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 What about people who were born to irresponsible parents?

In Islam, parents are enjoined to be well-behaved and respected. What about the irresponsible parents who do not care for their children? Should children respect parents for all their irresponsibilities?


Children are entrusted to their parents by God. Islam enjoins parents to raise their children in the best way

It is emphasized in the famous hadith of Prophet (pbuh) which says "Every newborn is born on the pure nature (Fitrah, which is Islam), and his parents would either make him a Jew, a Christian, or a fire worshipper." (Bukhari, Muslim) that parents have a huge impact on the future of their children.

It is also obvious in the saying "Each and every one of you is responsible and accountable for your responsibility. So the man is responsible in his house and accountable for his family, the woman is responsible in her husband's house and accountable for her husband's family." (Bukhari, Muslim) that all parents are accountable and responsible for their children.

Besides, Allah (swt) addresses to the parents in the Quran that states “O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones.” (66; 6). This verse clearly commands the believers to guard not only themselves but also their children, families and anybody in their responsibility from the hell fire. In order to guard ourselves, we should abstain what Allah (swt) has enjoined. And to guard our families from all evils of this world and the hereafter, we have to teach them good manners and make them learn goodness. It is the major responsibility of being a parent to raise the children by enjoining kindness, forbidding iniquity and educating them.


Islam enjoins mercy on children

"He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly" (Al Tirmidhi; Birr; 15)

Allah's Apostle kissed Al-Hasan bin Ali while Al-Aqra' bin Habis At-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them." Allah's Apostle cast a look at him and said, "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully." (Bukhari; Adab; 26)

“One who treats badly those under his authority will not enter Paradise.” (Tirmidhi, 3272)

As seen in the ayahs and hadiths above, Islam clearly states the responsibilities of parents to their children. Those parents who do not have mercy on their children, who do not fulfill their parenthood duty, will definitely pay the penalty for their irresponsibilities both in this world and in the hereafter, because they are responsible for every mistake that their children have made. So, parents should pay the greatest attention to fulfill their duties towards their kids who have been entrusted to them by their Merciful Lord whom they will give account for on the Day of Judgement.


As well as parents’ great responsibility on children, children have responsibilities towards their parents in terms of respect

“Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not "Fie" unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.” (Surah al Isra, 23)

“Once a man came to the Prophet SAW, and said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! I had carried my mother on my back from Yemen to perform her Hajj.

 I did carry her on my back during her tawaf (circumambulating) of Ka’bah, Sa’ee (walking between two hills, the Safa and the Marwah), Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Mina to perform her complete Hajj. Have I not fulfilled her rights and my duties to her?” The Prophet SAW replied, “No! Not even equal to a particle of dust” (Bazar, Mishkwat). 

 “And We have enjoined upon man concerning his partners - His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years “(Loqman, 14)

As mentioned in the hadiths and ayahs, the reason why Islam ordains man to respect their parents even if they are disbelievers, is their efforts and devotions to raise us since our weakest periods of babyhood that we can never pay back.


What if the parents don’t fulfill their parenthood responsibilities?

Like all the unpleasant situations in life, irresponsible parents are also a test for the believers. As long as they preserve their respect towards their parents just for the sake of God, they will surely be rewarded for their good manners both in this world and in the hereafter.

 Although parents are the most effective factors determining the behaviors and the character of an individual, each person has the free will to choose his own way and make his own decision to move on. So, blaming parents for the unpleasant situations in life brings nothing more than loss of energy, time and patience.  

Undoubtedly, Allah knows the best one for his servants through his eternal knowledge and gives the most favorable to them.

Each person in the world is tested according to the conditions they are in. For example; while a wealthy person is tested on what and how he spent his money and how much help he did to the poor, on the other hand; the poor one takes the examination on his patience and submission to his destiny. Similarly, some parents are tested with their difficult children while some children are tested with their irresponsible parents. They will be accounted and rewarded according to the conditions they are in by the everlasting justice of Allah (swt) on the day of judgement. “ And whoso doeth good an atom's weight will see it then, And whoso doeth ill an atom's weight will see it then.” (Surah al Zilzal, 7-8)


Only if the parents prevent from obeying the orders of Allah (swt), has one the right to disobey his parents

A Muslim should respect his parents and fulfill his duties towards them even if they are infidels. However, if the parents prevent from obeying the orders of Allah (swt) and if they compel to commit sinful (haram) actions, he has the right to disobey them.

Nevertheless; he, still, should pay the greatest attention to respect them in the best way and treat them with the best of manners as commanded in the holy Quran.

“Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers.” (Surah al Mumtahinah, 8)

Qur’an puts an end to this subject as the following:

“However if they strive with you to make you ascribe on Me partners that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; Yet nicely possess them in the world! And follow the path of those who tend to Me! In the end, only to Me is your return; then I will notify you all that you have been doing.” (Loqman, 15)

The commentary of this verse (ayah) was made by Imam Qurtubi:

“Both in the issues of committing a major sin and quitting a command which is fard-i ayn (individual obligatory). In the issues which are regarded as mubah (neutral) one must obey his/her parents. (Al-Jami’ul Ahkamu’l Qur’an) Kaynak: http://askaquestionto.us - What about people who were born to irresponsible parents?

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