Children (Sons and Daughters)
It is the foremost duty of parents to arrange for proper maintenance, right type of education, and good training of their children so that they grow satisfactorily, develop their potential, express their abilities, become virtuous human being, a good citizen, and an ideal member of the society, and thereby should contribute to the society significantly. It is the responsibility of the parents and the State to provide opportunities to children for their development, and these basic requirements should not be denied to them out of fear of want (destination) (6:152, 17:31). Children should be maintained on lawful earnings. Persons who kill their children foolishly and out of ignorance, they are big losers, and on account of this they have to face a serious disaster (6:141). Becoming careless towards children is as worse as killing them; depriving them of education and training is a grave mistake (17:31). A healthy, well built, and wholesome child is a gift of Allah (7:189-90). A thoughtful, pious, and loving heart contained by him, a follower of Divine laws and broad-minded child is a great blessing of the Almighty (19:12-14).
Children include boy as well as girls, and both are born according to the Divine laws. During the pre-Islamic period (and even today) boys were considered superior to girls receiving better treatment accordingly. Islam has abolished this mentality. This attitude has been very much condemned by the Quran (16:58-59).
Care and welfare of family members should receive due attention; wife and children are made attractive to man (3:13), but for their sake one should not involve him into such activities which are against the permanent values. One who disregards permanent values becomes envious rather enemy to man (64:14-15). Whenever there is clash between permanent values and interests of the family, the Quranic values should always be upheld (9:24). Total home atmosphere maintained by the parents plays very important role in building up character of children and this create significant impact on them. Character of children gets moulded under good home-atmosphere and parents have to be very cautions and careful in maintaining it. At no point of time the children should be neglected.
Childrens education is a matter of prime importance. Education is of two types-deeni taleem (religious education) to get acquainted with the Quranic teachings; and the modern scientific and technological education for economic growth and development. These two types of education imparted make the children a good member of the family as well as an ideal citizen in the society, and thus they contribute significantly to the nation and the country. It is the responsibility of the State not to leave the children at the mercy of their parents, particularly in case of those parents who are not capable to provide proper maintenance, care and education to their children on account of their property.
Parents role in the family is most significant particularly when the children are small; they will be usually under the care, training, and maintenance of their parents for certain period of time, and they have to follow instructions given by them. Children should be good and faithful to parents, but as far obedience is concerned it is only to Allah (4:36). The quality of physical and mental strength gets obscured at the old age, and this is the stage at which parents need help of their children and they have to be well looked after. But possible treatment should be rendered to them, and this kind of treatment makes ones own self to grow and develop (46:15). Parents have taken maximum possible care for rearing their children and they had given full protection to them at infancy stage. On account of the old age, sometimes the attitude of the parents becomes abnormal. Their temperament becomes childish. At this moment one should not behave with them indifferently by banging, scolding, or giving erratic treatment. While referring of the permanent values and the treatment ordained to be given tot he parents the Quran has given beautiful instructions when it says:
"For the betterment of life therefore, Allah has prescribed some permanent values including:
You should do all this, not in a mechanical manner but from the core of your heart keeping always in mind that what you do for your parents helps in the development of your own self. Allah is the Protector of those who revert to Him for His protection." (17:23-25)
It should be remembered that caring for the young ones is done by all living beings, which they forget afterwards but caring for the old parents is the quality of man alone. One should not forget that the mother bears pain while carrying as well as giving birth to a baby and showering after-care with utmost and affections, and sacrificing every thing at least for thirty months (46:15).
It has been stated earlier that obedience is for Allah alone (17:23), and this means following of the Divine laws. On the other hand as far the parents are concerned, they should be given best possible treatment and respect, and also their deficiencies are removed.
It is the responsibility of the State to see that old parents are not left to lead a miserable and disrespectful life with their children, and this way their (the parents) self does not get dishonoured.
People sometimes make reference tot he workings and sayings of their ancestors to get support for their stand in day-to-day life. Such working and sayings could be accepted when these are in conformity with the teachings o the Quran; when these are against the teachings these cannot be accepted. The Divine Book is the supreme authority for reference. Our ancestors had left this world; during their lifetime whatever they had sown they had reaped so. On the Day of Judgement one will be questioned for what he had done, and not about what his ancestors had done (2:134).
It has been the attitude of kafireen (Unbelievers, misled people) that they have followed the footsteps of their ancestors without applying knowledge and wisdom; they do not follow the right path shown to them by the Quran (2:170). Such persons argue that what that they have been doing was being done since ages. They do not care to think that though it was going on since long whether it had any base provided by knowledge, wisdom, and logic, This kind of blind imitation does not ensure fruitful results. The Quran insists on applying mind (34:46), and says that those inspite of having given the faculties of thinking, seeing, and hearing, do not utilize them, they are just like brutes - and indeed worse than them. (7:179)
In a broader sense, orphans are those persons who are poor, left alone helpless, and struggle for sustenance. But people consider generally such children orphans who lost their father or mother or both, and left with nobodys stewardship. In such cases, it becomes the responsibility of the State to arrange for their maintenance, health care, and education and training. This should be done in such a manner that their self does not get hurt.
Unfortunately the practice is quite reverse. At many orphanages the orphans are kept under very poor conditions of feeding, clothing, and living, and these conditions are below the human level. They often do not get their real basic needs. Hardly any kindness or generosity is extended to them, and they are made to live on alum and charity. This results in miserable and gradual crucification of their self. The potentials they are endowed as godly gift does not get any opportunity to grow, develop, and express itself at any time.
In this respect the Quran observes that one of the causes of disaster and downfall of nations is that of disrespect shown to the orphans in that particular society (89:17). The directive of the Divine Laws in this regard is that whatever good has to be done to the orphans in their own interest, that should be done (2:220). With them good and brotherly relations would be maintained, and the treatment given to them should be the same as that given to the members of ones own family. Allah knows very well those who are desirous of improving conditions of orphans and also those who try to exploit them. Unnecessary, undesirable, and unwanted pressure should never be laid on them (89:17). Orphans should not be given any harsh treatment (93:9). Adequate arrangements have to be made for their education, training and development.
When orphans have their property or assets, these should be protected fully, and whosoever manages their affairs should not take any remuneration in lieu of managerial services rendered to them except when the care-taker is a needy person (4:5-6). When the orphans have grown and are fully matured to manage their affairs them selves, their property and assets should be handed over to them in the presence of witnesses. (6:153) Keeping in views that they will grow in near future their property and assets should not be swallowed. While settling their accounts, one should not forget that he is submitting these accounts to Allah who has knowledge of every thing, and people have to be answerable to Him (4:5-6).
Rights and interest of the orphans should be protected in the same way as one does for his own children. Their good articles should not be replaced with worthless articles and this kind of act is a gross injustice to them (4:2).
The Quran warns those who become oppressive towards the orphans, and eat away their property and assets through injustice to them. This is similar to that of filling their own stomach with fire; their greed swells. Such persons run in madness to acquire unlawful assets and their capabilities turn into ashes (4:10). It has been mentioned earlier that as a result of war or any other incidents when women and children have turned widows and orphans respectively, exception is given to the rule of monogamy allowing more than one wife (unto maximum of four at a time) so that proper protection, maintenance, care, education, shelter, etc. are provided to the widows and orphans thereby checking them from involving themselves into unsociable activities.
As far orphanage is concerned, a boy is considered orphan till he is fully mature, whereas in case of a girl she remains orphan till she gets married; widows also come into the category of orphans (4:127). Orphans should be given what they deserve but it is better if they are given more; fairness shown towards them will never go waste.
Relatives, Friends, and Neighbours
Relatives also deserve the same good treatment, which is given to the parents (2:83). They should be helped when they are in need (2:177). Good treatment should be given to friends (4:36). Those who do not believe in the Quran cannot be the friends of a momin. (3:27) If ones father or brother is an Unbeliever, he/she should not make them friends (9:23). One should be good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, needy persons, neighbours who are near or strangers, companions by ones side, and way-fares(4:36).
Servants, Needy and Poor Persons
On human consideration servants also deserve kind treatment. In fact such a person alone give good treatment to others whose heart is full of human qualities and who is a symbol of manliness, and who feels pleasure in helping others. But those who are self deceiving and devoid of human considerations talk high of helping mankind but do not give any thing to others; for such ungrateful persons Allah has prepared a humiliating life. (4:36-37)
Needy and poor persons also deserve kind treatment similar to that given to ones own near and dear so that the equilibrium in the society is maintained (2:83). Needy persons have their share in the surplus of our earnings over and above our real needs (51:19-22). A needy person should not be looked down upon as if he is a man of low level. One should not repulse or scorn him unheard (93:10). There are persons who are really needy, they ask for help, and their genuine need and request can be recognised by seeing their gloomy faces (2:273). When such persons come and ask for help, instead of giving them charity with taunt it is better to refuse it in a kind manner if you are not in a position to help (2:263). Feelings of the recipients of charity or donation should not be injured by a rough or unpleasant attitude; such is the behaviour of those who do not believe in Allah and the Hereafter. This kind of help is similar to such rains which fall on a sheet-rock containing little soil and seed which get washed away and bring about no fruitful results (2:264).
While extending help to poor and needy persons, travellers and way-fares too have their rightful share in ones income. Such persons may also be in need of assistance and therefore they should be helped honourably. When any help is extended to them. One should not feel him proud and boastful, and Allah does not like such persons (4:36,17:26).
There are fellows who are professional beggars though they are physically fit enough to earn their living by doing normal work or undertaking jobs. still they are habituated to begging and collection alum. Such persons are permanent (economic) parasites on others in the society, and helping them is similar to that of not helping the real poor, needy, and crippled persons who deserve all help.