By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
14 November 2019
The 14th November marks universal Children’s Day. However we can celebrate every day as Children’s Day by practicing beautiful teachings of Islam associated with the rights of Children.
He who does not show mercy upon children is not a practical Muslim. If we have not done so far anything good for children, at least we should start now on this special day and continue it till our last breath. For that matter, we should first recall their rights.
The Quran says, “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin” (17:31).
It was reportedly a common practice in parts of pre-Islamic Arabia to kill new-born girls for fear of the shame or liability or out of poverty. The context of the verses (17:31 and 6:151) specially denotes prohibition against slaying one’s children out of fear of poverty and assures God’s provision. However this command is general in its nature and applies to all children and for all reasons. That means it is prohibited to kill children for any reason. This general deduction of the divine ruling is supported by another verse 17:33 which reads, “And Do not kill the soul that Allah has made inviolable...”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on your young and does not respect our elders” (SunanTirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Al-Adab al-Mufrad)
It is mentioned in another hadith, “Be just among your children, and be just among your children.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, SunanNasai)
The Prophet is reported to have said, “When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike troubling the child's mother”. (Sahih Bukhari, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, SunanNasai)
It is narrated by Hazrat Aisha that “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, "You (people) kiss the boys (children)! We don't kiss them." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "I cannot put mercy in your heart after Allah has taken it away from it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, al-Adab al-Mufrad)
From the studies of the Quran and Sunnah we learn what the rights of parents are over their children, both biological and foster children. Some of these rights are mentioned below.
Parents are duty-bound to feed, clothe and protect their children until they reach maturity. They need to respect, love and educate their children. All children deserve equal treatment but special treatment can be done to a child who is in dire need or handicapped or blind. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says that “preferential treatment of a child is permitted if he or she is handicapped while others are not” (al-Mughni vol.5, p.605)
Parents must work hard so as to provide adequately for children in inheritance. It is reported in a Hadith, “it is better for parents to leave their children adequately-provided (financially) than to leave them in poverty”.
Parents are duty-bound to provide their children with both Islamic and modern education. In particular they should teach them basic beliefs about faith and worship, high moral qualities, rights of human beings, relations with Muslims and non-Muslims, and all other teachings of Islam required for their survival and attainment of divine blessings in both the worlds (Duniya and Aakhira). They also need to be provided special training for upholding human values such as peace, harmony, mercy, tolerance, patience and benevolence, for the time being.
This is briefly how we should celebrate children-day every day. However we should not forget on this Children’s Day to recall the basic rights of those children who are caught up in warfare. They have nothing but to experience the same horrors as their parents. During the last decade we have seen the heightened dangers for children due to developments in warfare. According to UNICEF report, “child victims have included 2 million killed, 4-5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents, some 10 million psychologically traumatized”. The children are killed not just in the crossfire but they are also likely to be specific targets. In particular, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Africa have seen the deadliest attacks over children in crossfire as well as in target killings. The 15th November is a special day for children but it is extremely difficult for us to celebrate it, if we as human beings fail to prevent such forms of deadliest violence.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).