The right of your father on you is that you should know that it is he who brought you into existence, and you are a branch of the tree of his life. Islam commands us to honour our parents, to obey them, to respect their opinion, and to be kind in general to our family members. Islam commands us to honour our parents, to obey them, to respect their opinion, and to be kind in general to our family members. The father is more than just an individual. He can play an important role, far beyond that of just the financial protector. Allah says:
وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانً
“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him and be good to parents.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:36)
The Prophet Muhammad himself was a role model as a father. When his daughter would come to him, he would stand up out of respect for her, as people in traditional societies often do. We have forgotten these aspects of the Prophetic example. We are replacing these values with an obsession with enforcing rights and duties. That is what is destroying the spirit of the family. Allah says:
قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا
“Say: Come, I will recite what your Lord has made sacred to you. He commands that you do not associate anything with Him and to be good to your parents.” (Surah Al-An’am 6:151)
Children can bring out the worst in us, but also the best. Being a father gives you ample chances to develop noble qualities that assist not only in parenthood, but life in general. Fathers have poor relationships with their children. There is a lack of dialogue, tenderness and affection. Also, feeling uncomfortable in his social surroundings can add to disengagement at home as he tries to grapple with his insecurities. We need local and dynamic social policies which will counter this problem. Allah says:
قَالُوا سَنُرَاوِدُ عَنْهُ أَبَاهُ وَإِنَّا لَفَاعِلُونَ
They said, “We will try to get permission for him (from) his father, and indeed we, surely will do.” (Surah Yusuf 12:61)
Fathers have a powerful influence on the healthy development of their daughters and sons.
- School-aged children show significant gains in intellectual development when their fathers are involved with them as infants.
- Involved fathers enrich their daughter’s and son’s self-image.
- Children who have involved fathers show more sense of humour, longer attention spans, and more eagerness for learning.
- Father involvement helps teens to develop a strong sense of who they are and increases their ability to resist peer pressure.
إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِي عَنكَ شَيْئًا
“When he said to his father, “O my father! Why (do) you worship that which not hears and not sees and not benefits [to] you (in) anything?” (Surah Maryam 19:42)
Fathers are role models who teach their children to be strong, flexible adults.
Fathers teach gender roles: they are generally more physically active with their sons and more protective of their daughters.
- Fathers often think “out of the box” and offer alternative strategies for problem-solving.
- Dads tend to offer more physical play than mothers, which increases the physical competency of their young children.
- When fathers model behaviours that are respectful to women, their sons are more likely to model their father’s respectful behaviour as well.
وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا ۖ وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ
“If they strive to make you associate with Me that of which you do not know, then do not obey them but accompany them in this world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me.” (Surah Luqman 31:14-15)
Being a father can also help to improve your relationship with your parents. As you raise your child, you experience the struggles your parents went through in raising you. Hence you can appreciate their efforts so much more. Practically, this can draw you closer to them and spiritually, it can inspire you to make dua for them in a more heartfelt way. Allah says:
يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ عَصِيًّا
“O, my father! (Do) not worship the Shaitaan. Indeed, the Shaitaan is to the Most Gracious disobedient.” (Surah Maryam 19:44)
Here are some simple and fun ways to make your father feel special:
- There are times when parents can prevent one from attending the congregational prayer
- Send money to orphans or purchase school books for needy children.
- Honour your Father by donating in his name.
- Parents can prevent one from participation in the war
- God’s pleasure is in the pleasure of the father
- Give a gift that keeps on giving.
- A Personal Sign and Trust
- One must obey his parents
- Character Development
- Spiritual Benefits
- Appreciation for Your Parents
- Make Dad his favourite meal or dessert
- Throw a Barbeque party in honour of Dad
- Take Dad out to his favourite sporting event
- Make a trophy for Dad (see children’s arts and crafts)
- Regular meetings are mandatory for Muslims to stay connected
- Take Dad, Grandpa, and Uncles out on a weekend camping or fishing trip
- Give Dad a day off, and help him by mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, washing the cars
- This gift will make Dad happy and inshallah will provide him with unlimited rewards (Sadaqa Jariya)
- If one is to obey his parents or say his prayers, he should put off the prayers and do what his parents ask him to do
- Make Dad a memory book with family photos and each page mentioning one reason why Dad is special
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and be good to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of annoyance and do not repel them but rather speak to them a noble word. Lower to them the wing of humility for them out of mercy and say: My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was small.” (Surat Al-Isra 17:23-24)
Our duties to our parents extend even after their death. One of the best ways to honour our parents when they are gone is by being kind to their friends. The status of parents in Islam is very high. Every Muslim must show kindness and mercy to his parents throughout their lives may Allah subḥānahu was ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) help today’s and tomorrow’s Muslim fathers to always remember the blessings that come with this great status and guide us to make the most of the opportunities at our disposal before it is too late. Aameen.