All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly till the Day of Judgement.
Dear brothers and sisters, in Islam, Allah Almighty commanded us (Muslims) to give honour, respect and obey our parents in entire life except when it comes to the disobedience of Allah Almighty. Islam raised the status of parents and made it obligatory for Muslims to obey their parents with love and respect. It is the right of parents to be loved and respected but as we all know rights also come with responsibilities and duties. Parent’s responsibilities for the upbringing and care of their children are mentioned in many verses of Noble Qur’an and Hadiths. Allah Almighty said in Noble Qur’an about the responsibilities of parents in these words:
“O you, who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…” [Qur’an, 66:6]
The question now is how we can save our families from this fire? The answer is very simple, we have to show them the right path as described by Allah Almighty in Noble Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). We need to teach the difference between right and wrong to our children.
Children are joys of life as well as sources of pride, seeds of arrogance, the cause of distress and allurement. Therefore, we need to be very focused and careful about their upbringing. Children are dependent on their parents and Islam clearly emphasised on their responsibility for forming the child’s personality. Islam pays particular attention to upbringing children in a proper manner.
“And those who believed and whose descendants followed them in faith – We will join with them their descendants, and We will not deprive them of anything of their deeds. Every person, for what he earned, is retained…” [Qur’an 52:21]
Children’s responsibility is not only on father but also on mother as mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in one of his Hadith in these words:
“Take care! Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock; a leader is a shepherd of his people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd of the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd of the house of her husband and over their children, and she shall be asked concerning them.” [Al-Bukhari]
The parent’s right to respect from their children is dependent upon the children’s right to loving care and guidance of their parents. The future of children depends on the teachings given to them by their parents.
Some basic rights of children are mentioned below:
1. Children have the right to be fed, clothed, educated and protected until they reach adulthood. Protection means protection against moral and physical harm.
2. Parents should give a good name to their child.
3. It’s the responsibility of parents to develop the child’s personality in all fields.
In Islam education is not limited to bookish knowledge but includes moral and religious training also. It means healthy all-round growth of a child’s personality by giving them both religious and bookish knowledge or we can say worldly knowledge. It is famous Hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in which He (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best of you is one who gives a good education (intellectual and moral) to his children.”
4. Children need to be loved, kissed and be given special treatment by their parents. Parents should treat their children with love and leniency but in some cases where they need strictness, it is also allowed.
5. Parents should teach children Islamic manners and etiquettes in accordance with the beautiful example of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
6. Parents should also give them learning to read and recite the Qur’an from an early age when the child’s memory finds it easy.
7. It also includes the development of the regular performance of Prayer between the ages of 7 and 10.
The respect that parents impart to their children will help them to become respectable, responsible, kind, friendly, obedient, patient, humble and honourable children and human beings for their entire life.
In short, it is the duty of the parents to keep in mind the following things mentioned above concerning their children so that they may not be corrupted under the influence of undesirable suggestions. Parents should teach their children Islamic teachings as well as worldly so that they get success in this life and hereafter too.
Dear servants of Allah, Allah Almighty commanded us to protect ourselves and our families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones..! How do we ward off that fire from our families? We need to show to them the right way and to teach them the difference between right and wrong. An excellent example of this is found in the words of Luqman to his son, related in the Qur’an, where he admonishes him:
1. Not to ascribe divine powers to anything other than Allah.
2. To be good and kind to parents.
3. To obey parents unless they command what is wrong.
4. To understand that all our deeds, however minor, are recorded and will be brought to light.
5. To be constant in prayer.
6. To enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
7. To bear what befalls him with patience.
8. To avoid pride, arrogance, and boastfulness.
9. To be modest in manner and speech.
This is a model example of parental responsibility and advice. Luqman guides his own son on the path to paradise with simple but memorable words.
Children are a trust given to the parents. Parents will be held accountable for this trust on the Day of Judgment. Parents are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and basic and essential religious teachings of their children.
If parents fulfill this responsibility, they will be free of the consequences on the Day of Judgment. And In Shaa Allah the children will become better citizens and a pleasure to the eyes of their parents, first in this life, and in the Hereafter. Allah Almighty Says:
“And those who believed and whose descendants followed them in faith – We will join with them their descendants, and We will not deprive them of anything of their deeds. Every person, for what he earned, is retained…” [Qur’an, 52:21]
This parental responsibility belongs not only to the father. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
“Take care! Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock; a leader is a shepherd of his people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd of the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd of the house of her husband and over their children, and she shall be asked concerning them.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Indeed the mother’s role may be even greater: while the children are young they are very close to her and dependent upon her, and they spend more time with her than with anyone else. There is an Arabic saying:
“The mother is the first school.”
She may be a good school, an indifferent or even a bad school. She may even be unaware that she is serving as a role model in her behaviour, and her attitudes. Every mother should be conscious of her role and do her best to make it beneficial for the development of her children as they set out on the journey of life.
Parental care and guidance are fundamental to a child’s upbringing. Some parents nowadays become so preoccupied with their jobs or with making money or with their social lives that children are often neglected. They may be ignored or left for hours with the television or computer or they may be sent to daycare centers at a very early age to be cared for in groups by other people.
The parent’s right to respect from their children is dependent upon the children’s right to loving care and guidance of their parents. It is related that a man once came to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Khalifah of Islam, may Allah be pleased with him, complaining of his son’s disobedience to him. Umar summoned the boy and spoke of his disobedience to his father and his neglect of his rights. The boy replied:
“O Amir al-Mu’minin (Prince of believers)! Hasn’t a child rights over his father?” “Certainly”, replied Umar. “What are they, Amir al-Mu’minin?” “That he should choose his mother, give him a good name and teach him the Book (the Qur’an).” “O Amir al-Mu’minin! My father did nothing of this. My mother was a Magian (fire worshipper). He gave me the name of Julalan (meaning dung beetle or scarab) and he did not teach me a single letter of the Qur’an.” Turning to the father, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “You have come to me to complain about the disobedience of your son. You have failed in your duty to him before he has failed in his duty to you; you have done wrong to him before he has wronged you.”
– Education and bringing up in Islam
Allah Almighty Says:
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion…” [Qur’an, 5: 3]
Education is the process by which children are nurtured as they grow up to develop the Islamic worldview and the Islamic virtues.
Education means to look after, to nurture, to nourish, to help grow and flourish. It implies certain sensitivity towards the child under your care, his emotional and physical needs and capacities. It implies the ability to inspire confidence. It implies the courage to allow and promote creativity and innovation. It implies the ability to trust and not to stifle, to be firm when needed and even to impose sanctions when necessary.
The starting point for education is an example of parents. Small children take their parents as models. If parents are lazy and careless, the children will also take laziness and carelessness as normal. If they tell lies, children will regard lying as normal and acceptable. The same applies to smoking, drinking, rude manners, wandering in the street, swearing and all other bad habits. There is no way parents can motivate their children to practice the Islamic virtues if they themselves do not respect the values and try to practice them also. As children grow up, they will only perceive the inconsistency or even hypocrisy in their parent’s approach.
It is important not to crush a child’s spirit and joy about life by terrorising him/her, whether physically or psychologically. Children must play. It is the way they learn and is not in itself something bad. Parents should give the child opportunities to play and to experience the excitement of exploration, learning and growing up.
At the same time, parents should teach children Islamic manners and etiquette in accordance with the beautiful example of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Such habits include truthfulness and honesty, gentleness, politeness, consideration for others, helpfulness, cleanliness, and tidiness. They also include:
1. Time management and doing things at the right time.
2. Physical exercise for fitness.
3. Mental exercise and developing an appetite for knowledge, understanding, and skills.
4. Learning to read and recite the Qur’an from an early age when the child’s memory finds it easy.
5. Development of regular performance of Prayer between the ages of 7 and 10.
6. Taking on responsibilities in the family.
7. Taking on responsibilities in the wider community as children grow up.
Above all, correct education should ensure that children develop a love for Islam, a love for Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him) and that they develop a feeling of pride in being Muslim and willingness to strive for the good of others. They need to realize the benefits of Islam, the foundations on which it is based and their need for Islam. They need to value Islam and live by Islamic values.
It is the responsibility of the parents to experiment with various ways of achieving those goals.
– Islamic education and Muslim schools
If parents are to get the best results for their children in Muslim schools, they must know what the Muslim school is trying to do. Parents need to understand that while the school basically may be following a National Curriculum (which in some countries may be compulsory), the teaching approach is expected to be holistic. Therefore it is not just a matter of teaching Islamic Studies, Qur’an and Arabic under the same roof as Arts and Sciences, but of developing an integrated Islamic perspective on all forms of knowledge right across the curriculum. At the same time, the school is trying to cultivate good attitudes, behaviour, and manners in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
Aisha (RA) is reported to have said of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that:
“His behaviour was the Qur’an (in practice).” [Ahmad]
To take the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as a “beautiful example” means not just to imitate his outward actions or practices but also to base our own motivation and actions on the Qur’an as he did, in a way that is appropriate to the place and time in which we happen to live.
The approach of a modern Muslim School, which may be located in a modern “secular” or non-Islamic type of environment, cannot be like that of Islamic education of the recent past when teaching relied much on repetition and memorisation and uncritical acceptance of the teacher’s word. Islamic teaching must relate to the society in which the pupils live, with the state of modern knowledge and with the beliefs of other people (probably the majority) in the country where the school is located. If Muslim children are to grow up as witnesses to the truth in a non-Muslim society, they need to understand that society and to develop an objective and critical approach, so that they can appreciate whatever is good in it, avoid its evils and reach out to the non-Muslims, presenting the truths of Islam in a way they can understand Islam and relate to it.
Respected brothers and sisters, let us first establish that children in accordance with the Islamic concept mean both males and females. Some Islamic opponents accuse Islam of differentiating between male and female children claiming that Islam prefers boys over girls in terms of inheritance, Aqiqah (slaughter of two lambs upon the birth of a male baby, and one lamb only for a baby girl) and other matters. In accordance with the true Islamic teaching, both male and female are alike in the sight of Allah, the Almighty. Each, however, is physically prepared and equipped to perform certain tasks and duties that are suitable to his/her nature. All, again are equal in religious duties, except for certain exceptions that are defined and illustrated by Allah, the Almighty, in the Glorious Qur’an, or declared and specified by Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him). Only these differences are to be acknowledged and honoured and only in accordance with Islam and its teachings.
Children, according to Islam, are entitled to various rights. The first and foremost of these rights is the right to be properly brought up, raised and educated. This means that children should be given suitable, sufficient, sound and adequate religious, ethical and moral guidance to last them for their entire lives. They should be engraved with true values, the meaning of right and wrong, true and false, correct and incorrect, appropriate and inappropriate and so forth and so on.
Children, therefore are a trust given to the parents. Parents will be responsible for this trust on the Day of Judgement. Parents are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and basic and essential religious teachings of their children.
If parents fulfill this responsibility, they will be free of the consequences on the Day of Judgement. The children will become better citizens and a pleasure to the eyes of their parents, first in this life, and in the hereafter.
Allah, the Almighty stated in the Glorious Qur’an:
“And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.” [Qur’an, 52:21]
Moreover, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“Upon death, man’s deeds will (definitely) stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and pious righteous and Allah-fearing child who continuously prays Allah, the Almighty, for the soul of his parents.” [Muslim]
In fact, such a statement reflects the value of the proper upbringing of children. It has an everlasting effect, even after death.
Unfortunately, many parents from every walk of life, in every society, regardless of creed, origin, social and economic status, etc., have neglected this very important imposed right of their own children on them. Such individuals have indeed lost their children to evil people as a result of their own negligence. Such parents are so careless about the time their children spend with no benefit, the friends they associate with, the places they go to, etc. Such parents do not care, are totally indifferent about where their children go, when they come back and so forth and so on, causing the children to grow up without any responsible adult and without caring supervision. Such parents neglect even to instruct, direct or guide their children to the proper way of life, behaviour or even the right attitudes towards others. Yet, you may find these parents are so careful about guarding their wealth and properties. They are extremely concerned about their businesses, work and otherwise. They exert every possible effort to lead a very successful life in terms of materialistic gains, although all this wealth is not actually theirs. No one will take wealth to the grave.
Children are not only to be well-fed, well-groomed, properly dressed for the weather and for appearance, well-taken care of in terms of housing and utilities. It is more important to offer the child comparable care in terms of educational, religious training, and spiritual guidance. The heart of a child must be filled with faith. A child’s mind must be entertained with proper guidance, knowledge, and wisdom. Clothes, food, housing, schooling are not, by any means, an indication of proper care of the child. Proper education and guidance are far more important to a child than this food, grooming, and appearance.
One of the due rights of children upon their parents is their spending for their welfare and well-being moderately. Over-spending or negligence is not condoned, accepted or even tolerated in Islam. Such ways will have a negative effect on the child regardless of social status. Men are urged not to be miserly to their children and households, who are their natural heirs in every religion and society. Why would one be miserly to those who are going to inherit his wealth? Children are entitled to such an important right. They are even permitted to take moderately from their parent’s wealth to sustain themselves if the parent declines to give them proper funds for their living.
Children also have the right to be treated equally in terms of financial gifts. No one should be preferred over the others. All must be treated fairly and equally. None should be deprived of his gift from the parents. Depriving, or banning the right of inheritance, or other financial gifts during the lifetime of the parents or the preference of a parent for one child over the other is considered according to Islam as an act of injustice. And we all know, injustice will definitely lead to an atmosphere of hatred, anger, and dismay amongst the children in a household. In fact, such an act of injustice may, most likely, lead to animosity amongst the children, and consequently, this will affect the entire family environment. In certain cases a special child may show tender care for his aging parent, for instance, causing the parent to grant such a child a special gift, or issue him the ownership of a house, a factory, a land, a farm, a car, or any other valuable items. Islam, however, considers such a financial reward to such a caring, loving and perhaps obedient child, a wrong act. A caring child is entitled only to a reward from Allah, the Almighty. Although it is nice to grant such a child something in appreciation for his dedication and special efforts, this must not lead to an act of disobedience to Allah, the Almighty. It may be that the heart and feelings of such a loving and caring child may change, at one point in time, causing him to become a nasty and harmful child. By the same token, a nasty child may change, at any given time, as well, to become a very caring and kind child to the same parent. The hearts and feelings are, as we all know, in the hands of Allah, the Almighty, and can be turned in any direction at any given time and without any previous notice. This, indeed, is one of the reasons for preventing the act of financial preference of a child over another. On the other hand, there is also no assurance or guarantee that a caring child can handle the financial gift of his parents wisely.
It is narrated by Abu Bakr (RA) who said that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) was approached by one of his Companions, al-Nu’uman Bin Bashir, who said:
“O Prophet of Allah! I have granted a servant to one of my children (asking the Prophet to testify to that gift).” But Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) asked him: “Did you grant the same to each and every child of yours?” When Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) was informed negatively about that, he said: “Fear Allah, the Almighty, and be fair and just to all your children. Seek the testimony of another person, other than me. I will not testify to an act of injustice.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Thus, Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) called such an act of preference of one child over the others an act of “injustice.” Injustice is prohibited and forbidden in Islam.
But, if a parent granted one of his children financial help to fulfill a necessity, such as a medical treatment coverage, the cost of a marriage, the cost of initialising a business, etc., then such a grant would not be categorised an act of injustice and unfairness. Such a gift will fall under the right to spend in the essential needs of the children, which is a requirement that a parent must fulfill.
Islam sees that if parents fulfill their duties towards all their children in terms of providing them with the necessary training, educational backing, moral, ethical and religious education, this will definitely lead to a more caring child, a better family atmosphere and a better social environment and awareness. On the other hand, any negligence in those parental duties can lead to the loss of a child or ill-treatment of the parents at a later age.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings, and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rabi’ul Awwal 17, 1441 A. H. (November 15, 2019).