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
Although we keep hearing and reading criticisms about people who live a routine life with no specific changes, there are still not many people who experience huge changes in their lives. Most people in this world live a conventional life. They go to school, then university, then they find a job and get married and form a family.And all of those critics of such ordinary lifestyle, only suggest minor changes for breaking the routine. For example, they may recommend you to change your diet or listen to a happy song in the morning. But does anyone recommend you to rethink your ideologies, and see if it is not working properly for you, then think about a new set of ideas?! Some people in the world are brave enough to see if the present ideology is not working well for them, then they search and find a better one; people who embrace Islam as their new religion are amongst those.Becoming a Muslim could be a long process in one’s life, and it will definitely have huge consequences for the convertperson. Converts will have to let go of the past routine life and go through different experiences in all aspects of their lives such as friendship, job, family and the whole lifestyle.In this short text, we will only point out one of the major changes that married converts may experience; what happens to their marriage after converting to Islam if one of the spouses converts to Islam.
But before directly going to the main topic, let’s see what the rules of marriage in Islamic jurisprudence are?
The main verse in the holy Quran that discusses the marriage of believers with non-believers says:
“Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace faith. A faithful slave girl is better than an idolatress, though she should impress you. And do not marry [your daughters] to idolaters until they embrace faith. A faithful slave is better than an idolater, though he should impress you. Those invite [others] to the Fire, but Allah invites to paradise and pardon, by His will, and He clarifies His signs for the people so that they may take admonition” (2:221)
Therefore in Islam, as described in the other Abrahamic religions, it is prohibited to marry a man or a woman who does not believe in God. In another verse Allah says:
“Today all the good things have been made lawful to you—the food of those who were given the Book is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them—and the chaste ones from among faithful women, and chaste women of those who were given the Book before you, when you have given them their dowries, in wedlock, not in license, nor taking paramours…” (5:5)
Therefore, from the above verses, besides other verses and narrations, Muslim jurists have concluded the following rules for interfaith marriages:
Rules of Marriage for Muslim Men
A Muslim man is not allowed to marry, neither permanently nor temporarily, a non-Muslim woman who is not among the followers of the books (Ahlul Kitab); Christians and Jews.
A Muslim man is allowed to marry a Christian or Jewish woman. However, based on precaution, it is obligatory to refrain from marrying a non-Muslim woman in permanent marriage. The reason behind it is that Muslims do not deny the preceding Abrahamic religions, but they know Islam as the most complete and the last divine religion.
Rules of Marriage for Muslim women
A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man at all, neither permanently nor temporarily .
As you see the rules of marriage for Muslim women is much stricter than those for men. The reason behind it goes back to the verse that says “Men are the managers (protectors) of women, because of the advantage Allah has granted some of them over others, and by virtue of their spending out of their wealth…” (4:34)
The Islamic belief is that in married life, men have authority over women, and Islam will not allow a non-Muslim man to have authority over a Muslim woman.
In Islam, the responsibility of providing for the family is on man’s shoulder, and women have no responsibility in this case. Men are also responsible for protecting the religion of their family: “O you who have faith! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel will be people and stones…” (66:6)
Now that we are familiar with the basic rules of marriage in Islam let’s see what happens to a person who has already been married and then decides to embrace Islam. Is his/her marriage to his/her non-Muslim spouse still valid?
When a Man Converts to Islam, What Happens to His marriage?
When a married man converts to Islam:
If his wife is from the followers of the book (Ahlul Kitab), Christian or Jewish, the marriage remains valid, and they do not need to remarry according to Islamic law . This is because of the respect that Islam has for the preceding religions, although it is the final religion sent by God.
If the wife is an atheist, the marriage will be void automatically. However, according to the ruling (fatwa) of Sayed Ali Khamenei, even the atheist woman needs to keep the waiting period (iddah)[i]. If during that period (3 months) she decides to convert to Islam the marriage will continue .
But what happens if the man doubts that his wife has accepted Islam as her religion truly? The Muslim jurists say that if the non-Muslim woman only recites the two testimonies (Shahadatain) for the sake of marriage, the Islamic treatment would be applied to her as long as she does not say or do anything that would contradict her declaration of the faith .
When a Woman Converts to Islam, What Happens to Her Marriage?
“O you who have faith! When faithful women come to you as immigrants, test them. Allah knows best [the state of] their faith. Then, if you ascertain them to be [genuinely] faithful women, do not send them back to the faithless. They are not lawful for them, nor are they lawful for them, but give them what [dowry] they have spent [for them]…” (60:10)
When a married woman converts to Islam:
No matter if the husband is an atheist or a Christian or Jewish, the marriage will automatically be void UNLESS the husband accepts to convert to Islam too. If at the time that the woman is keeping her waiting period (iddah) her husband embraces Islam, their marriage is considered standing, and there is no need to renew the marriage .
If Both of the Married Couple Convert to Islam
In a marital relationship, when both spouses decide to embrace Islam, no matter if they are both followers of the book (Ahlul Kitab) or both are not followers of the book (non-Ahlul Kitab) or one is the follower of the book (Ahlul Kitab) and the other one is not, if the marriage that took place among them is valid according to their custom, such marriage is considered valid and there would be no need to recite the marriage formula anew .
It is understandable that both man and woman will experience such hard circumstances for their new beliefs. Maybe that is why Allah in a chapter called “Divorce” indicates:
“… Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter], and provide for him from whence he does not count upon. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything.”(65: 2, 3)
[i] The period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man.
- Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 4, pg. 103, the book of marriage
- Sayed Ali Khamenei, Istifta
- Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 4, pg. 103, the book of marriage
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.