Responsibilities of Parents
Raising children in the 21st century is not an easy task. Each generation has its unique problems. But the Quranic advice will always offer the best solutions because the nature of human beings remains unchanged. When Allah sent down the Quran He filled it with advice and reminders that would be useful for all times. Allah has given us children as a trust. Therefore, parents will hold accountability for this trust. Parents are essentially responsible for the moral, ethical and spiritual upbringing of their children. If parents fulfil this responsibility, children will become better citizens and a pleasure to their parents in this life and in the Hereafter.
Several verses of the Quran and numerous Ahadith from our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) mention the responsibilities of parents towards their children. In Surah Luqman (verses 12-19), Prophet Luqman offers advice to his son, serving as an excellent example of this.
Prophet Luqman’s advice to his son
- Don’t associate anything with Allah
- Be good and kind to your parents
- Obey your parents unless they command what is wrong
- Perform the prayer regularly
- Enjoin good and forbid evil
- Remain patient in times of hardship
- Don’t look down on people with arrogance
- Be modest in manner and speech
This is a model example of parental responsibility and advice. Prophet Luqman guides his own son on the path with simple but memorable words. Any parent wanting to raise a child in the light of Islam can follow and use this advice, as it remains applicable even today. If all parents implement Prophet Luqman’s advice, they wouldn’t need to worry about the fate of their children, as they would show them the path leading to Paradise.
Allah says: “The believers whose children followed them in faith will be united with them in paradise…” [52:21].
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Beware. Each one of you is like a shepherd and each one of you shall be asked concerning his flock; a leader is a shepherd of his people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock, and a man is a shepherd of the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock, and a woman is a shepherd of the house of her husband and over their children, and she shall be asked concerning them” [Bukhari].
The role of the mother
The mother’s role may be even greater. While children are young they are very close to her and dependent upon her, and they spend more time with her than with anyone else. There is an Islamic saying: “The mother is the first school”. She may even be unaware that she is serving as a role model in her behaviour and attitude. Every mother should be conscious of her role and do her best to make it beneficial for the development of her children.
Parental care and guidance are fundamental in raising children. Nowadays, some parents become overly engrossed in their careers, financial pursuits, or social activities, often resulting in their children being neglected. Some children may be ignored or left for hours in front of the TV or iPad or they may be sent to day-care centres at a very early age to be cared for by other people. The parents’ right to respect is dependent upon the children’s right to receive loving care and guidance from their parents.
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