Rights of children and responsibilities of the parents

By Syed Hussain ibn Imamuddin | 27 March 2019


The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Your child has a right over you.” (Muslim-1159)

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) has said, “That Allah has called many people Abrar (pious, righteous) because they gave kind treatment to their fathers and to their children. Just as your father has rights over you, so too your child has rights over you” (Adab al Mufrad-94)

Scholars have mentioned many rights of children over their parents. It is very important for parents to know about these rights of children as well as their responsibilities as a parent.

Some of these important rights are as follows:

1) Choosing a righteous spouse to be a righteous mother/father of the children:

When it is time for someone to get married, the most important characteristic that one should look for in a spouse is piety. This is because the spouse will be the father or mother of their child.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious one (otherwise) you will be a loser. (Bukhari-5090)

2) Making dua for pious children:

Parents should make dua for pious children even before their birth.

Dua of Prophet Zakariyah (peace be upon him) for children “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” (Surah Al-Imran-38)

Dua of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) for children: “My Lord, grant me (a child) from among the righteous.” (Surah As-Saffat-100)

3) Abstaining from harming the unborn baby:

It is necessary to abstain from doing anything that could harm the unborn child in the mother’s womb.

Even breaking the fast in Ramadan is permissible for the pregnant mother if she fears that it will most likely harm the unborn baby.

4) Saying Adhan after the baby is born.

Abu Rafi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying Adhan in the ear of Hasan ibn Ali when Fatimah gave birth to him.” (Abu dawud-5105)

5) Tahneek:

When the child is born, It is mustahab to do tahneek (rubbing a piece of softened date on the roof of the mouth of a newborn).

Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: A son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet (ﷺ) who named him Ibrahim, did Tahnik for him with a date, made dua to bless him and returned him to me. (Bukhari-5467)

6) The child should be given a good name:

Abu Darda (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “On the Day of Resurrection you will be called by your names and by your father’s names, so give yourselves good names.” (Abu Dawud-4948)

7) Aqeeqah and shaving the head of the baby on the seventh day:

Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A boy is in pledge for his Aqiqah, Sacrifice is made for him on the seventh day, his head is shaved and he is given name.” Abu dawud-2838

8) Circumcision for boys.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet, (ﷺ) said, “Five acts are a part of natural instinct: circumcision, shaving pubic hair, removing hair from the armpits, shortening the moustache, and clipping the nails.” (Bukhari-5889)

9) Breastfeeding the child:

Allah Almighty says: “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]” (Surah Al-Baqarah-233)

10) Teaching the child about the essentials of Islam:

One of the most important rights children have over their parents is that the parents should give their children Islamic education.

Allah Almighty says: “Order your family to pray, and pray steadfastly yourself. We are not asking you to give Us provision; We provide for you, and the reward is for (those of) righteousness.” (Surah Taha-132)

The Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old” (Abu Dawud-459)

11) Teaching the child good manners:

Parents should teach their children good manners of everything.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said : “No father can give his child anything better than good manners.” (Tirmidhi-1952)

12) Parents should have patience and tolerance on children’s misbehaviour:

Abdullah bin Shaddad narrated, that his father said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the nighttime prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.'” (Nasai-1141)

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
I served the Prophet (ﷺ) for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uff” and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do this or why didn’t you do that?” (Bukhari-6034)

However it is permissible for parents to scold their children with the intention of correcting their misbehaviour, but disciplining them with love and affection is more effective.

13) Children should be loved and should receive special treatment by their parents:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) kissed Hasan bin Ali while Aqra bin Habis at-Tamim was sitting beside him. Aqra said, “I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them,” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Bukhari-5997)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on our young and does not respect our elders.” (Tirmidhi-1919)

14) Preventing them from committing sins:

Allah Almighty says: “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones” (Surah At-Tahrim-6)

15) Maintenance of children and spending on them:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) commanded to give charity. A man said: Messenger of Allah, I have a dinar. He said: Spend it on yourself. He again said: I have another. He said: Spend it on your children. He again said: I have another. He said: Spend it on your wife.” (Abu Dawud-1691)

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said : “It is sufficient sin for a man that he neglects those whom he maintains.” (Abu dawud-1692)

Parents should provide the children accommodation, food, drink, clothing and education, and everything that they need, on a reasonable basis until they reach to adulthood.

These maintenance must be from Halal income; it is a big treachery to maintain one’s children and family using Haram income.

16) Treating children fairly and equally:

Parents should treat their children equally and justly in everything. It is not permissible to show preference to some children over others.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Fear Allah, and be just to your children” (Bukhari-2587)

Mujahid mentioned in his narration that The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “They (children) have right to you that you should do justice to them, as you have right to them that they should do good to you” (Abu Dawud-3542)

Unfortunately, some parents do not treat their children equally. If parents give preference to some of their children over others, then this will lead to jealously, enmity and hatred between them and they will dislike their parents.

17) Helping the children marry and find a suitable spouse for them:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever has a child, he should give him a good name and teach him how to read and write. And when he matures, he should marry him off. When he matures and the father does not marry him off, then if the boy commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.” (Shu’ab al-Iman of al-Bayhaqi)

18) Parents should never curse their children:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not pray against yourselves, do not pray against your children, do not pray against your belongings, there is the possibility that your prayer coincides with a time when Allah is asked and He gives, thus your prayer may be readily responded.” (Muslim-3014)

19) Parents should try and solve the difficulties and problems their children face in their life:

Parents should spend quality time with their children even when the children are adults, listen to the problems of the children and resolve them in a balanced and intellectual way and with complete wisdom.

20) Parents should always make dua for their children:

Allah Almighty says, “And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous. Those will be awarded with the highest place for what they patiently endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and [words of] peace.” (Surah al-Furqan: 74-75)

Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) made dua for his children: “My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” (Surah Ibrahim: 40)

Conclusion:

Parents should try their best to fulfill the duties concerning their children’s rights. On the day of resurrection they will be questioned about their responsibilities.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “All of you are guardians and will be asked about your responsibilities. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of his family; the lady is a guardian and is responsible for her husband’s house and his children; and so all of you are guardians and will be questioned about the responsibilities. (Bukhari-5200)

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