Children’s Rights on Parents 3

Children’s Rights on Parents 3

6. Treating All the Children Equally:

The Prophet (PBUH&HP) has emphasized that parents should be just and fair to all the children, particularly in matters of gifts and kindness, and it must not be that while one gets more the other gets less or nothing. Besides, if discrimination is made among the children and one is favored more than the other, it will lead to ill-will and jealousy, and nothing but evil can arise from this. This child who is discriminated against will bear a grudge against the father, the painful consequences of which are easy to imagine.

Moman ibn Bashir narrates: My father took me to the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and said to him: I have given a slave to this son of mine. The Prophet inquired, Have you given the same to all of your sons? No, my father replied. The Prophet, thereupon, said: It is not correct. Take it back. In another version, the same narration, the Prophet asked: do you want all your children to be equally devoted to you? Yes, of course, he replied. The Prophet said: Then do not act like that (let it not be that you give some property to one child and exclude the others.) In yet another version it is added that the Prophet remarked: I cannot be a witness to an act of injustice.

In this version, it is enjoined upon parents not to discriminate among their children when it comes to give them something as a gift, etc. This has been condemned by the Prophet (PBUH&HP) as unjust and unfair. Some of the learned people have gone to the extent of calling it Forbidden (Haraam), but the majority of them hold the view that though it is not Haraam, it is Undesirable (makrooh). It must, however, be emphasized that the command applied only to a situation where the preferential treatment is based on a consideration that is not lawful or justifiable in the eye of the Shariah otherwise no blame will be attached to it.

For example, if a child is physically handicapped and cannot earn his livelihood like his brothers, a special favor to him will not be incorrect, but to an extent it will be essential and worthy of Divine reward, Similarly, should any child dedicate himself to the cause of imaan or public welfare and have no time to look after his economic needs, it would also be correct and deserving of reward, to make a reasonable allowance for him over the other children. There is no harm if preference is shown to one of the children with the consent of others (i.e., brother and sisters).

In a version, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) says: Treat all your children equally in regard to free gifts. If I were to show preference in this matter, I would show it to daughters. (If equality was not necessary and binding, I would have declared that more be given to daughters than to sons.) It can be concluded from this version that though, after the death of the parents, the shares of daughters in ancestral property is half of the sons, in their lifetime, the share of both the sons and the daughters is equal. Therefore, whatever the parents give to the sons, in their lifetime, should also be given to the daughters.

7. Responsibility of Marriage

It is the duty of parents to arrange the marriage of their children when they come of age. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) has stressed that it should be taken seriously and with a full sense of responsibility. Abu Saeed Khudri and Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: Whoever is blessed by the Creator with children should give them good names, a good training, teach them good manners, and arrange for their marriage when they attain the age of puberty. If he does not pay due heed to it and fails to get them married, on reaching marriageable age (due to negligence) and they take no ways that are forbidden, the father will be held responsible for it.

Commentary: In this version the marriage of the children, too, on their attaining the marriageable age, has been made a responsibility of the father. But alas we are growing increasingly indifferent to it mainly because we have made marriage a most tiresome and expensive affair by following and adopting the customs of others.
If we follow the good example of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and begin to perform marriages as he had performed his own marriage; or the marriages of his daughters, the whole ceremony will be as easy and simple, as it is for a Muslim to observe and fulfill the Friday Prayers. Blessings will then flow from it - of which we have deprived ourselves, through thoughtless imitations of un-Islamic societies.

Continue in the next article: ( Children’s Rights on Parents 4 )