A family in Islam is not only a place for reproduction but also a site for growing the healthy spirit and character of human beings. To clarify this point, some principles are mentioned below which are derived from the verses of the Quran:
1. Having amity and mercy within the family and providing security and peace for each other. This verse refers to family and its spiritual relations: “And of His 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).
2. Consultation and satisfaction of the couple in decision making .
3. In verse 71 of Al-Tawbah, men and women are introduced as each other’s friends and helpmates. In these verses, the importance of consultation is notified, and it is also mentioned that the viewpoints of all the family members are of equal value and no one’s approach receives more importance than the other’s .
4. The importance of family interests over personal interests .
5. Improving affairs and seeking reconciliation .
6. Forgiving each other’s mistakes, establishing peace and amour, and avoiding egocentricity: “If a woman fears from her husband misconduct or desertion, there is no sin upon the couple if they reach a reconciliation between themselves; and reconcilement is better. The souls are prone to greed; but if you are virtuous and God wary, Allah is indeed well aware of what you do” (4:128).
7. Being good-tempered in etiquette and commerce: “deal kindly with them” (4:19).
The principles mentioned above indicate that the style Islam suggests for families is achievable through a true collaboration of all family members. Every family is a small part whose rectification contributes to the improvement of the whole society and consequently its perfection.
- (9:71, 28:26, 28, and 37:102,103)
- (2:229, 4:19)
Almost all religions have recommended the maintenance of family ties, but in the Islamic family, it has taken to unprecedented heights. Various Qur'anic verses and narrations (Hadiths) have emphasized maintaining the bonds of kinship (called Silatur-Rahim in Islam) and instruct Muslims to be kind, merciful, affectionate and caring towards parents and relatives; even to non-Muslim relatives or to those who are harsh to them. Why has so much importance been given to family ties in Islam? Who are concerned? What consequences does ignoring this important Islamic advice bring about? Here these and many similar questions are answered.
According to definitions with regard to Islamic family, Rahim [i] is anyone who becomes a relative through blood ties with one’s father, mother, uncle, and aunt, or through marriage . And, Silat means kindness and affection. Simply said, Silatur-Rahim means being kind to family and relatives, and keeping a good relationship with them .
Family kinship, with respect to the structure of Islamic family, is of paramount importance and is known to be the fastest-paid prayer. It brings about a quick reward in this world as well as an afterlife reward. Even the members of a family who are all sinful acquire more wealth by maintaining family ties, and their lives will last longer by doing good to each other .
In Surah Nisa it is said: “Be wary of Allah, in whose Name you adjure one another and [of severing ties with] blood relations.” (4:1). In another verse of the Quran, the pledge taken from the Children of Israel that includes worshipping God and being good to relatives is reminded (2:83). Muslims are also told to worship God and be good to parents and the relatives in another verse (4:36). The command to keep family ties right after the instruction of piety and worshipping God in these verses demonstrates that Silatur-Rahim is almost as important as piety in Islam.
In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that: “I command all the people of my followers (Umma), whether present or not, and those generations which are to come till the Day of Judgement (Qiyama), …, to maintain family kinship even if they live at a distance of a year's journey.” . In another narration, Prophet (PBUH) states that the best of people in morality and behavior are the ones who resume their relationships with a relative who has cut the relation with them .
These verses and narrations about family kinship in the Islamic family together with many other ones illustrate the importance of this matter in Islam.
Being a moral and divine duty over every human being, keeping family ties concerns both faithful and unfaithful relatives. Hence, even if parents and other relatives are not religious, one should respect them and try to fulfill their needs.
Imam Sadiq (AS) was asked about the rights of the relatives over one, he (AS) answered: “If they are of the opposite religious ideas, they have family rights that nothing can stop it; and if they are of the same religious believes, they have two rights: family rights and Islamic rights". When a man asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) about how to treat a relative who had harmed and insulted him, the Prophet (PBUH) answered: “Resume your relationship with the one who has broken family bonds with you, grant the one who has deprived you and forgive the one who has harmed you. Whenever you do so, God will protect you against them” .
However, the relationship with unfaithful and irreligious relatives, according to the Islamic family, can be maintained as far as it does not lead to committing an unlawful (Haram) act or disobeying other divine commands, otherwise, keeping family ties with unfaithful relatives is not even allowed .
One might have numerous relatives and need to know who should be visited first or whose rights are more important than others’. The priorities are as follows in Islam: parents (and mother is the priority between them); sisters and brothers; relatives through blood ties (uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.); and, relatives through marriage (in-law family, etc.) .
To indicate the importance of this ranking, Prophet (PBUH) said: “If one gets five loaves of bread, or five dinars or five dates and wants to consume them, the best way is to donate them to parents. Secondly to use them himself and his family, and then giving them to poor relatives. Then donating to poor neighbors and finally voluntarily giving in the way of God; which is least rewarded.” . It means that these five kinds of donations will be all rewarded since they are in obedience to God’s commands and in His way, but voluntary charity (Sadaqah) is less paid .
Imam Hussain (AS) has narrated from Prophet (PBUH) that: “to pay family rights, begin from your own family: first your mother, father, sister, and brother; then other relatives depending on how close they are to you” .
Continues Reading: What Does Islam Say about Maintaining Family Ties: Part 2
[i] Rahim is a word derived from Allah's special quality, Ar-Rahman (The Compassionate One).
- islamic family
- Ibn Babawayh, “Al-Khisal”, p. 124.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 151.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 212.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 157.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 150.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Tasneem Tafsir”, vol. 2, p. 560-561.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 219.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 5, p. 65.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 220.
- Shaykh al-Mufid, “Al-Ikhtisas”, p. 219.
When a child is born, he sees only two people by his side who are with him at all stages of life, are willing to help him until death takes them apart, want his success in everything, and are open to any harm for the sake of his success. They give him the basic teachings of life and try to prepare him in the best way to enter society. Their names are the first words a baby utters: mom and dad. In this topic, we are going to talk about the place has given to the father in Islam.
When we talk about an issue from an Islamic perspective, the best document we can come up with is the Holy Quran. Before going to the topic of parents’ status in Islam, we should mention that Allah also commanded the followers of previous divine religions to respect their parents and that this commandment of Allah was along with several other commandments, including monotheism; Because loving and caring about parents is a natural human trait and is restricted neither to time nor people or religion. We now turn to a number of Quranic guidelines on the status of parents in Islam:
"…Do not worship except Allah, and to parents do good…" (The Holy Quran 2:83)
"Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good …" (The Holy Quran 4:36)
"Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination" (The Holy Quran 31:14)
When you think carefully about these verses, you can see an epic image; Allah places parents in the Muslim’s life right after His high position and goodness to parents beside monotheism. Now that we know about Quran’s perspective, let us read more about this matter in the Islamic narrations. Another important matter before reading the narrations, however, is that Allah never singles out a parent but mentions both of them meaning that the mother’s placement is as high as the father’s in Islam.
-Undoubtedly, the dignity of the father is unique before Allah; To the extent that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP) said: The father is in the middle of paradise, it is up to you to either keep it or waste it. (1) This means that achieving divine grace depends on the consent of the father. His position and respect are highly recommended in such a way that it cannot be easily overlooked, as far as the Islamic lifestyle is concerned. Of course, in today's world, parents are not valued as they should be, but in the school of Islam and in various verses that we read above, their placement is high. This position is so great that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) has introduced himself and Imam Ali (PBUH) to the people as the fathers of this nation (2) which means that everything the two do is only for the success and progress of this blessed religion, and they wish nothing in return; just like a father sacrifices his life for the betterment of his children.
-If a parent curses his child, he will not have a way to heaven. Not only will he not have a way, but he will be deprived of the smell of heaven from afar. As the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) said: The smell will reach the nostrils, but not the nostrils of such parents. (3)
- In this regard, Imam Reza (as) also says: "It is obligatory to do good to one's parents, even though they are polytheists, but in disobeying God, one should not be commanded by them." (4)
- A man named Ibrahim, one of the companions of Imam Sadigh (AS), said to him: “My father is very old and incapacitated so that when he wants to do the basics of his life, we take him on our shoulders and take him away”. Imam said: "If you can do such a thing yourself and make food for him with your own hands; because such a service is the shield of fire for the day after your resurrection". (5)
- One of the moral precepts of Islam is to keep the name and memory of parents alive. In a part of the prayer of Imam Sajjad (as) it is stated: “O my God! "I do not remember my parents at the end of the prayers, and I do not remember them at all moments of the evening and at all hours of the day." (6)
This was the indication on remembrance, in any form and in any way, of doing good to fathers and a kind of appreciation for their efforts and promoting the tradition of respect for elders. Also, Hafez, one of the famous Persian poets said on this topic: How to nurture the sweetness of your heart // When you do not remember your father, you stone-hearted. (7)
As we look at Islam and its Prophet through narrations, we see that the value and importance they place on human parents is very high and only a step lower than Allah, a place that if people seek redemption and heaven, they are given based on their goodness to parents. We hope that in this way we can be benevolent children for our parents and models for other Muslims.
- Gharar al-Hikam (21th volume – page 174)
- Bihar al-Anwar (16th volume – page 95)
- Tafsir Nemooneh (12th volume – page 97)
- Bihar al-Anwar (16th volume – page 100)
- Bihar al-Anwar (16th volume – page 101)
- Al-Sahifa Al-Sajjadiyya (24th Supplication)
- The Divan of Hafez – 298th sonnet