As Muslims it is our duty to keep ourselves away from all sins; minor and major. This is based on the fact that the first priority for Muslims is to gain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty by doing what He likes and avoiding what He dislikes, irrespective of the gravity or the simplicity of the sin.

The first commandment in Islam as revealed to all the prophets is to worship Allah the Almighty and immediately after this comes the duty of being dutiful to parents

{Thy Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents.} (Al-Israa 17: 23).

Thus, Islam urges every Muslim to be dutiful to his parents, extending to them the kindest treatment possible.

Failing to treat parents kindly makes the person guilty of disobedience to parents as well as to Allah the Almighty.

Doing so may deprive him of the chance of being admitted to Paradise. Therefore, it goes without saying that disobedience to parents or mistreating them is the second major sin after Shirk (associating others beings with Allah).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) was asked about the greatest sins. He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah; to kill a soul which Allah has forbidden to kill; and to be undutiful or unkind to one’s parents…“(Bukhari)

In another tradition, the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said, “The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

He also said, “The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of ones parents and the wrath of Allah is in the wrath of one’s parents.” (Ibn Hibban)

Respecting and obeying parents is a way of showing gratitude to them for bringing him into this world. Therefore, a child has to show gratitude towards his parents for rearing him and taking care of him when he was young. Allah the Almighty Says,

{And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents. His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.} (Luqman 21:14)

When a person gives his parents due regard, his own children will do the same to him.

Allah the Almighty says,
{Is there any reward for good other than good?} (Ar-Rahman 55:60)

Kindness to Elderly Parents
For a Muslim, being kind to parents is much more than remembering them on their birthdays or Mothers or Fathers Day.
Being kind to them means:
listening respectfully to their opinion,
obeying them in everything that is not disobedience to Allah the Almighty,
trying to humble oneself before them, and
giving them gifts, and so on.

For an adult child it means to make sure they have the necessities of life and whatever more you can afford; to keep them under your roof when they are elderly without any feeling of grudge; to never speak unkindly to them or physically abuse them.

{Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord! bestow on them Your Mercy as they cherished me in childhood.’} (Al-Israa 17:23-24).

In the West, most children can not wait to reach the legal age and move out of their parents house. Parents are seen as a hindrance to their freedom. Aged parents are seen as a burden that should be placed onto the shoulders of a nursing home.

Nursing homes are almost unheard of in Muslim countries. In an Islamic society, parents are respected for their wisdom and experience. Adult children might move out in search of work, but they still turn to their parents for advice and visit or communicate with them as much as possible.

It is a Muslims honored duty to lovingly care for his or her parents in their old age. Parents sacrifice so much for their children when they are small; so a Muslim is happy to return that sacrifice when his or her parents can no longer care for themselves.

It is not a burden but a means of attaining a great reward in Paradise.

In many Muslim societies, the extended family lives together. As parents become grandparents, they may help to look after or educate young children. Also, even when they are no longer productive, they continue to be loved and respected for their humanity, as well as for their wisdom and experience.

Dutifulness to Deceased Parents
A Muslims duties to his or her parents do not end when they die; rather, the responsibility continues as long as he lives, for one thing that benefits the dead is the prayers of their righteous children.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “When a son of Adam passes away, he is cut off from his deeds except for three things: a current or perpetual charity, good knowledge that benefits someone, and a good child who makes duaa (supplication) for him.

A man approached the Prophet, asking, “Is there anything I must do in terms of kindness towards my parents after their death?” The Prophet replied, “Yes, there are four things for you to do: Praying and asking forgiveness of Allah on their behalf, fulfilling their promises, respecting their friends, and fostering their ties of kinship…” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Moreover, it is highly recommended for us to visit the graves of our parents. Doing so serves as an excellent reminder for us besides prompting us to remember and pray for them.

Obligations Toward Non-Muslim Parents
There is a natural bond between parents and their children which should be respected even if the parents are non Muslims. Muslims are required to keep the ties of kinship and to avoid contention and bad feelings that may result in severing ties.

A balance must be struck so that new Muslims can maintain their identity and principles while at the same time show compassion, kindness, and good treatment to non-Muslim parents who may at times be critical, negative, or even abusive.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was always humble. It is very important that Muslims do not feel superior to others. We do not know if Allah the Almighty will accept our deeds. We never know who He will guide to Islam.

Always be polite and cheerful, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was always cheerful and smiled pleasantly to everyone.

Anyone who was with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) thought he liked him the most. We should try to be like that with our families. We should always show mercy. Allah the Almighty says,
{And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.}
(Al-Anbiyaa 21:107);

{… had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you} (Aal `Imran 3:159).

Showing mercy, even toward those who are harsh with you has a very positive affect on the heart and soul and may turn that hard heart into a soft heart that is filled with light.