What Are My Responsibilities Towards Others? Part 1

One of the significant parts of responsibility in Islam is our responsibilities towards other people in our lives. Human beings are social creatures. Being in the society, humans are no more obliged to provide all their basic needs on their own. They might benefit from the skills of other people in various fields. An in return, every individual should do something for what he\she gains from others. It means that everyone is responsible towards other people in the society. Being emphasized in Islamic teachings, it is over every Muslim to respect the rights of other people with the priority given respectively to his\her nuclear family, relatives, neighbors, other Muslims and other human beings [1]. 

responsibility in Islam, Salam Islam, family in Islam

The Rights of the Family as the Primary Responsibility in Islam towards Others

Family as the basic unit of the society is the first community where one’s social interactions begin. The support and peace that one receives in the family make him\her responsible towards them. Thus, the concept of responsibility in Islam towards other begins with our duty towards our family.  

Responsibilities towards Parents 

The rights that parents have over children have been discussed in another article, but briefly, they include:

  • Obedience to parents as far as it is not against God’s orders or unjust. Even in those cases, one should respect his\her parents [i],;
  • Having deep respect and great affection for them; 
  • Being humble, using a gentle voice and kind words when talking to them;
  • Praying and asking mercy for them (17:24), whether they are alive or not;
  • Offering father the property, honor, and life [2];
  • The rights of the mother are superior to those of father [3] such that they can never be returned unless with divine providence.

The Responsibility in Islam towards the Wife

A detailed review of husbands’ duties was presented in another article. These duties can be summarized as:

  • Paying the marriage portion (Sedaq);
  • Paying for the living expenses of the wife (Nafaqah) [4];
  • Paying wife for the house chores if she asks for [ii], [5];
  • Treating the family well, including wife;
  • Helping the wife in house chores [6];
  • Ignoring minor errors of wife and forgiving her major mistakes.

The Responsibility in Islam towards the Husband

The rights of the husband over his wife have been fully discussed before. Briefly: 

  • Husband as the manager of the family is the only person who is fully responsible for all affairs of the family. Accordingly, every member of the family should obey him;
  • Wife as the source of peace and solace to the husband (30:21) has to submit herself to her husband except during menstruation sexually [iii].

responsibility in Islam, Salam Islam, children in Islam 
Responsibilities towards Children

The rights of children over parents begin before the conception and continue a lifetime. These rights already discussed in previous articles, can be summarized as:

  • Great care for the act of conception emphasized in Islamic teachings, which are important for the physical, mental and spiritual health of the child in the future;
  • Providing the necessary care for mother during the pregnancy to give birth to a healthy baby;
  • Reciting the Call to Prayer in the ears of the newborn];
  • Giving the baby a proper name at birth;
  • Breastfeeding the baby until the approximate age of two [7]; 
  • Behave the children nicely and respectfully;
  • Gradually familiarizing the children with religion after the age of Three [8];
  • Starting necessary religious education and guidance in belief and act during middle childhood;
  • Providing academic education at school; 
  • Teaching them moral characteristics and attributes;
  • Helping the children to perceive the physical and emotional changes of puberty to experience a pleasant transition during this period;
  • Allowing children to participate in every decision-making in the family when they are adults. 
  • Preparing the children for the responsibilities of married life at the age of marriage, helping them to choose a proper mate for themselves, and providing them with some of the basic needs of a small family. 

Responsibilities towards Brothers [iv]

Imam Ali (AS) addresses Malik Al-Ashtar in a letter and explains that “people are either your religious brother or they are humans just like you. They might make mistakes deliberately or unintentionally, as you do. Hence, forgive them just as you hope God to forgive you”. Imam Sajjad (AS) also enumerates the rights of brothers over each other [4]:

  • You should consider your brother as a powerful hand which is ready to help, a refuge in case of troubles, and a power upon whom you can always rely;
  • You should not take your brother as a weapon with which to disobey God, nor as a means by which to violate God's rights; 
  • You should never forget to help your brother against his\her self-incitement and to support him\her against his\her enemies; 
  • You should offer your brother wise counsel and should never leave him\her alone in case of need. However, if your brother does not obey God’s commands, you have to prefer God’s satisfaction to his\hers. 



[i] For more information, see ref. [3].
[ii] However, some of these rights depend on how the wife respects her husband’s rights.
[iii] Much care is also paid to the sexual needs of wives in Islamic teachings, and there exist enough instructions on how to satisfy them.
[iv] The term “brother” here is not confined to siblings; it also refers to every two or more companions of the same religion.


[1] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-Hayat”, p. 219.
[2] Ibn Babawayh,”Fiqh al-Ridha (AS)”, p. 334.
[3] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-Hayat”, p. 224.
[4] Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)”.
[5] H. Vahid Khorasani, “Islamic Laws”, Create Space Independent Publishing, 2014, p. 393.
[6] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-Hayat”, p. 257.
[7] S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 2, p. 618
[8] H. F. Tabarsi, “Makarim al-akhlaq”, p. 115.

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