The Children’s Rights in Islam (part 1)

The Children's Rights in Islam

The Children’s Rights in Islam (part 1)

Author: Ustadz Abu Ahmad Said Yai

A child is a gift from Allah the Glorified and Exalted, a gift that increases the joy of its parents. A joy that could not be measured with wealth.

A child is a favor from Allah, thus, it is proper for a couple to be grateful to Allah for His favor. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed,

{لِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ يَهَبُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ (49) أَوْ يُزَوِّجُهُمْ ذُكْرَانًا وَإِنَاثًا وَيَجْعَلُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ عَقِيمًا إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ قَدِيرٌ (50)} [الشورى:49ـ50]

“The dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. He creates whatever He pleases. He grants females to whomever He pleases and males to whomever He pleases, or grants them a mix of males and females, and causes whomever He pleases to be barren. He is All- Knowing, All-Powerful.” (Chapter Asy Syuura/The Consultation:49-50)

Among the way to be grateful is to pay attention to the children’s rights, which in turn will lead to a harmonious relationship between family members, obedient children, and the forming of their righteous attitudes that in future will be ready to build their religion, nation, and country.

Islam is a perfect religion. Islam has taught its followers the good in all aspects of their life. And Islam has also taught what rights do the children have, to be fulfilled by their parents.

Among the rights of children in Islam are (for the parents to):

1. Choose a Righteous Spouse before Commencing Marriage

Before a child being born to the world, it is very important for a man or a woman to look closely with whom he or she is going to spend his or her life with. A right choice will definitely bring happiness in future.

The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had taught any man who wanted to get married to choose a righteous and devout woman. The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

( تُنْكَحُ الْمَرْأَةُ لأرْبَعٍ: لِمَالِهَا, وَلِحَسَبِهَا، وَجَمَالِهَا، وَلِدِينِهَا، فَاظْفَرْ بِذَاتِ الدِّينِ تَرِبَتْ يَدَاكَ )

“A woman is married because of four reasons, namely: her wealth, her social status, her beauty, and her religious devotion. Choose a devout woman, hence your hands will be filled with dust. (It is supplication which in Arabic means to invoke goodness or luck).”[1]

However, it doesn’t mean that a woman can’t choose her spouse, rather, she is allowed to choose her future husband. To attain a righteous spouse, we can go and search for it among muslim society, -all praises be to Allah. However, the most important thing for someone who’s in search of his match is contentment (being content with whatever Allah chooses for him), and realization that no man or woman is perfect.

By that, he’ll feel an immense pleasure if in fact, his match is a righteous, obedient woman, who’s able to educate his children; a favor that cannot be achieved if he is coupled with a woman who’s only asserting her wealth, social status, or beauty.

2. Recite the supplication before performing sexual relationship to ward off the evil of satan

The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had taught us the supplication before sexual intercourse. He -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

(لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا أَتَى أَهْلَهُ قَالَ: (بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ, اللَّهُمَّ جَنِّبْنَا الشَّيْطَانَ وَجَنِّبْ الشَّيْطَانَ مَا رَزَقْتَنَا) فَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمَا وَلَدٌ لَمْ يَضُرُّهُ)

“If one of you recite, upon making love to his wife: BISMILLAH ALLAHUMMA JANNIBNASY-SYAITHAN WA JANNIBISY-SYAITHAN MA RAZAQTANA (In the name of Allah. O Allah, please keep the satan away from us, and keep it away from whatever You favor upon us), and Allah ordains for them (by the intercourse) a child, then satan can never harm it.” [2]

3. Take care of It before its birth

It is compulsory for a couple to pay attention and take care of their children throughout pregnancy, both of the physical wellbeing of the child and the characters that will be passed on from the mother to her child. A mother should be aware of whatever her daily routine is; she must not

Lest she has some bad habits that subconsciously will affect the character of her child later on.

A father is obliged to provide a living for the mother of his child, even though he has divorced her. The reason is because the mother is pregnant with his child, and providing livelihood for a child is obligatory for a father.

Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed,

{وَإِنْ كُنَّ أُولَاتِ حَمْلٍ فَأَنْفِقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ حَتَّى يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ} [الطلاق:6]

“And if they are pregnant, provide for them maintenance until they have delivered their burden.” (Chapter Ath Thalaq/The Divorce:6)

4. Rejoice upon its birth

When a child is born, it is appropriate for its father and mother to rejoice and express their happiness.

No matter what its condition, whether it is a boy or a girl. Because sometimes, some parents harbor resentment when the child born a girl.

We need to know that such resentment is a character of the ignorant that is still adapted by some muslims. Allah the Glorified and Exalted had told us through the Qur’an about the vicious tradition among the Quraish during the time of ignorance. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed,

{وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُمْ بِالْأُنْثَى ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ (58) يَتَوَارَى مِنَ الْقَوْمِ مِنْ سُوءِ مَا بُشِّرَ بِهِ أَيُمْسِكُهُ عَلَى هُونٍ أَمْ يَدُسُّهُ فِي التُّرَابِ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ (59) }[النحل : 58-59]

“When any of them is told about the birth of a female his face turns dark, and he is filled with suppressed anger, and he hides himself from people because of the bad news, thinking: should he keep the child despite disgrace, or should he bury it in dust? How evil is their estimate of Allah! ” (Chapter An Nahl/The Bee: 58-59)

5. Look after its life, during pregnancy and after delivery

A child also has a right to live. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed,

{وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا } [الأسراء : 31]

“(vii) Do not kill your children for fear of want. We will provide for them and for you. Surely killing them is a great sin.” (Chapter Al Isra’/The Night Journey:31)

The killing that is quite common to be found is through abortion. Abortion is forbidden, unless there are emergency situations that force it to. Strangely, based on datas that I’ve collected, it is mothers with two or three children who did it the most, may they haste in repenting and asking for Allah’s forgiveness.

6. Name it with decent name

A child also has the right to be given a decent and well-sounded name, because that name it what represents him throughout his life. Therefore, parents, do not make mistake in choosing its name.

Islam has taught its followers to choose Islamic names, and avoid names that contain resemblance to other religion, or to evil doers. A muslim should be proud with Islamic names for their child.

We don’t have to spend too much effort in choosing an Islamic name. I remember an advice from Sheikh ‘Abdul Muhsin Al ‘Abbas (the expert of hadith in Medina) when he was asked about some Arabic names that were quite uncommon, his answer was, “Choose names that do not need further questioning, whether it is allowed to use it or not!”.

The intended names here are plenty, such as ‘Abdullah, ‘Abdurrahman, ‘Abdurrahim, and the like, the prophets’ names, the names of well-known companions, etc. likewise, there are a lot of names of righteous women for a girl, such as Fatima, Khadija, ‘Aisha, etc.

7. Nurse it with breastmilk until it full and pay attention to the food and drink it consumes

A child has the right for its health to be maintained. The best food for children under 2 years old is the breastmilk.

{َالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَدِهِ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ …}

“mothers may suckle their children for two whole years.  (In such a case) it is incumbent upon him who has begotten the child to provide them (i.e. divorced women) their sustenance and clothing in a fair manner. But none shall be burdened with more than he is able to bear; neither shall a mother suffer because of her child nor shall the father be made to suffer because he has begotten him. The same duty towards the suckling mother rests upon the heir as upon him (i.e. the father).” (Chapter Al Baqara/The Cow:233)

Ibn Hazm said, “A mother is bound to nurse her child, whether she is a free woman or a slave, or under the care of her husband, her master, or no one. It is because the right of her child that comes from the sperm of her husband or other than him, whether she is pleased or not, and even the daughter of a caliph should be forced to do it.

Except for a divorced woman, she is not forced to nurse her child from the husband who divorced her. However, if she intends to nurse it, then she must be allowed to…”[3]

8. Perform aqiqa by slaughtering a goat for a girl, and two goats for a boy, and shave its head on the seventh day after its birth

The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

(الْغُلَامُ مُرْتَهَنٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ يُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ السَّابِعِ وَيُسَمَّى وَيُحْلَقُ رَأْسُهُ)

“A child is pawned with its aqiqa, a slaughtering should be done for it on the seventh day, and it is to be named and its head to be shaven.” [4]

Although there are disagreements among the scholars about the obligation to perform aqiqa, but it is appropriate for a muslim to always try to follow all of the Prophet’s teaching -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.

9. Look after its physical cleanliness and remove any kind of dirts from it

It is the duty of parents to look after their children’s cleanliness. Subconsciously, this attitude will largely affect the mental growth of the child. It is also the duty of a parent to teach their children to keep clean. For example, to teach it to not litter and only throw the garbage on its bin, to make its bed, and to brush its teeth.

Islam is a religion that pay great attention to cleanliness. Among the Islamic teachings that explain about cleanliness is the suggestion to circumcise, for men and women alike.

Footnotes:

[1] Narrated by Al-Bukhari no. 5090 and Muslim no. 3635

[2] Narrated by Al-Bukhari no. 3283 and Muslim no. 3533

[3] Al-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm, book X Page. 335, Idarah Ath-Thiba’ah Al-Muniriyah

[4] Narrated by Abu Dawud no. 2837, At-Tirmidzi no. 1522 and Ibn Maja no. 3165, classified as valid hadith by Sheikh Al-Albani in Shahih Abi Dawud no. 2527-2528, Irwa’ul-ghalil no. 1165 and Al-Misykah no. 4153.

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