RELATIONSHIPS IN ISLAM
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
As for husband wife relationship the following verse portrays the right
"And among His Signs is this: He created for you spouses from yourselves,
that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you affection and
mercy." (Qur'an, 30-21) .
The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) also stressed these
meanings when he said: (The best among you are those who are best to their
families and I am the best of you to my family). He once exclaimed: (It is
only the evil one who abuses them (women) and the honoured one is he who
honours them). Once a man came to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and asked: who is
the person who is most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet
answered, "your mother, your mother, your mother then your father." That is
why Islam made Paradise under the feet of mothers according to one tradition
of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
If we contemplate the Noble Qur'an, we find that it refers to
parents-children 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.
Let us contemplate the following verses of the Noble Qur'an: In the chapter
called Luqman (No.31) Allah says:
"And surely We gave Luqman wisdom saying: Give thanks unto Allah; for
whosoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his soul. And
whoever disbelieves, Allah is All-Independent, Worthy of Praise. And
(remember) when Luqman said to his son while he was exhorting him: "O my
dear son! Ascribe no partners unto Allah. Lo! To ascribe partners (unto Him)
is a tremendous wrong indeed. And we have enjoined upon man to be careful of
his parents- His mother bears him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning
is in two years, so give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the
final destination. But if they strive with you to make you ascribe to Me as
partner that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but deal
with them nicely in the world, and follow the path of him who repents to Me.
Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell you of what you used to
The Noble Qur'an then continues:
"O my son! Lo! Though it be but the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and
though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring
it forth. For Allah is Subtle, Well-Aware. O my son! Establish prayer,
enjoin goodness, forbid iniquity and bear with patience whatever may befall
you. For that is the steadfast heart of things. Turn not your cheek in scorn
towards people, nor walk on the earth with pretenses, for Allah loves not
each braggart boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice for
Lo! The harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass." (Qur'an, 31: 12-19
These verses provide Muslim parents with the way they should bring up their
children, unless they do so, they can expect rebellion and hatred from them;
but the devoted parents have full right to what the following verses from
chapter 17 enjoin. In this chapter called the Night Journey Allah says:
"Your Lord has decreed that you worship non but Him, and that (you show)
kindness to parents. Should one or both of them attain old age with you, Say
not 'Fie' unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.
And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy and say: My Lord!
Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little. Your Lord
is best aware of what is in your inner-selves. If you are righteous, then
Lo! He was ever Forgiving unto those who turn (unto Him)." (Qur'an, 17:
23-25 ) .
These are the two main chapters of the Noble Qur'an that decide and clearly
depict the Islamic relationship between parents and their children. It is a
relationship based, as we see, on belief in Allah , and feeling that He
observes all what 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 (P.B.U.H.) and complained to him about the
ingratitude of his son, the son said: He was ungrateful to me O Messenger of
Allah, before I showed ingratitude to him. So the Prophet( P.B.U.H.) did not
blame the son but disliked the attitude of his parent. This is a message to
The third place in the Noble Qur'an that refers to parents-children
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 favour wherewith you have favoured me and my parents, and I may do right
acceptable unto you. And be gracious unto me concerning my seed. 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 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-children
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 ) .
This verse refers mainly to the unbelieving parents who still have the
rights of obedience on their Muslim children unless they ask them to rebel
against Allah. In this case they should not be obeyed, but doing good to
them should continue regardless of the difference of religion.
In conclusion, since the family is the corner stone of society, happiness
and prosperity will only be achieved if parents as well as children are
committed to the guidance of the Noble Qur'an, the only guidance proved to
For in that case all will fulfill their duties and rights in the most
satisfactory manner as we have seen earlier.