Advanced search
Last Updated: 2011/12/21
Summary of question
What duties does a child have when it comes to parents?
What duties does a child have when it comes to parents?
Concise answer

The importance of fulfilling the rights of parents (father and mother) has been recognized by the Quran to be so high that in several verses, it has been demanded immediately after forbidding shirk (polytheism) and has been known as one of the most virtuous acts in the ahadith. A few examples of the rights mentioned in the Quran and tradition are as follows:

1. Speaking politely with parents and being humble with them

2. Praying to God to bestow His mercy on them

3. Obeying them in everything except haram

Detailed Answer

The topic of parents’ rights has been given a lot of attention in the Quran and ahadith; we will expand on this subject in the following segments:

Importance of parents’ rights in the Holy Quran

The Quran has given so much importance to the point where, in several verses, it has promoted to do parents good immediately after forbidding shirk (polytheism). For example in the covenant made with Bani Israel (the children of Israel), he says: “And (remember) when we made a covenant with the children of Israel: You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents”. [1] It is clear that making a covenant to be kind with parents implies how important it is. In another part of the Quran, using the word “ و قضی ربک ” meaning “the lord has decreed” and again straight after mentioning shirk, He demands to do good to parents. [2] This issue can be witnessed in several verses such as Surah An-Nisa’/36, Surah Al-Anaam/151, Surah Al-Ankabut/8, Surah Luqman and Al-Ahqaf/15.

On top of this, Allah has emphasized on the significance of this topic by reminding us how the Awliya’ullah (Friends of Allah) and the prophets were good to their parents; for example in the chapter of Maryam, in addition to mentioning the noble traits instilled in Prophet Yahya (A.S.) he states that he treated his parents very well. [3]

Importance of parent’s rights in traditions

In a hadith, Imam Sadiq’s (A.S.) reply to the question “which action is the highest and greatest action” was “on-time (not delayed) prayer, doing your parents good and jihad”. By mentioning the act of doing good to parents after on-time prayer and before jihad we can easily deduce how important it is in the eyes of the imams. In another hadith narrated from Imam Sadeq (A.S.), he considers doing good to parents, whether they are righteous or corrupt, to be one of those duties that which no excuse is accepted for. [4]

Examples of parent’s rights in the Quran and ahadith

Several examples of rights that parents have over their children have been mentioned, in a concise manner, in the Quran and ahadith. Here, we will take a brief look at a few of them:

A. Speaking politely

In an ayah Allah states: “ If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) "Ugh" nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.” [5] In a hadith, Imam Sadeq (A.S.) says if there was a word that would imply less than what uff (ugh) implies, God would have forbidden that [would have used that word instead of uff]. [6]

B. Humbleness

In the rest of the verse mentioned above Allah says: “ And lower unto them (mother and father) the wing of submission through mercy.” [7] The metaphor of “lowering the wing of submission” in this ayah implies the utmost measure of humbleness.

C. Obedience

A hadith has been narrated that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) declares: “The child has three duties towards his parents; continuously being thankful of them, obeying whatever they demand or forbid unless it results in a sin and doing good to them in private and public.” [8]

D. Praying

In the same verses Allah orders to pray for them also: “An d say: O my Lord! have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.” [9]

In addition to these points, even more detailed examples have been pointed out; like the hadith where Imam Musa al-Kadhim (A.S.) says that the Prophet (S.A.) was asked about the rights the father has over his child and he replied that the child must never call his parents by their first name, walk in front of them or sit before they do, nor give others an excuse to insult them.” [10] In a verse of the Quran parents have been declared to be the priority for receiving charity, the ayah says: “They ask you as to what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever wealth you spend, it must go to the parents and the near of kin”. [11]

The limit to obeying parents

From the earlier points mentioned, one might get the impression that it is necessary to obey parents regardless of what they say in order to fulfill their rights, but what must be noted is that from the Quran’s perspective this isn’t acceptable in its entirety. From the Quran’s perspective it is only necessary to obey parents when it doesn’t result in disobeying Allah and being deviated from justice and the right path. As Allah says in a verse of the Quran: “Be maintainers of justice as witnesses of Allah, though it may be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives”. [12]

Similar to the above, in a different verse, he has warned us not surrender to the struggle and endeavor of our parents if they – God forbid - intend to make us mushrik (polytheist): “And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents, and if they contend with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them…”. [13] However the Quran ultimately declares that disobeying one’s parents in committing shirk to Allah doesn’t mean that one can be harsh with them, where it says: “…and keep company with them in this world kindly”. [14]

In addition to encouraging us to treat our parents in a kind and respectful manner the Quran and ahadith also state that this obligation has been put onto us in exchange for all the struggle and effort they have gone through, especially the mother, to take care of and raise us. [15]   [16]

For more information please see:

Parent’s demands and children’s duties, Question 9455, (Site: 9458).

[1] Baqarah:83.

[2] و قضی ربک ألا تعبدوا إلا إایاه و بالوالدین احسانا... ” (Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship anyone except Him, and [He has enjoined] kindness to parents) Israa’:23.

[3] و برّا بوالدیه و لم یکن جبارا عصیا ” Maryam:14.

[4] Sheikh Tusi, Al-Tahdhib, vol. 6, pg. 350, Daar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, 1986.

[5] Israa’:23.

[6] Kuleini, Kāfī, vol. 2, pg. 349.

[7] Israa’:24.

[8] Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, pg. 236, al-Wafaa’ Insititute, Beirut, Lebanon, 1404 AH.

[9] Israa’:24.

[10] Kuleini, Kāfī, vol. 2, pg. 158, Daar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, 1986.

[11] Baqarah:215.

[12] ...کونوا قوامین بالقسط شهداء علی انفسکم او الوالدین و الاقربین... ” Nisaa’:135.

[13] Ankabut:8.

[14] Luqman:15.

[15] Luqman:14; Ahqaf:15; Israa’:24.

[16] Adopted from an article in the website for answering religious questions.

Question translations in other languages
Number of comments 0
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

  • Is it permissible to name a village mosque and the only mosque in a village as central mosque?
    3849 احکام مساجد و مکانهای مقدس 2015/05/03
    There is no problem in doing so. In case the mosque does not belong to a particular group of people or ethnicity, it would be considered as the central mosque. Index: Some grand religious authorities have responded to this question.[i] Grand Ayatollah Khamenei ...
  • Is the story of the wedding of Hadrat Qasim in Karbala true or false?
    26118 تاريخ بزرگان 2012/10/01
    One of the concocted stories regarding the epic of Ashura is the story of the marriage of Qasim bin Al-Hasan (as), a story which has no basis and which has not been related by any authentic and reliable sources. In addition, such a thing is not rationally ...
  • Is the word ‘jahannam’ (hell) a Farsi word, and do those who reside in hell speak in this language?
    12045 Traditional 2009/12/28
    The first part of your question is answered in question 2945 (website: 3174). Please refer to the website in order to see the appropriate response. In regards to the second part of your question, if you ...
  • Please let me how to get rid of masturbation?
    8029 ترک لذت 2015/01/05
    Sin is like a foul-smelling swamp full of sewage; the more one sinks into it, the less he senses its smell, because he actually loses his sense of smell and can't tell that he is drowning anymore. At the same time, anytime one makes a strong decision ...
  • Does man have the capacity to love Allah?
    6633 Practical 2010/09/05
    The logic behind experiencing ‘metaphoric’ love is to reach true love and if it is accompanied with chastity, after causing fundamental changes and developments it will bring man very close to Godly love. The very core and truth of religion is to reach the status of loving Allah; ...
  • Was the Holy Prophet’s marriage with Safiyah in accordance with Islamic laws?
    6918 Fiqh 2010/12/07
    It is permissible for Muslims to marry non-Muslim women who are taken captives without their husbands or whose husbands have been killed, albeit after purification of their womb from their previous husbands which can take place after a monthly cycle. The Holy Prophet’s marriage with ...
  • What creatures are haram?
    17359 Laws and Jurisprudence 2012/02/15
    In general, haram meat creatures are divided into several categories:1. All sea creatures which do not have scales.2. Among land creatures, dogs, pigs, predatory creatures which have sharp teeth and claws and talons, like lions, foxes, rabbits, wolves, elephants, etc. are haram. But all types of ...
  • What is the scientific reasoning behind the splitting of the moon?
    14865 Exegesis 2009/06/22
    Considering the research and discoveries of space scientists, the answer to your question isn't very hard, because discoveries today tell us that not only isn't such a phenomenon possible, but it also actually has taken place various times regarding celestial bodies other than the moon.NASA has confirmed the ...
  • What are the objects on which zakat is either obligatory or recommend? Is zakat payable on currency notes?
    8797 زکات و صدقات 2013/10/19
    It is obligatory to pay Zakat on nine well-known things as mentioned in the Epistles of Islamic Laws. Also, there are certain things from which Zakat is mustahab (recommended) to pay, as stated in jurisprudential and hadith sources. Those things are the female horse (mare), peas, lentils ...