Allah SWT has given children rights over their parents just as the parents have rights over their children.
In the past reminders have been on the rights of parents but with a bigger than average attendance of the youth today, it’s worth reminding the parents that children also have a right in Islam that the parents must uphold.
The first and foremost thing we ought to remind ourselves is that children are gifts from Allah SWT. Even with modern science where it is at today, nothing can compare to the miracle of childbirth and Allah SWT reminds us of this in the 72nd ayat of Sura An-Nahl which is translated to say:
And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?
We are being reminded by Allah SWT that nothing is without His permission. This is evident in those who struggle to conceive. The imam also referenced the 49th ayat of Sura Ash-Shura which is translated to say:
To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we know that our children are gifts from Allah SWT then surely we ought to ensure that we take care of that gift. We give one another presents all the time and if we were to disregard that present, especially in front of the person who gave it to us, wouldn’t that be something to be embarrassed of?
And so, with our children, we must be mindful and adhere to their rights so that we are grateful for the gifts that they are to us.
And so this reminder has 10 rights that children have from their parents or guardians which will be covered today.
- To be good and decent yourself. Children do not listen, they follow. This is shown in countless studies and so if we want our children to be a certain way then the best way to achieve this is to be that person ourselves. For example, we cannot expect them to love Salah if we are not praying ourselves.
- To name them well. The name we give our children is important. Choose Islamic names as the meaning of the name has an effect on the child.
- To give them good upbringing. We all want the best for our children but with this point we need to understand that a good upbringing isn’t about money or stuff. Good upbringing is about dedicating time and effort in your children such as family games and trips.
- To encourage learning and education. Dear brothers and sisters, our ummah is famous for this aspect of our deen. Let us continue that tradition and make learning not just for the school and madrassah but part of our home environment. Dedicate time daily to reading or learning something.
- To be good to them when young, help them when mature. There is a hadith in relation to this point which is translated to say:
“The child is the master for seven years; and a slave for seven years and a vizier for seven years; so if he grows into a good character within 21 years, well and good; otherwise leave him alone because you have discharged your responsibility before Allah.”
The meaning of this from scholars is that for the first seven, we play with them, the next seven we train and teach the child and beyond 14, we give them the guidance to make the right choices themselves.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must give the children their due. Don’t be overstrict with them or spoil them but we mindful of what level they are at and be with them accordingly.
- To be fair to all children equally. This is important in larger families as it is easy to compare children with one another. Dear brothers and sisters, we are not raising clones. Each child is different and with different strengths and weaknesses. It is our responsibility to recognize that and treat each child according to their individual traits.
- To help them make the right decisions in life, including marriage. This comes back to the earlier point of being advisors to our children after the age of fourteen. Even after society deems them adults, we need to remember that responsibility lies with us to advise them and be there for them. The first step to that is to be able to listen to them, empathise with them and refrain from judging them because that is not our place to do, we risk alienating them if we talk down to them. The key here is to remind yourself that you were once in that position and so approach them as friends when they are older in life.
- To help them get married. From financial help to advise on picking the right spouse, we need to ensure that they are married as soon as they are able to in order to prevent them from deviating from the right path. Society has plenty of alternatives to marriage which will tempt and so we need to be mindful of that and work with our children to get them married, despite the fear we all feel as parents with the idea of our children leaving us after marriage.
- To spend on them if they are poor. Children bring their own rizq with them and we need to be mindful that we do not forgo their rights in terms of the financial support they need – whether it is education, clothing or something else that contributes to their growth into the next generation of our Ummah.
- And finally, to do duaa for them. Dear brothers and sisters, this point is obvious but worth mentioning anyway that the dua of the parents, especially the mother is one of the most powerful forces in this world. Do not short-change your children and forgo their right on you praying for them. Their parents dua has the potential to impact their every facet of their lives for the better.
Dear brothers and sisters, our children may stretch our patience at times but we are blessed to have each and every one of them. Let us take today’s khutba as a reminder that we will be held accountable for the way in which we raise them.