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Teachings of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) - How to Behave with Parents

The Importance of Obedience to Your Parents

Parents are to be treated well at all times, and The Almighty's blessings in having enabled you to do this virtuous act, be considered as a great asset in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The respect we ought to pay our parents has been time and again emphasized in the Holy Qur'an. In one of the verses it is stated:

"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and ye be kind to your parents." (Qur'an 17:23)

Showing Gratitude towards Parents

Be grateful to your parents. It is one of the cardinal principles of good manners and the acknowledgement of debt. One should be grateful to the parents for all the kindness, extraordinary love, and unparalleled sacrifices hey undergo in bringing us up. The Almighty has decreed that when we render thanks to Him, we should express gratitude to our parents as well.

"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 thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.'" (Qur'an 31:14)

On the authority of Hazrat Abu Ayub Khalid Ibun Zaid Al-Ansari(R.A.), who said: A man requested; "Prophet (S.A.W)! Tell me the action which will get me admitted to Paradise and keep me away from the Hell." He answered: "Worship Almighty and do not associate anybody with Him: establish Prayer; pay Zakat and join the ties of kinship." -(Bukhari and Muslim)

On the authority of Abu Sufian Sakhr Harb (R.A.), who said: During his meeting with Hercules, the Roman Ruler, the latter asked him; 'What does your Prophet (S.A.W.) ask you to do?' I said: 'He asked us to worship only One God, and not to associate anybody with him; not to follow the habits and practices of our ancestors; he further asks us to perform prayers (Salat), tell the truth, keep chaste, and to treat our blood relations well.' -(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: "Not to follow the habits and practices of our ancestors" means that in previous times, people used to follow what their parents did; such as, worshiping idols, stealing, killing, and committing other sins Because their ancestors sinned, people assumed it was justified. The Prophet (S.A.W.) commanded them to change their behavior and become more righteous.

On the authority of Ibn 'Umar (R.A.), who said: The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "He who just returns the visits of his relatives does not completely fulfill the obligation of relationship. But he who ignores the mistakes of his relatives, forgives them, and visits them in order to bind the ties of relationship when they are broken does fulfill the obligations of relationship.' -(Bukhari)

On the authority of Jubair bin Mut'im (R.A.), who said: The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "He who breaks off the ties of blood will not enter Paradise." -(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: This Hadith preaches the person who breaks off relations with his family by not visiting them or helping them will not go to Paradise.

On the authority of Abu Usaid Malik Ibn Rubia Al-Saedi (R.A), who said: While we were sitting with the Prophet (S.A.W.) a man of the Bani Salamah tribe came and said: "O Prophet (S.A.W.)! Is there anything, I can now do in benevolence towards my parents after their death? The Prophet (S.A.W.) answered: "Yes, by praying for them and soliciting mercy and forgiveness towards them, fulfilling their promises and undertakings, doing kindness to those who may be related to you through them, and respecting their friends." -(Abu Daoud)

Note: "Benevolence" means kindness.

Showing Tolerance towards Parents

You should always try to please your parents and avoid deeds that may hurt their feelings, especially when they get old and short-tempered.

In old age people do tend to make unusual demands and claims but it should be tolerated cheerfully without any retort in anger or frustration. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:

"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them but address them, in terms of honor." (Qur'an 17:23)

Service of Parents

Parents should be served earnestly and with sincerity; always keeping in mind the unparalleled kindness and affection shown by them. It is the service of our parents that would lead to our redemption and earn for us The Almighty's blessings.

Your Love and Obligation towards Your Parents

Love your parents and this love should be regarded as an honor and means of recompense and redemption in the Hereafter. Hadrat Ibn Abbas narrates the following Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):

"Dutiful and good natured children who cast one loving and affectionate look at their parents, receive from The Almighty blessing equivalent to one approved Hajj (pilgrimage)." -(Muslim)

When the Parents are Non-Muslims

Even if the parents are non-Muslims, they are to be treated well and all courtesy be shown to them. But obedience in matters of religion should be refused and they are not to be followed if they ask you to commit a sin or an act of associating somebody with The Almighty. It is stated in the Holy Qur'an:

"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 thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, ye have (all) to return to Me, and I will tell you (the truth) of all that ye did." (Qur'an 29:8)

Prayers for Parents

Always pray for your parents, recalling their kindness and beg for their weal from The Almighty and His Mercies for them. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:

"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." (Qur'an 17:24)

Special Treatment of the Mother

One should have special regard for his/her mother. It is the mother that carries the fetus in her womb for nine months and then nourishes the child with her milk. It is stated in the Holy Qur'an:

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth." (Qur'an 46:15)

On the authority of Asma'a bint Abu Bakr Al- Siddiq (R.A.), who said; "My mother came to Medina from Mecca to see me, while she was still an unbeliever. She had come to demand something from me. I inquired with the Prophet (S.A.W.): 'My mother has come to see me and she is expecting something from me. May I oblige her?' He said: 'Yes, be kind to your mother.'" -(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: This Hadith has two main points:

  1. Be kind to your parents, no matter what their religion is.
  2. A Muslim must be kind to other people no matter what their religion is. For example: The Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) used to visit his Jewish neighbors in Medina. Also the Prophet (S.A.W) used to give charity to his poor Jewish neighbor.

On the Authority of Abu Hurairah (R.A.),who said: A man asked the Messenger of God (S.A.W.) who amongst his near ones had the greatest right over him, the Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: "Your mother". He asked, "Then who is next?" The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: "Your mother". He again asked, "Then who is next?" The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: "Your mother". He asked: "Then who is next?" The Prophet replied: "Your father." -(Bukhari and Muslim)

On the authority of Al-Mughirah (R.A.), who said: The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "God forbids all of you to disobey your mothers." -(Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: It is very important to obey and respect one's mother in the Islamic religion for the following reasons:

  1. A mother carried her baby for nine months in her womb.
  2. During pregnancy, the mother experiences great hardship. Then during delivery of the child, the mother suffers extreme pain. Many woman die in childbirth.
  3. The mother is the one who feeds and nurtures the baby.
  4. It is an innate instinct for mothers to care more for their children than fathers do.

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