Being good to your parents is one of the greatest deeds that one can do in Islam. The amount of stress on this matter is huge, yet many people don’t know this side of Islam, and often forget the rights that their parents have over them. So here is a simple reminder of what your parents did for you and what their rights are as legislated by our Creator.
1- The good company
In these days, we often forget our parents while being so occupied by all other matters in this life. We grow up, face the world and forget those who stood beside us every step of the way to get us to be this competent. Even among those who remember their parents, they just send them to a caring center and go check on them once or twice!
A person came to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and asked, “Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (ﷺ) said, “Your mother”. He again asked, ”Who next?” “Your mother”, the Prophet (ﷺ) replied again. He asked, “Who next?” He (the Prophet (ﷺ)) said again, “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who?” Thereupon he (ﷺ) said,” Then your father.”
In another narration: “O Messenger of Allah! Who is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (ﷺ) said, “Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] (1)
The ones that have the highest right on you for good company are: Your mother, then your mother, then your mother and then your father. So make sure you keep them company and make time for them, no matter how busy you may get with life and others.
2- Speak to them in noble words
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Qur’an 17-23](2)
When talking about the rights of parents, this ayah (verse) always comes to mind. The expressions in it are so profound that Allah (God) follows the greatest decree on all humanity (which is to worship Him alone) by a detailed description of how we have to treat our parents, especially when they reach old age.
The relation between our parents and us is so unique because at the beginning of our life we are so weak and know nothing, and we receive love and tender care from them unconditionally. As time goes by we gradually become stronger and accumulate experience. On the other hand that time passing only wears them off and so the relation now must flip. As they took care of you when you were small, you have to be humble and tender to them in their old ages.
That Ayah ends in such a unique way, by reminding us how to “talk” to our parents. As kids we often fear to talk back or be rude to our parents, and it is really unfortunate to see people who don’t mind speaking in the worst kind of manner to their parents because they have outgrown this fear!
It is your Creator who decreed to respect your parents and talk to them in a nice manner.
Don’t even say (uff). Speak to them in noble word.
3-Lower for them humility out of mercy
One of the most profound expressions in the Quran is the one found in the ayah that comes directly after the previously mentioned ayah. Translating the meaning of this verse never does justice to conveying the meaning as the original Arabic text, but here is its translation:
And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.’ ” [Qur’an 17-24] (3)
You can see one of the highest forms of ungratefulness when you look at the one who left his parents behind and doesn’t care for them, or even grew treating them arrogantly, simply because now he’s become big and strong, and they grew old and weak. Always remember, be humble to your parents to the highest degree as they grow old out of mercy for them.
4- Hear and obey
One of the rights of parents in Islam is to obey their orders. Your parents always have your best interest in mind, and whatever they may order you is out of their love for you. That is why repaying that love by obedience is the least that can be done. But pay attention! Keep in mind that what your parents order you may not always be right. If they ever order you to do something wrong or harmful to you, don’t obey it. This matter is clear in the Quran:
But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” [Qur’an 31-15] (4)
The whole point is about being obedient. And so, whenever they order you to do something wrong or harmful, your disobedience is justified. Especially if they ordered you to do the worst thing that any human can do (worship other than Allah.) Even though you don’t obey them in disobeying Allah, He orders us still to keep them in good company! This shows the magnitude of importance of treating the parents well in Islam.
That was just a glimpse on parents’ rights in Islam. There are a lot of other scripts regarding this pivotal matter. So to conclude, I ask you to reflect on your parents and how you should treat them, and appreciate their existence in your life, be it only one or both of them. Definitely, your parents are your door way to heaven.
Read more in the Quran and see how it speaks about this matter and all other matters. And as always “Peace be with you.”
(1) Prophet’s Saying Hadith in Riyad-us-Saliheen.
(2) verse (17-23) of Qur’an(English interpretation of meaning).
(3) verse (17-24) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(4) verse (31-15) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).