What parents are entitled to

Islam speaks of the rights of parents towards their children. Being a parent is an honorable status. Because of the sacrifices that are made, parents earn different rights over their children.

In this article we discuss the biological parents and what their rights are in Islam. Even if they reject the religion of Islam in its entirety.

The rights set forth in this article do not apply to stepparents, although the right to respectful treatment does. And respectful intercourse also extends to other bonds, even your friends.

Being a parent is tough and takes a lot of time and effort from you. Having a right means you deserve it. Parents generally deserve respect, obedience, and gratitude from their children.

  1. Obedience
  2. Respectful treatment
  3. Gratitude
  4. Visit

1. Obedience

Parents have the right to obedience from their children. The word obedience is quite general in this context. What should the child be obedient in? Are there exceptions?

Children should obey their parents in all respects, except when the child is harmed by it. Does the parent ask you to grab a cup? Then you have to obey. Is the parent asking you to scorn and diminish your religion? Then you do not have to obey.

The principle is therefore that parents can demand things from their children that must not harm them. So it is not possible to ask children to give up their religion, well-being, financial condition and health. That would be sinful and unjust.

As a parent you are responsible for your children. It is not the intention to impose and oblige them against their will.

Do not impose obligations on them that they are not obliged to do in principle. That way, you build a bond with your child, and make sure they don't develop a grudge against you.

Disobeying parents is generally a great sin, as the Hadith below points out.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "(Major sins include:) Associating someone with Allah, disobedience to parents, killing a person and false utterance." [Sahih Muslim 88a]

2. Respectful treatment

Parents have the right to respectful treatment. This means that children should have a good attitude, good convictions and good words towards their parents.

Being a parent is a honorable position. However, this position should not be abused. Allah commands good treatment for everyone.

And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you shall be dutiful (and obedient) to your parents. And if one or both of them reach old age in your presence, do not say "uff" to them. And do not snub them (by raising your voice against them), but address them with respectful words.
[Surah Al-Isra verse 23]

3. Gratitude

Parents have had to sacrifice a lot in order to raise you. Often that is much of the material that they have had to realize. Think of clothing, a house, food, etc. And these things are part of the rights of the child.

Allah orders children to be thankful for what they have had to realize for you. And this is about parents who did everything they could to raise you.

Be thankful to your parents
[Surah Luqmaan verse 14]

4. Visit

Parents should be visited by their children. This is about parents who do no harm to their children and want the best for them.

In Islam, visiting the parents is a good deed. It is highly recommended. Islam contains the concept of 'Silatul Rahim', which means maintaining family ties. Every child is therefore ordered to maintain the family ties.

Maintaining family ties is made easier nowadays. You can do it even without physically visiting. Of course that would be better, but if that is not possible, there are alternatives.

The Hadith below indicates that it is a major sin to sever family ties. That is of course the general rule. In addition to the ties with parents, this also includes others (grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts, etc.).

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "He who severs family ties will not enter paradise." [Sahih Muslim 2556b]

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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