The respectability of human rights begins with the way that society treats its children. Children's rights in Islam are not separated from human rights because children are the future generation. Our children are trust and assets for us from God. Furthermore, it is mentioned in the Eighteenth Chapter of the Quran (Surah Al-Kahf), verse 46 that children are an adornment of the worldly life.
The religion of Islam pays special attention to the rights of children and to the worthy manner to raise them. As the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam has asserted: "There are as many rights of children necessary upon parents as there are rights of parents necessary upon children."
It is worth mentioning that in this article, by children's rights in Islam we mean their rights over their parents. Admittedly, rights and duties are inter-related between parents and children, and children's rights in Islam are the duty of parents.
Accordingly, to fulfill children's rights in Islam, some parental obligations through specific guidelines are specified. Following guidelines are parental duties towards children (as the Child's Rights) in some specific ages:
1. Upbringing and Hygiene of Fetus (Before conception and during pregnancy)
Children's rights in Islam begin before conception and will continue during pregnancy. In this period, thoughts, actions, and nutrition of the parents (especially the mother) have an impact on the spirit, essence, character, and health of the unborn child; the child is like an organ of the mother and obtains all the necessary factors of development from her.
Emotional and respectful relations between parents and also mental relaxation of the mother are significant in this stage. Peace of mind has been affected by feeling assured in life.
Moreover, a healthy relationship between parents and a strong physical attraction is beneficial to conceive a pure and good child, while fear and worry will have negative consequences on the child.
One of the effective ways, to attain peace and confidence, is the remembrance of God [i].
Therefore, the mother should try her best to keep herself occupied with religious acts such as reading Quran, praying, and staying away from fruitless activities that will not benefit her or the child growing inside her.
On the other hand, the food individual eats not only has a high impact on the physical aspect of a person but on the nonphysical part as well. Some foods have also been recommended explicitly by Islamic teachings for a healthy, beautiful, and virtuous child. For instance, it is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Eating pomegranate is a cause of increased sperm production for men and makes the child beautiful and healthy as well” .
Another Hadith from Imam Sadeq (AS) narrates that “Anyone who eats quince on an empty stomach, the source of his seed production (sperm) becomes pure and healthy, and his child will be beautiful and decent” .
It is important to note that many acts are not recommended during conception:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Speaking during the actual act, leads to confusion in the child” . And: “Making love when the man is muhtalim (i.e., become in the state of Janabat [ii] during his sleep) and before doing ablution (Wudu or Ghusl), as this results in the child becoming insane” .
The above narrations and recommendations are just some of these factors that may affect the conceived child. It is notable that many factors contribute to the physical and psychological make-up of the child, such as inherited characteristics, geographical terms, and social status, etc. Giving charity, reciting the Quran, and praying are strictly effective to avert possible negative consequences.
2.The recitation of The Call to Prayer (Adhan and Iqama) in the ear of a newborn (At birth)
In the earliest time possible, a newborn child should hear the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah upon his/her arrival into this world. Adhan should be said in the right ear, and Iqama should be said in the left one by a competent person such as the father [iii] .
[i] “Those who have faith and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah.’ Behold! The hearts find rest in Allah’s remembrance!” (13:28)
[ii] "Janabat" is a ritual impurity caused by the discharge of semen or by sexual intercourse, and the person on whom ghusl janabat becomes wajib is known as "junub" .
[iii] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Whenever you had a newborn boy or girl, say Adhan to his or her right ear and also say Iqamah in the left ear. So the Satan will not harm the baby".
- Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 25, p. 104, no. 31499
- Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 81, p.101.
- Al-Khisal, p.520.
- lal al-sharayi, p.514.
- Tuhaf al-'uqul. p. 13.
- Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Marriage and Morals in Islam, p. 64.
Islam is a comprehensive way of life, and one of the characteristics through which it is distinguished from many other religions is that it encompasses every aspect of a Muslim’s life. Islam teaches Muslims to respect the elderly whether they are parents, relatives, or any other old person. This is because caring for the elderly in Islam is considered an important obligation through which one seeks closeness to Allah.
There is no doubt in the special status of the elderly in Islam, as there are several texts, which urge Muslims to respect and honor them. An elderly person has a high status before Allah and His Prophet particularly if he is a believer.
In the Quran, Allah says:
“ And whomever We give a long life, We cause him to regress in creation. ; …?”(36:68)
From the verse, it is obvious that the inception of old age is a period of decline – decline comes partly from physical and partly from psychological factors. Thus, at this critical stage of life, Islam recommends adequate caring for them because they are like a prophet in a family and a blessing in the society. The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) said:
“The elderly among his family is like a Prophet among his community” 
Moreover, honoring the elderly is synonymous with honoring Allah and His Prophet. In this regards, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have said:
“Honor the elderly because honoring them is part of honoring Allah” 
Meanwhile, Imam Sajjad (AS) while describing the right of the elderly in his book ‘Treatise on rights’ said:
“The right of him who is older than you is that you show reverence toward him because of his age and you honor him because he entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting him in a dispute, you do not precede him in a path, you do not go ahead of him, and you do not consider him foolish. If he should act foolishly toward you, you put up with him, and you honor him because of the right of Islam and the respect due to it”.
Similarly, Islam commands a Muslim to honor and respect senior citizens because honoring the elderly will guarantee the protection against every calamity on the Day of Resurrection. The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) said:
“Whoever honors the gray hair due to an old age, Allah will definitely save him from the panic of the Day of Judgment”.
Islam is the fountain of mercy, sentiments, and sympathy. Hence, it is not strange to see Islam paying attention to the elderly and instructing a Muslim to give them compassion. There are texts from the Quran, the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his pure Household (AS) on how a Muslim should treat an elderly person. These include:
Always honors and be merciful to the elderly. For respecting them is considered a form of worship in the sight of Allah while disrespecting them is absolutely rebuked, and it is against the pristine teachings of Islam.
In case of necessity, always render assistance to the elderly .
Consult the elderly for guidance on personal and collective decisions, for they are guides in a family and the society similar to a Prophet of God.
Never insult or scold an elderly. Because a disrespect to them is reprimanded by Allah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his pure Household (AS).
Allow our elderly to live with us. It is a bad habit to send them to nursing homes just because they are considered as nuisances to the society.
Respecting the elderly and honoring them are among the characteristics of a Muslim society. Therefore, it is expected of every Muslim to imbibe the culture of respecting old people whether they are parents, relatives or not. Likewise, we should always acknowledge and appreciate their presence within us especially our parents. The presence of the elderly either in the family or the society is a blessing from Allah. Their presence will bring peace, happiness, concord, tranquility, mercy, and reward from Allah. It is indeed an un-Islamic practice to consider our elderly a public nuisance and eject them from our midst.
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- Wasail al-Shiah, Vol. 12, P. 100.
- Treaties on Rights, Right 44 (i.e. The right of the one older than you)
- Mustadrak Wasail, Vol. 8, P. 391.
- Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 165; Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1919.
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" .
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