Family Role of Children
The Islamic family structure places significant emphasis on the roles of children within the household, fostering a sense of responsibility, respect and mutual support. Islam views children as a blessing and a trust from God, encouraging parents to nurture their physical, emotional and spiritual development.
In Islamic tradition, the family is considered the cornerstone of society and children are an integral part of this foundation. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, and the Hadiths (sayings and actions of Blessed Messenger Muhammad) provide guidance on the roles and responsibilities of both parents and children within the family unit. These teachings emphasise the importance of a nurturing and loving environment that promotes the well-being and development of children.
Respect and Obedience: Islam places a strong emphasis on respecting parents and obeying their rightful commands. Children are taught to treat their parents with kindness, patience, and gratitude. The Quran, in chapter 17 verse 23, instructs believers to be kind and respectful to their parents:
“For your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And honour your parents.
If, one or both, reach old age in your care, never say to them [even] ‘ugh,’
nor yell at them. Rather, address them respectfully”
This verse underscores the necessity of showing utmost respect and restraint in dealings with parents.
Education and Upbringing: The Muslim family places immense importance on the education and upbringing of children. Parents are regarded as the primary educators of their children, responsible for imparting both worldly knowledge and moral values. The Blessed Messenger Muhammad stressed the significance of teaching children about their faith and responsibilities from a young age. In Sunan Abu-Dawood it is reported the Blessed Prophet Muhammad said, “Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and (lightly) beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old.”.
Mutual Support: The Muslim family structure promotes a sense of mutual support and compassion among family members, including children. While parents are responsible for the material and emotional well-being of their children, children are encouraged to assist their parents in various ways, particularly in their old age. The Quran in chapter 17, verse 24, says;
“And be humble with them out of mercy, and pray,
“My Lord! Be merciful to them as they raised me when I was young”
Responsibility and Accountability: As children grow older, they are expected to take on more responsibilities within the family. Islam encourages a gradual transition from dependence to independence, with children learning essential life skills and contributing to household chores and tasks. This gradual empowerment prepares them for the challenges of adulthood and instils a sense of accountability for their actions.
Parental Guidance: The Muslim family structure encourages open communication between parents and children. Parents are advised to provide guidance, counsel and emotional support to their children. Islam promotes a balance between allowing children to express their thoughts and concerns while maintaining parental authority.
Role Model: In Islam, the Blessed Messenger Muhammad is considered the ultimate role model for all aspects of life, including family relationships. Parents strive to emulate his character and teachings, setting an example for their children in matters of kindness, honesty and humility.
Duties toward Siblings: The Muslim family role of children extends beyond their relationship with parents. Siblings are encouraged to maintain strong bonds of love and support. The Blessed Messenger Muhammad emphasised the importance of maintaining harmonious relationships with siblings, stating, “”The best of you is he who is best to his own family, and I am the best among you to my family”.
Charity and Service: The Muslim family teaches children the value of giving back to the community and helping those in need. This is achieved through acts of charity, volunteering and service to others, reflecting the principle of compassion and empathy.
In conclusion, the Muslim family role of children is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Quran and the practices of Blessed Messenger Muhammad. Children are regarded as a blessing and a source of joy and their upbringing is seen as a shared responsibility between parents and the broader community. The Islamic family structure aims to instil values of respect, responsibility, compassion and accountability in children, nurturing them to become virtuous and contributing members of society.