The importance of honoring parents is a major theme in Islam. Islam is a religion that stresses the qualities of mercy, tolerance and respect. There are several verses in the Quran where kindness to parents is even coupled with the most important aspect of Islam, worshipping Allah alone. They deserve thankfulness, obedience, and gentleness. They must not be obeyed if it goes against Allah’s commands, yet even In this circumstance a Muslim must keep up good ties with them and consort with them honorably, Allah (SWT) “Subhana Wa Tala” said,“(31:15) But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them”
HOW SHOULD WE TREAT OUR PARENTS?
He or she should never speak a harsh word to them or abuse them but instead should forgive them and ask Allah SWT to forgive them. Other actions that have been particularly mentioned are including parents in prayers and taking care of them when they are elderly. This is what is meant by the “beautiful conduct” that Allah SWT has commanded regarding parents. Remember that doing good by parents takes precedence even over hijra and jihad! And, mother is additionally reserved a special feelings of reverence and dutifulness. This is because of the travails that she suffered during pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing. The Prophet (sAas) has particularly instructed that mothers have the right of the best conduct four times before fathers are.
The Quran has defined a number of actions in dealing with parents, “And We have enjoined on the human being in (regard to) his two parents – his mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning was two years – Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is the goal. But if they strive with you to associate with Me (gods) you do not know about, then do not obey them. But keep company with them both in the world in an honorable manner” – Surah Luqman (14-15)
It is an established principle in Islam that there is no obedience to any being (such as another person) that entails disobedience to Allah SWT. Yet even in this case, Muslims are commanded to “keep company with them both in an honorable manner.” Also notice that Allah SWT has particularly mentioned the sacrifices made by the mothers for her child as she goes through pregnancy and labor and as she nurses and weans him. Allah SWT has also mentioned thankfulness to parents in the same sentence as thankfulness to Him.
“And We have enjoined on the human being in (regard to) his two parents the most beautiful conduct. His mother bore him under duress and brought him forth under duress. And his bearing and his weaning was thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of forty, he says, “My Lord and Sustainer, grant to me that I am thankful for the graciousness that You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents” – Surah al-Ahqaf ayah 15
In this ayah, Allah SWT again has mentioned the beautiful conduct that parents are deserved. He also mentioned the difficulties that a mother has no choice but to endure during her pregnancy and labor, and during the period that she nurses and weans her child. We can also see that beautiful conduct to parents includes praying on their behalf.
WHICH IS MORE PREFERABLE, JIHAD OR TAKING CARE OF MOTHER!
The following story has been narrated by Jahmah,
Jahmah: I said to the Holy Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, I desire to go on a (military) expedition and I have come to consult you.” He asked me if I had a mother, and when I replied that I had, he said, “Stay with her because Paradise lies beneath her feet.”
It was already noted above that the Prophet (PBUH) said that service to parents takes precedence over jihad, and here we see that the Prophet (PBUH) definitely put this into practice, more than once! Note that the phrase “exert yourself on their behalf” in the second hadith is a translation of the Arabic jahada, from which we also get the word jihad (meaning struggle or striving). From this, we can see the special position that mothers have, which has been indicated by the Quran and Prophet’s Hadith. After worshiping Allah SWT alone, beautiful conduct to parents is the next most important duty for a Muslim. Also we can express our love and respect to our parents by sending beautiful Duas for them “My Lord, have mercy upon them both as they brought me up [when I was] small.”
Written by Ustatha Menna Kotb
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