Goodness to Parents In Islam
Ahmed: Did you really hit Hisham’s car?!
Bahaa: mmmmm. Yes, I did.
Ahmed: How could you do that?! Why?! You are a good guy!
Bahaa: I have no personal problem with him. My dad just asked me to do this!
Bahaa: I simply obeyed my father; I am ‘a good boy’.
Ahmed: It is NOT that way! This is a totally different story!
Once we come to the world as newborns, usually, our parents are the first to welcome us and then strive to raise us day by day, until we grow. We are created with an innate urge to listen to them in one way or another. Throughout our journey of growth, we are often encouraged to obey them and follow their orders, as much as possible, because they are indeed the ones who care about us the most. Actually, our creator, Allah, commands us all to be good to our parents, no matter how imperfect and irrational they can be sometimes. To be able to see the full image of goodness to parents in Islam, we should first consider some critical points:
1- Allah’s Command of Being Good to Parents.
2- Does ‘Goodness to Parents’ Necessitate an Absolute Obedience to Them?
3- The Great Blessings of Being Good to Parents
Allah’s Command of Being Good to Parents:
Having a look at the Ayahs of Qur’an, we will instantly find how significant is Allah’s command of being good to parents. Allah entrusted them with raising us right and entrusted us with being dutiful to them in return. Allah, the Merciful, places love and mercy in the parents’ hearts for their children and commands the children to be kind, gentle and humble to their parents. Only Allah knows how hard and back-breaking the child’s raising is! With no doubt, it is a very long, rough journey that takes tons of endurance, tolerance, challenges, sufferings, hardships, etc. Therefore, Allah honored the parents with the right of being treated gently and respectfully. He, the Almighty, say:
And your Lord has decreed that you worship not except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,”1 and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small. [Al-Isra: 23-24].
And also, Allah says:
Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment… [Al-An’am: 151].
Allah’s command of being good to parents is so essential in Islam that it comes directly after His command of associating none with Him in worship!
Does ‘Goodness to Parents’ Necessitate an Absolute Obedience to Them?
Recognizing the great position of parents in Islam and Allah’s clear command of treating them well, one can wonder: To be good to my parents, should I obey them in all matters, whatsoever?! This is definitely a good question! Our obedience should not be absolute to anyone ever, except the Only One, Allah. In other words, by obeying our parents, we obey Allah Who actually commanded us to obey them. Yet, our obedience to our parents is limited and linked to our absolute obedience to Allah. Thereupon, we cannot obey our parents, when they order us to make a sin, whether minor or major, simply because it is disobedience to Allah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “A creature is not to be obeyed when it involves disobedience to the “Creator.” (Sahih-Al-Albani). It is the rule of our obedience. Allah says: But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge,1 do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]… [Luqman: 15]. Allah guided us to the best reaction we should take with our parents, even when they are asking us to make a sin or to disbelieve: Do not obey them, but still be kind and gentle to them, and even supplicate Allah for guiding them to repentance and straight path.
In a nutshell, you should treat your parents well in both cases; whether when you obey them in the matters which Allah already permitted or when you disobey them in the matters which Allah forbad. Being good to them equals treating them kindly and respectfully. The point is that you owe your parents absolute love, mercy, and gentleness, but not necessarily absolute obedience all the way.
The Great Blessings of Being Good to Parents:
1- Gaining the pleasure of the parents and of Allah consequently; the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Allah’s pleasure results from the parent’s pleasure, and Allah’s displeasure results from the parent’s displeasure.” (Sahih- Tirmidhi). That, for sure, leads to success and peacefulness in life and hereafter!
2- Doing one of the dearest deeds to Allah; Ibn Mas’ud said: “I asked the Prophet which action is dearest to God and he replied, “Prayer at its proper time.” I asked what came next, and he replied that it was kindness to parents. I asked what came next and he replied that it was jihad in God’s path…” (Bukhari and Muslim).
3- Getting Allah’s reward which is greater than that of Jihad; when a guy asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, for joining them for jihad, the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked the guy: “Is any of your parents alive?” He said, “Yes, both of them are alive.” He, peace be upon him, then asked, “Do you want to seek reward from Allah?” He replied: “Yes”. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Go back to your parents and keep good company with them”. (Bukhari and Muslim).
4- Avoiding one of the great sins; Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, said: “Shall I inform you of the biggest of the great sins?” They said: “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said: “To join partners in worship with Allah, and to be undutiful to one’s parents.” (Bukhari).
5- Paving our way to blessed life and Paradise in the hereafter; Jahimah came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I want to go out and fight (in Jihad) and I have come to ask your advice.” He said: “Do you have a mother?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Then stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” (Sahih).
The mentioned-above blessings are just some of the blessings of being good to parents. We ask Allah to guide us and our parents to His obedience, guidance, and pleasure… Amen.