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DUTIFULNESS TO PARENTS

Being kind and dutiful to parents means to obey one’s parents, show them love and respect, and help them with whatever means available such as exerting effort or spending money.

It also means talking to them in the most polite and grateful manner, listening to them when they talk, and never show dissatisfaction or resentment towards them.

Indeed Islam advocates us to be kind and dutiful to our parents and deal with them in the best manner. Allaah Says (which means): {And your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them uff (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.}[Quran 17:23-24].

Islam regards being kind and dutiful towards parents as one of the best acts of worship which a Muslim performs in order to get closer to Allaah, because parents are the direct reason for the existence and happiness of the children. On one hand, the mother spends many nights awake bringing up her children and taking care of them. She spends long nights taking care of her young child who is unable to manage any of his affairs. On the other hand, a father does his best to earn a living to support his children with food, clothing and education, and help them realize their dreams. That is why we notice that Allaah mentioned obedience to parents as being next to worshipping Him. Allaah Says (which means):

{And your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them uff (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.}[Quran 17:23].

Allaah even commanded children to be kind and dutiful to their parents even if they are polytheists. Allaah Says (which means): {But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.}[Quran 31:15].

Parents' Rights

If it is normal to be grateful to any person who offers you help, then parents are the worthiest of all as they deserve thankfulness and appreciation because of the help, support,

and love they show towards their children without even expecting any recompose in return.

The happiest moments in a parents' life is when they see their children in the best possible condition and the greatest of positions.

Such great parental sacrifices must be rewarded by the children by fulfilling the rights and duties of parents. Some of these rights which are mentioned in the Quran are:

  •  Obeying them and fulfilling their requests.  

  • Being humble towards them and dealing with them leniently and gently.

  •   Lowering one's voice when talking to them.

  •  Using the best and most beautiful words when talking to them.

  • Being dutiful to them when they are old and never show dissatisfaction for their requests, however frequent they might be.

  • Invoking Allaah to bestow mercy and forgiveness on them.

The People Who Most Deserve Good Company:

The people who most deserve good company are one's parents. Through good company, one pleases his Lord and hopes for an excellent reward in the Hereafter. Good company means that one should be grateful to his parents and take care of them especially when they are old and need help.

Once, a person came to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and asked: "Who among the people is the most worthy of my good company?" He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Your mother." He again, asked: "Who comes next?" He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, answered: "Your mother." He asked once more: "Who comes next?" He (the noble Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Your mother." He finally asked: "Who comes next?" Thereupon he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, replied:  "Your father." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: "Allaah enjoins you to keep good relations with your mothers (he repeated it three times). Allaah enjoins you to keep good relations with the nearest of kin then the next nearest of kin and so on." [Ibn Maajah]

Being Kind and Dutiful to Parents Precedes Jihaad

Islam urges us to take care of our parents and it considers this as being equal to Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah. No one is allowed to march for Jihaad while his parents or one of them needs his assistance.

Once, a man came to the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and said: "I pledge allegiance for Jihaad seeking Allaah's reward." He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, asked: "Are either of your parents alive?" He said: "Yes, both of them." He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, asked: "Do you seek reward from Allaah?" He said: "Yes." The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, then said: "Go back to your parents and treat them kindly." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Another narration reads: A man emigrated to the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, from Yemen to take his permission to participate in Jihaad. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, asked (him): "Have you left any (of your relatives) in Yemen?" He replied: "My parents." He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, asked: "Did they permit you to participate?" He replied: "No." He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Go back to them and ask for their permission. If they permit you, then fight (in the cause of Allaah), otherwise keep yourself devoted to them." [Abu Daawood]

Being Kind And Dutiful To Parents After Their Death

Being kind and dutiful to parents does not stop once one or both of them dies. This continues even after their death.

A man came to the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and asked: "O Messenger of Allaah! Is there any kindness or dutifulness that I can show to my parents after their death?" He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, replied: "Yes. To supplicate for them, seek Allaah's forgiveness for them, fulfil their will and pledges after their death, keep on good terms with those who are not connected with you but through them, and show reverence to their friends." [Ahmad]

The above narration urges a Muslim to be kind to his parents whether they are dead or alive. Such obedience occurs by invoking Allaah's forgiveness for them, fulfilling any covenants they made when they were alive, showing homage to their friends and keeping good relations with their relatives.

Being Kind And Dutiful To Parents Even If They Are Non-Muslims

No matter how different the religion of parents is from that of their children, they still love them (children) and the blood relation between them is never ignored. Muslims are commended to adhere to these Islamic instructions, and are also instructed to show gratitude to non-Muslim parents as long as they do not ask them to leave Islam or disobey Allaah, Allaah Says (which means): {But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.}[Quran 31:15].

Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, instructed his companions to be dutiful to their non-Muslim parents.  Asmaa' Bint Abi Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with her, narrated: "During the period of the peace treaty between Quraysh and Allaah's Messenger, my mother came to visit me, and she was a pagan. I consulted Allaah's Messenger, "O Allaah's Messenger! My mother has come to me and she desires to receive a reward from me, shall I keep good relations with her?" He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "Yes, keep good relations with her." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The following are some Prophetic narrations that encourage a Muslim to be dutiful to his parents and warn then against disobeying them:

1) The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Allaah's pleasure is attained by pleasing parents, and Allaah's wrath is ensued by angering parents." [At-Tirmithi]

2) The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, further said: "Shall I not inform you about the greatest major sin?" We (companions) replied: "Yes, O, Messenger of Allaah." The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said:  "Allaah has forbidden you to be undutiful to your mothers and to bury your daughters alive." [Al-Bukhaari]

Examples of Being Dutiful to Parents:

The companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and our pious predecessors, may Allaah have mercy on them, were the best examples in being kind and dutiful to their parents. For example, Usaamah Ibn Zayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, had a piece of land cultivated with palm trees. Back then, the price of a palm tree was one thousand Deenaars (a golden currency). One day, his mother wanted to eat the core of a palm tree which is the wet part in the centre. Usaamah, may Allaah be pleased with him, cut a fruit-bearing tree to feed his mother its core. When some people asked him about what he had done, he said: "If my mother asks for anything in the whole world and I can give it to her, I will do it."

'Ali Ibn Al-Husseyn, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was very dutiful to his mother, but he would never eat from the same dish that she was eating from.

Someone asked him: "You are one of the most dutiful people to their mothers. Why don’t you eat with her from the same dish?" He said: "I am afraid that my hand might take a certain piece of food that my mother wanted to eat, and in this way I would have been undutiful to her." 

It is also reported that one night, a woman asked her son to bring her a cup of water. When he went to fetch the water and came back, she had fallen asleep. He was afraid that she might get up and not find him, and at the same time, he did not like to wake her up. Thus, he stayed near her holding the water until the morning.

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