What children are entitled to

Having children is one of the greatest blessings you can have. But it can also be a big challenge for you. One is tested in both good and bad. Neglecting the rights of a child can be very counterproductive.

Allah has placed a responsibility upon anyone who is favored with children. Parents have to fulfill various duties and rights of their children.

Below we describe the various rights that children have over their parents. This does not include the rights of stepchildren, although a few below do.

1. Love

Every child deserves the love he or she wants and needs. Receiving love is a child's greatest right. The parents who give their children everything but love, still fall short in upbringing them.

Allah commands fair and good treatment with everyone. Children are not excluded. Islam recommends good treatment with neighbors, friends, family, business partners, nature, animals, etc.

A child deserves love without having to do anything for it. So you cannot make a condition of giving them love. Receiving love has no conditions with children.

The duty of parents is to give love to their children. This also goes hand in hand with merciful treatment. Nowhere is there prescribed a condition to be fulfilled before giving love to children. The child has the right to long-lasting love.

During childhood they learn many things from their environment. They also record how you interact with them. This automatically becomes a characteristic of the child.

Do you love children? Then they become loving towards themselves and others. Do you neglect giving love? Then the child does not give this to others and they become harsh by nature.

The Prophet (ﷺ) and his love towards children

Anas ibn Malik reported: "The Prophet hugged his son Ibrahim, kissed him and smelled him. [Sahih al-Bukhari 1303]

Abu Huraira narrated that al-Aqra' ibn Habis saw the Prophet (ﷺ) kiss his grandson: Hasan. Al-Aqra' ibn Habis then said: "I have ten children, but I have never kissed any of them. Whereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: He who shows no mercy (to his children), will not receive mercy. [Sahih Muslim 2318a]

2. Respectful treatment

It is commanded in Islam that the child obeys and respects the parent. Respecting the child is also commanded, and so is it with the entire creation. Respectful treatment is what strengthens yourself and draws others to you.

Does a child break something in the house? Then try not to make the child feel guilty. They often intend not do it, so with raising your voice to him or her, will scare the child and thus damage the bond.

Children of all ages deserve to be treated respectfully and friendly. To yell, scold or put down your child, is not from Islam, and it is Haram to act that way.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "He who is not merciful to the young has nothing to do with us (in conduct)." [Sunan Tirmidhi 1920 (Classification: Hasan)]

3. Fair treatment

Unfortunately, it often happens that a parent loves a specific child more than the other. Islam recommends fair treatment with both children. Do you get a present for a child and leave the other one hanging? Then that is not fair treatment.

Do your best to give both children the same amount. Children deserve fairness and love. By being negligent about this, you run the risk that a child will build resentment and anger later on.

Children do not have to prove themselves to receive fair treatment. Unfortunately, that condition is being put often. We make it a competition between children to receive our love, which is not from Islam.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Fear Allah and treat your children fairly." [Sahih al-Bukhari 2587]

4. Good education

Every child deserves good education. That includes both Islamic and secular. Teach your child to be aware of the Islamic rules. It is advisable to teach the Tawheed from an early age. This forms a strong foundation for further knowledge.

Educate your child to be able to function well in the country he or she lives in. Provide valuable information and assist the child in the learning process.

Assign a respectful, gentle and honest teacher to your child. This is beneficial because it allows the child to pick up on good things from his or her teacher.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no envy except in two: a person to whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it properly, and a person to whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e., religious knowledge) and he makes his decisions accordingly and teaches it to others." [Sahih al-Bukhari 1409]

5. Safety

Children have the right to a place of safety. This concerns different matters, like for example the safety to: express, have thoughts, speak, etc.

The house should provide a safe atmosphere. Parents are responsible for the safety of their children. Therefore, take your precautions by, for example, living in a good neighborhood, removing abusers from their lives and protecting them from incorrect behavior.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "When night falls (break of evening), stop taking your children outside (temporarily), because the devils are spreading at that time." [Sahih al-Bukhari 3280]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "The man is the shepherd of his family (wife and children), and he is responsible for them. The woman is the shepherd of her husband's house and her children." [Sahih al-Bukhari 7138]

6. Being fed

It is a human right to be supplied with food. Children should not be starving because of this. It would be a great injustice to starve them out on purpose.

There is a great reward for the Muslims for feeding children. It is also seen as a form of Sadaqa (charity).

Starving a child is not from Islam. In fact, it falls under acts of oppression and abuse. And that is a major sin.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "A poor woman came to me with her daughters. I gave her three dates. She gave each of them a date, and then she took a date and brought it to her mouth to eat it, but her daughters expressed to the desire to eat it. She then divided the date she intended to eat between them. This (kind) treatment of her impressed me and I mentioned what she did with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). Thereupon he said: Verily, Allah has secured for her Paradise because of (this deed) of her, or He has saved her from Hellfire." [Sahih Muslim 2630]

7. Maintanance of needs

Throughout a child's life, he or she will need different things. For example: shelter, clothing, school supplies, books, etc. And we are not talking about extra things. Children have the right to basic needs.

Maintaining a child can be a major challenge. Sometimes one even has to save up to be able to realize their basic needs.

Children are an amanah (a trust) that Allah has given you. Therefore, spend on them, so that they will have a noble upbringing and will therefore also trust you when they grow up.

If the father would not spend enough, the mother can always step in for this. This is done with the advice of the following Hadith:

Hind bint 'Utba, the wife of Abu Sufyan, came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: “Abu Sufyan is a stingy person. He does not provide sufficient support for me and my children, but (I am obliged) to survive without his knowledge of his money (part of it). Am I sinful if I do?" Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ): "Take from his property what is customary that will be sufficient for you and your children." [Sahih Muslim 1714a]

Abu Athari writes about basic principles within Islam. He uses his critical and well-researched way to spread knowledge of the first three Muslim generations.

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