The Child’s Rights

The Father

My child! In order not to judge in a one sided manner, I should tell you that as any child is obligated to his parents, they in return are obligated to him too. In reply to a man who had asked about his obligations to his child, the Holy Prophet (S) said:

تحسن اسمه وادبه وضعه موضعاً حسناً.

“It is for you to give him a good name and to raise him in a good manner and to teach him an appropriate trade” 1

The Holy Prophet (S) has other points in this respect such as:

علموا اولادكم السباحة والرماية.

“Teach your children swimming and archery.” 2

يلزم الوالدين من العقوق لولدهما ما يلزم الولدلهما من عقوقهما.

“Parents are equally obliged to discharge their responsibilities towards their children and are accountable in case of failure. Similarly children are responsible to discharge their obligation towards parents” 3

رحم الله من اعان ولده على بره قال قلت كيف يعينه على بره قال يقبل يسوره ويتجاوز عن معسوره ولا يرهقه ولا يخرق به.

“May Allah have mercy upon those parents who help their children so that the children could reciprocate the same towards them. They asked how they can help. He replied by accepting any easy task he may fulfill; and by not requiring him to do hard labour; and by not being rough and unfair to him.” 4

Imam ‘Ali (as) says:

لا تقسروا اولادكم علي اخلاقكم فانهم مخلون لزمان غير زمانكم.

“Do not force your children in having the same characteristics as you do. Because they created in an era which is different from yours.” 5
Further he said:

وحق الولد على الوالدان يحسن اسمه ويحسن ادبه ويعلمه القرآن.

“A father has three obligations towards his child: 1. To give him a good name, 2: To raise him in a good manner, and 3: To teach him Holy Qur'an.” 6

I think, by this, he does not merely mean the pronunciation of Qur'anic words, but rather the practice and implementation of its commandments, method, and its exalted moral guidelines in their day of day lives. You should familiarize yourself with the sublime realities in the Qur'anic text, so that you can meet your spiritual needs. What better honour is there to lead a life according to the teaching of the Holy Qur’an?

Our fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (as) says:

واما حق ولدك فان تعلم انه منك ومضاف اليك في عاجل الدنيا بخيره وشره وانك مسئول عماوليته من حسن الادب والدلالة على ربه عزوجل والمعونة له على طاعته فاعمل في امره عمل من يعلم انه مثاب على الاحسان اليه معاقب على الاسائة اليه.

“You should be aware of the fact that your child has come from you and that people associate his good or bad deeds with you. You are responsible to teach him good manners, and to guide him to the way of the Creator of the World and to help him on obeying Him. Most assuredly, you will be rewarded for the being good to your child, and will be punished for abusing him.” 7

Imam As-Sadiq (as) says:

برالرجل بولده بره بوالديه.

“He who is beneficent to his child, is so to his parents” 8

Our seventh Imam, Imam Musa al-Kazim,9 (as) says:

يستحب عرامة الغلام فى صغره ليكون حليما فى كبره.

“It is appropriate to encourage a boy during his childhood to do difficult work in order to grow up a patient and meek adult.” 10

The Child

As you admit for the most part, rearing a child and preparing him for a material and spiritual life is up to his parents.

  • 1. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211
  • 2. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211
  • 3. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 210-211
  • 4. Wafi, 12th part, pp. 219-211
  • 5. Al Imam Ali, vol. III, p 733
  • 6. Nahjul Balagha, p. 546.
  • 7. Wafi, Part III, p.127
  • 8. Wafi, part II, p. 211
  • 9. The Seventh Imam, Musa, entitled al-Kazim (128/44-183/799). The son of the sixth, he was contemprerary with such Abbasid caliphs as al-Mansur and Harun al-Rashid. He lived most of his life in Medina with several restrictions placed upon him and finally died in prison in Bagdad. After him, the Imams were often not able to live in their traditional home of Medina, but were forced to remain near the caliph in Baghdad or Samara. He is buried in Kazimayn in Iraq.
  • 10. Wafi, Part II,P. 211