children's rights in Islam covers all the years of childhood and infancy and include all the needs of a child in the process of his/her growth
Having a good name is one of the important children's rights in Islam. This is because a good name affects one's mind. A child hears his name day and night; and consequently, the meaning of that name unconsciously strengthens those features which are implied in it.
Therefore, the first duty of a parent towards his/her child is to give him/her a good name at birth. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “It is the responsibility of every father to choose a good name for his child ".
According to the researchers, male circumcision reduces many possible diseases in a man's reproductive organ. As one of the children's rights in Islam, it is recommended that the boy be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth. But it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty [i].
Islam strictly recommends breastfeeding, as one of the most significant children's rights in Islam, besides every day more and more scientific evidence confirms the advantages of this act. Breastfeeding is one of the factors affecting the physical, psychological and ethical characteristics of a baby.
According to the Holy Quran: “Mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years…” (2:233). Therefore, it is considered a child's right to be breastfed until the approximate age of two.
It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother” .
This theory has been proved that the human mind at the very beginning is quite blank, and it only gradually that starts using the faculties of sight, hearing, etc.
As it is noted in Holly Quran, “God has brought you from the wombs of your mothers while you did not know anything and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks” (16:78)
Consequently, the atmosphere of family and society continuously influence the child's mind, although he/she is not aware of this process. Children are reflections of their parents. The best way to inculcate good behavior in children is to treat them with good grace.
It is emphasized in Islamic thought that children should be kept in a nice and respectful environment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Respect your children and behave them in a nice manner” .
Although there is no compulsion on children to do religious duties, it is praised to gradually give children religious training. The impressions gained in childhood are very difficult to erase, and if respect and love of religion are infused into his/her mind in childhood, he/she will always remain attached to the religion.
In this stage, the best way of familiarizing the child with religious teachings is performing religious duties in front of him; children are the mirrors of their surroundings.
Imam Baqir (AS) said: “When the child reaches three years, teach him seven times to recite la ilahailla ' llah (there is no God but Allah). Then leave him at that till he is three years seven months and 20 days old; then train him to say Muhammad-un rasul-u 'llah (Muhammad is the messenger of Allah). Then leave him at that till he completes four years. Then teach him seven times to say Salla 'llahu ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad (Peace be upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad). Then leave him at that till he reaches the age of 5 years; then ask him which one is his right hand and which one is the left. When he knows it, then make him face Qiblah [i] and tell him to do prostration (Sajdah)” .
This is to continue until he is six years of age. Then he should be told to pray and taught The Bowing (Ruku) and Prostration (Sajdah).
Through mentioned methods, the children learn their religious duties without coercion and feeling any burden upon themselves.
[i] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: "Circumcise your sons when they are seven days old as it is cleaner and the flesh grows faster and because the earth hates the urine of the uncircumcised" .
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili , Wasail al-shiah, vol. 2, p. 618.
- Al-Kafi Al-Kalini, Abu-Ja'afar Muhammad Ibn-Yaqub. Al-furu'min al-kafi. Vol. 6 Tehran: Dar al-kutub al-islamiyyah. 1981:34.
- Mirza Hussayn Nuri ,Mustadrak al-Wasāil, vol. 15, p.156.
- Muhammad Muhammadi Rayshari,Mizan al-Hikmah, vol, 1 , p. 7109.
- Ibn-e Fazl-e Tabarsi,Makarim Al Akhlaq, p. 115.
“Allah made for you mates from your own selves and appointed for you children and grandchildren from your mates, and We provided you with all the good things. What, do they believe in falsehood while they deny the blessing of Allah?” (16:72)
If you are married, you might have experienced how a successful marriage plays an important part in our lives. Marriage in Islam is the cornerstone of the family and the only relationship that effectively prepares us for the community; so, if it is thought upon carefully and wisely, it will result in the well-being of the society as well as each individual.
Unlike some religious denominations that encourage celibacy as a means of salvation and great virtue, there is no monasticism in Islam . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in this regard: “Marriage is my way (Sunnah), Whoever turns away from it is not ‘among my followers’” .
With regard to marriage in Islam, he has also stated: “There is no better structure founded in Islam other than marriage” .
According to a narration from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), marriage in Islam is considered as half of a Muslim’s religion:
“One who marries has already fulfilled half of his religion, therefore he should fear Allah for the other half” .
What do you think the reason is? What are the important benefits to which marriage is linked?
Looking into it from different aspects, one might find various reasons for getting married, like money, popularity, religion, beauty, etc. But the religion of Islam focuses on the more spiritual aspect of this holy covenant, i.e., peace, security, and affection:
“And of His signs (God’s signs) is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect” (30:21).
The other aspects that make marriage in Islam a necessity in humans’ life are as follows:
As mentioned in the verse of Quran above, marriage in Islam, in the most suitable way, is the source of emotional comfort to us. Quran also says:
“It is He (God) who created you from a single soul, and made from it its mate, that he might find comfort with her” (7:189).
When you get married, the first thing you promise your spouse is to care for her/him, to meet his/her emotional needs. That is what makes you fall in love with your life companion and lets the two of you experience love, affection, mutual understanding, peace of mind, and happiness.
Regarding this matter, Imam Sadiq (AS) has said:
“Whenever a man’s love for his wife increases, his faith increases in quality” .
Humans naturally possess a sexual instinct which is a significant and strong desire. Everyone feels the urge to have a partner for fulfilling their sexual needs in a safe and serene environment, which will help them grow and reach high levels of perfection and satisfaction.
Abstaining from marriage often results in physical and mental disorders. Doctors from Georgia State University in a study published in 2001 found that those who choose to be celibate are frequently afflicted with feelings of anger, frustration, self-doubt and even depression .
The religion of Islam not only recognizes the sexual needs of human but also strongly recommends marriage as the only legal way of fulfilling this desire.
Human beings are social creatures, who like all other beings, have urges which lead to starting a family of their own and reproduction. In this regard, Quran says:
“The originator of the heavens and the earth, He made for you mates from your own selves, and mates of the cattle, by which means He multiplies you…” (42:11).
Based on this verse, Children are the results of marriage in Islam that make the procreation of humankind continue. They also play an important role in stabilizing the family foundations. Islam gives a great deal of emphasis to both marriage and bringing up faithful and virtuous children since they are considered as building blocks of a healthy society.
Apart from that, marriage shields the whole society as well as every single individual from lots of evil deeds. It has been narrated from Prophet Muhammad that, when a person gets married at a young age, Satan will become angry since she/he has guarded two-third of his/her religion against him . Married people are less involved in socially destructive acts like any extramarital affairs.
From the Islamic perspective, marriage is not merely a means of legalizing sexual relations. In fact, it unites the existence of the man and woman as a couple, brings them together and makes them complementary to each other.
The peaceful and secure environment that the husband and wife live in is the best place to practice self-control, selflessness, and self-purification. Pious couples always invite one another to goodness. They are also a source of encouragement in preventing each other from committing sins and performing the obligatory acts of worship, which eventually makes them have a respectable and honest life forever.
It has been narrated that once the Prophet (PBUH&HP) went to Imam Ali (AS)’s and Lady Fatimah (AS)’s house after their wedding. He asked Imam Ali (AS) how he found his spouse. Imam replied: “I found Zahra (AS) as the best help in worshipping the Almighty Allah.” The Prophet (PBUH&HP) then asked Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) the same question, and she replied: “He is the best husband” .
We learn from this narration that one of the main purposes of marriage is actually what Imam Ali (AS) has mentioned, i.e., serving Allah. When a man and a woman get married, the two become one. The bond between them mirrors the unconditional love between The Creator and us, and this is the ultimate experience a true believer always seeks to have.
- Al-Qadi al-Nu'man, Daim al-Islam, v. 2, p. 193, h. 701
- Bihar al-Anwar, v. 103, p 220.
- Wasa 'il al Shiah, vol 14, p 3.
- Wasa’il ul-Shi’a, Vol. 14, p 5.
- Wasa’il, vol 20. p 24, H 24931.
- Navader (Ravandi), p 12.
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol 43, p 117.
As stated in the first part, Islam brought about reforms in the customs previous nations, including Arabs, had in practicing polygamy in Islam:
The first reform Islam enforced was the restriction it imposed upon polygamy. Before the advent of Islam, there was no limit to the number of wives. One man could keep hundreds of wives and thus establish a harem for them, just as the ones some kings had, which is strictly banned in the religion of Islam.
However, Islam put a maximum limit on their number, and an individual was not allowed to have more than four wives simultaneously.
The other reform that was made upon polygamy in Islam was the condition under which there must never be, for any reason, discrimination between the wives or their children. The Holy Quran explicitly commands:
"But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then [marry only] one" (4:3)
As a matter of fact, those men who can observe full justice with a number of wives are very few. It is clearly stated in the following verse of the Quran which is in association with the previous verse:
"you will not be able to be fair between wives, even if you are eager to do so..." (4:129)
Allah explains here that justice between the wives in its true sense - to stand exactly in the middle of the extremes - is beyond human power even if one may wish it. What a man is obliged to do is that he should not be totally inclined to one of them, leaving the other one as she were in suspense… .
Besides these two main restrictions, there are other responsibilities and duties polygamous men have to fulfill toward all their wives; such as Nafaqah (alimony) and Mahrieh (marriage portion), etc. [see the article about the rights of the wife over her husband]
Ultimately, there is no dispute about the fact that monogamy is better; it is actually the best and most natural form of marriage in Islam. Obviously, the spirit of marital life which is oneness and unity is attained better and with more perfection with a single spouse.
It is only within this form of marriage that family commitment makes sense, and the great bond that unites the hearts of husband and wife makes them become one soul and one flesh .
Polygamy in Islam, on the other hand, rises from a social problem that rests heavily on the shoulders of all men and married women and for which a better solution has not yet been found. We have to face the fact that monogamy is not practical in specific social circumstances, and polygamy -under the mentioned conditions- is the most significant saving factor for monogamy.
One of two alternatives should be chosen: either the restricted acceptance of polygamy -as a duty rather than pleasure-, or the love affairs system, which is common in some societies these days. In other words, a few married men should marry more than one wife -of course under the condition of fulfilling all the above-mentioned responsibilities of a husband in a polygamous family-, and these will certainly not exceed a few percents, and unmarried women should settle, get home and make a life for themselves; or else open the way for love affairs.
In the case of the second alternative, the women deprived of family life may associate at her own free will with several men, and, as a result, almost all married men will in practice be polygamists.
Even then the matter will not end. The wives who will find their husbands to be unfaithful will think of taking revenge upon them and thus will themselves become unfaithful. This final result has been summarized in the well-known Kinsey report in one sentence: “The men and women of America have surpassed all other nations in unfaithfulness” .
Now, which alternative do you think is better?