Love that is Tough
Apart from peer pressure, there is another kind of pressure that is faced in families. Many people under this pressure, live two lives. Outside the home, they enjoy their freedom to the fullest, and when they are in their homes, they confine to the rules of family etiquette. Whereas even the opposite is true. Outside people can mask their way of living in a certain way and in their homes they are true to their colors.
Islam laid emphasis on the list of haraam things that a Muslim should stay away from; while also delegating the minimum requirements to qualify as a Muslim, like praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, paying zakat and performing Hajj when eligible. Fulfilling these minimum requirements will make you eligible to enter Jannah. But when it comes to parents, Allah set out Ihsan to be the minimum requirement. Ihsan in Arabic is the best of anything. Here, in this context, Ihsan means being in the best behavior when it comes to treating parents with love and respect. This clearly implies that anything less than the best will fall under the haraam category of Islam. Allah states in the Quran in Sura Isra that don't even utter a word of contempt (UFF) to them; treat them kindly when anyone or both of attain old age; and pray to Allah to have mercy on them just the way they treated us when we were young.
The thing that the Quran needs to be appreciated is the way in which it puts across things. So much of the Quran is dedicated to how to speak, apart from what to speak. The way Ibrahim (as) spoke to his father, how Luqman spoke to his son, and many other examples emphasize how they spoke the truth while also holding onto the respect and love they had while speaking it. And telling your loved ones about the wrong they are doing with utmost love and respect is one of the toughest things in this world. It is exactly in such a situation that the devil will trick you into falling in one of the extremes. On one hand the devil will ask you to speak out the truth as it is. He will trick you into being harsh and judgemental. While on the other hand he will coax you to keep silent to maintain the respect the love and respect you have for them. And this balance needs to be maintained while propagating teachings of Islam, especially to our parents and elders. And it is easier said than done. Our loved ones are very sensitive to critical things. But at the same time we need to keep in mind that we cannot let go of the truth just because we love our loved ones. It would mean avoiding a surgery which is beneficial just because it means cutting up the body.
There is also one more important thing to remember while delivering truth with love and respect. Our job is to only deliver the truth; not to convince everyone who heard the message. The only one you need to please through this act is Allah. Allah is the one who keeps the power to change hearts. DO NOT get offended when your message is ignored or turned down. Do not turn this into an ego issue and get disheartened. Instead be content that you presented the truth and Allah has noticed that. Nuh (AS) preached his message for 950 years and from his whole nation, only a handful of people embraced his message, that also did not include his wife and son.
And when the same message was preached by Ibrahim (AS) to his father, he did not pay heed to even a single word he had to say. Instead he warned him to stay away from him and not to repeat his message, lest he wants to be pelted with stones.
Some of you may go through struggles like these. Allah has put such stories in the Quran to show us that we are not alone. When we are confronted with such situations, Allah shows us how to navigate through such circumstances. Our job is is to be as honest, courteous and loving as we can be; while at the same time holding on to the truth and cope with them in a healthy way.
May Allah help us to extract knowledge from His book and to live by that guidance and reward us for our patience. Aameen.