Equity Between Children
- :Ismail Abdullah
The first child in the family is in position of love, sympathy and protection by the parents being the first and the only child. He was granted excess attention and leniency all his psychological and material needs was fulfilled. The parents will try all their possible best to please them in different means by providing all his needs in terms of dresses, playing instruments and other things of this nature.
He always accompany his parents either the mother or the father or both of them (in another expression) he attain exceptional attention. This type of child with all these attention and leniency will encounter a serious problem when they give birth a second child, he will then commence anxiety for the second child, that there will be a competition in all angles, the new child will compete with him in terms of the parent's love and care for him, his position as the only child before, his playing instruments, jealousness will then commence right from the first day he was born.
He will engage the parents in a new unforeseen situation including the safety of the mother and the child. If the parents are not vigilant on this phenomenon the jealousy of the first child may gradually change to enmity and hatred for the new born baby. This enmity will reflect in his status emotionally and psychologically. This increases whenever attention and care are focus on the newly born baby which will remove the first child from the circles of care and attention. It is then incumbent on the parents to heed to that and protect this new phenomenon to leave the first child to enjoyed the same attention and care and make him feel love and sympathy and to love the second child.
Let him satisfied that he will become brother or sister to him, that he will assist and comfort him, he is not a rival to him in terms of love and care, and it is incumbent for the both of them in reality to believe this inducement. The mother should rise to embrace and kiss him while the father should rise to respond to his needs or buying new playing instruments for him and other means of showing him real attention and care. The optimum resolution is to make equity and equality between the first and the second child because that is the protection and remedy for jealousy, hatred and enmity.
The importance of equity and equality becomes certain when the both child advance in age because their feelings and emotions developed and they gradually matured linguistically and mentally which enable them comprehend the meaning of equity and equality. They can also identify its substantial in a real feasible.
There are many related traditions emphasizing the spread of equity between the children. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his descendants) said: "Justify between your children as you wants them to justify between you in obedience and kindness" 152.
Justice between the children is general and comprises all portion of life that is surrounding the child spiritually and materially. I.e. to satisfy all their material needs and their spiritual needs in love, commendation and care.
It came from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) that he saw a man with two children kissing one of them and leaving the other, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his descendants) said: "You should have do equality between them" 153.
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) said: "Verily Allah the most high wants you to justify between your children even in kissing" 154.
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) emphasize on equity in presents and gifts even in food, drinks, dresses, playing instruments and so on as it was related from the saying s of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants): "Do equality to your children in presents, but if I am to favor any of them, I will prefer the female child" 155.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his descendants) said: "Make justice between your children in dividing as you want them to do you justice in obedience and kindness" 156.
Justice doesn't mean "there should be no preference" because some children attract the parents more than the other. From Rifa'ah Al-Asadi, he said: (I inquire from Abu Al-Hassan Musa bn Jaafar (peace be upon him) about a man having many children from different mother, can he prefer one of them than the others? He (peace be upon him) replied positively, it doesn't matter, my father (peace be upon him) does prefer me than Abdullah my brother) 157.
Preference should be in veil and not to be manifested before the children, he should conceal it in his mind but in reality he should not act except with justice and equality as Imam Jaafar bn Mohammad Assadiq (peace be upon him) has said: "My father said: by Allah I will do to some of my children, sit him on my thigh, love him much, gratified him much, that the Right is for other than him from among my children but for protecting him from others so that they should not act on him what Yousuf's brother done to him" 158.
Injustice has negative effect on the children psychologically that leads to the plant of the spirit of hatred and aversion between them, as a result of that it will lead to intense enmity and unfair decision like that of Yousuf's brother s when they threw him into the well.
The history has been on the base of spreading equity between the children of same father or of same kinship.
It was related from Abdullah bn Abbas, he said: (I was with the Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) while on his left thigh Ibrahim his son and on his right thigh Al-Hessian bn Ali, he sometimes kisses this and sometimes kisses the other) 159
Ibrahim is the son of the Prophet while Hussein is the son of his daughter but with this difference in relation he (peace be upon him and his descendants) did not differentiates in his dealing between them.
In narrations (The Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) was praying while Alhassan and Al-Hussein came to climb him, he gently took them when he rises his head, when he return they return, when he finishes he seated this at his right thigh and the other at his left thigh) 160.
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) was on the pulpit given sermon while Alhassan and Al-Hussein came across him walking (The Prophet (peace be upon him and his descendants) get down from the pulpit, he takes them and place them before himself) 161.
Among the substantial of equity and equality is not to make comparism between the children in their physical, spiritual and psychological attributes. It is not proper to say this one is more beautiful than the other or more brilliant or more moral because it will be source of grudges and comparism between the children, because it also leads to jealousy from some of them and to competition.
Comparism leads to lost of trust between the brothers and the opposite is correct.
(Not differentiating in dealing is the greatest support to create exchange of confident atmosphere between the child and other members of the family) 162.
We can observe from most fathers un-intended stance like his saying: verily in my son this resemble me and that does not resemble me, even this comparism does its duty in jealousy, rivalry and the better is to refrain from it.
Among equity is not to distinguish between boy and girl because the distinction has negative effect on the girl's psychology and planting of enmity and grudges between the sister and her brother. This phenomenon is common in most countries when the parent's inclination towards the male child was more than that of the female child. They fulfill the request of the boy more than that of the girl's requests.
Narrations came in order to minimize this phenomenon by granting exceptional providence for a baby girl and educates parents on that basis as it was narrated by bn Abbas from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his descendants): "Whoever enters market and purchases presents for his family is like who takes charity to the needy peoples and he should commence with the females before the males ....." 163.
Commencing with the female will not have any negative effects on the male because he sees it natural that one should receive before the other, what mostly silent the child and not to considered it a distinction, if he obtain the gift from the parents, there is no difference whether he is the first or the second.
Equity between the children doesn't mean we should not adopt encouraging methods by giving additional gift to who executes good deeds. It may be beneficial and permissible competition between the children which did not have any negative effects in their psychology but they will consider it as permissible and natural Right.
It is incumbent on the parents when dealing with the children to take care of this situation, knowing the psychology of their children by inventing successful ways of encouragement that conform with their psychological status, so that they shouldn't feel injustice. No matter how justice and equity is established it will not put an end to some negative phenomenon like quarrel and conflict between the children. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs between the children in all or most of the families.
Serious argument and hand to hand fight do occur between the children, one will accuse his brother or for remising his Right or that he commence the aggression on him. In this situation the parents should study the problems objectively that the quarrel and conflict are natural, if it is simple, uncomplicated and limited; the best is not to interfere as they will resolve by themselves to put and end to their quarrel.
It is not proper for the parents or one of them to interfere as a judge between them because to judge in favor of one against the other will not conform with implementation of justice and equality with the children but if the quarrel or the conflict repeated or continued through the day or it becomes severe and dangerous for the children the parent's role comes, to intervene and terminate it by issuing order to both of them to discontinue the conflict or to divert their attention to another topic entirely and engaged them with it or to intervene by distancing them from each other but when the issue demand reproach or spiritual punishment, the better to focus both of them to concord with implementation of equity between the children.
152 - Makaarimul Akh'laq: 220.
153 - Makaarimul Akh'laq: 221.
154 - Kanzul Amaal vol- 16: 445/ 45350.
155 - " " " - 16: 444/ 45346.
156 - " " " - 16: 444/ 45347.
157 - Makarimul Akh'laq: 221.
158 - Mustadrakil Wasaa'il vol- 12: 626.
159 - Bihaaril Anwaar vol- 43: 261.
160 - " " "- 43: 275.
161 - Bihaaril Anwaar vol- 43: 284.
162 - Hadeeth Ila Umahaat: 68.
163 - Makarimul Akh'laq: 221.
Adapted from the book: "The Child's Education in Islam" by: "Ismail Abdullah"
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