the hereafter in suits

whose illumination will light the faces of the dwellers of paradise".


"Allah will have mercy on the man who passionately loves his child".



It has scientifically been confirmed that children who live in an

environment of love, affection and parental care, grow up free from any

complexities, psychopathics and symptoms of weak personality. Science

has also proved that harmonious parental relations have positive

effects on the behavior of the children and on their relations with

the others, in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. On the contrary,

the child who lacks affectionate treatment and grows up in an

atmosphere of hatred, spite and negligence, acquires a loose and weak

personality, irresponsible and aggressive behavior and suffers

from inferiority complex.

Consequently, Islam lays stress on the responsibility of fathers in

bringing up the children with proper guidance. It says:



"O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire

whose fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong and

severe, who do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, but do as

they are commanded."


Holy Qur'an (66:6)

A man came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him: "What right has

this son of mine upon me?" The Prophet replied:


"Give him a good name

and a good education and place him in a good position".

Thus, it is the responsibility of the father to guide his children

and educate them so that they can lead a righteous life. Islam

entrusts the father or the consanguineous grandfather, authority and

control over the children. At the same time, it holds him responsible

for his children's behavior to the rights of others in society




4. The Rights of Parents Upon Their Children:

"And We have enjoined man concerning his parents - his mother bears

him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning takes two years - Be

grateful to Me and to your parents. To Me is the eventual coming."

Holy Qur'an (31:14)



"And your lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him and (you

show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them reach old

age with you say not `Fie' to them nor repulse them, but speak to them

a generous word. And make yourself submissively gentle with compassion

to them, and say: O My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care

for me when I was little."

Holy Qur'an (17:23-24)


Islam does not grant such great attention and respect to any others

except the parents, nor is anybody else granted rights similar to

those of the parents upon their children.

Allah states their next to His upon man. As He commands man to

acknowledge Allah's generosity and to thank and worship Him, likewise

he commands man to thank his parents, obey them, show kindness to

them, have mercy on them and be humble to them, as they are the means

of man's existence and the source of life. The mother had borne him in

her womb. nourished him with all her heart and love, tenderly

whispered lullabies in his ears day and night, deprived herself from

comfortable sleep in order to attend him, throughout her life

surrounded him with feelings of love and care. She regards him as her

soul and her heart beating in another body. So naturally she deserves

to be treated with kindness.

Is there anyone more deserving than her?

There is a Tradition which says:



"Paradise lies at the feet of the mother."





How expressive was the Prophet's answer to a man who came to him and

asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Whom should I be more dutiful to? The

Prophet (s.a.w.) replied: "


To your mother

". The man asked: "Then to whom?"

He replied: "


To your mother.

" Once again the man asked: "Then to

whom?" The Prophet (s.a.w.) Said: "


To your father."

The respect for the mother does not mean that Islam has neglected the

father. In fact both the parents are to be obeyed and respected by the

children. A Tradition says:


"Allah's pleasure is in father's pleasure

and Allah's displeasure is in father's displeasure."

The father is the beloved sustainer, the spender, and

the one who exerts his efforts and bears hardships to provide for his

children a happy and comfortable life. He sees his children as a

reflection of his own existence and an extension of his life after his


The letter which the Imam Ali (a.s.) sent to his son, the Imam Hasan,

is an example for all fathers who believe in Ali's noble principles

and endeavor to follow his lofty ideas:



...My dear son, you are a part of my body and soul and whenever I

look at you I feel as if I am looking at myself. If any calamity

happens to you, I feel as if it has befallen me. Your death will make

me feel as if it was my own death. Your affairs are to me like my own



So, if these humane feelings and noble aspirations logic of morals

and the conduct of conscience dictate to the children to respect their

fathers and be kind and thankful towards them, since the children's

offers and feelings are too meager to match those of their fathers.

Therefore, the sons' duty is to be kind, thankful and grateful, as an

acknowledgement and an attempt to feel content, never as a complete

and full compensation, nor even a quittance.

In order that the paternal rights may not be mere moral advices or

recommendations, Islam has defined these rights as legal duties and

obligatory legislations, imposed on the sons, and warns them of severe

punishment for neglecting to carry them out. The sons must take care

of their fathers when aged and in need. They have also to sustain them

if they are incapable of working. in case of any deviation on the part

of the son the judiciary has the right to force the son to obey. Islam

regards negligence towards one's parents a capital sin, and prohibits

even the slightest sign of such disobedience, even the utterance of

such an expression as "fie", let alone showing the signs of hatred

towards them.

A Tradition says:



The least disobeyance??? is to say `fie' [to the parents]. Had Allah

known anything less than that, He would have forbidden it."

Thus, Islam enjoins the sons to be kind to their parents, even if the

latters wronged them. So it keeps on emphasizing the necessity of

being kind and lenient to the parents that it regards a look of love

and mercy at the parents a kind of worship to Allah, as is evident

from the following Tradition:



"Whoever looks at his parents with aversion, even if they have

wronged him, Allah would accept none of his prayers."



"An affectionate look by a son towards his parents is servitude to




This is encouraged not only during their life-time, but this

heartfelt and deep human relation of the sons to their parents is to

continue even after their death, as a dead father is more in need of

kindness than a living one. Life is the world of events and human

activities, where man can manage his own affairs, or seek the help of

others to accomplish or solve them. But a dead man can do nothing:

"My power has gone from me."


Holy Qur'an (69:29)

"And a barrier is set between them and that which they desire..."

Holy Qur'an (34:54)

They cannot make bequest nor can they return to their own families."

Holy Qur'an (36:50)

Therefore, a dead man is cut off from this world except for the

causal relations created during his life.

Good deeds done during lifetime are the only assets in the hereafter.

So he needs a virtuous existence here, enriching and growing it with

means of goodness, since his fate in the hereafter depends on what he

has done in this world.

He cannot go back, but he is still in need of help to set his misdeeds

aright. So who can help him? Who can make up for the man's misdeeds in

this world to which he cannot return? The Traditions of the Prophet

(s.a.w.) answer these questions. They point out the extension that the

man has left behind and which continues even after his death. This

extension is part of him, a good harvest of the seeds the had sowed.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:

"When a man dies, his acts stop, except for three: (In leaving) a

running charity, a benefiting knowledge (for mankind) and a virtuous

son who prays for him."

Thus, as the prophet (s.a.w.) says, kindness towards parents does not

stop at their death but should continue even after.

A bedouin once asked the Prophet (s.a.w.):


"O Messenger of Allah! Is

there any more kindness that I can do for my parents? "He answered:"

Yes, pray and ask forgiveness for them, pay their debts which were

left unpaid, keep the kinship bonds which may not be kept without them

and honour their friends."

Therefore, sons have to be kind to their parents, do good to them,

pay their debts, perform their obligatory duties which they could not

do during their lives, such as prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, and

continually ask Allah to forgive them. These are the rights of parents

upon their sons, as are clear from the following Tradition:



"If a man is obedient and kind to his parents during their lives, but

when they die neither he pays their debts nor he asks forgiveness for

them, Allah would register him as a disobedient, And likewise if a son

who is neither kind nor dutiful towards his parents but after their

death he pays their debts ans asks forgiveness for them, Allah the

Exalted would register him as an obedient son!”

So, Islam enjoins the eldest son to compensate for the prayers which

his father could not perform during his life, in case the father had

not paid somebody else to do so. Furthermore, the heirs are to pay for

the deceased's pending Hajj pilgrimage, fasting and debts, as well as

to re-compensate those who had been wronged by him, all out of his

legacy before dividing it among the heirs.




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