Children's Rights in Islam From Middle Childhood to Adolescence

Instruction for Middle Childhood (8 to 14 years old)

 

Middle childhood is the most decisive period of life, considering children's rights in Islam. It is a time when children develop fundamental skills for building healthy social relationships and learn roles that will make them ready to be confronted with adolescence and adulthood.

 

According to Islam, in this period a child should first be given necessary religious education so that he/she may not be misinformed and misled by anyone in belief or action.

 

In this stage, children should start to learn writing and reading. Also, moral characteristics and attributes should be institutionalized in their mind, and their acts step by step.   

 

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Imam Baqir (AS) has asserted: “When the child completes seven years, he should be asked to wash his face and hands, and then told to pray. This will continue till he reaches the age of 9 years, when he should be taught proper Wudu (Ablution), and should be guided by parents if he is not careful and proper Salat (prayer) - and he should be reminded if he is not regular” [1].

 

It is worth mentioning that puberty in most girls will begin at around 8-14 years. If a girl has reached puberty in this period, she must do all acts of worship that an adult is required to do. Parents should have particular attention to the girls in this age. So she must fast in Ramadan, and she must also cover her head when she prays and thus must be in full Islamic prayer clothing.

 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the teachings of two things to male children, as a part of children's rights in Islam. He said: “It is the right of the male child on his father to teach him the Book of God (Holy Quran), riding, and swimming.”[2]. It is also narrated that the prophet believed the duty of a father to be teaching his son to write [3].

 

The character of children is supple; they may easily be bent in any direction. If they are not given proper moral and religious education at this stage, changes of manner and thought would be difficult.

 

Children's Rights in Islam During Adolescence (after 14 years old)

 

This period is between childhood and adult age. After the age of 14, the human mind becomes stronger and new horizons are opened in front of one’s eyes. Therefore, puberty, marriage, domestic life and its complex problems come to the fore.

 

Nowadays, the young adults soon realize that he needs to look after himself in future; he knows that with every day passing, he becomes closer to the responsibilities and accountability of a family.

 

It is the right of adolescent to be involved in every decision making in family and parents should consider their opinions. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mentioned the child is the master for seven years and a slave for seven years and a vizier for seven years [4].

 

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One of the children's rights in Islam that parents should observe is to be provided with marriage when they are old enough, without delaying it. Indeed, the Holy Quran and the Prophet (PBUH) advise that young people be married when they are old enough [5].

 

The prophet (PBUH) said: “Among the rights of the child over the parents are three: To give him a good name, to teach him to write and to help him marry when he comes of pubescence [6].

 

The aim of Islam regarding family can only be accomplished with the help of a good marriage. Accordingly, marriage is an important part, and significant matter of domestic discipline and children should be educated by parents in this matter.

 

Parents are responsible for providing the requirements of marriage. Actually, ideal primary education should be given to children by their parents and their duties are fulfilled by providing them with a job and helping them to marry.

 

References:

[1] Ibn-e Fazl-e Tabarsi, Makarim Al Akhlaq, p. 115.

[2] Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynī, Furū al-Kāfī, vol 6, p. 187.

[3] Abul Qasem Payandeh,  Nahj-al feṣāḥa , p. 447.

[4] Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynī, Rawda al-Kafi , vol 6, p. 47.

[5] https://www.al-islam.org

[6] Fattal Neyshaburi , Rawdat al-wa'izin , p. 369.