All praise be to Allah. His Favors are countless, and His Benevolence is not limited. I praise and thank Allah (Glory be to Him), I repent to Him and seek His Pardon. To Him we resort and upon Him we rely. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone who has no partner. I send peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his Companions, who are the example to follow in rearing, education, and high morals, and upon the Followers and those who follow them righteously until the Day of Recompense.

Dear valued Muslims, Allah (may He be Exalted) bestowed upon us multiple favors, which no one can ever count. One of the greatest favors and bounties is the favor of homes and housing. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And Allâh has made for you in your homes an abode."  There are multiple and great favors lie under this great favor and attach with it. Under its umbrella, souls are gathered for intimacy, mercy, protection, and purity. In its shade childhood is tendered, offspring grow up, good manners grow, and men who are entrusted with great trusts grow up. At homes, blooming children grow in an atmosphere full of intimacy and mercy. These offspring live in the shade of paternity and the tenderness of maternity. At homes, good and righteous children grow up and at homes righteous generations emerge, such as scholars, writers, thinkers, reformers, instructors, advisors, doctors, engineers, and specialists in all useful fields of life.

Dear Muslim brother, these offspring are very important; their status is great and their right is big. They are a great bounty from the Creator who mentioned them in His Glorious Book. If those offspring are good, they will beget plentiful goodness, but if they are bad, it will be a sedition and a great loss for the house, the family, and for the entire society. Allah (He may be Glorified) says: "Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds, that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope."

In order to take care of that grace and to fulfill its function, Islam assigned rights for them on the parents, which they have to fulfill, and of these rights are the following:

Choosing a mother and choosing a father. Islam exhorted both man and woman to choose well their life partner. The first description of that choice is: Religion and manners because these descriptions have a negative or positive effect on offspring. It is well-known that a newborn child is born on natural disposition, but its parents make it a Jew, a Christian, or a fire worshipper as was authentically reported in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him).   Therefore, Islam has made first rights of newborn baby is to choose its mother and father: a man searches for a religious and well-mannered woman and a woman does not accept anyone unless he is known for his integrity in religion, trust, and manners.

Of the rights of a baby: Naming, a father should choose a good name for it to be called by. A good name will be a good omen for that child. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) changed some of the ugly names which had bad connotations.

Al Bukhari reported on the authority of Ibn Al Musayyab that his father came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Prophet asked him: "What is your name?" He replied: My name is Hazn. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "You are Sahl." Hazn said: I will not change the name with which my father has named me. Ibn Al Musayyab added: We have had roughness (in character) ever since."

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Zainab's original name was "Barrah," but it was said: By that she is giving herself the prestige of piety. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) changed her name to Zainab."

The meaning of ugly names is the name which has a bad connotation, or a name which resembles the infidels' names which will have a bad effect on a child.

Of the rights of children is to be attributed to their parents. Islam has given care of that matter greatly because of the important impacts resulting from attributing lineage and not losing them and the consequent rights and sensory, physical, and moral duties.

Therefore, Islam prohibited adoption that was known in the Pre-Islamic Era and outlined the way of lineage, which is marriage or slavery. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. That is but your saying with your mouths. But Allâh says the truth, and He guides to the (Right) Way." 

Islam instructed people that children should be attributed to their fathers if they were known, however if their fathers were not known, they will be brothers in Islam. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers: that is more just with Allâh. But if you know not their father's (names, call them) your brothers in faith and Mawâlîkum (your freed slaves)."

Islam warned against attributing children to other than their real fathers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If somebody claims to be the son of somebody other than his father knowingly, he will not enter Paradise."

Islam also warned fathers to deny their children. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Any man denies his child while looking at him, Allah (Glory be to Him) shall screen Himself from him and disgrace him in the presence of all creatures, the former and the later on the Day of Recompense."

Hence, we know that religion has protected lineages by this powerful legislation.

Of the rights of children: Al `Aqiqah (a sacrifice to be slaughtered for a new born child) which should be slaughtered by the father because the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did it and commanded with it.

The Sunnah is to slaughter two ewes for a male and one ewe for a girl on the seventh day of birth. The head of a boy should be shaved and give in charity sliver as much weight as the hair or its value.

Imam Ahmad and others reported on the authority of Um Kurz Al Ka`biyyah that she said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: "Two resembling sheep are to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) slaughtered an ewe for Al Hasan and Al Husayn, the children of `Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with them).

Of its wisdom —And Allah knows best— that it contains thanks for Allah (He may be Exalted) for the bounty which He granted.

Of the rights of children: Nursing which is incumbent on a mother. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "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, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no sin on them. And if you decide on a foster suckling-mother for your children, there is no sin on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you agreed (to give her) on reasonable basis. And fear Allâh and know that Allâh is All-Seer of what you do."

Of the rights of children: Custodianship over children: which means taking care of children and managing their affairs, such as food, drink, clothes, and others. There is no doubt that a child during childhood needs someone one to look after it and fulfill its needs because it is unable to look after itself. Islam has given it the right of custodianship and when its parents disagree with one another, custodianship will be for the best of them.  Of the rights of children: Spending on them as long as they are minors because of their young age and disability. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "But the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis."  Otherwise the general rule is that a person spends on himself. The expenditure of children should be paid from the money of the father whether they are young or old except the wife whose expenditure should be on her husband because of fulfilling the rights of her husband as was explained in previous lessons.

Of the most important rights of the children: rearing them and teaching them the sound creed, righteous deeds, and good manners and that shall be explained in the next lesson God willing.

Dear valued Muslims, let us reckon ourselves in regard of the rights of our children because the fruit of fulfilling these rights is ripe, its results are great, and these fruits shall affect the child, the parents, and the entire society. So, pay attention to these rights. I ask Allah (may He be Exalted) to reform ourselves, our families, and our children, as we ask Him to grant them success in this world and in the Hereafter. We invoke Allah to make them useful to themselves, society, country, and nation for He is All-Hearing, All-Responding and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.

We shall continue our talks in the next lesson with Allah's Willing.


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