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
“He is only a child!”, “Be quiet, this is a grown-up issue”, “Go to your room and don’t disturb us while we are talking” … What do these sentences remind you of? Your own childhood? Your little son or daughter? you have probably heard these statements at least once or twice in your lifetime. Remember this, “ You are responsible for your flower ”. Now let’s read the following extract in this regard:
“It was the time of prayer (Salat). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who was with his grandchild, Hassan Ibn Ali (AS), invited people to perform this holy task. While standing for Salat, Prophet put the child beside himself and started his prayer. People who were behind him wondered why he had lingered in prostration for a long time, but there was no way for them to find out the cause in the middle of Salat. After they had finished, they inquired the reason of the Prophet (PBUH&HP): ‘we had never seen such a prostration from you. We thought that you were receiving revelations from Allah that made you linger in your prostration for such a long time’. He answered: ‘No it was not a revelation. My child, Hassan (AS), was climbing over me when I was in prostration and I did not want to rush and put him down. So I waited for him long enough to come down himself’” .
“Once prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and other Muslims stand to perform Midday prayer (Salat al-Zuhr) in a congregational manner. However, after performing the second Rak’ah, Prophet (PBUH&HP) suddenly made haste in finishing the two remaining Rak’ahs. After the prayer was finished, the people around him asked: ‘Has something unpleasant happened that you made haste in completing your prayer?’ Prophet answered: ‘Haven’t you heard the voice of that baby who was moaning?’” 
These and many other examples from our kind Prophet shows the deep regard of our religion for the dignity and self-worth of children in Islam.
Through his speech and manner, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) constantly invited his followers to treat children in Islam with respect and to devote great attention to their behavior toward them; when his grandchildren entered a room, Prophet (PBUH&HP) would stand up and welcome them warmlyi, he was always the first one who greeted children and never refused children’s request for playing with them and participated in their games .
As a result of this kind of behavior, children in Islam will feel worthy of respect and will show more confidence in their actions. Consequently, when they grow up, they will be able to take risks and use their full capacity not being afraid of failure and humiliation.
On the contrary, the child whose dignity has been neglected by his/her parents will end up being shaky and not confident, not able to decide for his/her life and find his/her way to success. A beautiful analogy by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) will clarify this fact more: “my cloth will be cleaned by water, but what will cleanse my child’s heart from the dust of discomfiture and the pain of humiliation?” 
So, in raising our children in Islam, it is our responsibility to be highly observant not to say something or act in a way that would deny their self-worth and dignity and belittle them in any way. Children are sensitive creatures, like flowers, an action or a remark which may seem to us unimportant and natural, can wither their beautiful and innocent souls easily, and mark a permanent injury on their heart. Remember, “You are responsible for your flower”.
[i]. This behavior of Prophet (PBUH&HP) was probably because of the great personality and value of Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hossein (AS), however, when we consider it along with other Hadiths, we can easily distinguish the affectionate and compassionate manner of him toward children.
- Ibn Shahr Ashub, Muhammad. Manaqib Al Abi Talib. V.4, P.24.
- Ali Ibn Hassan Tabarsi. Meshat al-Anvar. P. 243.
- Abbas Qomi. Safinah al Bahar. V.2, P.676.
- Falsafi, Muhammad Taqi. Child in Hereditary and Upbringing View (Kudak Az Nazare Verasat va Tarbiat). P.259.
Today, one of the Islamic regulations that is the cause of many prejudgments about Islam in western countries is the law of polygamy in Islam. This practice refers to a form of marriage that allows a man to have two, three, or four wives at the same time, but, on the contrary, never ever allows a woman to have more than one husband simultaneously.
In this article, you will read the philosophy behind this law from different perspectives and finally see Islam’s recommendation on that.
Polygamy was practiced long before Islam among different nations and was considered as an acceptable common deed in the history of some other faiths including Christianity and Judaism, although it is frowned upon and forbidden in their cultures now.
According to the Jewish encyclopedia: “While there is no evidence of a polyandrous state in primitive Jewish society, polygamy seems to have been a well-established institution, dating from the most ancient times and extending to comparatively modern days” .
In Christianity also, polygamy does not contradict their Scripture: “Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy” .
Islam did not invent the system of polygamy, neither did it ban this tradition which was practiced unlimitedly by Arabs. Instead, it restricted it to four wives and gave it specific conditions and terms.
It is explicitly stated in the Holy Quran that:
“If you fear that you may not deal justly with the orphans, then marry [other] women that you like, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you may not treat them fairly, then [marry only] one, or [marry from among] your slave-women. That makes it likelier that you will not be unfair” (4:3).
This verse was revealed in regard to the Arabs in the period of ignorance, who were seldom free from wars and fighting, and among whom death by killing was a common occurrence. So, there was always a great number of orphans and widows among them.
Usually, the leaders of tribes and people of power and influence took the orphan girls (with their properties) as wives and behaved with them unjustly. They would often turn them out after swallowing their property; the helpless girls would become poor; neither they had any money to live on, nor was there anyone willing to marry and maintain them. The Quran, then, has reproached those Arabs very severely for this evil habit and prohibited very strongly doing any injustice to orphans or devouring their property. Allah says in the previous verse:
“Give the orphans their property, and do not replace the good with the bad, and do not eat up their property [by mingling it] with your own property, for that is indeed a great sin” (4:2) [i].
On the whole, Allah urges them to be careful regarding the orphans, so much so that if they are afraid that they would not be able to treat the orphan girls equitably and therefore do not like to take them, wives, then they had better not marry them; instead they should marry other women- two, three or four .
Both the Quran and Sunnah (the Prophet’s (PBUH&HP) and infallible Imams’(AS) tradition) clearly indicate the legitimacy of polygamy in Islam and most of Islamic Jurists and Scholars agree with that. It is noteworthy, however, that Quran’s recommendation to marry two, three, or four does not in any way imply an obligation; neither has it been seen as a necessity in any of the Islamic sects. Now we will shed light on the reasons why Islam did not absolutely abolish this tradition.
There are two different stances among Muslim scholars about polygamy in Islam; some have denied it as a general Islamic law by saying that it was suited to that specific time -i.e., the time and occasion in which the verse (4:3) was revealed- in history. The others, on the other hand, make any attempt to defend this law by reasoning it and saying its benefits; some of their arguments are:
Men’s sexual desire is stronger and lasts longer than women’s.
Women are not capable of fulfilling men’s sexual desire fully because of the restrictions they have, viz. menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc.
There are usually more marriageable women than men due to women’s longer lifespan and men’s more frequent fatal casualties because of the dangerous incidents that happen to them, etc.
Among these reasons, the third one -if we suppose that it existed in the past or continues to be common in the present day- is of great importance in justifying polygamy in Islam. Not only that, but it creates a right in favor of women and duty and responsibility for men and society.
Clearly speaking, if, in any case, the number of women fit to be married exceeds the number of marriageable men, then a group of women would be left without husbands and would remain deprived of the right to family life, so the law restricting marriage to monogamy will be inconsistent with this natural right. Accordingly, it is only by the provision of the law of polygamy (of course with special conditions) that this natural right is revived.
What’s more, Islam disagrees with the belief that man is a born polygamist and that his nature is at variance with monogamy. Islam, also, is against the idea that loyalty is impossible for men, and that one woman is created for one man, and one man for all women.
Polygamy, in the Islamic perspective, rises from a social difficulty and is not due to the innate nature of men. If there did not exist in society the problem of an excess of the number of women in need of marriage over the number of marriageable men, the custom of polygamy would have ceased to exist or would have rarely existed .
Now read the second part of this article to see the Islamic restrictions on the law of polygamy in Islam.