إِنَّ لِلْوَلَدِ عَلَى الْوَالِدِ حَقّاً، وَإِنَّ لِلْوَالِدِ عَلَى الْوَلَدِ حَقّاً: فَحَقُّ الْوَالِدِ عَلَى الْوَلَدِ أَنْ يُطِيعَهُ فِي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ اللهِ سُبْحَانَهُ، وَحَقُّ الْوَلَدِ عَلَى الْوَالِدِ أَنْ يُحَسِّنَ اسْمَهُ وَيُحَسِّنَ أَدَبَهُ وَيُعَلِّمَهُ الْقُرْآنَ۔
The child has a right on the.father while the father too has a right on the child. The right of the father on the child is that the latter should obey the former in every matter save in committing sins of Allah, the Glorified, while the right of the child on the father is that he should give him a beautiful name, give him good training and teach him the Qur'an.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #399)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his purified progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he highlights the reciprocal rights and responsibilities between parents and children. The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes that both the child and the father have rights upon each other, and he delineates these rights in a comprehensive manner.
The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) begins by stating that the child has a right upon the father. The Arabic word used for "right" in this context is (حَقّاً) "haqq", which refers to a legitimate claim or entitlement. The child has a legitimate claim on the father, and this claim is rooted in the child's need for guidance, support, and nurturing from the father figure.
To support this notion, we find numerous Quranic verses that emphasize the importance of honoring and respecting parents. For example, in Surah Al-Isra (17:23), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], 'uff,' and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.
Furthermore, the Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) explains that the right of the father upon the child is that the child should obey the father in all matters except for the disobedience of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This highlights the importance of obedience and respect towards parents, as long as their commands do not contradict the commandments of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In Surah Luqman (31:14), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.
Moving on to the rights of the child upon the father, the Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) mentions three important aspects. Firstly, the father should give the child a beautiful name. This signifies the importance of choosing a name that carries a positive meaning and reflects the child's identity and aspirations. By giving a child a beautiful name, the father sets the foundation for the child's self-esteem and identity.
In Surah Al-A'raf (7:180), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
Secondly, the father should provide good training to the child. This encompasses teaching the child moral values, manners, and ethics. The father plays a crucial role in shaping the child's character and guiding them towards righteousness. By providing good training, the father equips the child with the necessary tools to navigate through life's challenges and make sound decisions.
In Surah Al-Qasas (28:56), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.
Lastly, the father should teach the child the Qur'an. The Qur'an is the ultimate source of guidance and wisdom, and by imparting its teachings to the child, the father ensures that the child grows up with a strong connection to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and a deep understanding of their faith. The knowledge of the Qur'an serves as a guiding light for the child throughout their life.
In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:151), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our verses and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know.
In conclusion, this Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) beautifully encapsulates the reciprocal rights and responsibilities between parents and children. It emphasizes the importance of obedience, respect, and nurturing from the father towards the child, and highlights the significance of providing a beautiful name, good training, and teaching the Qur'an from the father to the child. By fulfilling these rights and responsibilities, parents and children can establish a harmonious and loving relationship, fostering a strong foundation for the child's spiritual and moral development. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all in fulfilling these duties and bless our families with righteousness and unity.
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