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Khutba  #11

Rights of Parents Versus Rights of Children


May I ask you to hold to Taq’wa, which means piety and righteousness, and to revere Allah and obey His Divine Commands!  Let us be aware of our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness and obedience as best means for our salvation.


Allah says in Surah 12 (Yusuf), Ayah 90:


قَدْ مَنَّ اللّهُ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّهُ مَن يَتَّقِ وَيِصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“…Verily, if one practices Taq’wa [is Conscious of God] and endures —behold, God does not waste the reward of the Doers of Good.”

This is to bring to your attention that the theme of Taq’wa is a necessity in each Friday prayer.  Imam al-Jama’ah’ (meaning the leader of the prayer) must remind himself and others not only to observe Taq’wa (righteousness) and refrain from sins, but also to recommend obedience to Allah and His Divine Guidance.  We must always acknowledge Allah in our hearts and dealings, and praise Him for His provisions.  Allah (swt) says in His book, the Holy Quran in Surah 33 (al-Ahzaab), Ayah 41-42:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيراً

وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلا

“O you who believe! Acknowledge God often and glorify Him morning and evening”

Our subject is about the rights and duties of each member of the Muslim family.  All of us know that every society has adopted special procedures by which it organizes its family and social structures.  Where family is strong, societies are safe and wholesome; but where the fabric of families is weak and beset with vice and immorality, the level of crime, chaos, and fear in the society is high. 


Islam is concerned with not only the personal and family lives but also the social life.  If Islam teaches us that stealing is wrong, shouldn’t it tell us too how family members ought to behave and deal with each other, and what their rights are?  Of course the answer is yes.  Actually Islam does have many teachings about family values; among them are the rights and obligations of parents toward their children and the rights and obligations of the children toward their parents. This subject is very important nowadays, even more than before.  Let us talk about the rights of children and the duties of parents towards their children.


The memory of the enjoyment of warmth and love that parents have given lingers in our subconscious state.  It is a great privilege to have parents who protect us and provide for us, teach us and guide us, and see to it that we are well provided for even at the expense of their own personal needs and well being.  The family unit and its integrity in Islam hold very special honors.  In the Quran Allah (swt) says in Surah 31 (Luqman), Ayah 14:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ

أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

“[God says] And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents—In weakness his mother bears him and in two years is his weaning.   Be grateful to Me and to your parents.  To Me is the ultimate return.”

 He also says in Surah 17 (Israa), Ayah 23:


وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلاَهُمَا

فَلاَ تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلاَ تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيمًا

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him,

and that you be dutiful to your parents. 

If one or both of them attain old age,

say not to them even a harsh word but address them in terms of honor.”

Not only the Quran but also many Hadiths direct Muslims to consider parents with honor and respect.  A Muslim is to assist and aid his parents and give them a helping hand even if they have not been good to him beforehand or hurt him.


We are aware that humanity is in need of such notable wisdom and tradition of Islam, especially at the present age.  We know how weak and shaky the basis of the family in the Western world is.  Certainly adoption of such Islamic principles and recommendations can reduce or solve a lot of problems.  Islam urges and commands all Muslims to honor and help their parents, especially when they reach old age and become partly or completely dependent on their children.  When parents become old and maybe disabled they need more respect, understanding, love, and kindness.  Therefore the use of nursing homes in our culture is certainly the very last, and not the first choice.  If nursing homes can be avoided at all, then all the better.

The Quran continues to say in the same Ayah, meaning Surah 17 (Israa), Ayah 24:


وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

and lower to them the wing of humility with compassion,

and say: “O Lord! Have mercy on them just as they had raised me up when I was a child.”

As we notice in this verse, the Holy Quran commands us specifically to be highly respectful, mindful, and kind to our parents, particularly when they reach old age.  We must do our best to help and lend a hand, and support them out of love, in appreciation, and gratitude.  This is more true when they need us the most, for example the times they get disabled, sick, or when in financial hardship.


Next we will talk about the rights of children.  Let us start with couple of Hadiths out of numerous others in this regard.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says that: 


ان لربک علیک حقا  وان لنفسک علیک حقا  ولاهلک علیک حقا فاعط کل ذی حق حقه

You have obligations to Allah, to yourself, and to your family,

hence give each obligation the proper attention it is due



In another Hadith he says:


من لم یرحم صغیرنا  ولم یعرف حق کبیرنا   فلیس منا

A Muslim with no mercy for the young, and no respect for the old is lowly indeed. 

An essential right of children is to be raised as faithful Muslims, have good manners, and be well educated


Imam Ali (a.s.) has many sayings in regard to parents and children.  We quote four of them:[1] 


اما حق ولدک فتعلم انه منک  ومضاف الیک  فی عاجل الدنیا بخیره و شره ،  

وإنک مسؤول عما ولیته من حسن الادب   ودلالة علی ربه  والمعونة له علی طاعته فیک وفی نفسه،  فمثاب علی ذلک ومعاقب،   

فاعمل فی امره عمل المتزین بحسن اثره علیه فی عاجل الدنیا، المعذرالی ربه فیما بینک وبینه بحسن القیام علیه والاخذ له منه،

ولا قوة الا بالله

Do not force your children to behave like you, for surely they have been created for a time different from yours.

  1. A child that has to be restrained is like an extra finger:  if you let it be, then you dislike it, and if you cut it off, then it is painful.

  2. It should be your aim to display more kindness towards your child than the kindness that he displays towards you.

  3. If you scold a child then leave him room to turn away from his wrong action, for if you do so you allow him to leave with no wrong-headedness as the only way out.


The more forceful the pretence is in the beginning, the harder it will be to keep up the pretence in the end. 


We have a book from the 4th Imam, Al-Sajjad, consisting of specifications and delineations of the Rights and Obligations of man.  This deals with life-process itself, and is about every aspect of man’s relationship with God, self, parents, wife, husband, children, friends, dealings with others, and even nature itself.  It deals with the rights as well as the obligations toward each relationship; thus it helps us do the right thing in a defined manner.  The book is a masterpiece written 13 centuries ago, and that was several centuries before the Magna Charta was put to ink in England for protecting human rights.  In this book, called Al-Saheefa Al-Sajjadiya, the Imam says:[2]

    You should know that since your child is from you and will be ascribed to you, his rights would be ascribed to you:  through both his good and bad works. 

    You are responsible for what has been entrusted to you:

    such as teaching him to have good manners and conduct; guiding him to the direction of his Lord, and helping him obey God Almighty, and follow His orders. 

    One should be familiar with one’s responsibilities and also learn to differentiate between the good and bad,

    be aware that there is a system of Divine Judgment with rewards for the good works and punishment for the wrongdoings

Finally we ask Allah (swt) to help us manage our families in the best possible manner and keep us all in the right path.  May Allah help us reach the Islamic objectives of ideal Muslim family that is to live according to the Islamic principles and pass the Islamic knowledge and traditions to the following generations!


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


We commemorate this week the martyrdom of Muhammad Al-Jawaad, the ninth Imam.  Our subject will review the character of the Imam, and then will deal with Imamah.

Imam Al-Jawaad (a.s.) was the 9th Imam of the series of 12 Imams who followed the Prophet (pbuh).  He assumed the Ummah’s spiritual leadership as a young man at an early age. 

After Imam Al-Ridha passed away, and hence the beginning of Imamah of Al-Jawaad, eighty men of honor, learning, and wisdom traveled from Baghdad, (the capital of the Islamic empire in those days) to perform Haj, but also with the intention of testing the Al-Jawaad’s knowledge.  When they arrived in Medina they visited the Imam right away.  To their surprise, they saw the whole congregation stand up in honor and deference to the Imam as he entered the Majlis, or whenever he moved.  The delegation presented a variety of religious inquiries of various subjects, and kept doing so for sometime, and on his part the Imam kept answering right away, without hesitation.   The responses were heart felt, extremely satisfying.  One of the delegates, named “Ishaq” said: “I prepared a number of religious queries to ask the Imam, and to request him to pray for me for a son as well.  Since the assembly (Majlis) was overcrowded I got up to leave before asking.   As the Imam saw me he said:  “Ishaq, God had answered my prayer and will grant you a son.  Name him Ahmad.”[3]

We have many Sayings from Imam Al-Jawaad in Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Al-Kaafi, Tuhaf Al-Uqool and other books.  A sample saying[4]:


      من عمل علی غیر علم   ما یفسد اکثر مما یصلح

He who acts without [religious] knowledge [is a fool]

for he leads to harm [ruins] more than he rectifies



The second saying is quoted here:[5]

Three qualities adorn the faithful:

  1. the Grace of Allah to do the right and avoid the sinful,

  2. to admonish himself, and

  3. to listen to the advise of others

Shi’a believe that Imam Al-Jawaad was appointed by God; as was the case of all twelve Imams who followed the Prophet (pbuh). This command from God was then transmitted by the Prophet (pbuh).  Accordingly, Imam is the title given to a person who takes lead in a community in a particular social movement or political ideology or scientific or religious form of thought.  Thus the Imamah and religious leadership in Islam may be studied from different perspectives.  From the perspective of, a) Islamic government, b) Islamic sciences and, c) leadership in the spiritual life, it is clear that the person who occupies the function of giving guidance and is leader of these matters of religious concern must be appointed by God and transmitted by the Prophet.  We have a narration by both Sunni and Shi’a Traditionalist regarded as authentic; the Holy Prophet said:[6]


     انی تارک فیکم الثقلین:

کتاب الله وعترتی (اهل بیتی ) ،  لن یفترقا حتی یردا علیّ الحوض،    

ما ان تمسکتم بهما لن تضلوا ابدا

I am now departing and leaving amongst you [in trust] two precious matters [weighty things]:

One of them is the Book of Allah and the other is my Ahlul Bayt

Both of them are inseparable and shall never get apart from each other till they reach me at the Pool of Kawthar in Paradise. 

So as long as you hold on to them, you never go astray


In this narration the Holy Prophet has introduced Ahlul Bayt to the rest of his followers by saying indirectly: “My Ahlul Bayt and I are immune from sins”.  This was declared while he was going to Masjid for the dawn prayers, when he would knock on the door of the house of Imam Ali and Fatima for Morning Prayer.  He would say:[7]

May Allah’s peace be with you, O’ Ahlul Bayt

and then he would recite this Quranic verse Surah 33 (al-Ahzaab), Ayah 33:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

 “Verily verily, Allah wants to keep off you uncleanness, O’ Ahlul Bayt, [People of the house!] and purify you a thorough purification”

The Prophet (pbuh) has also added:


I am in war with him who fights against you,

and I am in peace with him who is in peace with you


In the same way Zamakh’shari and Razi in their respective commentaries of the Holy Quran have narrated the following tradition of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet says


The one who dies still loving the progeny of Muhammad dies like a martyr.

The one who dies still loving the progeny of Muhammad dies as a forgiven man.

The one who dies still loving the progeny of Muhammad dies as a repented man.

The one who dies still loving the progeny of Muhammad dies as fulfilled in faith.


According to the Quranic verse of purification Surah 33 (al-Ahzaab), Ayah 33 Ahlul Bayt occupy a unique position of piety, for they were pure, as Allah has promised in the Quran.


At the end, we request Allah (swt) to help us in perfecting our faith and belief and to keep us on the straight path, and do all the duties we are responsible for.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


[1]  Nahjul Balaaghah, Imam Ali (a.s.), Section of Sayings, #231.  Quoted from Al-Alif Al-Mukhtara,  by Ibn Abi Al-Hadid

[2] Risalat al-Huqooq, translated by William Chittick, page 9.

[3] Al-Kaafi Vol. 1, Page 314.

[4] Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol.78, Page 364.

[5] Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol.78, Page 358.

[6] Sahih Muslim, Vol.7, Page 122.  Also Tirmidhi, Vol. 2, Page 307.  Also Sunan ibn Dawood, Vol. 2, Page 422.  Mus’nad Ahmad, Vol. 3, Page 130.

[7] Tafseer Sayyooti, Vol. 5, Page 223.

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