Good treatment of Parents (Part 3: Consequences)

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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.

Good treatment of Parents (Part 2: Status)

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We have established in the previous article that children must respect and treat their parents with kindness. This article will discuss the status that Islam has honoured parents with, we will learn the relevant Narrations which the Prophet (SAW) has used to venerate the Mothers and the Fathers of this Ummah (community).

The Mother is the first teacher that a child will have, she is the person who carries the burden of birthing the child, she is illogical in her immeasurable love. Due to her kindness and her care the Prophet (SAW) has stated, to Muawiya ibn Jahima (RA) who related to us: “My father, Jahima, went to the Prophet (SAW) and said: ‘I intended to go on Jihad and have come to seek your advice.’ The Prophet (SAW) asked him, ‘Is your mother alive?’ ‘Yes’, he replied; ‘Then stay with her and look after her needs. Your Heaven lies under her feet.’ The Prophet (SAW) said.” (Ahmad) (Nasai) The Prophet (SAW) stopped this Companion (RA) from going in the path of Allah because he deemed the service to his mother to be more virtuous for him. He summed up the service to the mother very poignantly, that it is a means of Paradise. Who can deny the lofty status a Mother enjoys in Islam when Paradise lies under her feet?

In the above Narration the service of the Mother has been given preference over Jihad, a similar Narration has been related wherein service to the Parents has been preferred over Jihad. Many people seem to dismiss service to parents a negligible act, this is folly! We become complacent because our parents are constantly around us, ask a person who has lost a parent, or one who is an orphan; you will see how they yearn just see their parents, let alone serve them.

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas (RA) related, “Once a person came to the Prophet (SAW) and said he wanted to participate in Jihad. ‘Are your parents alive?’ enquired the Prophet (SAW), ‘Yes’, he replied ‘They are alive.’ The Prophet (SAW) observed: ‘Then strive in their service and bring aid and succour to them.'” (Abu Dawud) We can understand from this Narration the importance serving the Parents has been given, this Companion (RA) was instructed not to go in Jihad and to serve his parents. A possible means of martyrdom was denied to him because the Prophet (SAW) deemed looking after his parents to be more beneficial for him. This illustrates the status that parents hold, thus we should endeavour to serve them whenever we get the opportunity.

Not only will serving our mothers let us enter Paradise but also serving our female relations will earn us copious reward. Abdullah ibn Umar narrated: “A person came to the Prophet (SAW) and said: ‘Messenger of Allah (SAW) I have committed a grave sin. Can my repentance be accepted?’.’Is your mother living?’ asked the Prophet (SAW), ‘No, she is dead,’ he replied, the Prophet enquired: ‘Is there a sister of your mother?’ ,’Yes’, replied the man. ‘A sister of hers is living.’ The Prophet advised; ‘Then treat her kindly and well.'” (Tirmidhi) Here we learn that service to your mother can atone for sins. The Prophet (SAW) first enquired the status of his mother, then he asked about the sister, showing that the mother has more right over her children than her siblings. This Narration shows that through helping our parents and their relations, we can wipe our accounts clean, there is truly no downside to fulfilling our parents’ rights.

It is very important that we keep a good relationship with our uncles and aunties, they are also liked to our parents and if we act kindly to them then our parents will be made happy. We should always assist our relatives as they have a greater right over us than strangers, we are extremely quick to help our friends but when it comes to our family we falter. This is not the Islamic way, we must fulfill the rights of our family and then we can focus helping others.

If our Parents ask us to go against the commandments of Allah then we refuse to do so, however, this does not mean we do not treat them kindly. Allah instructs us  in the Quran: “And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” (31:14-15) This verse is explicitly stating that even if our parents are not Muslim, we should still act with kindness toward them.

Through treating our parents with the utmost care, and fulfilling their rights even if they are not Muslims, we will be rewarded. They may even accept Islam through witnessing our conduct with them.

Asmaa’ Bint Abi Bakr (RA) related that: “My mother came to visit me one day. At that time she was still a polytheist and there was a pledge between the Prophet (SAW) , and the Quraish (one of the great tribes in Arabia that lived in Mecca in the pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance who used to enjoy great political and financial powers). I requested the Prophet’s (SAW), religious verdict and said: Oh Prophet of Allah (SAW), my mother came to visit me, seeking my help; should I keep a good relationship with her? ‘Yes, keep a good relation with her,’ said the Prophet (SAW).” (Bukhari) (Muslim) Even though the mother of this Companion

It is due to the conduct the Companions (RA) showed to their relatives that so many accepted Islam. Yet, in this day and age, we see that people do not wish to accept Islam because they see the state of the Muslims. It should shame us that the greatest Ummah is in such a pitiful situation, we have left the way of the Prophet (SAW).

Allah give us the ability to fulfill the rights of our parents. Ameen.  

 

Good treatment of Parents (Part 1: Introduction)

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Every person is indebted to his parents, they are the reason that we are here on the earth. Allah used their meeting as a means for our birth. Through our lives they have nurtured us, taught us, consoled us and rebuked us, their contribution to our lives can never truly be understood or compensated for. It is for this reason that they must be cared for and respected. Just as they have cared for us in our youth, so to must we, care for them in their old age.

A Muslim is only called such if he accepts Allah to be one and worships Him. The belief in God is the single bedrock Islam rests upon, Allah shows the incredible status parents hold by mentioning belief in Him, followed by good treatment of parents. Allah says; “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” (17:23) He commands that we treat our parents kindly, even in old age where they will be more difficult to look after. Here the word ‘uff’ is used to stress the smallest of annoyances, even this should not be shown to them, let alone using profanity.

Here, no distinction has been made between the good treatment of parents, both the Mother and the Father should be treated equally  without any injustice or discrimination. The mistreatment of any of them could result in our After-life being destroyed.

The significance of the Parents has been summarised in this narration; it is related by Abu Umamah (RA) ‘Once a person asked the Prophet (SAW): ‘How much is the claim of parents on their children?’ “They are your Heaven and Hell,” the Prophet (SAW) replied.’ (Ibn Majah) This is both a warning and incentive, children should be very aware of the sensitive relationship that they have. They should try their utmost to act in a respectable way, even if their parents are in the wrong, this does not solicit callous behaviour.

There are Narrations detailing the status of both the mother and father, both are incredibly important and their roles cannot be diminished, they are vital to the functioning of any society. In regard to the status of a father, the Prophet (SAW) has said: “In the good pleasure of the father lies the good pleasure of Allah, and in his displeasure is the displeasure of Allah.” (Tirmidhi) This shows what status the father holds, but this is not simply restricted to the father, the mother also holds a high status. This status has been mentioned in various narrations.

The Mother holds a special place in society, also in her childrens’ hearts they naturally treat her with softness and care, however, to highlight the rank of the Mother many narrations can be cited. Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA), “A person enquired from the Prophet (SAW), ‘Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kindly treatment?’ The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Your mother; and again, your mother; and once again, your mother. After her, there is the claim of your father and after it, of your near kinsmen and then, of the kinsmen who are next to them.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) This was said by the Prophet (SAW) to illustrate the right the mother has upon her children, especially when she reaches her old age.

Your mother is one of the very few people who will love you unconditionally, she would rather her own life be in danger, or she be in pain, than see her precious children in danger or discomfort. This is why when she reaches her own years of vulnerability, she should be treated in the same way that she treated her own children, with affection, care, love and understanding.

The importance of taking care of aged parents can be seen best in one Prophetic tradition; Abu Huraira (RA) related that the Prophet (SAW) said: “May he be humiliated; may he be disgraced; may he be brought low.” ‘Who?’ the Companions (RA) enquired, “The unfortunate person whose parents or any one of them attain old age in his lifetime and he does not earn Paradise (by being kind-hearted and dutiful to them).” (Muslim) Irrespective of how long parents live or what illnesses might plague them, children must ensure that their needs are met. This Narration does not simply mean that parents should be treated well in their old age only, but old age has been mentioned because this is when they will need the  most assistance. Just as they once helped you without complaining or whining so too must you return their kindness.

Both Parents should be looked after, this cannot be avoided, and should not be done without kindness. It is not a burden but an opportunity to obtain Paradise. We should not adopt the poisonous mentality of individualism, that we only look out for ourselves, this is not Islam this is justified selfishness.

If Allah wills then this be continued in the next article, may Allah give us the ability to fulfill the rights of our parents. May He shower our parents in His mercy, forgive their sins and enter them in Paradise. Ameen.