Let us first establish that children in accordance to the Islamic concept means both male and female.
Some of anti-Islamic concepts accuse Islam by differentiating between male and female children claiming that it does prefer boys over girls in terms of inheritance, ‘Aqiqah (slaughter of two lambs upon the birth of a male baby and one lamb for a baby girl) and other matters. In accordance with true Islam teaching, both male and female are alike in the sight of Allah, the Almighty. Each, however, is physically prepared and equipped to perform certain task and duties that are suitable to his/her nature. All again are equal in religious duties, except for certain exception that are defined and illustrated by Allah, the Almighty, in the glorious Quran, or declared and specified by Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings be upon him). Only these differences are to be acknowledged and honored by in accordance with Islam and its teachings.
Children in accordance to Islam are entitled to various and several rights. The first and the famous right is the right of 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 life. 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. Allah, the Almighty, stated in the glorious Quran:
“O ye who believes, save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is Men and Stones” [Noble Quran 66:6]
Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings be upon him) also said: “Every one of you (people) is a shepherd. And every one is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them” [This Hadith is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim.]
Children, therefore are a trust given to the parents. Parents are to be responsible for this trust on the Day of Judgment. Parents are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and the 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. The children will become better citizen and pleasure to the eyes of their parents, first in this life, and in the Hereafter.
Allah, the Almighty, stated in the glorious Quran:
“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.” [Noble Quran 25:21]
Moreover, Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings 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 God-fearing child who continuously pray Allah, the Almighty, for the soul of his parents” This Hadith is reported by Muslim.
In fact, such a statement reflects the value of 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 economical status, etc., have neglected this very important this imposed right of their own children unto them. Such individuals have indeed lost their children as a result for their own negligence. Such parents are so careless about the time their children spent with no benefit, the friends they associate with, the places they go to etc., such parents they 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 without any responsible adult and caring supervision. Such parents neglect even to instruct, direct or guide their children to the proper way of life, behavior or even attitudes towards others. Yet, you may find these parents are so careful about their wealth. They are extremely concerned about their own business, 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 seasons and appearance, well-taken care 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 , education are not, by any means, an indication of proper care of the child, proper education and guidance is far more important to a child than his food, grooming and appearance .
One of the due rights of children upon parents is to spend for their welfare and well-being moderately. Over spending or negligence is not condoned, accepted or even tolerated in Islam. Such ways negative effect on the child regardless of the social status. Men are urged not to be miserly to his children and household, who are their natural heirs in every religion and society. Why would one miserly to those who are going to inherit his wealth. They are even permitted to take moderately from their parent’s wealth to sustain themselves if the parents declined to give them proper funds for their living.
Children also have the right to be treated equally in terms of financial gifts. None should be preferred over the others. All must be treated fairly and equally. None should be deprived his gift from the parents. Depriving, or banning the right of the inheritance, or, other financial gifts during the lifetime of the parents or preference of parents for a child over the other will be considered in accordance to Islam an act of injustice. Injustice will definitely lead to an atmosphere of hatred, anger and dismay amongst the children in one household. In fact, such an act of injustice may, most likely, lead to animosity amongst the children and consequently this effect an entire family environment. In certain cases when special child may show tender care to his aging parent, for instance, causing the parent to grant such a child a special gift, or issue him an ownership of a house, a factory, or a land, a farm, a car, or any other valuable items. Islam, however, considers such a financial reward to such caring, loving or may be obedient child, a wrong act. A caring child is entitled only for reward from Allah, the Almighty. Although it’s nice to grant such child something in appreciation for dedication and special efforts, but 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 to prevent an act of financial preference of a child over another. On the other hand, there is no assurance or guarantees that a caring child can handle the financial gift of his parent wisely.
It is narrated by Abu-Bakr who said that Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings be upon him) was informed by one of his companions, al-Nu’man bin Bashir, who said:
“O prophet of Allah! I have granted a servant to one of my children (asking him to testify for that gift),” But Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings be upon him), asked him: “Did you grant the same to each and every child of yours?” When Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings be upon him) was informed negatively about that, he said: “Fear Allah, the Almighty, and be fair and just to all of your children. Seek the testimony of another person, other than me. I will not testify to an act of injustice.”
This Hadith is reported by both Bukhari and Muslim. Thus, Allah’s Apostle (Peace and blessings 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 remuneration to fulfill a necessity, such as a medical treatment coverage, the cost of a marriage, the cost of initializing a business, etc., then such a grant would not be categorized an act of injustice and unfairness. Such a gift will fall under the right to spend in an essential needs of the children, which is a requirement that parent must fulfill.
Islam sees that if parents fulfill their duties towards all children in terms of providing them with necessary training, educational backing, moral, ethical and religious education, this will definitely lead to a more caring child, better family atmosphere and better social environment and awareness. On the other hand, any negligence in the parenthood duties can lead to the loss of a child or ill treatment to a parent at a later age.
By: Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al Uthaymeen