Family and Children in Islam
Birth Control In Islam
It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children. It is forbidden to ""permanently"" end a man's or a woman's ability to produce children, such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework.
It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shariah need for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. However, this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.
The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. They had twenty three scholars research this topic and present their findings on this matter.The participants involved represented many different trends and schools of thought. Among the participants were Muhammad Ali al-Baar, Ali al-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan al-Booti, Abdullah al-Basaam, Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related issues.The following are important points related to the issue of birth control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in the above program:
The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by Allah. Allah says about them: ""And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wives and offspring"" (al-Raad 38) The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw), who married and had children. These prophets and messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate. Allah says:
They are those whom Allah has guided. So follow their guidance : (al-Anaam 90)
1-They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West, whose new lifestyles - mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or obtaining as many worldly goods as possible - discourage women from having more children.
2-Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: ""I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me. The prophet (saw) not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are child-bearing. He stated: marry the loving, child-bearing women for I shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of Resurrection.(Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban.)
3-From the Islamic perspective, children are a gift and a blessing from Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon mankind in the following verse:
"And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you good provisions." (al-Nahl 72)
Allah also said:
"Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world." (al-Kahf 46)
The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. If Muslims follow what Allah has prescribed for them, Allah will provide for them. Allah has warned about killing one's children out of fear of poverty for either parents or the child. Allah says: Kill not your children because of poverty-We provide sustenance for you and for them (al-Anaam 151)
Allah also says:
And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin (al-Isra 31)
Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.
Bringing up Children
It should be borne in mind that the bringing up of children in the proper manner is of prime importance. This is because whatever good or bad habits they learn in their childhood, they do not leave them for the rest of their lives. From the time of infancy till they reach maturity, the following matters should be strictly adhered to:
1. Ensure that the child drinks the milk of a pious, religious woman. Milk has a great effect in the life of a person.
2. It is the habit of women to frighten their children by mentioning the police or other frightening persons or objects. This is an evil habit. Children become weak-hearted because of this.
3. Set aside specific times for making him drink his milk or feeding him so that he may remain healthy.
4. Keep him clean, neat and tidy because one remains healthy in this way.
5. Do not beautify and adorn the child excessively.
6. If the child is a boy, do not lengthen the hair on his head.
7. If it is a girl, do not make her wear any jewellery as long as she does not reach the age where she has to observe purdah. This is because this will pose a danger to her life. The other reason is that it is not a good habit to create a love for jewellery in a girl's mind when she is still so young.
8. Have the habit of handing over the responsibility of distributing food, clothing, money, etc. that is to be given to poor people to your children. Similarly, give them the task of distributing food, sweets, etc. to their brothers, sisters and other children. This is so that they will inculcate the practice of generosity. However, you should remember that you must only ask them to distribute those things that belong to you. It is not permissible for anyone to ask them to distribute those items or things that belong to them from the Shar'i point of view.
9. You should mention the harms of over-eating to them. However, do not mention anyone by name. Instead, tell them that the one who eats too much is regarded as an ox (or any other similar example).
10. If it is a boy, incline him towards wearing white clothes and create a dislike in his heart for colourful and gaudy clothing by telling him that such clothes are worn by women and that he is a man. You should always teach him in this way.
11. If it is a girl, do not give her the habit of worrying too much about plaiting and parting her hair or wearing very stylish clothing.
12. When a child persists or insists on having something, do not fulfil all his wishes or else he will become spoilt.
13. Prevent the child from talking very loudly or shouting. Especially if it is a girl and she speaks in this loud shouting manner, you should scold her and reprimand her. If you do not do this, this habit will remain when she grows up.
14. Safeguard your child from speaking or mixing with children who have evil habits, who are not interested in their learning, who are in the habit of wearing stylish clothes or eating extravagant dishes.
15. Always inculcate a hatred for the following actions in your child, i.e. teach him to hate the following acts:(a) becoming angry, (b) speaking lies, (c) envying someone, (d) stealing, (e) carrying tales, (f) defending whatever he does or says, (g) to unnecessarily "make up" stories, (h) speaking excessively without any benefit, (i) laughing unnecessarily or laughing excessively, (j) cheating or deluding someone, (k) not thinking about or not differentiating between good and bad.
If any of these acts or traits are found in him, stop him immediately and warn him.
16. If he breaks something or begins to hit someone, punish him accordingly so that he does not repeat such acts. Loving the child, consoling him or allowing him to commit such acts always causes the child to become "lost or spoilt".
17. Do not allow the child to sleep very early.
18. The habit of waking up early should be inculcated in the child.
19. When the child reaches the age of seven, inculcate the habit of offering salat.
20. Once he reaches the age wherein he can go to madrasah, first teach him to recite the Quran.
21. As far as is possible, make him learn under a religious-minded teacher.
22. Don't ever allow him to absent himself from going to madrasah.
23. Set aside certain times in which you narrate stories of the pious to him.
24. Do not allow the child to look at books that contain love stories, stories that are contrary to the Shari'ah, stories that are obscene or that have no benefit, love poems, etc.
25. Give them books that cover the different aspects of the Dīn, and books that cover the necessary aspects of this world.
26. Once the child returns from the madrasah, permit him to play around in order to occupy him and so that he does not become dull-headed. However, the games must be such that there is no sin in playing them and at the same time there is no fear of physical injury.
27. Do not give the child any money to purchase fireworks, musical instruments or any other similar unnecessary items which amount to wasting of money.
28. The habit of watching games, matches, etc. should notbe inculcated in the child.
29. Always teach your children some sort of hobby or trade which will help them at the time of need or necessity whereby they can support their families.
30. Teach girls to write to the extent that they are able to write necessary letters and also work out the expenses of the house.
31. The habit of doing their own work should be inculcated in the children so that they do not become dependent and lazy. You should order them to lay out their own beds at night and to get up early in the morning and neaten their beds again. They should keep their clothes neatly. Clothes that become undone or torn should be stitched by themselves. Clothes that are clean or dirty should be kept in a place where there is no fear of moths.
32. Emphasize on the girls to check the jewellery that they are wearing before they go to sleep and once they wake up the following morning.
33. You should order the girls to watch attentively at the cooking, sewing, threading, dying, and all the other work that is carried out at home so that they will also learn these things.
34. When the child does something good, praise him, kiss him, reward him so that he will feel happy. When he commits an evil act, call him aside in privacy and make him understand that he has committed an evil act and that others will think bad of him, and that whoever else comes to know of it will also think bad of him. You should warn him against committing such an act again and explain to him that good children do not do such things. If he repeats that act, punish him appropriately.
35. It is the duty of the mother to create respect for the father in the child's heart.36. Do not allow the child to do anything secretly. This is irrespective of whether it is some game, food or any other act. If he does anything secretly, you should immediately understand that he regards it to be evil. If the act is in fact evil, teach him to abstain from it. If it is a good act, such as eating or drinking, then tell him to eat and drink in the presence of others.
37. Set aside some strenuous work for the children which will keep them healthy, energetic and which will not allow laziness to overtake them. If it is a boy, he should do gymnastics, weightlifting or walking for a few kilometres. As for girls, it is necessary for them to work with the grinding stone and spinning wheel. The benefit of doing these things is that they will not regard such work to be below their dignity.
38. When walking, teach them not to walk very swiftly, nor should they raise their gazes when walking.
39. Inculcate the habit of humility in them. Their manner of speaking, walking, conversing, etc. should be such that they do not become boastful. They should be taught humility to such an extent that they should not even sit with their classmates and boast about their clothes, house, family, books, pens, ink, exercise books, etc.
40. Occasionally you should give them some money so that they may purchase whatever they wish. However, inculcate the habit in them that they should not conceal whatever they buy.
41. Teach them the etiquette and manners of eating, sitting and standing in gatherings. We will now enumerate a few of these etiquette:
The etiquette of eating1. Eat with the right hand. 2. Read Bismillāh in the beginning. 3. Eat the food that is in front of you. 4. Do not commence eating before others. 5. Do not ogle or stare at the food. 6. Do not look at those who are eating. 7. Do not eat very quickly. 8. Chew the food well. 9. Do not take another morsel as long as the morsel that is in your mouth is not chewed and swallowed. 10. Do not allow the gravy and other liquids to drip onto the clothes. 11. The fingers should not be allowed to become too messy. The etiquette of gatherings 1. Whoever you meet, meet with respect and speak kindly. 2. Do not spit in gatherings nor clean your nose. But if there is a need to do so, excuse yourself and go to another place. 3. If you have to yawn or sneeze, cover your mouth with your hands and try to muffle the sound. 4. Do not face your back towards anyone. 5. Do not face your feet towards anyone. 6. Do not sit by placing your hand under your chin. 7. Do not crack your fingers. 8. Do not look in the direction of anyone repeatedly and unnecessarily. 9. Remain seated with respect. 10. Do not speak excessively. 11. Do not take oaths over trivial matters. 12. As far as possible, do not commence with any conversation. When the other person speaks, listen attentively so that his spirits are not dampened. However, if it is a sinful conversation, do not listen. Either stop him, or leave that place. 13. As long as a person does not complete whatever he wishes to say, do not interrupt him. 14. If someone comes and wishes to sit in the gathering and there is no place, make way for that person and sit closely so that he may be able to get some place. 15. When you meet someone or bid them farewell, say As-salamu alaykum, and when replying to someone's salaam, say Waalaykumus salam. (a)Do not utter other forms of greeting. (b) Meet their friends and relatives in a friendly way and also assist them wherever possible. (c) If you have the finances, fulfil their unpaid debts and the permissible bequests that they have made. (d) When they pass away, abstain from crying and wailing aloud or else their souls will be troubled. 6. According to the Shari'ah, the rights of the paternal and maternal grandparents are similar to those of the parents and they should be regarded as such. 7. Similarly, the rights of the maternal and paternal uncles and aunts are similar to those of the parents. This has been deduced from certain Ahadith. (Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: "The maternal aunt has the status of one's mother." - Tirmidhi
The Muslim parent
Each one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it; and a servant is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it. (Bukhari, 3.592)
A Muslim parent should desire both the good of this world and the good of the hereafter for his or her child. If a choice must be made between these two, the life-to-come is eternal and it is the most important goal for us. In practical terms, this may mean giving up or leaving off something that may be seen fine for the child in terms of this world's life but which will lead him to unhappiness Hereafter.
If we ask Allah for guidance in all our affairs, we will be able to know the difference between what is good in the everlasting perspective and what is good only temporarily and materially.In Islam, we do not segregate children out of the world of adults, for our children are integral parts of our world as adults, both in our families and our community.
Our children are born pure and free of sin, but they lack knowledge and experience.
From the Quran and hadith we know that Allah recognizes and takes into account the complexity of rearing children, and we pray that His leniency is greater for those of us who are rearing our children in this extremely difficult time.Parenting is not a minor, insignificant matter, but a tremendously important, time consuming task for which there is, justifiably, the promise of great reward. It is hoped that more and more Muslim parents will educate themselves about how children develop, take note of their children's unique personalities and abilities, and try to find the best way to rear them accordingly. Children are a trust from Allah, both a test and a joy. We will be judged according to our intentions and efforts as parents, and we pray that we may be able to make Allah Taala pleased with us and with them. Kindness & Affection In their striving to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslim parents should be kind and affectionate to their children as is naturally expected. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to kiss his grandchildren and openly display his great affection for them. For example:Once the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) kissed his grandson al-Hasan (R) while a companion named al-Aqra (R) was sitting beside him. At that, al-Agra(R) said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them." The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) glanced at him and said, "The one who is not merciful will not be shown mercy." (Bukhari, 8.26) This is the Prophet (peace be upon him)-tender, tolerant, endlessly loving to the young of his family and to all humanity. This is the holy Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), whom we love and revere above any other human being and whom we are honoured to take as our example. This is how a Muslim father (or grandfather), husband, and kinsman are supposed to be.May Allah help us to be faithful followers of his blessed example, manifesting love like this in our own lives. Trust & Test And know that your possessions and your children are a test, and that with Allah is a mighty reward. No soul shall be taxed with more than its capacity. No mother shall be injured on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child. (Quran 8:28; 2:233) Islam makes it clear that children are, at one and the same time, a blessing, a trust and a test from Allah Taala. That we instinctively love our children and want to protect them and have the best for them, Allah knows. As a rule, children are greatly sough after among Muslims. Many childless couples experience a great feeling of emptiness, and this is a severe test for them.Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the seriousness of our responsibility toward our children, especially at this difficult time in history. Allah knows the task He sets before us in each child. We will surely find within ourselves the patience and love needed; we will find the wisdom, the resources, and all that is necessary to care for this child Allah sent to us. This is part of faith.
Naming the child
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The Hadith about when a Muslim child is to be named falls into two classes: 1. Those which mention naming the child on the seventh day after the birth. Like the Hadith of Samurah-RA) who said: Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: "Every child is held in pledge for his' Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for him on his seventh day, and he is named on it and his head is shaved" (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and the remaining 3 Sunan) The Hadith that the Messenger (SAW) ordered that the child be named on the seventh day, that the harm be removed from him and the sacrifice (the 'Aqeeqah') be performed. (Reported by Al-Tirmidhee) 2. And those which indicate naming the child on the day of its birth. From these is the Hadith of Anas (RA) who said: Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: A boy was born to me this night and I have given him the name of my forefather Ibrahim. (Reported by Muslim and Abu Dawud) Allah's Messenger (SAW) also named 'Abdullaah ibn Abee Taihah. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Another baby was brought to him after birth and he called it al-Mundhir (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and there are many examples like this. So from the previous Hadith we can see that the time for giving the name is something flexible-and all praise and thanks are for Allah (SWT)-so it may be named on the day of the birth, or delayed until the seventh day after birth-just as it is allowed between the two and later on. However, the time when it is recommended to name the child is the seventh day after the birth since that occurs in the words of the Prophet (SWT) and so it is taken to be a recommendation, and the Hadith mentioning the day of its birth report the Prophet's (SAW) action-and are, therefore, taken to show & what is permissible. WHO NAMES THE CHILD The father and mother are the ones who are to choose a good name for their child, but if they disagree about the name, then the father has the right to choose the name. If he wishes, he may name it himself and if he wishes, he may give the choice to his wife, and if he wishes he may draw lots with her. The fact that naming the child is the right of the father is shown by the fact that the child in this world is ascribed and attributed to his father. Allah (SWT) says: "Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just in the Sight of Allah..."(Surah Al-Ahzab 33:5) They will likewise be ascribed to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he (SAW) said: "For every treacherous one a banner will be raised saying: This is the treachery of so and so, son of so and so." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and others) And the Hadith: "On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good." (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and other) It is also allowed for the parents to allow someone else to choose the name his grandfather, or grandmother, or someone else, i.e. that they should say: 'Call him so and so', or 'Your name is so and so', or 'His name is so and so' etc., since our Messenger and teacher Muhammad (SAW) used to name some of the children of his Companions - for example he named 'Abdullah ibn Abee Talhah as has preceded and he said to a man: "Call your son Abdur-Rahman". (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) And just as he named his grand children - the children of Fatimah. Her husband Ali (RA) said: "When al-Hasan was born, I called him 'Harb' (war), then the Prophet (SAW) came and said: "Show me my son, what have you called him?" We said: ""Harb."" He said, "Rather he is Hasan."" Then when al-Husayn was born I called him Harb, then the Prophet (SAW) came and said, "Show me my son, what have you called him?" We said, "Harb." He said, "Rather he is Husayn." Then the third was born I called him Harb, then the Prophet (SAW) came and said, "Show me my son, what have you called him?"" We said, "Harb." He said, "Rather he is Muhassin." Then he said, " I have called them with the names of the children of Haaroon: Shabbar and Shabeer and Mushabbir." (Reported by Ahmad and Al-Bukhari in 'al-Adabul-Mufrad and declared Sahih by al-Haafiz in al-Isaabah.' Declared weak by Shaikh al-Albaanee in his checking of: 'al-Adabul-Mufrad')" THE RULING FOR NAMING THE MISCARRIED FETUS AND THE ONE WHO DIES BEFORE BIENG NAMED If it happens that the new-born child dies before it is named, then it is prescribed to give the child a name in this case - just as other children are named, and Funeral Prayer is said upon him, and the rulings for the deceased apply to him. As regards the fetus that is miscarried before the completion of six months - and that is the earliest that life would have been possible for it - then the scholars of the Shaafi'ees and the Hanbalees hold that it is recommended to name him, and they add that if the sex of the fetus is unclear then it should be given a name suitable for either such as: Talhah, Rajaa, Hind and Tarafah. Their support for the first and second questions is that the child will be called on the Day of Resurrection by his name, and this is a good and reasonable argument - if Allah (SWT) wills. It should also be noted that there are some Hadith reported concerning the encouragement to name the miscarried fetus, however, nothing from them is authentic - and Allah (SWT) knows best.