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Father's Responsibility

Not only are fathers responsible for saving their dependants’ alimonies and fiscal necessities, but also they are required to provide education, discipline, morals, and guidance. They must ensure the high traits and warn against evil. Imam Zeinul-abidin (a) says, “Your sons’ right is that you should realize their being parts of you and attached to you in good and evil. You are responsible for providing the noble traits, conducting them to their Lord, and backing them in worshipping Him as a compliance with you. They entirely be rewarded or punished. You should act to your sons as seekers of the good remuneration in this world, and justified to the Lord through the acceptable supervision and training.”.

Imam Zeinul-abidin (a) was used to supplicating to the Lord for his son by saying, “O Lord! Make them filial pious, godly, aware, listeners, and obedient for Thee, and adherents and advisers for Thy saints, and mutinous and antipathetic of Thy foes.”.

Fathers are subject to bring forth the chaste education for the sons to guarantee their sincerity. The Imams of the Prophet’s progeny regarded this topic highly. Imam Ali (a), the first Islamic educationist, says to his son, Imam al-Hassan, “I consider you being a part of me, being me all in all. Anything that strikes you is actually striking me. Death when draws near to you is drawing to me. Your affairs are as same as mine.”

Yes indeed, sons are not only parts of their fathers. They are truly their fathers’ all in all. They expose their fathers’ existence and entity. From this cause, fathers should care for their sons’ education, edification, and perfection in order that they will take pride in them magnificently. On the other hand, sons may be evil and mischievous to their fathers if their education and affairs are neglected. The following are some of the fathers’ tasks:

1. Custody of Sons:

Fathers should take care of their sons by granting them with affection and tenderness, and conferring honor upon them. These matters form the most influential effects in structuring their educational entity and advancing their personalities and mental maturity.

The Prophet (s) had al-Hassan and al-Hussein -his grandsons- in the greatest custody. As he was having them on his shoulders, the Prophet (s) used to say, “These two are my single basil in this world. He whoever loves me should love them.”. On another occasion, he said to Fatima az-Zahra (a), “Summon my two sons.” As she presented them, the Prophet (s) smelt and embraced them.. It is also related that al-Aqra bin Habis, seeing the Prophet’s fondness and custody of his two grandchildren, said, “I do not remember I have ever kissed any of my ten sons.” This saying made the Prophet irate. “What can we do to a man that God has uprooted mercy from him!”.

The Prophet (s) poured his ideal and guidance in the minds of his two grandsons. He also dwelled his merciful tendencies on them. Therefore, they became the excellent exemplars of perfection. Their liberal lifetime accumulated the total aspects of magnitude and divinity as well as whatsoever mankind boasts all over history. They achieved the elevation in ethics and essence, and delved into the fields of grandeur and right.

Fathers’ custody, affection, and charity to sons are the most consequential constituents of the educational entity that consummates the children’s personal affluence and spares the mental complexities that are the most serious diseases. Modern educational surveys have proved that good citizens and virtuous scientists are mostly the outcome of the careful families.. Psychologists have asserted this fact, too. Conversely, the sons that are unwelcomed and disregarded by their families take aggressive paths and seem to be negative, quarreling, and rebellious, and invent skillful trickeries for disturbing the adults. Besides, they tend to criminal behavior.

- The aspects of the family negligence are as follows:

- Cruelty and excessive vulgarity in treating the children.

- The use of the fierce physical disciplining.

- The continuous criticizing, reproaching, and exposition of the children’s defects before others.

- Intemperance in neglecting and accusing the children.
- The negligence of praising the children.

- Disgracing the children before the other brothers and sisters.

- Showing astonishment when others praise the children..

Fathers should avoid the previous matters when they deal with their sons. This will save the children’s behaviors and guard them against irregularity and aberrance.

2. Equality:

Fathers should cover their sons with equal amounts of love, affection, and custody. Many psychological complexities, jealousy, fury, and the arising of mental passive revolts may occur to the children who notice any distinction in the fathers’ conservation. These effects may lead to serious psychological ailments.

The holy Quran exposes the story of Joseph the prophet when his father favored him to the other brothers. Consequently, they plotted for an artifice by which they threw him in a well and came to their fathers weeping. The father –Jacob the prophet- was so regretful that his eyes turned into white. A calamitous crisis that he had to suffer was owing to favoring a definite son to the others. The Prophet (s) is reported to say, “Treat your sons equally as you like to be treated fairly in benevolence and kindness.” As he noticed a father of two sons kiss one and neglect the other, the Prophet (s) reproached, “You should have treated them equitably.”.

Equality among sons is one of the components of the Islamic education. Fathers should never distinguish between brothers. Fathers who address charity and benevolence at certain sons exclusively, or give the heritage exclusively to the sons and neglect the daughters, are definitely out of the circle of Islam. Such procedures arouse hostility and hatred among the brothers and cause retardation in their educational entity, and mental disorder and slowdown in the social relations. It is proven that the sons that are deprived of paternal affection and benevolence are stroke by psychological complexities, social antagonism, and severe conduct. Fabrication, larceny, cruelty, evildoing, and assaulting deeds are the effects of the children that lack paternal affection.

“Children’s paternal hatred stops against the social conditioning. It cancels the feelings of security and self-confidence. Modern psychological surveys have confirmed that the most critical causes of disquietude are the nullity of the family emotional warmth, feelings of others’ negligence, deprivation of love, kindness, and affection, and feelings of weakness in the aggressive world. Secondly, inequality among brothers arises the feelings of disquietude in the children’s minds, and kills the spirits of keenness that help in pushing the way easily and tranquilly. Disordered men feel of depression and mental torment everywhere.”.

Fathers should treat their sons equally, lest the sons will be affected by such serious ailments that smash the mental entities.

3. Cordiality:

Fathers must cover their family members, especially spouses, with cordiality, affection, and benevolence, and meet their needs entirely. God has instituted this as one of the wives’ rights. It also contributes in the children’s prudent education and personal contentment that live in aspects that are filled with love, affection, peace, and settlement. Islam has urged on caring for wives. The Prophet (s) said, “The best of you are the best to their wife. I am the best to my wives.” He also said, “Wives are the husbands’ delight. Almighty God favors those who deal with their delight in the best way.” Imam al-Baqir (a) says, “May God’s mercy be upon those who enjoy good relations with their wives. Allah the Exalted gave men the wives in possession and made them their custodians.” Imam as-Sadiq (a) says, “Fear God while you deal with the two weak; women and slaves.”

Fathers ought not to displease or wrong their wives. The Prophet (s) says, “The best men of my nation are those who do not encroach or wrong their wives and those who treat them kindly.” He then recited God’s saying:

Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others.

Fathers’ natures and manners to their family members leave the greatest influence on the children’s consonance in the society. The children’s personalities achieve prosperity only when their fathers’ treatments are well. Contrariwise, children’s behaviors and intellectual maturity are badly affected and ceased if fathers use rudeness.

4. Avoidance of Obscene Language:

Fathers, as paterfamiliases, are in charge of constituting the educational entity of their families. They should avoid obscene language, vulgarity, and any matter that injures the general manners. Chastity and homogeneity should find a considerable place in every house. It is obligatory upon fathers, whose words and deeds penetrate the hearts of their sons who are influenced by their manners and morals, to shield the family members from evil and obscene language. Children who notice their parents’ ill deeds can never have sound education and growth up. Similarly, children who notice their fathers say false things will never comply with their instructions of truth and sincerity. They pursue their fathers’ deeds and actions. On that account, fathers must apply the noble traits and manners to their lives to be good exemplars for their family members.

5. Supervising the Sons’ Behaviors:

In most cases of the ethical crimes that are committed by juveniles, the source is heeded to be the fathers’ negligence of superintending their sons and discounting the signals of aberrance they show. Naturally, children whose conscience and mind are imperfect cannot distinguish between good and evil. As children notice that no problem or reproach occurred owing to their doing a bad deed, they will certainly keep up doing it habitually.

Islam has urged fathers on associating and supervising the behaviors of their early children for saving them against the pollution of crimes that are arisen from aberrance. Nowadays, it is unfortunately noticeable that fathers disdain this condition on which the future of their children relies. This terrible negligence led to the young’s deviation and moral degradation. Violence and irregularity have become the nature of most young men’s behaviors and morals.

One of the ugliest sorts of negligence and deviation from the sound educational courses is the unsupervised mixing of the two sexes of the same age in schools and universities. In most cases, such mixing may induce young women to lose chastity and avert the behavioral criteria of probity.

Fathers are liable -before God- for supervising their sons’ behavior and turning them aside from all of the evil tendencies. Al-Ghezali says, “Opting for certain methods of educating is one of the most significant and considerable tasks. A child is his father’s trust. His stainless heart is a precious gem that is clear from any image or picture. It is becoming to receive any image and follow any way. If a child is inured to good, this will stick to his mind, and the pleasure of this world and the Hereafter will be amassed for him. Parents, tutors, and trainers of children have a share in his rewards. Inversely, if a child is inured to evil, and neglected like animals, nonsuccess and loss will be the result. The guardian will undergo the sin of misguidance. God the Exalted says:

O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded.

Fathers should save their children against the hell-fire and that of this world. Fathers’ salvation is educating, disciplining, and leading their children to the noble traits and keeping them against associating with the evil. Fathers should avoid inuring their children to luxurious living, otherwise the sons will spend their lives looking for such things, and this will definitely cause damage. Fathers’ supervision should be initiated with the children’s early years. It is also essential for fathers to choose chaste and religious wet nurses and nursemaids. Women’s milk is unblessed unless it is produced from legal earnings. Children who are brought up on such illegitimate food will tend to evil and illegal matters.”.

The previous opinion of Al-Ghezali is, to great extent, exact. Modern educational surveys have accepted this opinion. Early supervision, encouragement on the noble traits, and the avoidance of the evil tendencies; all these are the matters that incite prosperity of this world and the Hereafter. In like fashion, negligence and non-supervision lead to nonsuccess and damage.

6. Disciplining:

Fathers should take initiative in disciplining their children as soon as they notice a behavioral irregularity or any offense that contradicts the religious and social traditions as well as the general manners. Precipitation in disciplining the wrong children is a sufficient means for removing evil and rebellious spirits. Islam has confirmed this matter. The Prophet (s) said, “Discipline your children. This is better for you than a daily giving of a big sum of alms.” He also said, “If you honor and discipline your children aptly, God will forgive you.”

In most cases, irregularity that accompanies the children is the consequence of the fathers’ negligence and failure to discipline the children who deviate. Sheik Naraqi says, “Children that are neglected in the earliest stages of growth up will mostly opt for ill manners. They chiefly prefer fabrication, envy, and obstinacy, and become thieves, traitors, and impolite. In other cases, such children may be weakling, licentious, and profligate.”.

7. Taking the children away from the sexual activities:

Islam has warned spouses against copulation near their children, since this may incite their lust and give them a motive to seek fields of harlotry and depravity. Imam al-Baqir (a) advised Jabir saying, “Avoid copulating in a place where a boy that is able to distinguish your doing, can see you.”. Imam as-Sadiq says, “Men should never copulate with their ladies where there is a boy. This brings about fornication.”. The Prophet (s) said, “I swear by the Prevailing of my soul, success will never approach boys who see or hear even the breath of the copulating spouses. Fornication is the result.”.

Specialists in sexual education have affirmed the necessity of taking the children away from the sexual relations. Sir Pepsi says, “The sexual sense is existent to every human being including babies to whom this state begins to gush after maturity. So, it is very much important to avoid any activity arousing this state before its proper time. Some fathers undervalue the necessity of preventing the children from noticing them when they strip their clothes. Such fathers go to extremes in this regard, as they think of being intellectuals or progressists who should give us the opportunity to see them naked. As children frequently notice such manners, they will soon be paying great interest to the sexual characteristics in their minds.”.

Children’s minds are quickly affected by what they notice. On that account, it is essential to take them away from whatever stirs up the lusts and corrupts the moralities, for guarding them against aberrance and irregularity. As the western education paid no attention to this regard, their sons had to encounter mental damage, many sorts of sexual troubles, and moral downfall as well as the absence of social bonds.

8. Taking the children away from the ill-gotten food:

Fathers should provide legal-gotten foods to their children, and protect them against any food that the Lord has forbidden. The forbidden foods are the usurped, the real filthy things -such as pork-, the external filthy things -such as foods affected by external impurities-, and the like things that are detailed in the theses of the jurists. Fathers should exert all efforts for habituating their children to have legal food only since, as it has been proven through modern clinical surveys, the sources of nutrition leave a great influence on the behavior and maturity.

Islam is terribly sensitive to any matter that may delay the children’s growth and personal prosperity. Ill-gotten foods have internal aftereffects on the mental constituents. They may cause the hindrance of the behavioral activities in a way permitting the composition of evil tendencies, such as severity and extreme assaults. As Islam has cared for these aspects, it issued the obligation of keeping the children clear of the ill-gotten foods. It is related that as the Prophet (s) noticed that Imam al-Hassan -when was a child- put a fruit of date palms in the mouth, he disciplined, “Throw it out! Have you not known that we –the Prophet and his household- do not have from foods given as alms?”

After the calamitous incident of Kerbala, Imam al-Hussein’s harems were taken to Kufa as captives. As some people noticed that the accompanying children were starving, they gave them some fruits of date palm as alms. Ummu-Kulthoum, the Prophet’s granddaughter, reproached the children and informed that it was forbidden for the Prophet’s household to receive alms. Immediately, the children took the fruits out of their mouths. As the Prophet’s household kept up this illuminative behavior in the educational fields, they produced those unprecedented and unparalleled young men and women who formed the greatest exemplars in veracity, chastity, and decency.

Adapted from the book: "The Educational System in Islam" by: "Baqir Sharif Al-Qireshi"

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