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Islam is a complete way of life.

It considers the family the corner stone


of Islamic society. It bases the atmosphere in the family on sacrifice, love,
loyalty, and obedience. When we say "family" we mean the traditional
definition of it namely husband, wife and children.

The Prophet of Islam also stressed these meanings when he said: The
best among you are those who are best to their families and I am the best
of you to my family.

Parenthood
Parenthood is a creative struggle to accommodate a new-comer in a
world where everything needs to be shared in the family. It is a journey
through new experience that leads to more maturity and accountability of
the parents. The journey is a one-way traffic, full of bends, curves, ups
and downs. But it is the sense of consciousness that makes parenting a
lively and challenging enterprise. Positive parenting requires a
determined effort.

Parenthood - Islamic Perspective


Parents are the genetic couple who give birth to an infant. In fact, this is
the exact Arabic meaning of parents or "al-waledyn."

Islam wants all human beings to grow up as emissaries of Allah on earth.


In that respect, parenting in Islam is a divine responsibility. Parental duty
is at the heart of Muslim life. For a sound and healthy continuity of Islamic
civilization legacy every parent has to transfer the spirit and message of
Islam to his offspring. If an individual parent cannot cope with this great
and demanding task for some reason, the community has to create such
network that nobody in the Muslim Nation falls through the net and joins
the hapless mob of disconcerted and lapsed 'Muslims'. It also tells of the
immense obligation of the guardians of a household. In fact, every one in
a Muslim family is jointly responsible according to his role in the house.

There is no room for complacency in parental responsibility.

The Prophet ( ) said:

"All of you are shepherds, and each one is responsible for his flock. A
leader of people is a shepherd and responsible for them. A man is like a
shepherd over his family, and he is responsible for his flock. A woman is
like a shepherd over her husband’s house and children, and she is
responsible for them. And a slave is a guardian of his master’s property
and is responsible for it. So all of you are guardians and are responsible
for your charges." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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The Islamic Way to Raise the Children
Islam considers children to be vulnerable and dependent beings.
Therefore, Islamic law provides diverse rules for the protection of their
body and property. According to these rules both parents have well-
defined duties toward their children before they reach the age of
maturity. In Islamic countries the patrilineal system of descent is the
norm, so these duties are incumbent upon an established paternity
resulting in mutual rights of inheritance, guardianship, and maintenance.
Any child born within wedlock is considered legitimate, and provisions
have been made regarding paternity in cases of divorce or the death of
the father. The role of motherhood is highly esteemed. Women as
mothers are at the center of the family (Sherif 1999). The duties of
motherhood are highly respected and considered a major responsibility
and privilege of womanhood. The father should also see to the child's
education (both secular and religious). Should the child's father be dead
or unable to provide for the child, and if the child does not have any
inherited property, then providing for the child becomes first the duty of
the paternal grandfather, then other paternal relatives, and finally any
other living relatives.

Allah creates the children with pure innate nature, without defects and
whatever defects that happens later on is the result of the bad education.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet said:

"Every new born has the correct instinct, his parents make him Jewish,
Christian or a fire worshipper."

Allah has put in every person the good tendencies and the bad
tendencies, so choose and testing will be performed, so parents must
encourage and grow the good tendencies in the child so he can become a
useful person that helps himself and his people. Allah (S.W.T) said in surat
Atahrim, verse 6, which is translated as,

"O' you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from a fire
whose fuel is men and stones."

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Islam does not distinguish between male and female with regard to the
Education requirements. Prophet Mohammad ( .) said:

''whoever had a daughter, tutored her on good morals, educated her


well and fed her properly; she will be a protection for him from hell fire."

Allah (S.W.T.) has entrusted parents with their children. Parents bear the
responsibility to raise-up their children in the Islamic way. If they do that
they will be blessed in this life and in the hereafter, and if they don't, they
will get bad result during their life and in the hereafter. In addition to the
responsibilities that men and women have in marriage, parenthood is
central to Muslim identity and faith. As an Islamic parent, it is necessary
to follow certain criteria when rearing children. These include maintaining
an Islamic environment, especially in the home, and adhering to Islamic
teachings regarding dress, diet, and prayer that are essential components
of a household. The couple must educate the children with the
understanding that Allah's teachings are the only acceptable principles for
practicing a proper way of life. Providing religious education is the core
responsibility of the parents. Often the father also takes on this more
formally with older children, especially males. Parents must also serve as
examples of the correct way of life according to Allah, and they must
establish a sense of open communication among family members. The
couple is expected to expose children to other Muslim families and
children. This is especially important in countries in which Islam is only
one of multiple practicing religions.

Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet Mohammad ( .)


said:
"all of you are heads of a group and all of you are responsible for your
groups; the ruler is the head of state and he is responsible for his people,
the man is head of his family and responsible for his family, the woman is
the head in her husband's house and she is responsible for the house. In
short all of you are heads and responsible for your groups".

The Status of Parents in Islam


All religions and all societies have given parents an honorable status.
From a purely material viewpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our
parents, particularly our mother. Our parents as a team provided for all
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our needs: physical, educational, psychological, and in many instances,
religious, moral, and spiritual The Qur’anic commandments, as well as the
sayings of Prophet Muhammad guide us in this matter. The parent-child
code of behavior in Islam is unique, since rules were laid down by divine
command.

Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A.S.), the great-great-grandson of the Prophet


Muhammad is reported to have quoted Imam 'Ali (A.S.) that,
"disobedience to parents is a major sin." He also stated that, "If a person
looks at the face of his or her parents with wrathful eyes, despite the fact
that injustice was done to him or she by the parents, his or her salah
(prayer) will not be accepted by God."

According to one of the Hadith-e-Qudsi, the following is reported about


the status of parents:

"God has commanded that if anybody prays equal to the invocations


performed by the prophets, such prayers will do no good if that person
has been cursed by his or her parents."

It has also been related that the very first words which have been
written on the Lauh-e-Mahfuz (The Heavenly Preserved Tablet) are:

"I am God, and there is no deity except Me. I am pleased with those with
whom their parents are pleased, and I am displeased with those with
whom their parents are displeased."

In the Quran Treat parents with honour & speak to them graciously
& with humility These verses make it clear that we must honour our
parents, appreciate their sacrifices and efforts for us, and do our best for
them. This is required regardless of whether they are Muslims or not. Be
good to parents and everyone else who you meet
If the Quran tells us to be good to a stranger how can we even think of
disrespecting our parents? References to parents have been made at
least 15 times in the Holy Qur'an. There are numerous traditions of the
Prophet Muhammad on this subject.

Duties of parents towards children

SHOWING LOVE TOWARDS CHILDREN


Upon their birth, children have all of their rights automatically in
effect: feeding, clothing, health care, even the celebration of birth
(`aqeeqah)

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Also, the Prophet advised us to give each child a name with a good
meaning.
Motherhood and fatherhood are instincts that Allah has blessed us with, and
the love for our children is built into our hearts even before they are born.
Prophet Muhammad instructed us to show our love to our children:

“He is not one of us who does not have mercy for children and respect for
our seniors.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is reported that Al-Aqra' ibn Habis saw Allah's Messenger kissing his
grandchild and said to the Prophet, "I have ten children, but I have never
kissed any one of them." The Prophet said, "He who does not show mercy
(towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him" (Al-Bukhari).

Also, a Bedouin man asked the Prophet, "Do you kiss your sons?" The
Prophet replied, "Yes." The Bedouin said, "We do not." The Prophet said to
him, "What can I do for you if Allah has removed mercy from your heart?" (Al-
Bukhari).

THE RIGHT TO A RESPECTABLE LIFE


Islamic Law has given children the right to a good life and ordered the
father to guarantee them the resources that can make them live well.

Prophet Muhammad said:

"The best penny a man spends is that on his children, on his camel for the
sake of Allah, and on his friends for the sake of Allah."

Even in cases of divorce, fathers are asked to be fully responsible for their
children regarding food, clothing, schooling, and health expenses according
to the father's standard of life.

“Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man
whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah
has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He
has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.” (At-Talaq
65:7)

The Qur'an also states that children have the right to inherit from the day of
their birth.

EQUALITY AND JUSTICE BETWEEN CHILDREN

Justice, in particular social justice, is a major theme in Islam, which was


revealed in a time when justice was lacking. Islam's teachings and rulings
restored social justice in the tribal societies at the time.

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Muslims who fear Allah in their heart and are keen to earn His satisfaction
should treat their children equally, not favoring one over the others, in
spending, treatment, and giving gifts to them.

Children are a blessing from Allah and to thank Allah for such a blessing,
parents should fulfill the duties Allah prescribed on them towards their
children.

Hadiths
Let's see what Prophet Muhammad said about parents in the
authentic Hadiths
Disobedience to parents is a major sin

Anas narrated from Prophet Muhammad about the major sins. He


(Mohammed) observed: Associating anyone with God, disobedience to
parents, killing a person and false utterance. (Muslim)

One of the dearest deeds to God is being good & dutiful to parents

Narrated 'Abdullah: I asked the Prophet "Which deed is the dearest to


God?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I
asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and
dutiful to your parents"(Bukhari)
Being dutiful to parents is one of the keys to enter Paradise

Abu Huraira reported Prophet Muhammad as saying: Let him be


humbled into dust; let him be humbled into dust. It was said: God's
Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during
their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise
(because he has been undutiful to them). (Muslim)

Acts of kindness we can do for our parents after their death

While we were with Prophet Muhammad of God . A man of Banu


Salmah came to Him and said: Apostle of God is there any kindness left
that I can do to my parents after their death? He replied: Yes, you can
invoke blessings on them, forgiveness for them, carry out their final
instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent
on them, and honour their friends. (Abu Dawood)

If the parents do indeed strive to raise their children upon righteousness,


then, as the Prophet said:
“When the son of Adam dies, all his actions have ceased except [three,
a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and] a righteous child who
prays for their parent.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

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Regardless of how the parents raise their children, and irrespective of
their own religion (or lack, thereof), the obedience and reverence that a
Muslim son or daughter is required to show them is second only to the
obedience due to the Creator Himself. Thus His reminder:
“And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel,
(saying): ‘Worship none but God and be dutiful and good to parents, and
to kindred, and to orphans and to the poor, and speak good to people,
and perform the prayer, and give the alms.’” (Quran 2:83)
In fact, it is quite common to hear of elderly non-Muslims converting to Islam as a result of
the increased care and dutifulness their children gave them following their (i.e. the
children’s) becoming Muslims.

Duty of children towards parents


The parent-child relationship is complementary. In Islam, parents and
children are bound together by mutual obligations and reciprocal
commitments. But the age differential is sometimes so wide as to cause
parents to grow physically weak and mentally feeble. This is often
accompanied by impatience, degeneration of energy, heightened
sensitivity, and perhaps misjudgment.

It may also result in abuses of parental authority or intergenerational


estrangement and uneasiness, something similar to what is now called
the “generation gap”. It was probably in view of these considerations that
Islam has taken cognizance of certain facts and made basic provisions to
govern the individual’s relationship to his parents.

The fact that parents are advanced in age and are generally believed to
be more experienced does not by itself validate their views or certify their
standards. Similarly, youth per se is not the sole fountain of energy,
idealism, or wisdom.

The Quran sums up the whole question in the master concept of ‘Ihsaan’
(i.e. a strong sense of God-consciousness which constantly inclines a
believer toward piety) , which denotes what is right, good, and beautiful.
The practical implications of the concept of ‘ihsan’ to the parents entail
active empathy and patience, gratitude and compassion, respect for them
and prayers for their souls, honoring their legitimate commitments and
providing them with sincere counsel.

One basic dimension of ‘Ihsaan’ is deference. Parents have the right to


expect obedience from their children if only in partial return for what the
parents have done for them. But if parents demand the wrong or ask for
the improper, disobedience becomes not only justifiable, but also
imperative. Obey or disobey, the children’s attitude toward parents may
not be categorical submissiveness or irresponsible defiance.

The last integral part of ‘Ihsaan’ to be mentioned here is that children


are responsible for the support and maintenance of parents when the

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parents become weak and are unable to support themselves. It is an
absolute religious duty to provide for the parents in case of need and help
them to make their lives as comfortable as possible.

According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the parents of a


certain person arehis Heaven or Hell. What this means is that if a person
obeys his parents, attends to their needs and keeps them happy and
comfortable, he will attain Paradise. On the other hand, if he is
disrespectful and rude to them, offends them by ignoring their needs and
feelings or causes them grief in any manner, his place shall be in Hell. In
modern times, a trend has arisen whereby when parents come to be seen
as a liability because of old age and physical weakness. They are then
sent to 'old people's homes'.

But the stricture ordained by Islam makes it clear that shrugging off the
responsibility of old parents serves as an invitation to Hell. Both the father
and mother are equal when it comes to caring for them and providing
them all possible physical comforts and mental peace. The time that the
parents need to be looked after most, is in their old age. To serve them
devotedly at that stage of their lives is the best way of pleasing Almighty
Allah. It is also one of the easiest ways of attaining Paradise. Abu
Hurairah, a companion of the holy Prophet, has said that "a person is
indeed disgraced, who does not earn Paradise by caring for his parents
during the life time and old age of his/her parents".

Asma bint Abu Bakr relates that her mother had come from Makkah to
Madinah to meet her. Her mother was not a Muslim and followed pagan
tribal customs and beliefs. Asma enquired from the holy Prophet how she
was supposed to treat her. The holy Prophet told her to be kind and
considerate and to behave towards her as was a mother's due from a
daughter. Obeying one's parents and treating them with respect and
affection is a great virtue and it serves as repentence for a person's sins.
Similarly, to ask Almighty Allah to have mercy on them after death is an
act that brings them comfort in their graves. It is the duty of sons and
daughters to pray for the forgiveness of their parents after their death
and treat their relatives and friends with due respect.

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