Page 91 - Islam In Focus

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contexts, the Qur’ an cites instances where the parents were proven wrong in their
encounter with their children and also where children misjudged the positions of their
parents (see Qur’ an, 6:74; 11:42-46; 19:42-48)
More significant, perhaps, is the fact that customs, folkways, traditions, or the
parents’ value system and standards do not in themselves constitute truth and
rightness. In several passages the Qur’ an strongly reproaches those who may stray
away from the truth just because it is new to them, or contrary to the familiar, or
incompatible with the parents’ values. Furthermore, it focalizes the fact that if loyalty
or obedience to the parents is likely to alienate the individual from God, he must side
with God, as it were. It is true, the parents merit consideration, love, compassion and
mercy. But if they step out of their proper line to intrude upon the rights of God, a
demarcation line must be drawn and maintained
The Qur’ an sums up the whole question in the master concept of ihsan, which denotes
what is right, good, and beautiful. The practical implications of the concept of ihsan to
the parents entail active empathy and patience, gratitude and compassion, respect for
them and prayers for their souls, honoring their legitimate commitments and
providing them with sincere counsel
One basic dimension of ihsan is deference. Parents have the right to expect obedience
from their children if only in partial return for what the parents have done for them.
But if parents demand the wrong or ask for the improper, disobedience becomes not
only justifiable, but also imperative. Obey or disobey, the children’ s attitude toward
parents may not be categorical submissiveness or irresponsible defiance
The last integral part of ihsan to be mentioned here is that children are responsible for
the support and maintenance of parents. It is an absolute religious duty to provide for
the parents in case of need and help them to make their lives as comfortable as
Other Aspects of the Family Life
Closely connected with the family life is the treatment of “ servants” , other family
members, relations, and neighbors. To those who keep permanent maids Prophet
Muhammad has given advice and good tidings. “ Masters” are enjoined to treat their
servants like brothers, and not like slaves, because whoever treats his servant well,
said the Prophet, God will make his death easy and pleasant, a moment which is
ordinarily painful and difficult. Servants are entitled to justice, kindness, mercy, food,
clothing, accommodation and other personal expenses. The Prophet goes as for as to
say that they should be fed and dresses of the same stuff as used by their masters, and
this is to be provided by the masters themselves as a part of their obligations to the
servants. These are not to be persecuted or disdained or overcharged with work. This
stipulation is designed to show how Islam dignifies humanity and honors labor
without inviting the class warfare or the despotic authority of the proletariat. Being a
servant or laborer does not deprive any person of his rights or affect his dignity as a
human being. Nor does it make him addicted to the opium of the utopian proletariat.
All citizens of a real Muslim society stands on equal footing, because Islam does not
recognize the caste system or the second class citizenship. The only superiority