Islam is a complete way of life. It considers the family the cornerstone of Islamic society. It bases the atmosphere in the family on sacrifice, love, loyalty, and obedience. When we say “family” we mean the traditional definition of it, namely husband, wife and children. Grandparents are also part of the extended Muslim family.
It may be asked here: how does Islam organize family relationships? To answer this, we have to concentrate on husband-wife relationship and parent-children relationship.
As for husband wife relationship the following verse portrays the right Islamic atmosphere:
“And among His Signs is this: He created for you spouses from yourselves, that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you affection and mercy.” (Qur-an, 30-21)
If we contemplate the Noble Qur-an, we find that it refers to parents-child relationships in four main places. Before it asks children to be good and loyal to their parents, it requires parents to be extremely careful in upbringing their children. In other words it asks parents to do their duty before asking for their rights.
These are the two main chapters of the Noble Qur-an that decide and clearly depict the Islamic relationship between parents and children. It is a relationship based, as we see, on belief in Allah, and feeling that He observes all that we do and that we are accountable to Him even in the bad breath that we may release against our parents when we are angry. Even this has to be controlled.
Let us remember, however, that it is only parents who do their duty, who deserve this honorable treatment of their children. That is why when a parent came to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and complained to him about the ingratitude of his son, the son said: He was ungrateful to me oh Messenger of Allah, before I showed ingratitude to him. So the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did not blame the son but disliked the attitude of his parent. This is a message to all parents.
The third place in the Noble Qur-an that refers to parents child relationship is in chapter 46 called Al Ahqaf where Allah says:
“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind toward his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and delivers him with hardship. His bearing and weaning are thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: ‘My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favor where with you have favored my parents, and I may do right acceptable unto you. I have turned unto you repentant and Lo! I am one of the Muslims.”
Concerning this type of child the Noble Qur-an has the following comment: “Those are they from whom We accept the best of what they do, and We overlook their evil deeds among the dwellers of Paradise – a promise of truth, which they have been promised (in the world).”
The Noble Qur-an then turns to the other category of or children who are disbelievers and are, as a result, ungrateful to their parents. It declares:
“As for him who said to his parents: Fie upon you both! Do you threaten me that I shall be brought forth (again) when generations before me have passed away! While they too cry unto Allah for help and say: Woe unto you! Believe! Verily, the promise of Allah is true. But he says: This is nothing but fables of the ancient.”
Commenting on this attitude Allah says:
“Such are those whom the Word concerning nations of the jinn and mankind which have passed away before them has effect. Verily, they are the losers. And for each there will be degrees due to what they did; that He may recompense them in full for their deeds! And they will not be wronged.” (Qur-an, 46:15-19).
The forth and last place in the Noble Qur-an that refers to parents-child relationship is what is mentioned briefly in chapter 29 that says:
“We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents. But should they strive to make you join with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (Qur-an, 29:8)