What is the limit to which children should respect their parents? My parents have destroyed my life. They have made me a schizophrenic and have tried to kill me. However, Allah saved me. They are of loose morals and are of bad character. I have been subjected to a lifetime of torture due to which I have become a schizophrenic. When I survived their attempt on my life they left me to die. But my brother supported me and is still supporting me. My father hates me and my mother says she could not remarry because I was born. Both my parents loved someone else before their parents forced them to marry each other.
Indeed, it is with great concern and worry that I received your question.
The answer will cover the following:
1. The importance of parents and the rights of children upon them
2. The importance of excellence towards one’s parents, it limits and scope.
The Importance of Parents in the life of a child:
Allah Most High gives us many lessons and examples from stories that are found in His book. That is why the great Sufi and Knower of Allah Junayd (May Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Stories are a soldier form the soldiers of Allah. With them Allah strengthens the hearts of His friends and chosen ones.”
If one feels alone and isolated from friends, family or co-workers, let him reflect on the loneliness of Yusuf in the ditch.
If one feels the heat of tests, trials and challenges, let him reflect on the fire that engulfed our father Ibrahim (peace be upon him).
If a believer feels sad and overcome by the anxiety of sins let him reflect on the story of those who Allah forgave at the end of Surat Tawba.
That is why when one of the Companions was asked about getting closer to Allah. He responded, “I know of no better way to get closer to Allah then though His words.” Can you imagine, my dear Muslim, that at this moment, if you make wudu and open the Qur’an, you are holding the words of Allah in your hands? There, in front of you, is the lasting miracle of our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings upon him. And for every letter read the light of faith will rise over the horizon of your heart and fill it with the warm light of Allah’s guidance. For that reason let us spend some time drinking from the endless spring of Qur’anic wisdom:
The Importance of Parenting:
To understand the role and importance parents play in the life of a child reflect on the following verse found in Surat Yusuf where Yusuf (peace be upon him) said:
“O my father! Lo! I saw in a dream eleven planets and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves unto me.”
It is well known that Yusuf had 11 brothers. Thus the stars represented them. However, if the starts represented his siblings, then who or what does the sun and moon represent? Imam Tabari states that the sun represented Yusuf’s father and the Moon his mother. Thus, it can be easily stated that the Son and Moon represent two of the most central parts of our existence, for without them our world would cease to exist. Thus, parents represent, in the life of a child or young adult, those important life sources for children and young adults. It is from the bright light of the husband and its reflection on the mother that the roads of life are illuminated for the child,
The Scholars on The Role of Parents:
Ibn Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: “He who neglects teaching his son or guiding him towards what would avail him, and leaves him uselessly, has done him the biggest insult. ”
The great Proof of Islam Imam Ghazali, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “Since the composition of the child’s heart is such that it can accept the influences of both the good and the bad, the righteous and the evil, it is the responsibility of the father and the mother to incline the [heart of the] child either to good or to evil .”
Love and Mercy
Love and mercy towards one’s child is an important part of their lives. The Qur’an paints a beautiful example of this love in the story of the prophet Musa: After setting her son in the basket and observing him float down the river, Musa’s mother was shocked to find her only son in the hands of Pharaoh and his wife. Allah Most High describes the scene in the following verse:
And the heart of the mother of Moses became empty.”
The word used to describe her heart is farigha, which literally means empty. It is usually applied to a vessel or glass that has been emptied. Thus, Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al-Sharqawi of Al-Azhar University states, “The mother of Musa’s heart became free of any concern related to her life. Thus, she was unable to think about anything except her son.” To get a better image of this visualize an empty vessel with only one thing inside it! Thus, Allah Most High employs such a powerful image to illustrate the love and concern a mother should have for her child.
The Rights of Children:
These rights are divided into two:
1. Rights prior to conception
2. Rights after conception
The rights of the child prior to conception consist of the following:
Allah Most High gives us many wonderful supplications in the Qur’an pertaining to children and offspring. Allah Most High says:
“My Lord! Bestow upon me of Thy bounty goodly offspring. Lo! Thou art the Hearer of Prayer.”
Ask yourself if you are still young, “Do I make du’a for my children?” One of the great tricks of Shyatan is tell you, “No problem. You’ve got a lot of time before marriage etc.” Another point from this dua is for those of us who are married. What type of children do we ask for? “Oh Allah! Give me the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.” Indeed, notice the simple nature of the expression, “Goodly offspring” and ponder on its implications.
2. The right of choosing a good spouse:
The Scholars have stated that one of the rights of the child is a pious spouse. We find a beautiful supplication for this in the Qur’an. Allah Most High says:
“Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the pious.”
What to look for?
The Shariah has outlined certain characteristics that one should look for in a spouse. It is authentically reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him said, “Marry a woman for four reasons.” Then the Prophet mentioned the following:
1. Her religion
2. Her beauty
3. Her wealth
4. Her family
Then the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Marry the possessor of religion. May you be blessed.”
Many People have misunderstood this hadith and its intent. Some have understood that beauty, wealth, and family are not important. However, what the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, implied was that religion should be the first priority. However, if one is able to find a woman with religion and beauty that is good. If one is able to find a woman with religion, beauty, and wealth that is better. Finally, if one is able to find a woman with religion, beauty, wealth and a good family that is the best. And for that reason the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, never married another woman while he was married to our Mother Khadijah, Allah be pleased with her. Because, according to the scale of this hadith, she had all four qualities. Thus, she was a complete woman.
For Our Sisters
Many times our sister feel left out when seeking a husband. However, the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, left clear guidelines for the type of husband one should seek. The Prophet said:
“When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption”
This hadith illustrates the importance of choosing a man with faith. However, many times religious men are seen as being difficult and abusive. Thus the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Religion and Character”. This is an example of what the scholars refer to as a specific (khass) being taken from the general (‘aam). This is done in order to show something’s importance and status. Therefore, character is part of religion; however, the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, mentioned it separately in order to illustrate its importance.
It is sad to see some many running after material qualities in a mate. For some reason we think that with money everything will just fall into place. However, let us reflect on some of those who suffered the greatest punishments by Allah. People such as: Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun. Their money brought them nothing except greater anguish and punishment. However, it is a sad reflection of the Western Muslim reality that money and success materially are sought above any thing else.
Once a (rich) man passed by the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, and his Companions. The Prophet inquired: “What do you say about this (man)?” They replied, “If he asks for a lady’s hand, he ought to be given her in marriage; and if he intercedes (for someone) his intercession should be accepted; and if he speaks, he should be listened to.” Allah’s Messenger kept silent, and then a man from among the poor Muslims passed by, and the Prophet asked (them) “What do you say about this man?” They replied, “If he asks for a lady’s hand in marriage, he does not deserve to be married, and he intercedes (for someone), his intercession should not be accepted; And if he speaks, he should not be listened to.” The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, “This poor man is better than an earth load of the former man.”
We started this answer by mentioning the importance of parenting and continued by examining the rights of the child. Inshallah, next week we will continue discussing the rights of the child. I ask Allah to bless our questioner, give them strength and light to face these challenges.
And Allah knows best