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Treating All The Children Equally

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has emphasized that parents should be just and fair to all the children, particularly in matters of gifts and kindness, and it must not be that while one gets more the other gets less or nothing. Besides being desirable in itself, equality to all the children also meets the demands of justice and equity which is pleasing to the Almighty.

If discrimination is made among the children and one is favored more than the other, it will lead to ill-will and jealousy, and nothing but evil can arise from this. The child who is discriminated against will bear a grudge against the father, - the painful consequences of which, are easy to imagine.

Narrates No'man ibn Bashir (ra),

"My father took me to the Prophet (saw.) and said (to him), "I have given a slave to this son of mine." The Prophet enquired, "Have you given the same to all of your sons?" "No," my father replied. The Prophet, thereupon, said, "it is not correct. Take it back.""

In another version, of the same hadith, The Prophet asked, "Do you want all your children to be equally devoted to you?" "Yes, of course," he replied. The Prophet said "Then do not act like that (let it not be that you give some property to one child and exclude the others.)"

In yet another version it is added that the Prophet (PBUH) remarked, "I cannot be a witness to an act of injustice."

In this hadith, it is enjoined upon parents not to discriminate among their children when it comes to giving them something as a gift etc. This has been condemned by the Prophet (PBUH) as unjust and unfair. Some of the learned people have gone to the extent of calling it Haraam, but the majority of them hold the view that though it is not Haraam, it is Makrooh, and highly undesirable.

It must, however, be emphasized that the command applies only to a situation where the preferential treatment is based on a consideration that is not lawful or justifiable in the eye of the Shariah, otherwise no blame will be attached to it.

For example, if a child is physically handicapped and cannot earn his livelihood like his brothers, a special favor to him will not be incorrect, but to an extent it will be essential and worthy of Divine reward. Similarly, should any child dedicate himself to the cause of Iman or public welfare and have no time to look after his economic needs, it would also be correct and deserving of reward, to make a reasonable allowance for him over the other children.

There is no harm if preference is shown to one of the children with the consent of the others tie the brothers & sisters.

In a hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) says,

"Treat all your children equally in regard to free gifts. If I were to show preference in this matter, I would show it to daughters. (If equality was not necessary and binding, I would have declared that more be given to daughters than to sons.)"

It can be concluded from this hadith that though, after the death of the parents, the shares of daughters in ancestral property is half of the sons, in their life-time, the share of both the sons and the daughters is equal. Therefore whatever the parents give to the sons, in their life-time, should also be given to the daughters.


Article Contributed by: itsIslam Staff

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