Rights of the Eldest Child

Sa`id ibn al-`As related that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The right of an elder brother over the younger ones is like the right of the father over his children.” [Bayhaqi, Sh`ab al-Iman]

It is also related in a similar wording in Tabarani’s al-Mu`jam al-Kabir wherein Haytami notes that it contains Waqidi who is weak. Munawi, too, notes that al-`Iraqi considered its chain to be weak. [Haytami, Majma` al-Zawa’id; Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]

Nevertheless, some scholars have explained that this narration (hadith) informs us that one should respect the eldest brother just as one respects one’s father as he is responsible for looking after the family after the father passes away.

As such, he would appear to take some of the rights of the parents such as:

[1] Being honored and respected

[2] Obedience in that which is not contrary to the Law

[3] And one’s generally being ‘good’ to them

This is above and beyond the general rights they possess as believers of forgiving their mistakes, hiding their faults, desiring the good for them, and many more. “Verily Allah commands you to fulfill trusts (rights) to their recipients and when you judge between people then judge with justice.” [Qur’an, 4:58]

And Allah alone gives success.

Answered By: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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