Gentle Reminder- Parents’ Rights in Islam

I would like to remind myself first and then all of you about our parents’ rights on us.  Allah has ordered us not only to pray for our parents, but also to treat them with ultimate compassion, remembering that when we were helpless children they preferred us over themselves.
When they reach old age, Muslim parents must be treated mercifully, with even more kindness than they showed to us.  Mothers are particularly honored in Islam.  Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that: ‘Paradise lies at the feet of mothers’.  This means that you will reach paradise by serving and honoring your mother.

Allah says in the the Qur’an:

“Your Lord (The Creator) has ordained that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to the parents.”

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that the parents of a person are his Heaven or Hell, which shows that if a person obeys his parents and fulfills their needs, comforts and keeps them happy, he will enter Paradise.  But if he is rude and disobedient to them and offends them by ignoring their feelings or by causing them grief, his place shall be in Hell.

Pleasing the parents causes Allah’s to be pleased.

Even if one’s parents are polytheists, and the parents want him to follow their religion, he should refuse, yet he must continue to be kind and respectful to them.  Asma’ bint Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with her) relates that her mother had come to Madinah to meet her.  Her mother followed the Pagan customs and beliefs.  So Asma’ asked Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) how she should treat her mother, as she was a Pagan. The Prophet (PBUH) told her to be kind and considerate and to treat her with great kindness and respect.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that serving well one’s parents is an act of great virtue.  He condemned disobeying and harming them, and described such acts as the most serious and detestable sin. When asked about the major sins, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) replied: ” To associate another god with Allah, to disobey parents, to kill unlawfully and to give false testimony.”

The above-mentioned acts have been condemned as ‘Akbarul-Kabaair’, or the most serious of the major sins.  The order in which Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) mentioned them shows that the disregard of parents’ rights is second only to Polytheism (Shirk) and is even more serious than murder. Anyone who seeks Allah’s satisfaction has to make sure that his parents are happy with him, not angry with him.  Keeping the parents well pleased is essential since their anger and displeasure will lead to Allah’s anger and displeasure.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

“In the good pleasure of the father lies the good pleasure of the Creator and in his displeasure, lies the displeasure of the Creator.”

Although the mother was not mentioned in this (Hadith), in many other Hadiths the Prophet (PBUH) has highlighted the rights of the mother and stressed the importance of treating her kindly and attaining her satisfaction. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a person asked Prophet Mohammad (PBUH): “Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kind treatment?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother, and again your mother, and once again your mother. After her, is your father, then that of your near relations and then of the relations next to them.”

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“We have enjoined on mankind, that he be kind to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years he says ‘O my Lord! grant me that I may be grateful for Your Blessing which You have bestowed upon me and upon both my parents and that I may do righteousness as may please You; and make my offspring righteous. Truly I repent to You, and I am of the Muslims.” (Sura Al-Ahqaf, 46, ayat 15)

Allah also says:

“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say ‘uff’ to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care for me when I was little.” (Sura Al-Isra, 17, ayat 23-24)

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: “If anyone possesses these three characteristics, Allah will give him an easy death and bring him into His Paradise: gentleness towards the weak, affection towards parents, and kindness to slaves.

A man once asked Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), “Shall I participate in Jihad?”  The Prophet asked, ‘Are your parents alive?’  The man said, “Yes.” the Prophet (PBUH) said:  ‘Do Jihad for their benefit.’ (Serving one’s parents is equal in honor to fighting against an enemy of Islam.)

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also said:  “He who casts up the favors he has done, he who is disobedient to parents and he who is addicted to wine will not enter Paradise.”

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