Foundation of NJ - USA
RESPECT FOR PARENTS – THE ISLAMIC OUTLOOK
Relationship of Children to Parents in Islam .....
The laws for a good life in this world. are enshrined in the holy Quran the Book of God. These laws were delivered either as commandments or as prohibitions. We might say that they came as prescriptions and proscriptions.
In modern times a man in most cases equates the "good" life with a life of license and gratification of the senses. But the good life in Islam is the very antithesis of life spent as a pleasure-seeker. In Islam the good life is one which is lived in obedience to the commandments of God. In other words, the aim of a Muslim should be to live in total harmony with the Laws enacted by God and transmitted by Him through His Messenger, Muhammad (may God bless him and his holy progeny).
There are of course many laws in Quran. They are comprehensive, and they do not overlook any detail of life. They therefore include laws which govern the relationship of parents and children.
The attitude of Muslim children toward their parents and the sanctity of their relationship with their parents is a subject that has been dealt with in the following verses of Quran:
- "And remember We took a Covenant from the Children of Israel (to this effect): worship none but God; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer: and practice regular charity. Then did you turn back, except a few among you, and you backslide (even now)."
- “It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leave any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage: this is due from the God-fearing.” 2:180
- 'They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever you spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever you do that is good, God knows it well.” 2:215
- "Serve God, and do not join any partners with Him; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the way-farer (you meet), and what your right hands possess: for God does not love the arrogant, the vainglorious." 4:36
- "Say: "Come. I will rehearse what God has (really) prohibited you from” do not join anything as equal with Him: be good to your parents: do not kill your children on a plea of want: - We provide sustenance for you and for them: - do not come near shameful deeds, whether open or secret: do not take life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that you may lean wisdom." 6:151
- "0 our Lord! cover (us) with Thy forgiveness - me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established." 14:41
- 'Thy Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, do not say a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor." “And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." 17:23.24
- "And (Yahya was) kind to his parents, and he was not overbearing or rebellious." 19:14
- "(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable." 19:32
- "So he (Sulayman) smiled, amused at her speech: and he said: 'O my Lord! so order me that I may be grateful for Thy favors, which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: and admit me. By Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy Righteous Servants'." 27:19
- "We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) thee to join with Me (in worship) anything of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. You have (all) to return to Me, and I will tell you (the truth) of all that you did." 29:8
- "And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail Upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning; (hear the command). "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents; to Me is (your final) Goal." - “But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them: yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love); in the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that you did.”31:14.15
- "We have enjoined on man kindness 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 (Isa) reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says. 'O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed upon me. and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as Thou may approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam'." 46:15
- "O my Lord! Forgive me, my parents, all who enter my house in Faith, and (all) believing men and believing women: and to the wrong-doers grant Thou no increase but in Perdition!" 71:28
The most important doctrine in Islam is Tauheed - to believe that God is only One and has no partner's). Tauheed is the axis around which all of Islam revolves. In three of the verses quoted above. i.e., Verse 36 of Chapter 4 (Sura Nisaa). Verse 151 of Chapter 6 (Sura A1lal1l). and Verse 23 of Chapter 17 (Sura Bani Israel), the doctrine of
Tauheed, it is interesting to note, that is set forth, and immediately thereafter, kindness, love and respect to be shown to the parents, are mentioned. Such linking together of the doctrine of Tauheed and the duties of the children toward their parents, highlights the importance of the latter.
Also remarkable is the fact that "kindness to parents" is mentioned immediately after "worship of Allah” Himself in many of these verses. The only reason for this can be that kindness to parents ranks in importance next only to obedience to Allah Himself. Obedience to Allah is the first and foremost duty of a Muslim.
The translator and commentator of the Quran Majid. A. Yusuf Ali. has added the following footnote to the meaning of Verse 151 of the sixth Chapter (Sura Anin)of the Quran:
Instead of following non-believers' superstitions, and being in constant terror of imaginary taboos and prohibitions, we should study the true moral law, whose sanction is Allah’s Law. The first step is that we should recognize that He is the One and Only Lord and Cherisher. The mention of goodness to parents immediately afterwards suggests:
(1) that Allah's love of us and care for us may - on an infinitely higher plane - be understood by our ideal of parental love, which is purely selfless;
(2) that our first duty among our fellow creatures is to our father and mother, whose love leads us to the conception of Divine Love.”
In verse 14 of Chapter 31 (Sura Luqman) of Quran Majid, man is commanded by Allah to show gratitude to Him for all His blessings, bounties and mercies. But man's duty goes beyond this. He must also show his gratitude to his parents. His failure to show gratitude to his parents can mean, in the Qur’anic context, that his worship of Allah is imperfect and incomplete. Being imperfect and incomplete, it may not be acceptable to Allah. To make his worship acceptable to Allah, a Muslim must also show his gratitude to the parents. The gratitude must be sincere an genuine, free from patronage or preference.
The quality of kindness and gratitude for parents can make a big change and difference for the old parents. That extra but essential quality is love. Kindness and gratitude given with love will make even a bigger difference to them.
It is also possible for a man to give obedience to Allah out of a sense of duty alone. But if that obedience is given without love, it will not be acceptable to Allah.
The commandments of Allah are forthright and unequivocal. A Muslim has no choice but to obey them. But it is left to him to offer his kindness and gratitude to his parents with our without love. Parents have a "sixth sense" which tell them if kindness and gratitude being offered to them, are being given with or without love and sincerity.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the presented the Quran. The Quran was revealed to him. He was also its Promulgator and Interpreter for his Ummah. He interpreted Quran both through precept and example. There are many Hadith (traditions of our Prophet) in
which he told Muslims to show love and respect to their parents. One of his most well-known traditions is that Paradise is under the feet of one's mother. This means that no Muslim may entertain the hope of entering paradise if he or she has displeased his or her mother in this world.
In another Hadith, our Prophet said that if a Muslim is observing a Sunnati fast (not mandatory), and his father asks him to break it. he should break it.
The two traditions quoted above, clearly show the importance in the sight of Allah and His Messenger, for the children to obey their parents.
If Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh), the blessed Messenger of Allah, told Muslims to do something, he demonstrated first its application in his own exemplary life. But he was an orphan; his father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was only six years old. The hand of death deprived him of the affection, love and tenderness which parents alone can give to their children. Their death made it impossible for him to show his love and affection for them.
But young Muhammad found foster - parents in his uncle. Hazrat Abu Talib and his wife. Janabe Fatima binte Asad. They loved him so much that he never missed his own parents. Janabe Fatima binte Asad loved him more than she loved her own children. Young Muhammad also showed her the utmost respect, and he called her his mother.
In AD 619, the wife of the Prophet. Janabe Klladija, and his uncle, guardian and protector. Hazrat Abu Talib, died. He called the year of their death "the Year of Sorrow."
In AD 626, Janabe Fatima bint Asad also died. A few days before her death the Prophet happened to mention that on the Day of Judgment the people would be resurrected without any clothes. It made her very much embarrassed and perturbed. Thereupon the Prophet gave her one of his own cloaks and told her that after her death she would be draped in it, and on the Day of Judgment she would be resurrected wearing it.
When Fatima bint Asad died the Apostle of Allah first went down and stayed in the grave before the coffin was lowered into it and he then prayed for her noble soul.
One of the friends of Prophet Muhammad (sa) was Oways Qarani. He lived in Yemen. Ever since he accepted Islam, there was nothing that he wished to do so much as see his friend the Prophet in Medina. But he had to stay with his mother who didn't have any other next-of-kin.
The Prophet also knew that Oways could not leave Yemen because of his mother's dependence upon him. She was elderly and sick, and she was an unbeliever at that time.
According to some authorities, the mother of Oways Qarani allowed him to go to Medina, meet his Prophet, and return to Yemen on the same day.
But when Oways arrived in Medina the Prophet had gone on an expedition. Oways pondered the question: what is more important? to wait to see the Prophet and disobey his mother or to obey her order and miss the honor and pleasure of seeing the Prophet who was the object of his devotions.
Oways thought what his master the Prophet himself would do in the same circumstances. After long deliberation he decided to return to Yemen and to the service of his mother.
In due course the Prophet also returned to Medina. He had not entered the city yet when he sniffed the fragrance of his friend, Oways Qarani. He then entered the city and questioned his friends if Oways had visited Medina in his absence. The friends told him the whole story. Thereupon the Apostle invoked the blessings of Allah upon Oways and told his friends that he had done the right thing.
In this connection the story of Prophet Musa (Moses) is also pertinent. He was one of the five most prominent Prophets. He often went to Kohi- Toor (Mt. Sinai) where God Almighty gave him audience.
Then the mother of Prophet Musa died. Sometime later, he went again to Kohi-Toor. This time he found Kohi- Toor and its surroundings much more forbidding than they had ever been before. He arrived at the designated place in a state of fright.
Moses entreated God to enlighten him why he was haunted by such nameless fears.
He heard this reply: In the past whenever you visited Kohi – Toor, your mother started praying for you. She begged that I show My Mercy to you she invoked My Grace upon you, and she implored that I overlook your oversights and forgive your errors. I do listen to the prayers of a mother for her son. But now she is dead, and her prayers have gone with her. You are therefore no longer being shielded by the prayers of your mother.
Therefore, take heed and warning lest your err. And this is the reason for your terror’.
Two of the Hadith or the traditions of our Prophet (Pbuh) have already been quoted in the foregoing pages. But there are other Hadith also. First we shall quote Hadith Qudsi. Hadith Qudsi are those Traditions which the Ummah heard from the mouth of the Messenger of Allah, but in which he said: ' A1lah Taala says…..”