What Is Father’s Duty Toward His Children?

13 March, 2017
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. My husband firmly believes that his Islamic duty is to provide for the children and that's it. He has no role in their upbringing or daily routines whatsoever. I don't believe my Islam says that. Please provide me with some authentic hadiths and Qur'anic proof about the duty and role of the husband in his children's upbringing. Jazakum Allahu khayran.

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear sister in Islam, thanks you for your question, which reflects your care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands Muslims to refer to people of knowledge to get themselves well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam as well as all aspects of life.
As far as the Islamic Shari`ah is concerned, the role of the Muslim father/husband goes beyond providing financial support to his family. It is his role to provide his family with a loving and peaceful atmosphere and lead his family toward loving Allah and enjoying a successful, happy, and righteous life. He is responsible for upbringing his children and teaching them through his example how to be good and successful people.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, stated:

Your husband has a wrong view of his role as a father. A father’s role in his children’s life is not limited to providing them with material comforts; rather it certainly extends to providing for their spiritual and moral welfare/upbringing.

This is what we can infer directly from the Qur’an and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah says, “O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from torments of Hell, whose fuel is humankind and stones.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No parent can give their children a better gift than training them in good manners.” He also said, “Every one of you is like a shepherd responsible for those under his or her care; a man is a shepherd and responsible for the welfare of his family; a woman is a shepherd responsible for her household.”

Based on similar evidence, scholars have listed the following main duties of parenthood:

1- To provide a peaceful and loving environment at home that is conducive to the chldren’s overall spiritual and moral development;

2- To impart sound religious and moral values through practical examples by leading an exemplary life of love, mercy, and compassion.

3- To instill in them love of Allah and His Messenger and inculcate consciousness of Allah and accountability before Him.

4- To implant in them seeds of social consciousness and compassion.

5- The dictum a child learns what he or she practices at home is the ideal Islamic approach to raising responsible children.

Finally, let me cite an incident in the life of the great Caliph `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). A man came to complain to `Umar about his son’s misbehavior toward him. Upon inquiring into the causes, `Umar found out that as a father, the man had never taught his son any religious or moral values: `Umar said, “Go, you have no right to complain about your son’s misbehavior!” `Umar meant to say that, since as a father the man had failed in his duties toward his son, he cannot expect anything better from him. Let us, therefore, take parenting seriously and ensure that we leave God-conscious Muslims who care for their parents and others, amen!

Almighty Allah knows best.

 Excerpted with slight modifications from islam.ca.