A newborn baby who opens his/her eyes to this world is tiny and weak at first; like a rosebud that appears in spring. It is then a burden upon the parents in Islam to take care of this fragile gift, like a compassionate gardener, until the baby grows up and flourishes.
Knowing that our parents as a team have provided for all our needs till we grow up, we naturally respect them. But this becomes of paramount importance when we come to know that how strongly Islam emphasizes parents’ rights and respecting them.
Islam has placed such a strong emphasis on the parents’ rights and worth that showing gratitude and being grateful to them are commanded to, right after Monotheism (Tawhid) in several verses of the Quran [i].
In the nineteenth chapter of the Quran, Surah Maryam, where some moral virtues of Prophet Yahya (PBUH) are mentioned, it is said that he was “good to his parents” (19:14). We also read that Prophet Jesus (PBUH) introduces himself as the servant of Allah who: “[made me] be good to my mother” (19:32).
In a narration, Imam Sadiq (AS) is asked about the best deeds; Imam (AS) answers: “Prayer (Salat) in its stipulated hour, goodness towards parents and Jihad in the way of Allah” . Bringing respect for parents, after prayer (Salat) and before Jihad indicates the high-value Islam places on caring for parents.
In another narration from Imam Sadiq (AS), doing good to parents, whether they are among believers (Mu'min) or disbelievers (Kafir), is known as a duty that no one can be exempted from . He also said that: “Whoever satisfies the parents has satisfied God; and whoever annoys them, has annoyed God” .
Respecting the rights of parents in Islam, whether alive or dead, is highly advised. These rights include:
Obedience to parents as far as it is not against God’s orders or unjust; a situation that one is forbidden to obey his/her parents is: “if they urge you to ascribe to Me as a partner that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them”(31:15). But even in this case, one should treat them kindly: “Keep their company honorably in this world” (31:15). Another case where parents’ disobedience is allowed, is when they invite to something unfair: “Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of Allah, even if it should be against yourselves or [your] parents and near relatives” (4:135).
Respecting them deeply, looking at them with affection, being humble and talking to them with a gentle voice and kind words: “Keep their company honorably in this world” (31:15); “[He has enjoined] kindness to parents. Should any of them or both reach old age at your side, do not say to them, ‘Fie!’ And do not chide them, but speak to them noble words” (17:23); “And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy” (17:24). In a narration from Imam Reza (AS), saying “Fie” to parents is believed to be the last thing that bothers them; hence, anything greater than that must be definitely avoided. Of other narrations in this regard are: “If your parents upset you, do not react badly; if they hit you, do not react the same but tell them ‘May God forgive you’”; “… do not look at your parents except with a kind look, do not raise your voice on them, nor your hands over their hands, nor walk further than them ” ; “whoever looks at his parents with hatred, even if they oppress him, Allah will not accept a single prayer from him” ; “Insolence includes a man’s looking at his parents with a sharp gaze” .
Being humble regarding parents: “Lower the wing of humility to them, mercifully” (17:24). This humility must arise from deep in your heart and originate from your real affections.
Treat them well: "When We took a pledge from the Children of Israel: ‘Worship no one but Allah, do good to your parents” (2:83). This verse of the Quran reveals that everybody, whether Muslim or not, must treat the parents well.
Imam Hussain (AS) was asked about the meaning of treating well in this verse. The answer was briefly that it means to treat them with ultimate compassion, to show them great respect during their companionship, not to oblige them to ask for what they need but provide them before they mention it . One of the best deeds in Eid al-Adha is said to be doing good to parents .
Being beneficent to parents is a duty upon children when they are alive as well as after they pass away. Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “What prevents you from doing good to your parents? Pray [ii], donate, perform the holy pilgrimage (Hajj) and fast (Sawm) in their place because God awards you a lot in return for your good deeds” . It is also said that: "Whoever visits his parents' grave on Fridays, will be forgiven and will be among the virtuous" .
And be thankful to them: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents” (31:14).
Praying and asking mercy for them [iii]: “and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, just as they reared me when I was [a] small [child]’ ” (17:24).
Continue Reading: "What are the Rights of Parents in Islam? Part 2"
Getting married, yesterday’s girl and boy become today’s husband and wife; they form the most basic and important foundation in the society in which each of them is bound to perform certain duties. In this peaceful and calming bond, namely the Islamic family, no person is superior to the other, and no responsibility is more vital than the one of the other; they both form the pillars of a firm foundation and are two equal sides of a scale which hold it in balance. Nevertheless, there are some certain tasks in which both husband and wife should participate; Actually, mutual responsibilities which Islam emphasize are really easy.
The very first duty that has been defined for husbands and wives mutually is affability in behavior . In other words, they should act in a kind and respectful manner toward each other, speaking with dignity and affection, understanding each other’s needs and feelings, being ready to comfort one another in times of hardship, and sharing their joy in times of happiness. Also, they should consult in their affairs with each other and respect one another’s views and decisions.
Furthermore, honesty and faithfulness are among the most important characteristics that both husbands and wives should observe in their married life. They should try to be as open as possible to one another and avoid hiding things from each other. Otherwise, there may arise a feeling of suspicion and insecurity between them.
Despite many misunderstandings, Islam does not consider housework the responsibility of women and condemns the men who force their wives to do so. On the contrary, Islam obliges both husbands and wives to participate in this task and help one another in doing it, rather than leaving the whole burden on the shoulder of one person only [i] . They should also cooperate in upbringing their children and reach unity in their behavior and speech toward them so that the feeling of harmony and comfort will spread in the family.
Besides, for husbands and wives to be always attracted to one another in an Islamic family, both of them should appear as clean and beautiful as possible in front of each other  & . For instance, they should wear the best clothes they have got, wear perfume, adorn their hair, etc.
As a result, the love between them will increase, and they will feel more secure. Also, when the need for physical attraction is satisfied in the private environment of married life, neither husband nor wife will feel the desire and urge to satisfy this need in other unlawful ways.
Finally, for a marriage to be successful and healthy and form the recommended Islamic family, both husbands and wives should attempt to do whatever is best to save this holy bond. For sure, this is not an easy job; it takes self-sacrifice, patience, hope, and optimism.
Regarding mutual responsibilities, you should know that you may sometimes feel tired, disappointed and hopeless but at the end of the day, when you look at your spouse, feel the love in him/her and think about the beautiful life that you can build with him/her, you will be surely willing to pay any expense to make this come true.
[i]. Whenever Imam Ali – pbuh- found a chance and was free, would come and help his wife Fatimah- pbuh- in the housework. One day Prophet Muhammad came to their house and saw they were working together and asked:” Which one of you are more tired so that I take his/her place?”, Imam Ali –pbuh- answered: “ Fatimah is more tired.” Our kind prophet gave Fatima rest and continued her work himself.
- MirzaHossein Noori, Mustadrak al-Vasael, V.13, P.48.
- Morteza Motahari, Dastan-e- Rastan, V.2, P.252.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasail al-shiah, V.20, P.158.
- Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynīm, Usul al-Kafi, V.5, P.511.
“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.