|Is it a father’s duty to respect his children and nurture them?|
قُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَلاَّ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئاً وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَوْلاَدَكُم مِّنْ إمْلاَقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ (سورۃ الانعام, آية 151)
Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want - We provide sustenance for you and for them - come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. (Surah 6, Verse 151).
Maryam is in the tenth grade and her teacher asked the guidance counselor to intervene. He told her that recently Maryam had become a loner, staying apart from all the other children and no longer participating in lessons. "She has never acted like that in the past and I think she has a problem," he said. The counselor called Maryam into her office that same day and told her what the teacher had said. Maryam agreed that she had changed. "It's nothing to do with school and there's no reason to talk about it at all," she said. The counselor explained to her that it was her task to help pupils outside school as well and promised to help her. "My problem is with my parents. I'm in the tenth grade, a teenager, but I feel that my parents don't respect me and don't take an interest in me. They don't care what I think or feel. When I talk, they don't listen even if I have important things to say. It depresses me and makes me feel that I'm worthless and I have no place at home. And they don't let me buy anything. When I ask for something little, something personal, they always say: ‘We give you everything and you lack for nothing.' I'm tired of that life; they don't respect me and don't give me even the most basic things. My friends' parents behave very differently."
The counselor reassured Maryam and promised to deal with the problem.
The next day she invited Maryam's parents for a talk and told them about their daughter's complaints and how this was affected her emotionally and interfering with her studies. "I want to read you an important verse from the Quran," she said, and read them Verse 151 from Surah 6. "Kill not your children on a plea of want - We provide sustenance for you and for them."
"Does Allah provide sustenance for you?" she asked the parents and they assented. "But what Allah gives you is intended for all your children, Why should Maryam suffer the fear of poverty?!" She needed to add nothing more. The parents understood the message.
Explanation: we do not know why Maryam's parents behave like that. Perhaps they treat all their children in the same way. Perhaps they, like many parents, discriminate against her when compared to their sons. Now that she is a teenager they feel that they need to suppress her even more so that she will not forget her role as a woman. They are simply uninterested in her and do not even buy her little personal items. Sometimes we hear from gynecologists who perform ultrasound scans on pregnant women that in some cases the sex of the foetus is more important to the parents than its health. These parents regard a female foetus as flawed and of no advantage to the family. Needless to say, this attitude does not stem from the Quran. The counselor was right to find the appropriate Quran verse which commands parents to nurture and respect their children, not only to provide all their needs but also to ensure that they feel wanted and do not suffer privation.