IMPORTANCE OF PARENTS

Rashard Jedaar/Cape Town/South Africa

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

We thank and praise Allah SWT and praise Him for His tolerance and goodness. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah. He has ordered us to honour and be good to our parents.

We bear witness that the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS is the true Messenger of Allah, who warned us not to be disobedient to our parents: Allah has made disobedience to parents one of the major sins. O Allah, shower Thy choicest blessings on him, his friends and relatives -- all those who were tolerant of one another and who guided others on the Straight Path. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents." (Q. 17, 23)

In this ayah Allah commands that HE Alone be worshipped. The word, worship, means to glorify or to elevate. Glorifying anyone or anything other than Allah is strictly forbidden in Islam. This immediately rules out any form of idol-worshipping -- be it a film star, or money. Allah further commands us to treat our parents in the kindliest and most civil manner. Even this would not be enough to compensate for the love and sacrifice they made for us.

 

O Muslims,

 

What you sow you shall reap! The way we treat others so shall we be treated. How often do we not see this statement lived in everyday life? Look around you at some of your friends or acquaintances and reflect on their successes and failures in life. What stands out clearly is that he whosoever sows a good seed, shall reap goodness and he whosoever sows evil can only reap sorrow. The reward for a good deed is but a good deed, while an evil deed is a destructive weapon against its user!

Who have the most right to your hearts, to your love and respect? Who deserve to hear your words of kindness or receive your token of goodness and appreciation? Your parents! A mother's love for her child is a du'ah, an invocation for the wellbeing of her child. It is through her love that he or she learns to crawl, to walk, to speak, to relate to others in the community. Surely we can offer them a word of comfort and our companionship! It is narrated by Abu Huraira that a man once approached our Nabi and asked:

"O Apostle of Allah, who has the most right to my companionship? To this our Nabi replied: "Your Mother. "Thrice the man asked the same question and thrice our Nabi replied,"Your Mother", until the fourth time when our Nabi replied, "Your Father".

(Bukhari: Vol.8, v.2)

How true is this anecdote not ? Can you or I ever repay even one moment of the time and effort our mother gave to us? Has she not sacrificed her health and her wealth to bear us ? What great pains did she not endure during childbirth ? For two years we were helpless and she sacrificed her strength, her personal comfort to breast-feed and carry us around. How many times did we not cause her embarrassment and humiliation? Did she ever complain when she had to feed, clean and clothe us? No, she served us with love! How young and beautiful was she then ? How healthy and energetic? Today she may be grey and wrinkled not so much with age, but endless hours, days and years of sacrifice as mother. Love deserves love! Allah reminds us in the inspiring words of the Holy Qur'an:

"WE have enjoined on man, kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the child to his weaning is  (a period of) thirty months..."

(Q. 46, 15)

When we were ill, she suffered with us, fearful that some misfortune might befall us. In her worry and anxiety she would cry and beseech Allah to restore us to good health and grant us a long and prosperous life. In the same way, too, a good deed from us brings joy to her heart, but something wrong fills her heart with disappointment and tears stream down her cheeks. Love deserves love!

Besides your mother no one deserves your mercy, your respect, your kindness and your bounty more than your father. It is he who struggled in the rain the cold and the heat of the day to earn enough to feed, clothe and educate us. He was responsible for teaching us what was of benefit to us materially and spiritually. Let us take care not to display any animosity or unkindness towards him, for then our children will treat us in like manner. If we did not get what our friends got from their parents, let us not blame them or hold it against them: they did their duty as far as they were able to do. Let it rather be a lesson to us to improve on their failings. A famous Muslim philosopher once told his son on his death-bed:

"My son, do not forget to visit the graves of your parents, for it will not be long when you, too, will be carried to the same places where they are. And when you visit them at any time, read what you are able to from the Holy Qur'an and send it as a present to their souls. O my son, why have you been so disobedient? Why have you shut yourself from your parents? What was their crime against you ? Was it a crime to rejoice when you had done a good deed? Was it a crime to find the world becoming dark before us when we heard of your evil or wrong actions ? Was it a crime to have shouldered a burden as heavy as a mountain when you were ill ? Was it a crime when we wished to bear your pains rather than to see you suffer ? To what extremes did we not resort to restore your health ? If a certain part of your body had been needed to restore your health your mother would not have hesitated to cut it off from her own body. The very evening your mother was buried you forgot what she had done for you. When you inherited the house, you forgot what sacrifices we had made to acquire it. Surely you are going to follow us tomorrow just as we shall follow our parents. And you shall regret your ill-treatment of us just as we regretted ill-treating our parents. My son, I strongly implore you: accept these last few words of mine, then, perhaps, you shall gain the mercy of your Lord, Allah SWT; and remember, your children shall also become parents."

This anecdote further illustrates the importance of obedience to parents. Disobedience to parents is a great sin. Rasoolullah SAW said:

"For all sins, if Allah Wills, He will punish you on the Day of Judgement except to go against your parents, when he will punish you both in this world as well as in the Hereafter."

To honour parents is, therefore, one of the noblest human deeds. For this reason Allah compares a child's obedience to his parents to theirs to Him. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents:

in travail upon travail did his mother bear him,

and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command),

"Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is thy final goal.

(Q. 31, 14)

What then are the good deeds you must do for your parents? honour them; spend of your wealth in their welfare; strive in their interests; tolerate and bear with them in old age, serve them; do not tire of serving them; treat them gently when they are old and weak and do as Allah enjoins us in the Holy Qur'an:

"Whether one or both of them attain old age, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour, pray to your Lord to keep them, as He reminds us the Holy Qur'an: "My Lord, Bestow on them Thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."

(Q. 17, 23)

O Muslims, serve your Allah, and be determined to gain the satisfaction of your parents, for such will be your happiness on earth and in the Hereafter. Rasoolullah SAW reminded us: "The satisfaction of Allah lies in the satisfaction of your parents, and the wrath of Allah lies in the displeasure of your parents."

In another Hadeeth he said: "Be good to your parents and your children shall be good to you, be chaste and your wife shall be chaste unto you."

It is reported that a young man once complained to the Prophet that his father was taking his money. The Prophet summoned the father. An old man, leaning heavily on his walking-stick, made his appearance. When asked if, what the son complained about was true, the old man stared long at the Prophet and softly replied, "O Apostle of Allah, my son used to be weak and I strong; he used to be poor and I rich, and what I had in my possession I spent for his wellbeing. Today I am poor and weak and my son cannot afford to spend even a small amount on me!" The Prophet was overwhelmed by this and a tear rolled from his eye as he spoke: "There is no stone or any hard object but cries when he hears such sentiments expressed. You (young man) and all your property belong to your parents." Twice the Prophet repeated this sentence.

On another occasion a son came to complain about his mother's strong temper. Did she have a strong temper when she bore you ?" the Prophet asked. Did she have a strong temper when she spent numerous night sleepless, suckling and guarding you when you were ill, going out of her way to feed you ?"The young man replied that he had already rewarded for all her actions by carrying her on his back while they were on Pilgrimage to Makkah. The Prophet looked at the son and replied: "My son, (you have done a noble deed) but you can never repay one single drop of milk which she gave you."

Let our youth, our boys and girls take special note of today's lessons. Your education which starts in the home, cannot not be successful unless you honour and obey your educators, your parents. Remember, too, that after Allah come your parents: "The Jannah lies at the feet of the Mother."

Al-Walid bin "Aizar narrated that the Prophet was once asked which deed is loved most by Allah. He replied: "To offer prayers at their stated times." 'Abdullah asked, "What is the next in goodness?" The Prophet said: "To be good and dutiful to one's parents." 'Abdullah asked what is the next (in goodness). The Prophet replied: "To participate in Jihad for Allah's Cause." (Bukhari: Vol.8, v.1)

Ameen!                     Aqeemus salaah!

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