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Thursday 21st of September 2017

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Parents and Children

The bond that exists between a child and their parents is almost sacred. Each and everything a parent does whether they are aware of it or not has a profound effect on the personality and character of the child and the adult they will, one day, become.

Islam strikes a balance between rights and duties in all relationships. The attitude of "perform your duties or else" versus "fight for your rights" as has sadly become the practice in some societies, is not one recommended in Islam.

The emphasis is as always on human compassion. The natural maternal/paternal feelings towards their offspring and its reciprocation through love, generosity, sacrifice and sharing is encouraged through verbal and physical communication.

This is a need of every child that contributes towards forming a secure and self-confident adult.

Islam has given three undisputed rights to a child

1. The right to life and equal chances in life.
2. The right of legitimacy. Each child should have legal parentage.
3. The right to a good upbringing and care. This duty not only rests with the parents but the relatives and society as a whole.

A ceremony to celebrate the birth of a child is known as 'Aqiqah'. It usually takes place within three weeks of the birth.

During this period a good name should be chosen, the head shaved and a sheep sacrificed for a celebration meal. Alternatively one can donate the equivalent value to charity to be distributed among the poor for food.

It is highly recommended that a boy child should be circumcised within this period also. There is no circumcision for girls.

There is no prejudice or sexism in Islam. Children are a gift from God and therefore worthy of respect whether girls or boys.They have all been endowed with talents and abilities necessary to the society as a whole. They should be encouraged therefore to develop these capabilities within an Islamic framework with all the guidance and help necessary and available.

The best method of teaching a child is through example. Parents should encourage their children to participate in religious obligations such as Prayers, Fasting etc. gently and consistently as these are instrumental in building both the character and training of the child.

While it is usual for a young child to emulate its parents while praying etc, it is recommended that the parents should encourage the child towards praying regularly from the age of seven. It is recommended that boys and girls should occupy separate rooms from the age of ten or according to the parent's discretion at a younger age.

A comprehensive and well balanced education is undoubtedly the best gift parents can give their children. Since it is incumbent on every Muslim both male and female to seek knowledge this right to education is a duty on the entire community.