In recent weeks, we have been flooded with advertisements for Father’s Day presents – from watches to new fishing equipment. This year, Father’s Day will occur on Sunday, June 21, 2020 – which is just right around the corner. However, Father’s Day should not be celebrated on just one day – it should be remembered each day of the year – which is taught in Islam.
Fathers in Islam
In the Holy Quran, God says, “Thy Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him alone, and behave beneficently towards parents. If either or both of them should attain old age while you are alive, say not ‘ugh’ to them, nor chide them, and speak kindly to them. Lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness and pray: Lord have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was little” (17:24-25)This shows the importance of treating our fathers (and parents in general) with the utmost respect as they have raised us throughout our childhood. As fathers protect, care, and provide for their children they should thus be respected. In addition, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) has stated, “The pleasure of God lies in the pleasure of father and displeasure of God lies in the displeasure of father.” This shows the importance of obeying our fathers, since they guide us in all of our matters – from when we are very young and worry about our first camping trip, to when we are older and worry about what it will be like to go to college. They provide safety and comfort for us, and teach us life lessons that we would otherwise not learn. They give up their time and effort to help us grow, so that we are able to get a head start in life. Although it can seem like they have high expectations, it is due to that they have a more realistic perspective of their children, and want them to succeed.
Role of Fathers in Societal Peace
Our fathers play an important role in maintaining harmony in society which has been analyzed through many different studies. For example, a study conducted in 1987 found that there were three main characteristics that defined father-child interaction: engagement, availability, and responsibility. The engagement between a father and his children is very important. The bond between children and their parents is built up over many small interactions that gradually build up the child’s psychological well-being. In addition to that, fathers who are available for their children and show up whether it is for an appointment or for a soccer game, build up their children’s self-esteem and it strengthens their bond with their father. Further, fathers who take responsibility for their children’s well-being and development raise children who become more capable of handling life’s challenges and are more secure in themselves.
Another study conducted in 2006 found that fathers who had positive relationships with the mothers of their children tended to be more involved with the children. This thus led to the children having better psychological health – showing the tremendous impact of fathers. Their behavior will be impressed upon their children – if the father is gentle, kind, and loving, then his children will likely be less aggressive and have better relationships with their peers.
Furthermore, a study conducted in 2016 supported that fathers who maintain strong bonds with their children had children with higher IQs and did better on tests in elementary school. They also displayed greater control at school as well, such as sitting still and listening to directions. Also, the children were less likely to have delayed cognitive development and behavioral issues at school, thus further showing the importance of having involved fathers (which is even more important when other factors are less than ideal, such as having less-educated parents).
In psychology, the role of fathers has shown time and time again that teenagers who have involved fathers tend to be more protected against risky behavior, such as doing drugs. This makes sense – engaged fathers can protect their children and give them healthy ways to interact with their peers and with difficult/stressful situations. Later in life, children are also more likely to maintain positive and healthy relationships. Additionally, involved fathers play a critical role in their daughter’s life as well by helping establish strong self-esteem and positive, respectful behavior.
Changing Perspective of Fathers
Traditionally, fathers were viewed as the protectors and breadwinners of the household, and mothers were viewed as having the role of taking care of the home and raising the children. However, in recent years, the role of fathers has changed in American society. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, the divorce rate in the United States is 2.9 out of every 1000 citizens, and nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce. At the same time, the proportion of women in the workforce has greatly increased. In 2018, for example, 46.9% of the total workforce was made up of women (according to the Bureau of Labor). In addition, they earned 50.7% of all professional degrees in the United States – showing the rapid pace at which women participate in the workforce is growing. This growth also means changing responsibilities. Fathers are also having greater responsibilities to take care of their children, in addition to their mothers (for more information, check out: “Mother’s Day: Taking a Closer Look at the Role of Mothers”). Thus, although fathers are still viewed as the protector of the family, their role is also expanding with the development of their children. Mothers too are being gradually viewed as financial contributors to the family as well.
Thus, the role of fathers is extremely important in today’s world. They give us lifelong lessons that make our foundations strong so that we are capable of handling life and maintaining healthy relationships. We should always respect and love them, and take care of them – whether it is smiling kindly at them, or buying a new watch. It all makes a difference.