A Muslim child should respect and appreciate his or her parents every day throughout the year. Allah asked human beings to recognize their parents after recognition of Allah Himself. Throughout the Qur’an, we notice that parents are mentioned with appreciation and with respect, even if they are senile. In Surah Al-Isra’ (Children of Israel) there is a very beautiful description of how parents are to be treated. Allah (SWT) says:
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them: uff (a word or expression of anger or contempt) and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words, and submit yourself before them in humility out of compassion, and say, “My Lord, be merciful to them as they have brought me up in my childhood.” [17:23-24]
The recognition and respect of parents is mentioned in the Qur’an eleven times; in every instance, Allah reminds children to recognize and to appreciate the care and love they have received from their parents. In one aspect, Allah demands that children recognize their parents by saying to them:
“We have enjoined on man kindness to parents;” [29:8/46:15]
1. The demand for recognizing parents is made more emphatic when Allah says in the Qur’an Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) the following:
“(Remember) when We took a pledge from the children of Isrā’īl (Israel): “You shall not worship anyone other than Allah; and you shall do good to the parents,…” [2:83]
2. In Surah Al-Nisaa’ (The Women) Allah (SWT) emphasized again that children should be kind to their parents.
“And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) Kindness unto parents… ” [4:36]
3. In Surah Al An’Am (The Cattle), Allah (SWT) reemphasized that people should be kind to their parents.
“Say (O Prophet to the infidels), “Come, and I shall recite what your Lord has prohibited for you: Do not associate anything with Him (as His partner); and be good to parents, …” [6:151]
Although Islam recognized both parents, mothers are given particular gratitude and respect. This attitude of Islam is understood if we realize the hardships and the suffering that mothers experience in their lives. In this regard, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (R) that a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him, ‘Who is to be close to my friendship?’ The Prophet (PBUH) answered:
Your mother, your mother, your mother, then your father, then the one closest to your kinship, and the one after.
Islam has endorsed respect for parents by their children even if the parents are non-Muslims. If parents strive very hard to convert their children to non-Islamic beliefs, they don’t follow them, but they are to be good to them. In this regard, Allah (SWT) says in Surah Luqman:
“We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. (We said to man,) “Be grateful to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return. However, if they force you to ascribe partners to Me about whom you (can) have no (source of) knowledge, then do not obey them. Remain with them in this world with due fairness, but follow the way of the one who has turned himself towards Me. Then, towards Me is your return, so I shall tell you what you had been doing.” [31:14-15]
Islam teaches us that respect for parents comes immediately after praying to Allah and before Jihad (struggle and striving in the way of Allah). In this respect, the Prophet (PBUH) said the following:
Narrated by Abi Abder Rahman Abdullah bin Massoud (May Allah be pleased with him) saying: I asked the Prophet (PBUH), “Which deed is more liked by Allah?” He replied, “Prayers on time.” Then I asked, “Which one is next?” He said, “Goodness to parents.” Then I asked, “Then which one is next?” He said, “Jihad in the way of Allah.” (Agreed)
In Islam, respect for parents is so great that the child and his wealth are considered to be the property of the parents. In this regard, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
Narrated by Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) that a person came to the Prophet (PBUH) to resolve his dispute with his father regarding a loan given to the father. The Prophet (PBUH) said to the person,? You and your wealth are to your father.”
We hope and pray that all of us will respect our parents while they are alive and even after they are dead. You may honor your parents after they died through the following methods:
Make daily Du’a’ for them
Give a charity on their behalf
Institute a perpetual charity on their behalf – such as a Masjid, an Islamic Center, an Islamic library, an Islamic hospital, an orphanage, a senior citizen’s home, etc.
Perform Hajj on their behalf or ask someone to do so.
Read Qur’an on their behalf
Distribute Islamic Literature on their behalf
Let us pray to Allah that we will do our best to respect our parents, honor them, be kind to them, help them, and please them for the love of Allah.
O, Allah! Accept our humble prayers and make us obedient servants to you.
O, Allah! Help us to be respectful children to our parents. Ameen.