A Muslim recognizes that a child has rights over his parents that he must fulfill. Furthermore, there are some manners and etiquette that must be followed between the two. These are to be found in the parent choosing a good name for his child, to sacrifice an animal (Aqiqah) for his child on the prescribed time period, circumcising the child, having mercy and gentleness with the child, providing food for the child, bringing him/her up in a proper way, being concerned with its cultural and social upbringing, teaching him/her about Islam and training him to fulfill the obligatory and recommended aspects as well as other manners. This continues until the child is married off, at which time he will give him the choice to stay under his guardianship or to move off on his own. These are all based on the following evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis.” (2:233)
Allah also says:
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, which are angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (66:6)
In this verse, there is a command to protect the family from the Hell-fire. This is done by obeying Allah. This obedience of Allah requires that one know what Allah has obligated him to do. This cannot come about without learning. Therefore, since the father is from the group of men, the verse is evidence that it is obligatory upon the father to teach his child, educate him, guide him and lead him to what is best and the obedience of Allah and His Messenger (SAWS). Similarly, he must teach him to refrain and remain away from disbelief, acts of disobedience, evil and depravity. This is all in order to protect him from the punishment of the Hell-fire.
Furthermore, in the first verse there is evidence that the responsibility for the maintenance of the child falls upon the father. This is because the obligation upon him to support the suckling mother is because she is suckling his child. Allah also says:
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty.” (17:31)
When Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) was asked about the greatest sins, he replied: “You should associate an equal to Allah while he created you, that you kill your child out of fear that he would eat from your food, and that you commit adultery with your neighbour’s wife.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The prohibition of killing one’s children is a necessary consequence of having mercy for them and protecting their body, minds and soul from harm.
Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said: “The acts according to the Fitra (natural disposition for the Prophets) are five: circumcision, removing pubic hairs, trimming the mustache, trimming the nails and removing underarm hairs.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is also narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said: “Honour your children and bring them up well. Verily, your children are a gift for you.” (Ibn Majah)
The Prophet (SAWS) also said: “Teach the child to pray at the age of seven and beat them to do it at the age of ten. And separate them in their bedding.” (Abu Dawud)
Concerning the right of the child upon the father, it is also mentioned in reports that the father must educate the child in a good way and choose a good name for him.
O you who believe! do not let your wealth and your CHILDREN divert you from the remembrance of Allah, and whoever does that, then those are the persons at loss.(63:9)
· Children are blessings from Allah. We need to thank Him for that blessing he has bestowed upon us.
· And we should also remember that children are the greatest test. Our minds should not be diverted from Allah because of our children. Therefore we need to consider children as both a blessing and test by Allah.
· Children need not fear parents. We should teach them how to fear Allah. We should not get them feared of people like policemen, darkness, ghost, etc. From the beginning they should have fear only of Allah and not anyone else.
· Children should not only be taught recitation of Quran, prayer,etc,etc but they need to be taught how to mingle with people, as Islam is a religion of a community and not an individual.
· Till the age of puberty, all their deeds are accountable for parents, after puberty children are accountable for their own deeds.
· It’s the parents who teach their children to tell lies. Parents are an example for children. If we tell lies to our children, don’t be surprised when they lie to us when they are grown. Examples:
1. suppose u get a phone call and u don’t want to talk to that person at the moment, u tell the small child, ‘tell mummy is busy’. The child can see that mummy is not busy but is still telling she is. This is the way how we inculcate the habit of telling lies in our children.
2. We promise to give chocolate to our child if they finish eating. In the hope of getting that chocolate the child eats. Once the food is over, you don’t give the chocolate. Again the child realizes that you lied to him. This is how we teach our children to lie.
· There is an age when children want to know about how a baby is born, about his body, etc. Never feel shy to tell him. Tell our child regarding body, menstruation, sex, etc according to his age to the extent he should know. It is better that we tell them about all this, than they go and ask their friends. From outside sources they might learn things which are haram and unislamic. So its better to teach our children all this than they learning from others. Because we would give them the right knowledge as per Islam.
· We should make our children realize that we love them because Allah puts mercy on us. When we ask our children, why we love them so much, they should be able to answer, it is because of the Mercy of Allah.
· The father has to teach the choose
1. the right mother to guide his children
2. he has to guide his family the truth and educate them on the matter of religion.
"O my Fosterer! grant me from Yourself good offspring, You are certainly the Hearer of prayer." (3:38)
"My Fosterer! do not leave me childless, though you are the Best of inheritors." (21:89)
"Our Fosterer! grant to us through our wives and offspring comfort of the eyes and make us leaders of those who guard (against evil)."(25:74)
“My Fosterer! grant me (offspring) among the righteous.”(37:100)
“And We have enjoined on man, doing of good to his parents, his mother bears him with hardship and delivers him with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him takes thirty months, until when he reaches his strength (maturity) and reaches forty years, he says, “O my Fosterer! arouse me that I may be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed on me and my parents and that I may do righteous work which pleases You, and set right for me (the affair) in (connection with) my descendants, I certainly turn to You and I am certainly of those who submit (as Muslims).”(46:15)