Rights Of Children In Islam

From the Islamic point of view, a child is bestowed upon his or her parents from Allah the Almighty as a trust (amanah). With this trust, comes responsibility. The responsibility of a parent includes providing the child with a living environment where he or she can feel safe and able to develop his or her individuality to achieve the best potentials that life can offer. It is stated in the Quran:

“And they who say: O our Lord! Grant us wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes, and make us guides to those who guard (against evil)” (Al-Furqan, Chapter 25: Verse 74).

However, to use the word ‘irresponsible’ here to describe the acts of the father is just simply not enough. The monstrous act of a parent abusing a child cannot just be categorized as being irresponsible. Somehow or rather, this man has lost the sense of mercy, compassion and love that a normal man would have for his child. In short, his sanity and mental condition are indeed questionable.

When it comes to treating children, one must emulate the way Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) treats them. Anas ibn Malik, the servant of the Prophet recollected: “I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger. His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up His son and kiss him, then come back” (narrated by Muslim). In addition, the Prophet’s love, compassion and mercy were for all children and not just towards his own offspring.

Just as we are concerned with the individual rights of adult human beings and constantly seek to improve the enjoyment of those rights, we must never forget the rights of children. Children’s rights seldom receive the deserved attention in most societies and specific focus on this must be given in policy-making and social development programmes. Children’s rights are not just about giving them education and protection, it is ultimately about their right to live a life of normal childhood that is fill with happiness.

In Islamic worldview, the framework of maqasid al-Shari’ah (the intentions of the Shari’ah) should be the best guidance for those with the power and responsibility to make decisions and formulate policies with the aim to protect the welfare of the children. The higher intents of Shari’ah are principles, answers and wisdom behind rulings and laws in Islam. Muslim scholars and jurists have largely agreed that the broad objectives or these intents are to promote the overall welfare of mankind and prevent harm and evil. The fundamental rule to be observed is that the intention behind a ruling must be directed towards the fulfillment of something good and the avoidance of something harmful.

Allah the Almighty says in the holy Quran:

“[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.” (Al-Haj, Chapter 22: verse 41)

Therefore, any effort to protect the rights of children must also meet the objectives or the intentions of Shari’ah which include the preservation the five essentials of religion, life, mind, offspring and property. These essentials are so critical without which, life may not be possible and can become disordered.

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