As Muslims, we all believe in our parents’ rights upon us and our obligations to be good to them, obey them and to treat and deal them in the best way as possible. It is not just because they are the cause for our existence. It is also not because they did a great deal of good to us that we must repay and respond to in a proper manner. But it is first and foremost because our Lord, Almighty Allah has made it an obligation upon us to obey them and treat them in a well manner. No doubt, Allah mentions their rights in conjunction with His own right of being worshiped alone without any partner and co-equal. Allah the Exalted has said:
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” (Al-Isra 17:23, 24)
And He (SWT) also said:
“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.” (Luqman 31:14)
There are numerous texts of the Quran, which indicate the rights of parents, their obedience and treatment. Similarly, the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) also highlighted their rights in the same way as the Book of Allah has mentioned. It is narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that:
“A man came to Allah’s Messenger and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your mother.” The man said: “Who is next?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your mother.” The man asked (for the fourth time), “Who is next?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your father.” (Al-Bukhari 5971)
This and other similar Ahadith are explicit on the point that, as regards dutifulness and reverence from the children, the mother gets precedence over the father. The Prophet (PBUH) has specified that the rights of mothers over children are three times more than those of the father. For one thing, the mother represents the weaker sex, and therefore needs more attention and better treatment. Besides, there are three pains that she alone suffers. Fathers can play no part in them. These are:
- Ordeal of pregnancy.
- Pangs of birth, a veritable battle between life and death.
- The period of suckling during which she even has to spend wakeful nights for the sake of the baby.
But the father has also his own preference as it is mentioned in the following narration. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The father is the middle door of Paradise (i.e., the best way to Paradise), so it is up to you whether you take advantage of it or not.” (Ibn Majah 3663).
If anyone of us seeks to please his Supreme Lord (Allah), let him keep his parents pleased with him, since struggling to secure the happiness and pleasure of one’s parents is a precondition for achieving the pleasure of Allah. By the same token, earning the displeasure of parents means earning the displeasure of Allah, the Glorious. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The Lord’s pleasure is in the parent’s pleasure, and the Lord’s anger is in the parent’s anger.” (At-Tirmidhi 1899).
On the other hand the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) forbid us from disobeying them. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Allah has forbidden you to be undutiful to your mothers (parents).” (Al-Bukhari 5975)
Manners to be observed in their obedience:
After understanding and recognizing their rights, we should fulfil them completely as an act of obedience to our Lord and in fulfillment to His Words. Therefore, it is a duty upon us to fulfil the following manners with due respect to our parents:
- We must obey our parents in everything the order us to do or prohibit us, as long as it is not in disobedience to Allah or in contradiction to the Shariah. There is no obedience to anyone if it is an act of disobedience to the Actual Creator.
This is based on Allah’s statement:
“But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly,” (Luqman 31:25).
The Prophet (PBUH) also said:
“There is no obedience if it involves disobedience towards Allah; obedience is only in that which is right and proper.” (Muslim 1840).
- We must respect them and honor them in speech, actions and all other affairs. We should be very kind, gracious and generous to them. We should not treat them badly or raise our voice above their voices, nor walk in front of them nor favor our spouse or children over them. We must not call them by their names but, instead, we should call them with respecting and loving words like, “O my father” or “O my mother”. We have to ask their permission and approval while leaving on a journey or going on a travel.
- We must try our best to be as dutiful as possible to them and give them all kinds of obedience and goodness.
Some people believe that by giving some money to their parents they have fulfilled their rights, this is a mistake. If one lives apart from them he has to be in contact with them by correspondence. Inquiring about their well-being, visiting them, spending some time in their company, consulting them in their own matters, trying to make them happy, and the other actions that please them are also compulsory. The above-mentioned matters are the psychological and sentimental requirements of parents, fulfilling them is more important than fulfilling their physical requirements.
A Detail Guide for Muslims about how to deal their parents is presented in the form of an eBook named ‘ Loving Our Parents ‘ , by Darussalam.by