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How do we fulfill the rights of our flesh and blood?

 

I will mention here some examples of this:

1. Choosing a good name for him:

The proof for this is the fact that it is authentically reported on the Messenger of Allaah that he would change vile names and that he would encourage (his followers) to choose good names (for themselves and their children).

Ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Indeed the most beloved of your names to Allaah are: 'Abdullaah and 'Abdur-Rahmaan." 11

'Aqeel bin Shabeeb reported from Abu Wahab Al-Jushamee - one of the Companions that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Name yourselves with the names of the prophets. The most beloved of names to Allaah are: 'Abdullaah and 'Abdur-Rahmaan and the most truthful of them are: Al-Haarith and Hammaam. And the vilest of them are Harb and Murrah." 12

2. Holding an 'Aqeeqah for him:

On the authority of Muhammad bin Sireen: Salmaan bin 'Aamir Ad-Dabbee narrated to us, saying: I heard the Messenger of Allaah say: "The 'Aqeeqah is to be offered for the (newborn) boy. So spill blood on his behalf (i.e. offer a sacrifice) and remove the harm from him." 13

3. Breastfeeding him:

This is one of the initial rights that a child gets after birth. The noble Qur'aan has affirmed it and defined the maximum time-frame for it, saying:

"The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 233]

4. Paying his expenses:

Allaah says:

"But the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 233]

And He says:

"And kill not your children because of poverty. We provide sustenance for you and for them." [Surah Al-An'aam: 151]

And He says:

"And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin." [Surah Al-Israa: 31]
So if it were not for the fact that spending on them was an obligation, they would not have any fear of poverty. However, Allaah affirmed that and shows them that He is the One who provides for them and their offspring.

Az-Zuhree said: Abu Idrees 'Aa'idhullaah bin 'Abdillaah informed me that 'Ubaadah bin As-Saamit - who was present at the Battle of Badr and who was one of the chiefs on the night of 'Aqabah - reported that the Messenger of Allaah said while a group of his Companions were around him: "Give me the pledge that you will not worship anything along with Allaah, that you will not steal, that you will not commit illegal intercourse, that you will not kill your children, that you will not bring forth a slander which you fabricate between your hands and legs (i.e. by making illegal children belong to their husbands), and that you are not disobedient with respect to (implanting) good. Whoever amongst you fulfills his pledge will be rewarded by Allaah. And whoever indulges in any of these sins and is then punished for it in this worldly life, the punishment will serve as expiation for him. And whoever indulges in any of these sins and then Allaah conceals it for him, the matter is with Allaah - if He wishes, He will pardon him and if He wishes, He will punish him." 'Ubaadah bin As-Saamit said: "So we gave him the pledge of allegiance upon these conditions." 14

We also mentioned previously the report in which the Prophet said: "It is sufficient sin for a man that he neglects those whom he supports." 15

Hishaam narrated: My father reported to me from 'Aa'ishah that Hind bint 'Utbah said: "O Messenger of Allaah, Abu Sufyaan is a very miserly man and he doesn't give me what suffices myself and my child, except for what I take from him without him knowing!" He said: "Take what suffices you and your child in goodness." 16

Anas bin Maalik reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Whoever supports two girls until they reach the age of puberty will come on the Day of Judgement - him and I (like this)." And he interlaced his fingers. 17

5. Being fair when giving out gifts:

'Aamir narrated: I heard An-Nu'maan bin Basheer say while he was on the mimbar: "My father once gave me a gift but 'Amra bint Rawaahah (i.e. my mother) said she would not agree to it unless he made Allaah's Messenger a witness to it. So my father went to Allaah's Messenger and said: 'I have given a gift to my son from 'Amra bint Rawaahah, but she ordered me to make you witness it, O Messenger of Allaah.' He asked him: 'Did you give the rest of your children a similar gift?' He said: 'No.' So Allaah's Messenger said: 'Then fear Allaah and be fair towards all of your children.' So my father went back and took back his gift." 18

6. Commanding them to pray and being patient with them upon that:

This is based on Allaah's statement:

"And enjoin prayer on your family and be patient in offering it. We do not ask you for any provision, (rather) We provide for you, and the good end is for those with Taqwaa."
[Surah TaHa: 132]

'Amr bin Shu'aib reported from his father who reported from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Order your children to pray when they are seven years old and beat them to it (if they refuse) when they are ten. And separate them in their beds."19

7. Beware of supplicating against them:

'Ubaadah bin As-Saamit reported from Jaabir bin 'Abdillaah that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Do not supplicate against your own selves. Do not supplicate against your children. And do not supplicate against your wealth. Do not correspond with Allaah on an hour in which He is asked something and thus grants it." 20

8. The Order to Restrain Children during the Hours in which the Jinn spread out:

Jaabir reported that the Prophet said: "When night falls, restrain your children, for indeed the devils spread out at that time. So when an hour has passed from the evening, you may then release them. And close your door and mention Allaah's Name. Turn off your light and mention Allaah's Name. Cover your containers and mention Allaah's Name - even if you put something across it." 21

9. Inciting them to keep good company and warning them about bad companions:

Abu Moosaa reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: "The example of a righteous companion and an evil companion is like that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. From the first, you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while a blacksmith would either burn your home or your clothes or you would experience a foul smell from him." 22

10. Being merciful and compassionate towards them:

'Urwah bin Az-Zubair reported from 'Aa'ishah, the wife of the Prophet, who narrated to him, saying: "A woman with two children came to me to beg but nothing could be found in my possession except one date, so I gave it to her. The woman took it and divided it between her two daughters. She then got up and left. When the Prophet came in, I told him what had happened. So he said: 'Whoever is put in charge of some affair of these girls and is good to them, they will act as a shield for him from the Fire.'" 23

Az-Zuhree reported: Abu Salamah bin 'Abdir-Rahmaan narrated to us that Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allaah once kissed Al-Hasan bin 'Alee while Al-Aqra' bin Haabis At-Tameemee was sitting next to him, so Al-Aqra' said: 'I have ten children and I have not kissed any of them.' The Messenger of Allaah cast a look on him and said: 'Whoever is not merciful (to others) will not be treated mercifully.'" 24

'Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, reported that once a Bedouin man came to the Prophet and said: "You people kiss children but we don't kiss them." So the Prophet said: "I cannot put mercy in your heart after Allaah has taken it away from it." 25

Abu Sulaymaan Maalik bin Al-Huwairith reported: "We came to the Prophet when we were young men around the same age and stayed with him for twenty nights. He then thought that we missed our families so he asked us whom we left behind to look after them, and we told him. He was compassionate and merciful and said to us: 'Go back to your families and teach them and command them (with good). And pray as you have seen me praying. And when the time for prayer comes in, one of you should make the Adhaan for all of you, and the eldest amongst you should lead the prayer.'" 26

11. Serving as good role-models for them:

A child's guardians should behave in accordance with their responsibility due to the generality of the afore-mentioned hadeeth: 'Each of you is a guardian and each of you is responsible over those under your care.'"

12. Teaching them the aspects of the Religion that they are required to learn:
Anas bin Maalik reported that the Messenger of Allaah said: "Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim." 27

This goes along with a warning against children traveling abroad even for educational purposes until they first fortify themselves with religious knowledge and a righteous wife.

Before concluding: Know that children are a source of trials (fitnah). Allaah says:

"And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely, with Allaah is a mighty reward." [Surah Al-Anfaal: 28]

It is stated in Adwaa-ul-Bayaan: "Allaah ordered the people in this noble ayah to be aware that their properties and children are a trial for them by which they will be tested. Will your wealth and your children be a cause for you to fall into that which Allaah is displeased with?! Elsewhere (in the Qur'aan), He adds to this saying that wives are also a trial just like wealth and children, thus ordering the individual to beware of them putting him into that which Allaah is not pleased with.

Then He orders the individual - if he should see something he dislikes from these enemies who are the closest and most special of people to him, i.e. his children and wives - to forgive them, pardon them and not hold them accountable. So he should beware of them firstly and then pardon them if some thing should occur from them. This is found in His statement in Surah At-Taghaabun:

'O you who believe, verily among your wives and your children are enemies for you, so beware of them. But if you pardon (them) and overlook and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allaah is All-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allaah - with Him is a great reward.' [Surah At-Taghaabun: 14-15]
He then asserts somewhere else (in the Qur'aan) that it is forbidden for the believers to let their wealth and children divert them from His Remembrance, stating that whoever let's this happen is a loser who has been duped out of his shares. The ayah being referred to is Allaah's saying:

'O you who believe, let not your properties or your children divert you from the Remembrance of Allaah. And whosoever does that, they are the losers.' [Surah Al-Munaafiqoon: 9]

The word 'fitnah', as mentioned in these verses, means a trial and a test. This is one of the many meanings this word possesses in the Qur'aan." 28

Neither the wife nor the children of an individual will pick up the burden of his shortcomings and deficiencies on his behalf. Allaah says:
"Neither your relatives nor your children will be of avail to you on the Day of Resurrection. He will judge between you. And Allaah is All-Seer of what you do." [Surah Al-Mumtahanah: 3]

So children are a source of fitnah - they are a trial and a test. Allaah will test us by them. So we should fear Allaah with regard to them and give them the proper rights that they deserve. Or should we forfeit these rights, when Allaah will ask us about them?!

Al-Hasan reported: 'Ubaidullaah bin Ziyad went to visit Ma'qil bin Yassaar while he was suffering from the illness that he eventually died from. So Ma'qil said: "I will indeed narrate a hadeeth to you that I heard from Allaah's Messenger. I heard the Prophet say: 'There is no servant whom Allaah has granted responsibility over a group of people, then fails to look after them in an honest manner, except that he will not experience the fragrance of Paradise.'"

And in another narration of this hadeeth: "There is no servant whom Allaah has granted responsibility over a group of people, then dies on the day that he dies whilst in a state of deceiving his people, except that Allaah makes Paradise forbidden for him." 29

Children are a source for causing one to divert away from the Remembrance of Allaah. At times, they may even lead you to disobey Him. In these cases, they are an enemy that you should beware of!
The Messenger of Allaah has instructed us how to expiate this fitnah. Hudhaifah reported: "We were sitting one day with 'Umar when he asked us: 'Which one of you memorized the words of Allaah's Messenger concerning trials?' I replied: 'I did, just as he said it.' He said: 'You are quick to respond!!' I said: 'A man's trials with regard to his family, his wealth, his children and his neighbor are expiated by prayer, fasting, charity, and commanding (good) and forbidding (evil).'" 30

Footnotes:

11 Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Manners (no. 2132)
12 Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad (31/377, no. 19032), Abu Dawood in his Sunan: Book of Manners (no. 4950) and An-Nasaa'ee in his Sunan: Book of Horses (no. 3565). The chain of this narration revolves around 'Aqeel bin Shabeeb who is unknown. No one reported on his authority except for one narrator. Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him amongst the reliable narrators. However, those who have checked the Musnad have declared its chain of narration weak because of this.
13 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of 'Aqeeqah (no. 5471)
14 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Faith (no. 18) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Punishments (no. 1709)
15 Its references were mentioned previously. Its source is found in Saheeh Muslim but the wording here is from Abu Dawood who reported it with a good chain.
16 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Provision (no. 5364) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Judgements (no. 1714)
17 Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Virtues, Maintaining Family Ties and Good Manners (no.
2631)
18 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Gifts, their Virtue and an Encouragement to Give them (no. 2587) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Gifts (no. 1623)
19 Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad (2/180) and Abu Dawood in his Sunan: Book of Prayer (no. 495)
20 Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Abstinence and Heart-Softening Narrations (no. 3014)
21 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of the Beginning of Creation (no. 3280) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Drinks (no. 2012)
22 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Business Transactions (no. 2101) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Virtues, Maintaining Family Ties and Good Manners (no. 2628)
23 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Manners (no. 5994) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Virtues, Maintaining Family Ties and Good Manners (no. 2639)
24 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Manners (no. 5997) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Virtues (no. 2318)
25 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Manners (no. 5998) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Virtues (no. 2317)
26 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Manners (no. 6008)
27 Reported by Ibn Maajah in the introduction to his Sunan: Book of the Virtue of Scholars (no. 224)
28 Adwaa-ul-Bayaan (2/51-52) of Imaam Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shanqeetee
29 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh: Book of Rulings (no. 7150) and Muslim in his Saheeh: Book of Faith (no. 142)
30 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim