Fear Allah and Treat
Your Children Fairly
Praise be to Allah, and peace and
blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and
Allah has enjoined upon children
to honour and respect their parents. He has made the parents
rights very great and has connected duties towards to parents to
duties towards Him and the obligation to worship Him alone (Tawheed).
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents
And Allah has given the children
rights over their parents, such as education and a good upbringing,
spending on their needs, and treating them fairly.
One of the bad social phenomena that
are to be found in some families is the lack of fair treatment towards
the children. Some fathers and mothers deliberately give gifts to
some of their children and not others. According to the correct
view, this is a haraam action, unless there is some justification
for it, such as one child having a need that the others do not have,
e.g., sickness; debt; a reward for memorizing the Qur'an; not being
able to find work; having a large family; full-time studies, etc.
The parent should have the intention when giving something
to one of his children for a legitimate (shariah) reason
that he will do the same of any of his other children should the
need arise. The general evidence (daleel) for this is the ayah (interpretation
of the meaning):
that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah."
[Qur'an al-Maaidah 5:8].
The specific evidence is the hadeeth
narrated from al-Numaan ibn Basheer (may Allah be pleased
with him), who said that his father brought him to the Messenger
of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: "I
have given this son of mine a slave that I had." The Messenger
of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Have
you given something similar to all of your children?" He said,
"No." So the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him) said: "Then take (the slave) back."
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari; see al-Fath, 5/211). According to another
report, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him) said: "Fear Allah and be fair to your children."
He said: so he came back and took his gift back. (al-Fath, 5/211).
According to another report, "Do not ask me to bear witness
to this, for I will not bear witness to injustice." (Sahih
A male should be given the share
of two females, as is the case with inheritance. This is the view
of Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) (Masaail al-Imaam
Ahmad li Abi Dawood, 204). Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim explained it in detail
in his footnote on Abu Dawood. Anyone who looks at the state of
affairs in some families will note that some of those parents who
do not fear Allah favour some of their children over others when
it comes to gift-giving. This fills the hearts of the children with
hatred towards one another and sows the seeds of enmity. A father
might give gifts to one child because he (the child) resembles his
paternal uncles, and withhold gifts from another because he resembles
his maternal uncles; he might give to the children of one wife things
that he does not give to the children of another; or he might put
the children of one wife but not the children of another into private
schools. This will backfire on him, because in many cases the child
who has been deprived will not honor his father in the future. The
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to the man
who had preferred one of his children over others in giving him
a gift: "Would you not like all of them to honor you equally?"
(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, 4/269; Sahih Muslim, no. 1623).
One of the Salaf said: "Their
rights over you are that you should treat them all fairly, and your
right over them is that they should honour you."
Another way in which parents fail
to treat their children fairly is when they bequeath something in
their will to some of their children, or they give them more than
the share allocated to them by shareeah, or they deny some
of their children their inheritance. Some women bequeath their gold
to their daughters and not their sons, despite the fact that it
is a part of the inheritance, or a woman might state in her will
that a gift given to her by one of her children should be given
back to him after she dies, claiming that she is being kind to him
just as he was kind to her. All of this is not permitted, because
there is no bequest to an heir [i.e., one cannot bequeath something
to one of the heirs whose share is dictated by shareeah].
Whatever was a part of the possessions of the mother or father who
has died belongs to all the heirs and is to be shared out according
to the laws enjoined by Allah.
Each parent should remind the other
if he or she is not being fair and should stand firm on this issue,
so that justice will be established. This includes referring matters
to scholars as is indicated in the report which follows the hadeeth
of al-Numaan ibn Basheer who said:
"My father gave me some of his
wealth, and my mother Amrah bint Rawaahah said: I will
not accept this until you ask the Messenger of Allah (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him) to bear witness to it. So
my father went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him) to ask him to bear witness to the gift he had given me. The
Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said
to him, Have you done this for all your children? He
said, No. He said, Fear Allah and treat all your
children fairly. So my father came back and took back his
gift." (Narrated by Muslim, no. 1623).
We ask Allah to help
us to honour our parents and to treat our children fairly, and to
adhere steadfastly to our religion. Ameen