Good treatment of Parents (Part 4: After death)

after death

Death is an inevitability, we all come into this world with an understanding that we  will one day leave it. This understanding also applies to our loved ones, we accept that there may come a time where we will have to bury our parents, siblings, children and friends.

The first thing a person should do when their parents pass away is to make sure that the deceased has their eyes closed. This can be done by passing the fingers over the eyelids and closing them gently. The Prophet (SAW) also did this for a Companion (RA), “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) came to see Abu Salamah (RA) when his sight had become fixed (he had passed away). So the Prophet (SAW) closed his eyes and said: ‘When the soul is seized and it leaves the body, the eyes follow it.’ Some of Abu Salamah’s family wept and wailed, whereupon the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Pray to Allah only for good for yourselves, because the angels (who are present) say “amen” to whatever you utter.’ Then he said: ‘O Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah; raise his station among those who are rightly-guided; and take good care of his family that he has left behind. O Lord of the Worlds! Forgive him and us, make his grave spacious, and put light therein for him.” (Muslim) (Ahmad) 

From this narration we also learn that excessive wailing should be avoided, instead the family members should make supplication. Then they should find a cloth to cover the entire body.

They should then wash the body, if the mother has passed away the womenfolk should wash her, if the father has passed away the menfolk should wash him. Umm Atiyya (RA) reported, “The Apostle of Allah (SAW) came to us when we were bathing his daughter, and he told us: Wash her with water and (with the leaves of) the lote tree, three or five times, or more than that if you think fit, and put camphor or something like camphor in the last washing; then inform me when you have finished. So when we had finished, we informed him, and he gave to us his (own) under-garment saying:” Put it next her body.” (Muslim) 

After the washing has been completed the body should be wrapped in the Kafn (Burial clothing).  Care should be taken that the shroud is clean and enshroud the whole body, this is because we will be resurrected in these cloths, the Prophet (SAW) has stated “A deceased will be resurrected in the clothes in which he dies.” (Abu Dawud)

This cloth should cover the entire body, there are narrations where a white cloth should be used or a striped cloth. “Of the clothing available to you, wear the white, for verily it is your best form of clothing. Shroud your dead with it as well.” (Abu Dawud) (Tirmidhi) The Prophet (SAW) has mentioned striped clothing: “Whoever can afford it, let him be shrouded in a striped cloth.” (Ahmad), “When one of you dies, let him be shrouded in a striped cloth – if it is possible to find that for him.” (Abu Dawud) 

The number of cloths has been disputed by Scholars due to differing narrations, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was wrapped in three pieces of new white sheets of cloth from Yemen, without a shirt or a turban.” (Abu Dawud) The most accepted view is that 3 pieces should be used for a male and 5 for a female. However, some Scholars hold that two cloths should be used and that one will also suffice. The best course of action is to seek help from your local Scholar and they will inform you of the best course of action. Allah knows best.

The children of the deceased should then ensure that the body has been prayed over (Janazah prayer), then the body should be buried. Normally, the Scholars and Masjids in the locality will provide funeral services so they should be used and consulted upon the death of a parent.

After the burial has been completed then children should make supplication for their parents, this will benefit the deceased in their grave. The Prophet (SAW) has stated: “When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him.” (Tirmidhi) Children should make a habit of mentioning their parents in every supplication that they make, you never know which one will be accepted.

Abu Usaid Saidi (RA) said: “Once we were sitting with the Prophet (SAW) when a person belonging to the tribe of Bani Salma came and said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah (SAW)! Are there some rights of my parents on me which I have to fulfill even after they have died?’ ‘Yes’, replied the Prophet (SAW) ‘(These are) to pray for mercy and forgiveness on their behalf, to fulfill the promises they may have made to anyone, to pay due regard to the bonds of relationship that are from their side, and to be respectful to their friends.'” (Abu Dawud) (Ibn Majah) Children should ensure that they keep a good relationship with their parents’ relatives and acquaintances. If their deceased parents have any outstanding debts children should strive to pay them off.

May Allah forgive our parents and give them Jannah. May he allow us to fulfill our parent’s rights. Ameen.

 

Good treatment of Parents (Part 3: Consequences)

parents cons

The treatment of Parents will bear fruit in the Hereafter and this transient life. It is upon the shoulders of the children, to ensure that they treat their parents correctly so they might be a means of their forgiveness. If they do not, falling short of the mark then they will be subject to tribulations in this life and the greatest punishment in the Hereafter.

In the previous articles many Narrations were mentioned where the good treatment of parents has been encouraged. The Prophet (SAW) said in various ways that this treatment will ultimately enable a person to enter Paradise, however, many other benefits have also been mentioned by the Prophet (SAW).

One narration of a benefit is where the Prophet (SAW) mentions: “In the pleasure of the father lies the pleasure of Allah and in the anger of the father lies the anger of Allah” (Tirmidhi) This narration is both an incentive and a warning, the pleasure of Allah will make a person experience success both in life and in death. If Allah is pleased with us, He will assist us and ease our afflictions, if He were to be angry with us then we would not be able to fathom the punishment that we would face. Allah looks after all his creation, He fulfills their needs, however, the servants who He is pleased with enjoy special treatment.

The Prophet (SAW) has stated: “He who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) One who is benevolent and compassionate towards one’s own relatives, stands to gain at least two definite advantages in this world besides the reward in the next. These two advantages are the increase in his sustenance and longevity of life. Increase in sustenance means that Allah will increase the quantity of his worldly goods or his means of sustenance will be blessed by Him. This individual will also get a long life, this will benefit him as he will have ample opportunity to do good deeds and increase his standing in the Hereafter.

The above Narration is not specific to Parents but to all a person’s blood relations, however, it is common sense that the strongest blood relations a person has are his parents. A common complaint when people are tasked to look after their aging parents is that they lack funds, whereas, this Narration infers that the more a person spends on his family the more Allah will increase his wealth. Treating parents well is a win-win situation.

Just as there are benefits to treating parents well, there are also detriments if we abuse them. To give an indication of the enormity of sin the Prophet (SAW) has listed ill treatment of parents as the grave sins. These grave sins are some of the worst that a person can perpetrate, they are repugnant in the court of Allah and also in the sight of mankind.

Anas (RA) related to us that once the Prophet (SAW) was asked about major sins, he replied: “To associate partners with Allah; to disobey the parents and cause them pain and injury; to kill unlawfully; and to give false evidence.” (Bukhari) The fact that treating the parents badly has been mentioned after the greatest crime a person can do; which is to associate partners unto Allah shows the greatness of sin that a person can be guilty of. If a person is a murderer he is vilified and outcast from society, this does not happen when a person treats their parents unfavourably, yet the latter is still classed as a major sin. We should treat all these sins with the caution they deserve, we should avoid each of them, regardless of the society and if they accept one and not the other.

The abuse of one’s parents does not just entail physical abuse, abuse is very broad, anything which could impugn the honour of one’s parents can be classed as abuse. To the extent that even if a person insults another person’s parents and in retaliation that person replies in the same manner, the first person who insulted will be guilty of impugning his own parent’s honour, (as his insult caused the other person to reply).

This has been clearly stated by the best of creation (SAW), this has been related by Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-as (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “It is one of the gravest sins to abuse one’s parents.” It was asked (by the people): “O Messenger of Allah, can a man abuse his own parents?” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “He abuses the father of somebody who, in return, abuses the former’s father; he then abuses the mother of somebody who, in return, abuses his mother.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) We see that the abuse of parents is prevalent in our age, people will insult others and abuse their parents under the guise of humour, little do they understand the gravity of such insidious remarks.

Do not follow the masses in such folly, even if you deem the insult to be ‘funny’ a tactless joke is the precursor to slander, do not become a person who is among the people who abused their parents on the Day of Judgement. If you feel as though you have developed a habit of cursing others and involving their parents then apologise and seek forgiveness, exercise silence if that does not work then praise their parents instead of insulting them. This is no small matter. Laughter in this world is fueling the cries of agony in the next.

May Allah give us the ability to treat our parents well and benefit from them. Ameen.