Kindness to Parents (الإحسان بالوالدين)
Praise be to Allaah, Who enjoined upon us kindness to parents and to address them with honorable speech. I testify that there is no god but Allaah, with Whom there are no partners.
"Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: if ye do deeds of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again (in true penitence)." (Al-Israa’:25)
I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, who was sent by Allaah as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. May Allaah bless him and his family and Companions, who were grateful to Allaah and to their parents, and those whose endeavors were praiseworthy. May Allaah bless those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
O Muslims! Fear Allaah and do good, as Allaah loves those who do good. O Muslims! After Allaah had enjoined us to worship Him Alone, He enjoined us to be kind to our parents.
"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor." (Al-Israa’ : 23-24)
Kindness to parents, brothers in Islam, includes doing each righteous deed for them that you can and refraining from doing anything that may hurt them. This is how to be grateful to them. Allaah says what means: “… Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.” (Al-Israa’: 24)
Consequently, your being grateful to Allaah and to your parents, oh Muslims, should be represented in your obedience to them and in serving them, because they sacrificed their souls, wealth and health for your sake. Because of this, you should be kind to them, in order to be a dutiful son.
O Muslims! Kindness to parents is the dearest deed to Allaah, after Prayer. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam was asked: “Which deed is the dearest to Allaah? (In another narration it was said: which deed is the best?) He replied: "Performing prayer on its time." It was asked: What is next? He said: "Kindness to parents." It was asked: What is next? He said: "Jihaad in the cause of Allah.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Thus, kindness to parents is given priority over Jihaad in the cause of Allaah, which indicates our great duty towards our parents. “A man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam asking his permission to go for Jihad. Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam asked him: "Are your parents alive?" He answered: Yes. He said:"Then go and serve them, for this is also Jihaad.”
In the narration of Muslim: “A man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and said: I pay homage to you to emigrate and struggle in the cause of Allaah, seeking reward from Allaah. The Prophet asked: "Are any of your parents alive?" He said: Both are alive. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, "Do you seek Allaah's reward?" He replied, "Yes". The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: "Then return to them and be a good companion to them”
Dear Muslim! Struggle and sacrifice for the sake of parents includes serving them and assisting them financially, especially if one is well off while they are impoverished. Obedience to parents requires being at their beck and call, complying to what they command or forbid, as they are more keen to advise what is best for you than yourself, your friends and your company. You should then hearken to their directions and obey them in doing good. When one of them orders you to do something, you should reply as Ismaa’ielreplied to his father Ibraahiem “ … O my father! do as thou art commanded …” (Assaffaat : 102)
You should address your parents gently and politely and consult them in your affairs, and make many supplications for them and ask Allaah to forgive their sins. You should not raise your voice in their presence, nor look at them angrily or with contempt. You should not wave with your hands when you talk to them, nor interrupt them when they speak. You should not argue with them, tell them lies, nor travel except after taking their permission. All of these are some aspects of being kind and dutiful to parents.
O Muslims! Kindness to parents requires you to speak to them using honorable speech i.e., saying something good to them with esteem and respect, and to lower the wing of humility out of mercy to them, in all your words and deeds. Act towards them politely without feeling discontent, whether you like it or not. Many children think that kindness to parents is only practiced when it coincides with their own desires. However, kindness to parents cannot be achieved except by doing what pleases them, even if it is against the tendencies of the children.
Therefore, if your parents forbid you to go on a journey that you have already arranged, or to associate with certain company, or to stay awake until late at night, spending time in pastime and play even though you feel annoyed at that, you will not be a dutiful son if you do not obey. If your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother orders you to do a good deed, but you refuse to do it, it will be disobedience on your part. Nothing troubles parents more than being disobeyed by their children.
Your parents, O Muslims, are the most compassionate of all people to you and the most forbearing of your faults. Many times they overlook your mistakes and forgive you. They struggle in life in order for you to feel happy and trouble themselves in order that you may be at ease. They give to you in such a way that does not cause you to be indebted to them or in a way that hurts your feelings. They wish you long life. On the contrary, if you serve them and provide them with food, you make them feel indebted to you and you anticipate their death in order to be relieved of their service.
Dear Muslim youth, whose parents bought him a car, but you have not been grateful, either to Allaah or to your parents, don't you fear Allaah's sudden punishment? Your parents cooperated in order to buy you a car to grant your wish and achieve your comfort. Is it logical to reward them for this by ingratitude and disobedience on your part, when they forbid you to indulge in bad counsel or to stay in bad company, or to stay out until late at night? Fear Allaah and guard yourself against being exposed to the anger of your parents, for they may curse you and thus, you become liable to Allaah's punishment.
O, you, youth who asks his parents urgently to buy him a car, but they reject his demand; comply with the wish of your parents, for they are more informed of the circumstances than you. They only wish what is good for you. They deem that you are still young and this makes them more anxious about you. So be patient and be obedient to your parents, and do not take the advice of your friends who urge you to insist on your demand.
O, you, friend, fear Allaah concerning the children of the Muslims. Do not push them towards destruction; rather, be an honest advisor and a pious close friend. O son, heed to the advice of your parents! Fulfill their commands and avoid what they forbid you to do! If your father, out of his care for you, forbids you to indulge in your clothing and your appearance, you should comply. You should lead a middle course in all your affairs.
As for you, kind mother, I warn you against pressing the father to buy a car for your son. Many misfortunes and misdeeds have occurred on account of answering the hasty demands of children.
Dear Muslim youth, beware of mistreating your mother, since the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam stressed the good treatment of mothers more than he did with regard to fathers, because of the great right that mothers have over their children. “A man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam and asked: Which of the people is most deserving of my good companionship? He replied: "It is your mother." He said: Who is the next? He replied: "It is your mother." He said: Who is the next? He said: "It is your mother." He asked: Who is the next? The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam answered: "It is your father.” (Bukhari).
Your mother has great rights over you. You should be a good companion to her and kind to her as much as you can. This is the way that leads to your pleasure in this world and in the Hereafter. So, hasten before it is too late! Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said: ”I do not know a deed more favorable to Allaah than kindness to mothers”. Rifa'ah bin Iyas said: “I saw a man weeping at the funeral of his mother. I exclaimed: Do you weep?! He said: Why not? A gate of Paradise has been closed before me”.
Hisham bin Hassan said: “I said to Al-Hasan: I am studying Qur'an, but my mother is expecting me for dinner. Al-Hasan said: Go and have dinner with your mother to please her, for this is dearer to me than a supererogatory pilgrimage you may make”.
O Muslims! Some people listen to their wives, fulfil their demands and seek their pleasure. This is good. But they, on the other hand, mistreat their mothers by neglecting them, not caring to ask about them or visiting them. They may even agree with ill remarks made by their wives and children concerning their mothers which enrage them and make them wish for the death of their mothers. This is the worst kind of ingratitude towards parents.
Instead, a man should seek the pleasure of his mother, even if he displeases all the other people for her sake. You Muslim! Forbid your children to hurt your mother with words or deeds, and strictly reject the complaints made by your wife about your mother. Rather, you should rather exhort your wife to respect your mother and to be more patient with her occasional mistakes. This is better for you.
We ask Allaah to guide us, to be kind to our parents, and to bestow His Mercy upon them and forgive them.
Praise be to Allaah Who destined loss to those who are unkind to their parents. I testify that there is no god but Allaah, with Whom there are no partners. He knows what you reveal and what you conceal. I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam. May Allaah bless him, his Companions and those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
O Muslims! Fear Allaah! Be aware that kindness or unkindness to your parents is an act that will be repaid likewise. If a Muslim obeys his parents, his children will obey him. If he honors his parents, his children will honor him, and vice versa. It was narrated in a Hadith: "As you are kind to your parents, so will your children be kind to you."
O Muslims! Beware of Allaah's punishment, because of your unkindness to your parents. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: "Allaah delays the punishment of sins according to His Will until the Day of Resurrection, except for unkindness to parents, Allaah hastens its punishment for the one guilty of it before his death."
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam also said: "Let him be humbled, let him be humbled, let him be humbled.’ It was said: Allah's Messenger, who is he? He said, "He who accompanies his parents in old age, either one or both of them, but did not use their presence (by doing good to them, etc.) to cause him to enter Paradise ". (Muslim).
'Umar bin 'Abdul-'Aziz, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Do not befriend one who is unkind to his parents, for how can he be kind to you while he is unkind to his parents?”
'Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Causing parents to weep is unkindness to them.” Mujahid said: A child should not hold back the hand of his father if he beats him. A child who glares at his parents is not a kind child. A child who grieves his parents is an unkind child”. Ka'b Al-Ahbar was asked about unkindness to parents, to which he replied: “If you disobey the command of your parents, you will be fully unkind to them”.
O Muslims! Here are some good examples of persons who were kind to their parents. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: "I entered Paradise and heard a recitation. I asked: What is this? It was said: This is Harithah bin Al-Nu'man. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: This is the result of kindness, since he was kind to his mother." It was also reported that whenever his mother commanded him to do something that he could not understand, he would not ask her to explain. Rather, he would ask any of those who were attending in her company to tell him what she meant.
Al-Fadl bin Yahya was kind to his father, who habitually made ablution with warm water. When they were in prison, the jailer forbade Al-Fadl to kindle fire to heat water for his father, then he drew a brass vessel full of water near a lamp. When it was morning the water had become hot and thus his father could make ablution with it. The jailer then forbade him to heat water by the lamp, so he took the vessel to his bed and attached it to his belly. When it was morning the water had become a bit warm.
Ibn Sirin refrained from talking about his mother, out of respect to her. 'Umar bin Dharr was asked: “How was your son kind to you? He replied: Whenever I walked during the day, he would walk behind me, and whenever I walked at night, he would walk in front of me. He never went up on a roof, while I was under him”.
Al-Bukhari narrated the story of the three men who sought shelter in a cave, then a huge rock blocked the entrance of the cave. They then implored Allaah to save them by virtue of their good deeds. One of them said: “O Allaah! I had two old parents, and some young children. I took the profession of grazing (sheep or cattle) to earn a living. Whenever I returned home, I used to provide milk for them, beginning with my parents. One day, I went too far in pursuit of wood. I did not return home until it was night. I found my parents asleep. I milked as usual and brought milk and stood beside them, refraining from either awakening them or beginning with my children, who were suffering from hunger. Thus continued our state of affairs until it was dawn”.
It was narrated by Muhammad bin Sirin that he said: “During the Caliphate of 'Uthman bin 'Affan, the price of palm-trees reached 1000 dirhams. Usamah bin Zaid, may Allaah be pleased with him, headed for a palm-tree that he cut off, extracted its core and fed to his mother. The people said to him: What made you do that, while you know that the price of a palm-tree has reached 1000 dirhams, while its core does not equal 2 dirhams. He said: My mother asked me to bring it to her. I always bring her anything she asked me, as long as it was in my capacity”.
O Muslims! If your parents or one of them died while you did not fulfil your duties towards them and you regret it, you still have a chance to set things right. This can be done by asking Allaah's forgiveness and mercy for them, by giving charity on their behalf and visiting relatives they used to visit. This can also be done by visiting their friends and fulfilling vows they made before their death. These and similar good deeds please parents after their death, since they alleviate their sins and increase their good deeds. It was narrated: “The parents of a servant of Allaah or one of them may die while he was unkind to them, but will later be regarded as a good son by Allaah. This is because of his frequent supplication to Allaah for them and his asking Allaah's forgiveness of their sins”.
Servants of Allaah! Allaah and His angels ask for forgiveness for the Prophet. O believers! Ask for forgiveness for him and grant him many salutations.
O Allaah! Guide us to maintain the ties of kinship and to be kind to our parents and cover us with Your Mercy, for You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.