It is well known that Islam places a heavy emphasis on the importance of loving and respecting parents. In fact, Allah has repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an that parents hold the next highest status after our Lord and beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah is our supreme provider, sustainer, and protector. He uses parents as a means to provide us, as we grow, with food, shelter, clothing, guidance, and protection from harm.
As creations of Allah, we can never return the favors of our Lord except partly by being obedient and showing gratitude. The same can be said for parents. As children, we can never repay the countless favors of our parents except partly by being obedient and showing gratitude. Allah says:
Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)
While Islam often discusses the value and importance of mothers, it is important to note that the role of fathers is also highly recognized in Islam. Fathers are significant because they are commanded by Allah to work hard to address the physical, educational, psychological, and spiritual needs of a child.
Prophet Muhammad said: “God’s pleasure is in the pleasure of the father, and God’s displeasure is in the displeasure of the father.” (Ibn Hibban)
‘Ali ibn al-Husain (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, “The right of your father over 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.”
According to an article from Family and Consumer Sciences, “Fathers are essential to the healthy growth and development of their children. Dads bring a unique perspective to the family and lives of their children.”
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 humor, 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.
Dads 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 behaviors that are respectful to women, their sons are more likely to model their father’s respectful behavior as well.
Islam encourages the need to show continuous kindness, respect, care, and concern towards fathers as it can often be difficult to keep a steady balance between working, taking care of a household, and fulfilling the many needs of a parent.
Abu Hurairah always encouraged other people to be kind and good to their parents.
One day he saw two men walking together and enquired of the younger one, “Who is this man to you?” The young man replied, “He is my father.” Abu Hurairah advised him by saying, “Do not call him by his name, do not walk in front of him, and do not seat yourself before he does.”