Calling Out Fathers
This situation, in fact, took place in the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), and his stance on fatherhood is further demonstrated in this narration:
It is related that a man once came to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, complaining of his sons’ disobedience to him. Umar summoned the boy and spoke of his disobedience to his father and his neglect of his rights.
The boy replied: “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen! (Prince of believers) Doesn’t a child have rights over his father?”
“Certainly,” replied ‘Umar.
“What are they, Ameer al-Mu’mineen?”
“That he should choose his mother, give him a good name, and teach him the Book (the Quran).”
“O Ameer al-Mu’mineen! My father did nothing of this. My mother was a Magian (fire worshipper). He gave me the name of Julalaan (meaning dung beetle or scarab) and he did not teach me a single letter of the Quran.”
Turning to the father, ‘Umar said: “You have come to me to complain about the disobedience of your son.
“You have failed in your duty to him before he has failed in his duty to you; you have done wrong to him before he has wronged you.”
Note that when ‘Umar mentioned the teaching of the Qur’an, it meant to the companions much more than what we assume – he didn’t mean that the father hadn’t simply taught his son the literal words of the Qur’an, but rather, that he had neglected to teach his son the meanings of the Qur’an as well.
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) described the Prophet (PBUH) as:
“His character was the Qur’an.” (Muslim)
The automatic understanding was that his character was an embodiment of the teachings of the Qur’an.
‘Umar’s rebuke to the complaining father wasn’t that it was the mother’s fault for not teaching the son how to be a good Muslim (or even a good person).
The responsibility was upon the father to raise his child according to the Qur’an.
In failing to carry out his responsibilities towards his son, the father was to be blamed for his own son’s disobedience.
Today, there are countless books and lectures aimed at mothers about the importance of their role.
Why are so few focused on Muslim fathers?
As a result, our Ummah has been faced with a crisis of fatherhood: one where Muslim men have minimized their role as the head of the household and relegated themselves to providing only financial support, rather than being present, hands-on parents.
Subsequently, we have an entire generation of Muslim youth growing up with no idea of what it is like to be a truly responsible Muslim man.
It is time that we recognize the seriousness of the situation, and change our understanding of the role of Muslim men as fathers – by returning to and reviving the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions.
They were the men who exemplified what it meant to be true Muslim men — leaders of both their households and of their Ummah.
This article is from our archive, published on an earlier date, and highlighted here for its importance.Pages: 1 2