Islamic Human Rights (51)
Welcome to this week’s episode of the series Islamic Human Rights. In this episode, in continuation of the previous week’s discussion, we study a number of other children rights.
If parents make efforts to transfer appropriate and correct beliefs and behavioral patterns to their child; they have been good toward him and will benefit from God’s blessings. Parents maintain a major responsibility to convey and transfer correct and appropriate beliefs to their children; given that the common beliefs of any given family leave an irrefutable impact and influence on their child’s future.
The Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny), has been cited as saying that the hearts and souls of children are like a fertile ground; in which whatever has been cultivated will be reaped.
Upbringing of a child in the family should lead to protection of the monotheistic innate nature of the child. This is a major ethical duty which activates the family’s most important function.
The 4th Infallible Imam of the Prophet of Islam’s Household, Imam Sajjad (Peace be upon him), noted: “The bad and good behavioral patterns of children are attributed to their parents in the mortal and material world. Parents shoulder responsibility to take care of their children; to guide their children toward God; and to assist their child to comply with God. If parents act appropriately to this end, they are rewarded. Otherwise, parents are punished.”
In this manner, Imam Sajjad has named an appropriate upbringing of the child; education of monotheistic ideology to the child; and parents’ assistance to shape their child’s appropriate conduct as part of the duties of parents, which pave the way for the prosperity of parents in the material world and Hereafter.
One of the goals of education of children at home and within school, is to prepare the child for his social life and pursuance of the aims of the divine community, by him. Thus, it is necessary to educate the child in a number of domains. Meanwhile, this educational process should start at home.
The First Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad, Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) has been cited as saying: “Teach your children swimming and marksmanship.”
If we accept that the education of child in these two domains is a part of preparation of the child to fulfill his social duties, naturally, a number of other teachings should be taken into consideration based on temporal conditions, and the needs and demands of the Islamic community. Within the upbringing of the child, similar to other domains of life, the fixed principles should be separated from variable matters. One should realize that some of the customs and appearances of life change, and the ethical relations and needs of social life go through a number of developments. The upbringing of the child should be coupled with awareness about the differences between parents and children in the domains of culture, and social relations. The child should be prepared to comply with the fixed principles of ethics, in line with the temporal and spatial conditions of his life. This preparedness enables the child to stand up against poisonous indoctrinations, while guaranteeing his ethical security at a young age and thereafter.
Currently, in the developed world, primary education is compulsory, and effective strides have been made to this end.
According to the 28th Article of the Children Rights Convention, the countries, party to this convention are duty-bound to recognize the right of children to gradually access education. On this basis, establishment of equal rights is a must via a number of measures such as compulsory and free of charge primary education for all; encouragement of different forms of secondary education; and access to further education for everyone in accordance to their abilities, and within an appropriate framework.
In the divine religion of Islam, acquirement of knowledge is a duty. The Prophet of Islam noted that fathers should teach their children how to write.
In fact, parents respect their children when they teach their children how to read, write, and interact with others. Given that the child’s character takes shape in the family in the initial phases of his life, parents are responsible for teaching their children how to read and write, in order to enable their children to overcome their future problems. This is the least that parents can do for their children.
Meanwhile, in the initial phases of the child’s life, one should not expect children to let go of their cheerful world for the world of adults. Children should be allowed to freely participate in games so that their health and well-being would not be harmed. In fact, according to Prophet of Islam, one should assist children in their childish games.
Islam even considers teaching games and sports such as horse riding, swimming, and marksmanship to children as one of parents’ duties.
According to the 31st Article of Children Rights Convention, the countries, party to this convention recognize the right of children to take part in creative games and activities which are suitable for their age.
Meanwhile, physical and mental violence deal a blow against children’s characteristic traits.
According to the 1st Clause of 19th Article of Children Rights Convention, the countries, party to this convention should carry out the lawful, executive, social, and educational measures, necessary to support and protect children against all forms of physical and psychological violence.
The sacred religion of Islam has focused on this important matter. Once a man complained about his child before Imam Ali (Peace be upon him). In response, Imam Ali called on the man not to beat up his child, while urging the man to detach himself from his child for a short period of time.
This hadith shows that the physical punishment of children is negated in Islam. This is because physical punishment of children sets the stage for emergence of innumerable mental problems among children. However, when the parent detaches himself from his child for a while, in reaction to the child’s misdeed, the child gradually realizes his mistake. Meanwhile, this detachment should not last a long while. Otherwise, it could leave a major negative impact on the child’s emotions.
The divine religion of Islam also pays especial attention to orphans.
The 9th ayah of Surat Al-Zoha in Holy Quran notes: “Therefore, as for the orphan, do not oppress him.”
Furthermore, the 152nd ayah of Surat Anam notes: “And do not approach the property of the orphan…”
Also, the 6th ayah of Surat al-Nisa notes: “And test the orphans until they attain puberty; then if you find in them maturity of intellect, make over to them their property…”