Society Magazine

Status of Parents in Islam

Posted on the 28 February 2013 by Azharnadeem

Rights of parentsIslam has given parents an honorable status. All parents love their children and sacrifice their lives for them. It is obvious that exalting one’s parents, being dutiful to them, obeying them and loving them is a great door among the doors to the Garden; however, it is not obligatory to obey if they command something that contravenes the shariah. Every Muslim must show goodness and mercy to his parents throughout their lives. It is a sign of the importance of this issue that in the Qur’an, the command about our duties to the parents always occurs next to the command reminding us of our duties to Allah. “Show gratitude to Me and to your parents. To me is your return.” [Luqman 31:14].  We must honor and respect out parents under all circumstances. It does not depend on their having “earned” this honor in our eyes. It is a right granted to them even if they are non-Muslim.There is only one exception to this, and that is, if the parents ask their children to associate anything with Allah and to commit sins, then the children must not obey their parents. We must obey them within the bounds of the Shariah. With this exception, in all cases, the children must show love and gratitude to their parents. They must always speak to them gently and respectfully. They must try their best to make them happy, provided they do not disobey Allah in the process.

We must continue praying for them even after they die. Such prayer will be regarded as a continuous charity as the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) told us. According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the parents of a certain person are his Heaven or Hell. What this means is that if a person obeys his parents, attends to their needs and keeps them happy and comfortable, he will attain Paradise and will stay in Gardens. According to Islamic teachings, to be obedient and to show kindness to parents has been enjoined in the Holy Qur’an in such a manner as to say that among the noble deeds, to obey parents, treat them respectfully and to show kindness to them is next to worshipping Almighty Allah. References to parents have been made at least 15 times in the Holy Qur’an.

There are numerous traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) on this subject. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Peace And Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is most deserving of my good companionship?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He asked, then who?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He asked, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘Your father.’” and then your relatives in order of relationship. At an other occasion Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said “God’s pleasure is in the pleasure of the father, and God’s displeasure is in the displeasure of the father.” If one is disrespectful and rude to them, offends them by ignoring their needs and feelings or causes them grief in any manner, his place shall be in Hell. A person once asked Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), “What is the right of the parent’s over their children?” He answered: “They are your heaven and hell.” [Ibn Majah]. According to one of the Hadith-e-Qudsi, the following is reported about the status of parents: “God has commanded that if anybody prays equal to the invocations performed by the prophets, such prayers will do no good if that person has been cursed by his or her parents.”

Honoring one’s parents is one of the most important duties that human beings have towards one another, because Allah says: “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents, – unto Me is the final destination.  But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly…” [Luqmaan 31:14-15]. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the true Muslim is his respectful and kind treatment of his parents, because to treat parents with kindness is one of the greatest commandments of Islam, as is clearly confirmed in the Qur’an [Baqarah 2:233]. Both the father and mother are equal when it comes to caring for them and providing them all possible physical comforts and mental peace. The time that the parents need to be looked after most, is in their old age.

As we grow up and leave our parents to lead our own lives, we conveniently push them down to the bottom of our Priority List. It is obligatory for us to show the utmost kindness, respect, and obedience to our parents. While parental love is mostly instinctive, the way we treat our parents has been left to us. We can choose to honor and obey them or we can choose to do otherwise; Hence the reference to heaven and hell. For it is through exercise of our free will that we choose the path of heaven or hell. Unfortunately, today this institution of the family is under attack from different directions. In present times, a trend has arisen whereby when parents come to be seen as a liability because of old age and physical weakness. The resulting devastation is now well known. Family system is being disintegrated and human relations have been decimated. We should remember our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it fully. Those who treat and obey their parents can rest assured that their children will also show kindness and compassion to them. Parents are considered next to God so we should never disappoint them in any circumstances. May God bless us with love of our parents, Ameen!

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