As Muslims, we recognize that a child has rights over his parents that he must fulfill. Moreover, there are some manners and etiquette that must be followed between the two. These are to be found in the parent choosing a good name for his child, to sacrifice an Aqiqah for his child on the seventh day, circumcising the child, having mercy and gentleness with the child, providing for the child, bringing him up in an accurate and proper way, being concerned with his cultural and social upbringing, teaching him about Islam and training him to fulfill the obligatory and recommended aspects as well as other manners. This continues till the child is married off, at which time he will give him the choice to stay under his guardianship or to move off on his own. These are all based on the following evidences from the two basic sources of Islam, Quran and Sunnah.
The suckling period is only two years
Allah the Exalted said:
“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,” (Al-Baqarah 2:233).
This is a direction from Allah to the mothers to suckle their infants through the complete term of suckling, which is two years.
Protecting the child from Hell-fire
One should work in the obedience of Allah, avoid disobedience of Him and order his family members to remember Allah, then Allah will save him and his family from the Hell-fire. Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell)” (At-Tahrim 66:6).
It is an obligation for the Muslim to teach his near family members, and his male and female slaves what Allah has made obligatory for them and what He has forbidden for them. There is a Hadith that confirms the meaning of this verse. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“Command a boy to offer As-Salat (prayer) when he reaches the age of seven. And when he reaches the age of ten, then (if he does not offer prayer) discipline him for it.” (Abu Dawud 494).
This order includes both male and female children. When they reach the age of understanding the issues, or they are old enough to understand good and bad, they should be ordered to pray so that they may learn the prayer. The child should be put into the routine of praying five times a day once he or she reaches the age of seven. However, at this age, they need not be forced or physically disciplined. Once they reach the age of ten, however, they should be made to pray all five prayers.
Not to kill the Child for fear of Poverty
Allah (SWT) says:
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Isra 17:31).
This verse clearly indicates that Allah (SWT) is more compassionate towards His servants than a father to his child, because He forbids killing children just as He enjoins parents to take care of their children in matters of inheritance. The people of Jahiliyyah would not allow their daughters to inherit from them, and some would even kill their daughters lest they make them poorer.
Killing the children is a major sin; the Prophet (PBUH) also mentioned that killing the child for fear of poverty is a great sin. Abdullah bin Masud (RA) narrated that I or somebody, asked Allah’s Messenger (PBUH):
“Which is the biggest sin in consideration with Allah?” He said, “That you set up a rival (in worship) to Allah, though He Alone created you.” I asked, “What is nest?” He said, “To kill your son, lest he should share your food with you.” I asked, “What is next?” He said, “To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbor.” (Al-Bukhari 4761).
The prohibition of killing one’s children is a necessary consequence of having mercy for them and protecting their body, minds and soul from what is unlawful.
Having Aqiqah for the child
Concerning Aqiqah the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The boy is mortgaged by his Aqiqah; slaughtering should be done for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name, and his head should be shaved.” (At-Tirmidhi 1522).
This is because a children in Islam is a blessing of Allah for man; the Aqiqah is an acknowledgment and act of gratitude for this blessing. It remains due until it is acknowledged by sacrificing an animal in the Name of Allah. Shaving the head of the baby is must at this time.
Be just and equitable among the children
It is recommended to deal and teat the children justly. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.” (Al-Bukhari 2587).
This Hadith indicates that whenever somebody wishes to give his children anything, he should treat all of them equally and with justice.
Concerning the rights of the children in Islam upon the father, it is also mentioned in reports that the father must educate the child in a good manner and select a good name for him. Umar (RA) once said:
“From the rights of the child upon the father is that he teaches him writing and archery and that he not feed him with anything except what is legal and pure.”
It is also reported that he (RA) said:
“Marry from the pious household, for verily genetics has a strong effect.”
Once a Bedouin was showing his children what a favor he did to them by choosing their mother, he told them:
“The first good thing I did towards you was choosing a good noble family whose ancestors were chaste.”
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