(3) Rights of Parents

No single person, in the right frame of mind, will deny the rights of the parents unto their own children.  The parents are indeed the very reason for the existence of their child . Both parents are entitled to great rights by their children in accordance to Islām and all other sounds principles as well.  But let us closely examine the right of parents to their children according to Islām. 

Parents raise their own children and care for them through their childhood.  Both suffer a lot for the comfort, pleasure, happiness, health and satisfaction of their children.  They wake up and stayed awake, in order for their child to sleep.  They suffer all kinds of headache, fatigue, and tiredness for the contentment of their child, particularly while they are infants.

A mother carries the child in her womb, for nine months, in most normal pregnancies. She gives her foetus from her own food and sustenance bearing all the biological, chemical, and physical changes with which she is burdened with a pleasant feeling, high hopes and beautiful expectation of her beloved baby.  All these difficulties encountered by a mother, although causing her fatigue, weakness end many other problems, are not but pleasure to most normal pregnant mothers who are in love with their children in their wombs.  Allāh, the Almighty stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 

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.  [Al- Qur'ān, 31:14] 

Later in the life of the child his mother nurses the child regardless of how tiring this process is, how demanding it may be, but still mothers sacrifice all for their beloved babies. Normal mothers willingly, happily and gladly do that for their beloved children, in the most ordinary cases for two years or even longer, without complaint, burden or even hesitation. 

It is for that very reason along with many others illustrated later that Allāh constituted this immense right on man towards his parents.  The sacrifices of mothers mainly are most distinct, unique and an act that stands on its own merits.  Fathers nevertheless are also next in importance, for the child is at an early stage of its life when such child cannot fend for or earn for himself.  Mothers however carry on their emotions, caring feelings, loving and concern about their own children for much longer periods in life.  In fact some mothers approach death or even their own children have grand children, but yet they still consider them “babies”, as they never left that infant and helpless stage.  For that reason, Allāh the Almighty, stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 

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," (i.e., any expression of disapproval or irritation) and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.
And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, "My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small."  [17:23-24] 

The most essential right of parents unto their children is to be most kind, helpful, respectful, caring, mindful, gentle and keen to them.  A child must exert every effort, financial ability and physical abilities to be kind, good, helpful, protective and serving to them at any given time of their life.  A child must at any given time in his life obey their commands and follow their requests and instructions, as long as such instructions and commands do not contradict, conflict with or disrespect the command of Allāh, or cause the child any physical or mental harm. 

A child must be kind in words, treatment and actions to his parents.  It is a right of the parents on their children to be pleasant in their presence and serve them with pleasure and without any complaints, hidden or apparent.  It is their due right to be served from their children at their old age, in case of aging and illness and being very weak, with no compliant, criticism or grievance.  A child will most likely suffer the same things his parents will suffer in aging, weakness and may be the state of senility. 

A child in most normal circumstances, could become a parent himself and may become an undesirable or unwanted parent in his children's home if Allāh wanted for such a child this situation.  Such an aging parent is in need for help, caring and assistance of his children as well.  This is the normal life, as you deal with others, and especially your parents, Allāh will provide you with children who will treat you in the same manner and fashion.  Therefore, if a child grew up to be kind to his old and aging parents, when they need care, service and assistance, let him rest assured that Allāh will cause his children to be as nice, or on the contrary, as evil as one was to his parents.  In fact, as you treat your parents, your own children will treat you.  Moreover, Allāh placed the parents in such a high position in accordance with Islām, the religion of the pure, innate (fitrah) and practical way of life. 

The rights of parents as preserved by in Islām by Allāh are so immense that He (the Almighty) placed their rights upon their children nest to His Own right upon man, Whom He (the Almighty) created, cherished, sustained and supported.  Allāh stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 

Worship Allāh and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good…  [4:36] 

Allāh’s Apostle (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam) places kindness to parents in a position higher than jihād, struggle and actual fight for the cause of Allāh, in an Islāmic battle and for a noble Islāmic cause.  Ibn Masoud narrated that: ” I asked Allāh’s Apostle (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam): “What is the most  beloved deed in the sight of Allāh , the Almighty?” He (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Offering salāh in its due and prescribed time.” I then asked: “What is next?” He (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said “kindness to one's parents.” I further asked: “What is next?” He (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Jihād for the cause of Allāh, the Almighty.”  (Reported by Bukhāree and Muslim) 

This Hadeeth shows the importance of the rights of parents upon their children.  It is a very unfortunate situation to notice, nowadays that many individuals, regardless of creed, belief, national or geographical location, social or economical status, are showing discern, humiliation, carelessness, indifference or even neglect to their own parents.  At times, the best thing that one does is to send a gift, a greeting card or a message with someone, a telephone call, or a telegram or a even a fax to his parent wishing them a happy year, a happy birthday, a happy anniversary or any other occasion.  One forgets that amount of effort they exerted physically, biologically, socially, economically, emotionally and spiritually to see their beloved child grow to become what he/she is.  Moreover, it is noticed nowadays also that some very unfortunate parents are treated rather inhumanely by their own children.  There are even some other children who do not admit any right for their parents but rather discern them, attempt to ridicule them, insult them, humiliate them or even beat them in private, or at times in public calling them senile old man, old woman, and every other name in the book.  Such youngsters will get their due and fair reward in this life before the hereafter, Allāh the Almighty knows best. 

Islām insists on the rights of the parents due to the very nature of human feelings, human needs, human race and society.  That, what we Muslims believe is a sort of dedication that Allāh placed in the hearts of the young Muslims generation so the Muslims Society become distinguished and unique for its own merits.  Allāh stated in the glorious Qur’ān:  

Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.  [31:14] 

That is the Islāmic criterion for the right of the parents.  This is but a truly human, honouring and respectful treatment to the parents who produced us from their very existence, dedicated their life, efforts, wealth and all what that they can afford to see us the way we are.  Those who stayed awake during the nights when we ached, deprived themselves new clothes to see us wearing new ones, suffered when we suffered, celebrated our first step, felt happy and proud when we achieved, felt miserable and unhappy when we failed.  That is why we should honour them at their old age.  This natural right for the parents is preserved, honoured, respected and practiced by truly committed Muslims, young and old, anywhere in the Islāmic world.  That is also why we urge everyone, Muslim or non-Muslim to learn about the beauty of Islām as a complete and integral way of life.  It is indeed the religion of pure and innate (fitrah) that does not clash or contradicted with the correct natural matters of this life. 
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