Islam recognizes the inherent bonds of love that exist between parents and their children. However, there are certain guidelines which have been put forth in the Qur`an and in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which explicitly describe the rights and obligations of both parents and children.

Child’s Rights, Parents’ Obligations

From the outset, Islam has placed great importance on the rights of the children and the reciprocal obligations of the parents. After careful review, a few principles can be presented as a summary of the general approach to children. First and foremost, from conception onwards, the child is in no way to be a cause of harm to its parents. While the mother is to suckle the child for up to two years and the father is charged with overseeing the welfare and subsistence of both mother and child, the Quran clearly states that in carrying out either responsibility:

{“… nosoul shall have imposed upon it a duty but to the extent of its capacity}” (Baqarah 2:233). Indeed, the verse continues to declare that:

{ “… a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child…”}.

As much as the child must bring no harm to its parents, by implication we understand that the parents are equally responsible to reciprocate and to cause no harm the child. Parents are encouraged to be gentle and kind with their children even when they intend to discipline them. In addition, parents are enjoined to protect their children by providing for both their physical and emotional development. Food, clothing and shelter are the rights of a child as are a peaceful and nurturing living environment and access to a sound education.

The Qur’an also recognizes that the parent-child relationship is built upon a foundation of mutual love, such that for any parent, children are an immense source of joy, pride and strength. Starting from infancy, the child brings great moments of joy for her parents. The parents especially form a close bond with the child, attending to her daily needs, adjusting to her sleeping schedule, playing with her, and holding her in their arms for endless numbers of hours and sacrificing their own comfort. The baby’s first words bring great joy to the parents. As the baby grows up, crawling, taking steps towards walking, and gaining strength, the parents take great pride in that and often share every new development with family and friends. The child has the right to be provided a safe and secure environment while these new physical and mental developments are taking place.