The Rights of the Parents are the Most Important after the Rights of Allah
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday Speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C., on August 15, 1997)
Today I will talk about one of the most important Rights upon us after the rights of Allah (S.W.T), which are the rights of the parents. Allah had declared these important rights in the Qur’an in many verses. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) also stressed these rights even more in his many authentic ahadeeth.
This issue is very important in our lives as Muslims without exceptions. This issue is similarly important for the young, old, male, female, single, or married. It is also similarly important if your parents are either still alive, one of them is dead, or both of them are dead.
Fist of all, I would like to mention some of the Qur’anic verses related to this subject, then I will mention the lesson we can learn and rules we should apply in our lives.
Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat An-Nisa, (Verse 36), what can be translated as, "Submit to Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents."
Allah (S.W.T.) also says in surat Al-‘Ankabut, (Verse 8), what can be translated as, "And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents."
He (S.W.T.) also say in surat Al-Isra’, (Verses 23 & 24), what can be translated as, "And you Lord has decreed that you do not worship but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. 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 young."
He Allah (S.W.T.) also says in surat Luqman, (Verses 14 & 15), what can be translated as, "And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and Hardship. And his weaning is in two years - Give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination. But if they (both) strive with you to make you to associate with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, but behave with them in the world kindly."
These Qur’anic verses contain many important lessons and rules. I will mention some of them.
- The command to be dutiful and good to your parents comes directly after the command to submit to Allah and worship Him alone.
- Prohibition of treating the parents badly in any way even to say a word of disrespect.
- Prohibition of shouting at them, your parents, in anything they did.
- The command to address them in terms of honor and respect.
- The command to lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy.
- The command to supplicate and ask Allah (S.W.T.) for them the mercy and forgiveness if they are believers and ask Allah (S.W.T) to guide them if they are disbelievers.
- Prohibition to obey them if they command you to associate with Allah (S.W.T.) any deity, but still deal with them kindly.
The authentic ahadeeth of the prophet (S.A.W.) are plenty as well. I will mention some of them according to what we can benefit from it.
- The most favorable action to Allah (S.W.T.) after performing prayer is good treatment to parents.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Abdullah Ibn-Masud asked the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), "Which action is most favorite with Allah the Almighty?" He (S.A.W.) answered, "Performing the salat (or offering Prayers) in time." He asked, "Thereafter?" He (S.A.W.) said, "Good treatment to parents." He submitted, "Then which next?" He (S.A.W.) then said, "Al-Jihad or struggling in the way of Allah."
- Good treatment to the parents and serving them well comes before making emigration and jihad in the sake of Allah.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man came to the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and said, "I want to take the oath of allegiance with you, to emigrate and fight in the cause of Allah, seeking reward from him." The prophet (S.A.W.) inquired, "is either of your parents alive?" The man said, "yes, both of them are living." The prophet (S.A.W.) asked him, "Are you seeking reward from Allah?" The man said, "Yes, Sir". The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Then go back to your parents, serve them and deal with them kindly is as good as jihad."
- You cannot repay your father unless you find him a slave, purchase him and free him. Imam Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "No son can repay his father (for his affection and love), unless he finds him a slave and purchases him and sets him free"
- The right of your mother comes three times before the right of your father.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man came to the prophet (S.A.W.) and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, which person of all the people is best entitled to kind treatment and the good companionship from me?" He answered, "Your mother." The man asked, "And then?" He (S.A.W.) said, "Your mother." And after her? He said, "Your mother." and after her? The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Your father." Imam Al-Qurtubi said, "that this hadith tells us that the love and compassion to the mother should be three times greater than your fathers. This is because of the hardship your mother faced in three times, the pregnancy, delivery, and nursing. Only the mother had to face these three things."
- The real loss is for whom found his parents, one or both, in old age, but did not serve them well, which could of led him to enter paradise in the day of judgment.
Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "May his nose be rubbed in dust, may his nose be rubbed in dust, may has nose be rubbed in dust i.e. May he be humiliated, (He said this three times), who found his parents, one or both, in old age, but did not enter paradise, (by serving them)."
- To be kind to your parents is a must even if they are disbelievers.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Asma', daughter of Abu-Bakr said, "My mother came to Medina from Mecca to see me, while she was still a disbeliever. She had come to demand something from me. I inquired the prophet (S.A.W.), "My mother has come to see me and she is expecting, something from me. May I oblige her?" He said, "Yes. Be kind to your mother."
- Disobedience to parents is one of the major sins.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "May I tell you what are the major sins?" (He repeated this three times). The companions said, "Certainly, O! Messenger of Allah." He said, "Association of others with Allah and Disobedience to parents…"
- Cursing ones parents directly or indirectly is one of the major sins.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that prophet (S.A.W.) said, "cursing one’s parents is a major sin." The companions said, "O Messenger of Allah! Could a person curse his own parents? He answered, "Yes, if he curses another persons father, which would make a person in retaliation curse his father; if he curses another person’s mother, which would make a person in retaliation curse his mother."
- The rights of the parents after their death is supplicating for Allah’s forgiveness for them and fulfilling their wills. You should also keep good relations with their blood relatives and to be benevolent towards their friends.
Imam Abu-Dawud reported that a man entered and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there anything left for me to do to be kind with my parents after their death?" The prophet (S.A.W.) answered, "Yes, by praying for them and asking for Allah’ forgiveness for them, fulfilling their promises and undertakings, doing kindness to those who may be related to you through them, and respecting their friends." Also Imam Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "The noblest deed is that a person should be benevolent towards his father’s friends after his fathers death."