Children are instinctively adored and desired. Their existence ensures the eugenic reproductive cycle and its continuity. In certain cultures children are enormously important for they represent status, continuity of hierarchy and the fertility of the couple. People in such cultures may go to any extreme to produce children. This kind of compulsive obsession is in contradiction with normal behaviour as well as religious ethicality. Having offspring is a basal function of all living beings but for human beings, due to their status as the “Crown of the Creation” and their being subjective to “retributive judgment”, it becomes extremely consequential. It is like carrying a bare double edged sword; for they could turn out to be useful or hurtful: the well-educated, well-mannered and well-placed are nothing but an asset and mercy for the parents, whereas the socially unacceptable, unproductive and illiterate, are a source of shame and chastisement. The parents’ role is crucially deterministic in either of these situations. It is therefore, of utmost importance that they be socially and culturally acceptable in the temporal world and amenable to the Hereafter.

In normal circumstances the “expediently beneficial status” granted to couples by having children, in the overall scheme of the world, may remain intact but their “necessarily beneficial status” would be marginalized if their excessive desire/love becomes a cause of distraction from or neglect of obligatory religious duties. It is said in the Qur’an in Surah Anfal-8, V-28 & Surah Tagaabun (mutual disillusion) 64, V-15: “Beware! Your wealth and your children are but a distraction/trial”. Then in Surah Al-Kahaf 18, V-46 it is elucidated: “Wealth and Children are adornments of the life of this world” then it is further explained in Surah Aale-Imran 3, V- 185: “The comfort/wealth of this world is nothing but illusion” and then accentuated in Surah Tawba 9, V-38: “Wealth of this world is but (of) little (value) in the hereafter” The underlying message therefore, is that though children are the love of their parents’ life, but having them entails responsibilities, which, if left unfulfilled, would render them of little value. Then again, to strike a balance between love and responsibility, in Surah Munafiquun (hypocrites) 64, V-9 an emphatic warning is given: “O believers let not your passions and your children distract/divert you from God’s remembrance” (passions for worldly allurements and children).

The two surahs quoted hereunder emphatically explain the notion of the “necessarily beneficial”. Surah Luqman 31, V-33 says: “and fear a day when no father will suffice his son and no son will suffice his father in the least” & in Surah Toor 52, V-21 it is said: “and those who believe and their seeds follow them in faith, we cause their seeds to join them (in Paradise) we deprive them not of their life’s work”.

On the Judgment Day, various modes of intercession would be operative. One of which is between parents and children. Surah Luqman 31, V- 33 refers to the situation where either the father or his progeny is not a believer. This mode of intercession, in such a case, would become inoperable and the acquisition of “necessarily beneficial” lost. The requirement for this privilege is the continuity of “faith” & “blood line”.

The “necessarily beneficial” status could best be described as (1) it gives one the access to Paradise despite lacking in his/her record of good deeds (2) it ensures the continuation of  “faith” in one’s lineage (3) Allah does not want to deprive believers of their life’s work.

A subtle point deserving our attention, which could very well be appreciated by the people of understanding, is that Allah chose the word “walad” for the first part of the verse and “mawluud” for the second part. The most likely reason for this is that “son” is a common noun and represents any son, whereas “mawluud” specifies the one born out of the loin of a father in question. The opposite benefit of intercession would continue being available, as long as the continuity of bloodline and faith is maintained.

A “son” may be entitled to the temporal “expediently beneficial” status regardless of the prerequisites whereas the “necessarily beneficial” status would only be available when the above-mentioned particular mode of intercession is operative and the prerequisites are met. It may be further clarified that the first beneficence is of a universal/secular nature whereas the second one is of a specific/religious nature.

Another even subtler hint given, through this order of selection, most probably, is that a father’s (parents) love for his progeny, evidently, is more intense than that of the progeny’s for the parents. Therefore the possibility of bringing the benefit by a father to his son is proportionately more, than the son—who is born out of his loin. (Parents’ instinctively passionate love is a blessing for the progeny, but cause of warning for them)

Curious minds might wonder, why has the mother been absent from this entire discourse? There are several probabilities: 1) The mother, essentially being a part of the family unit, is inevitably represented when Qur’an talks about the father as the head of the family. 2) Traditional family lineage is represented by the father figure. 3) The intensity of a mother’s love surely surpasses that of the father and the progeny, but the hierarchal position comes second to the father, without supersession, due to the family-head and bloodline reasons. 4) Similarly, the elation of a mother’s status of “having paradise under her feet” is not allowed to be infringed by the father. God Knows best.

(If there is any inadvertent shortcoming or misrepresentation, it is squarely mine, the author of this piece, earnestly seeking Allah’s guidance and forgiveness.)