PARENT'S RIGHTS OVER CHILDREN
The Prophet (S.A.W.) has laid stress on the rights of parents and duties of children, in the same way as he has stressed the rights of children and the duties of parents.
To be obedient to parents and to show kindness to them has been enjoined along with the Oneness and Worship of Allah, in the Holy Qur’an, in such a manner that it appears that among human deeds, to obey parents and treat them with respect and kindness is next only to Divine Worship.
The Qur’an says, in Sura Bani Isra’il:
"Your Lord (The Creator) has ordained that you worship none but Him,
and that you be kind to the parents.
Parents are the Heaven and Hell of the Children
In a hadith the Prophet (S.A.W.) has said that the parents of a person are his Heaven or Hell.
This shows that if a person obeys his parents and attends to their needs
and comforts and keeps them happy, he will attain Paradise. On the other
hand, if he is rude and disobedient to them and offends them by ignoring
their feelings or by causing them grief in any other way, his place shall
be in Hell.
Pleasing the parents causes Allah's pleasure
Anyone who seeks to please Allah should earn the good pleasure of his parents. To keep the parents well pleased is essential since their anger and displeasure will lead to Allah's anger and displeasure. The Prophet (S.A.W.) has said "in the good pleasure of the father lies the good pleasure of the Creator and in his displeasure, lies the displeasure of the Creator."
Here the mother has not been mentioned, but, according to many other
Ahadith, the right of the mother with regard to service and kind treatment
is even higher than that of the father. Therefore, her pleasure or displeasure
will carry an equal significance.
Curse for not looking after aged parents.
The time that the parents need to be looked after most carefully is in their old age, and to serve them devotedly in that state is most pleasing to Allah and it is an easy way to attain Paradise.
Abu Hurairah (R.A.) relates that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said "May he be disgraced, may he be disgraced, may he be disgraced." "Who?" The Sahaaba enquired. "The person whose parents, or any one of them, attain old-ape during his life-time and he does not earn Paradise (by being kind-hearted and dutiful to them)!"
Therefore, anyone who gets an opportunity to serve his parents in their
old-age and does not avail himself to it (to attain Paradise), undoubtedly,
he is a most wretched person.
Serving the parents is preferable to Jihad
When the parents of a person are in need of his help and attention, then it is preferable for him to serve them than to go to Jihad.
A person once came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and said that he wanted to participate in the Jihad. The Prophet asked him "Are your parents alive?" "Yes, they are alive" he replied. The Prophet said. "Then strive in their service and assist them at the time of their need. (This is your Jihad.)"
Commentary: Perhaps, there was reason for the Prophet (S.A.W.) to believe that the parents of the person concerned were in need for help and attention, that is why he told him to go and take care of them, because in these circumstances service to the parents was more important.
However, it must not be misunderstood that anyone whose parents are
alive should not take part in Jihad, and that only those whose parents
have died. should do so. In fact, the parents of many of the Sahaaba who
took part in Jihad, were living.
The mother's claim is greater
Abu Hurairah (R.A.) narrates that a person asked the Prophet (S.A.W.) "Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kind treatment?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother, and again your mother, and once again your mother. After her, is the claim of your father, then that of your near relations and then of the relations next to them.
This, obviously, shows that where care and kind treatment are concerned, the claim of the mother is greater than that of the father.
It appears to be the same in the Qur’an too. In many instances, the
pain and the suffering which the mother has to bear during pregnancy, at
childbirth, and in the bringing-up of the children, has been mentioned
along with the emphasis of expressing kindness to parents.
Paradise lies at the mother's feet
In one hadith the Prophet (S.A.W.) has clearly stated that a person's Paradise lies at his mother's feet. By serving her well and being obedient to her, one can attain Paradise.
In some other Ahadith the Prophet (S.A.W.) has explained that serving
the mother, the maternal aunt and maternal grandmother, are among the acts
by whose piousness, even the repentance of a great sinner and evil-doer
is accepted and he is forgiven.
Treatment towards polytheist parents
If anyone's parents are polytheists, and they want him to follow their faith, he should refuse, but he should continue to be kind and respectful to them.
Asma bint Abu Bakr (R.A.) relates that her mother had come to Madinah,
from Makkah, to meet her. Her mother followed the Pagan customs and beliefs?
so Asma (R.A.) enquired from the Prophet (S.A.W.) as how she was to treat
her whether she should have nothing to do with her, as she was a Pagan,
or treat her like a daughter should, and show kindness to her. The Prophet
told her to be kind and considerate and to behave towards her as was a
mother's due, from a daughter.
Parents' rights after their death
The rights of parents do not come to an end with their death. In fact, some of their rights take effect after their death, and it is a religious obligation for the children to fulfil them.
As explained before, obeying one's parents and treating them with respect and affection is great virtue - and atones for one's sins. Similarly, to ask Allah to have mercy on them after their death, is an act which brings comfort to them in their graves and serves to atone for one's sins.
After the death of one's parents among other duties, should be to pray for their forgiveness and treat their relatives and friends with due respect.
Abu Usaid Sa'idi (R.A.) relates that a person came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and asked him "0 Prophet of Allah, are there some rights of my parents, on me, which I have to fulfil even after they have died?" "Yes" the Prophet replied, "These are to pray for mercy and forgiveness on their behalf, to fulfil the promises they have made to anyone, to pay due regard to the bonds of relationship from their side and to be respectful to their friends.
In the Qur’an, Muslims have been urged to pray for the salvation of their parents as shown in the verse.
And say, "My Lord. Have mercy on both of them, as they cared for me
when I was little."
Advantages of obedience to parents
The real reward for serving the parents, with great attention, is Paradise
and the pleasure of Allah. But the Almighty bestows a special favour, in
this world too, on the believer who fulfils the parents' rights devotedly.
Jabir (R.A.) reports that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said "Allah prolongs the life of a person who obeys his parents and serves them devotedly."
In another hadith, the Prophet (S.A.W.) is reported to have said, "Obey
your parents and treat them with kindness, your children will be kind and
obedient to you.
Great sin for disobeying the parents
Just as the Prophet (S.A.W.) declared, that serving ones parents well is an act of great virtue, he condemned the showing of disobedience to them, or harming them, as a most serious and detestable sin.
When asked about the major sins, the Prophet (S.A.W.) replied." To associate anyone with Allah, to disobey the parents, to kill unlawfully and to give false evidence."
The above-mentioned acts have been condemned as 'Akbarul-Kabaair' i.e. the most serious of the major sins. The order in which the Prophet said them, shows that the disregard of parents rights is next, only, to Polytheism (Shirk) and it is even more serious than murder.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) has said "To abuse one's parents is also a major
sin." He was asked "Can anyone abuse his parents?" "Yes," the Prophet replied,
"if a person abused someone else's parents and that person, in retaliation,
abused his parents, - then it is as though he himself had abused his parents."
We can imagine, from this, what an important place respect for parents occupies in the moral and social teachings of Islam, and how careful one should be about it.
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