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What We Owe Our Parents

Updated on September 8, 2009

Sura Anbiyaa (21:107)

 "We sent thee not, but as a mercy to all creatures."

Allah (S.W.T.) has said in the Holy Qu'ran that He has sent the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) as a mercy to all people, which means that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was sent by God not only for the Muslims, but to all mankind 

Now let us look back at what the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said to children on many occasions and what he has said relating to our families, for in Islam, family life is a sacred one. The strength of a society is based on the family unit. It is a contented and happy family which goes to make a prosperous and peaceful society. In such a family there are duties cast upon every member of the family. The duties of a father towards the children and similarly the duties of the children towards their parents and the duties of the husband towards the wife and the wife towards the husband are all clearly defined in Islam. The Holy Qur'an and the Hadeth are full of instructions with regard to the conduct of every member of the family. In this instance let us deal with the duties of children towards their parents.

You receive a good part of your education from your parents. Your school alone cannot provide you a fully rounded education. The home is an essential part of one's educational system. The Prophet (S.A.W.) has always emphasised the importance of honouring one's parents.

Next to God, man owes the greatest debt of gratitude towards his parents. In fact the Qu'ran refers to the duty of children towards their parents as follows:

"The Lord hath decreed that you worship none except Him and you show kindness to parents."

From this verse you can realise the honoured position parents have been given. I will relate to you now some instances in the life of the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) whom we honour, to show you why you should respect your parents and be obedient to them.

Hazrath abdullah Ibn Masud says, " I asked the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) which deed will win the highest favour of God "

The Holy Prophet answered, "The prayer that is offered at the appointed hour."

He again asked, next to this, which other deed will win highest favour of God"

The Holy Prophet replied, "Good conduct towards your father and mother."

We children owe toward our parents a great debt of gratitude. It is under their protection and upbringing thay we  grew up to an age of maturity. The great self sacrifice and unparalleled devotion and deep affection with which our parents bring us up deserve that we repay them with our love and affection, especially when they reach old age. Our hearts should be filled with feelings of gratitude to them, for Allah (S.W.T.) has said that you should offer thanks to Him and remain grateful to your father and mother.  

A man offered to perform Jihad!

 One day a person went to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and offered to perform Jihad.

The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) inquired from him whether his parents were alive.

To this he said, "Yes, Praise be to Allah (S.W.T.), both my mother and father are alive."

Thereupon the Prophet (S.A.W.) asked, "Well then, do you really want to receive a reward from Allah (S.W.T.) for performing Jihad?"

The man replied, "Yes, indeed I beseech a reward from Allah (S.W.T.)."

Then the Prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Go then, attend to your parents and serve them well."

From this we learn that serving our parents brings greater merit than performing Jihad.

From the instances I have given you so far, you will realise that the best way we could honour the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) is to respect and obey our parents. Always try to make your parents happy.Do not say anything that will hurt their feeling, especially when your parents reach an advanced age you must pay special attention to them. In old age parents start making many demands and claims on you. In such cases you must tolerate them cheerfully and not say anything in anger and thus cause pain of mind to them. If one or both of your parents reach an advanced age with thee, say not 'fie' unto them or repulse them.

While enjoining upon believers to show good behaviour towards both father and mother, the Holy Qur'an has drawn a moving picture of constant suffering of pain and hardship undergone by the mother in the verse Sura Luqman:

"And we have commanded unto man, kindness towards parents. His mother beareth him with suffering, bringeth him forth with suffering, bearing of him and weaning of him in thirty months."

Having observed the several references to the duties of children towards their parents, let us pray to Allah to give us the Emaan and right guidance to respect and regard our parents so that the future generation too would emulate us. Sura Bani Isra'il (17:24)

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."




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