وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى
وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنْ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ
الْمَصِيرُ وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ
عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا وَاتَّبِعْ
سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ
بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (٣١:
We enjoined man to show kindness to his parents, for with much pain his
mother bears him and he is not weaned before he is two years of age. We
said: ‘Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me shall all things return.
But if they press you to serve besides Me that of which you have no
knowledge, do not obey them. Remain kind to them in this world, and turn to
Me with all devotion. To Me you shall all return, and I will declare to you
everything you have done’. (31:14-15)
All divine scriptures instruct man to show
kindness to the parents. Various verses of the Qur’ān also direct the
believers to be well behaved to the parents.
The above quoted verses however specifically determine the limits of good
behaviour with the parents. The details of this directive as stated in these
1. It is the parents who bring into existence a new life and become the
means to nourish it. No doubt, the care and affection of the father is quite
a lot, however the hardships a mother encounters in bringing up the child
starting from her pregnancy, to childbirth and then breast feeding the child
are unmatched and no child can repay her for this great service. On these
very grounds, the Prophet (sws) has regarded the right of the mother as
three times that of the father.
Consequently, the Almighty exhorts man to be the most grateful to his
parents after his Lord. This gratitude must not be expressed merely by the
tongue. It should manifest into good behaviour towards them. He should
respect them and never become fed up of them. He must not utter a single
word of disrespect to them. Instead, he should be soft, sympathetic, loving
and obedient to them. He should listen to them and be caring and
affectionate to them in the tenderness of old age. The Qur’ān says:
وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ
إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا
فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا
كَرِيمًا وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنْ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُلْ رَّبِّ
ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا فِي
نُفُوسِكُمْ إِنْ تَكُونُوا صَالِحِينَ فَإِنَّهُ كَانَ لِلْأَوَّابِينَ
Your Lord has enjoined you to worship none but Him, and to show kindness to
your parents, If either or both of them attain old age in your dwelling,
show them no sign of impatience, nor rebuke them; but speak to them kind
words. Treat them with humility and tenderness and say: ‘Lord, be merciful
to them. They nursed me when I was an infant’. Your Lord best knows what is
in your hearts. If you remain obedient, He will forgive those that turn to
Ibn Mas‘ūd (rta) narrates that he asked the Prophet (sws): ‘Which deed does
God like the most’. The Prophet (sws) replied: ‘To say the prayer on time’.
I inquired: ‘After that’. He replied: ‘To be well-mannered with the
Abū Hurayrah (rta) reports from the Prophet (sws): ‘Humiliation to that
person, humiliation to that person, humiliation to that person’. ‘For whom’,
asked the people. He replied: ‘Whose parents or any one of them reached old
age in his presence and he in spite of that could not enter Paradise.
‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Umar (rta) says that once a person asked the Prophet (sws) to
participate in Jihād. At this the Prophet (sws) inquired: ‘Are your parents
alive?’. The person replied in the affirmative. The Prophet (sws) then
remarked: ‘Keep serving them. This is Jihād.
Abū Sa‘īd Khudrī (rta) says that a person from the people of Yemen migrated
and came to the Prophet (sws) in order to participate in Jihād. The Prophet
(sws) asked: ‘Do you have any relative in Yemen?’ He replied that he had his
parents there. The Prophet (sws) remarked: ‘Did you ask their permission?’
He said: ‘No’. The Prophet (sws) then said: ‘Go back and seek their
permission and if they grant permission then only should you take part in
Jihād, other wise keep serving them’.
Mu‘āwiyyah narrated from his father Jāhimah that he came to the Prophet (sws)
and said: ‘O Messenger of God! I would like to participate in Jihād and have
come to consult you [regarding this]’. The Prophet asked: ‘Is your mother
alive?’ He said: ‘Yes’. At this the Prophet said: ‘Stay with her and serve
her because Paradise is beneath her feet’.
‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Umar (rta) narrates from the Prophet (sws): ‘The pleasure of
the Almighty resides in the pleasure of the father and the wrath of the
Almighty resides in the wrath of the Almighty.
Abū Dardā (rta) says that he heard the Prophet (sws) saying that the best
door to Paradise is the father; so, if you want you can waste him and if you
want you can protect him.
‘Umar Ibn Shu‘ayb narrates from his mother who narrates from her grandfather
that once a person came to the Prophet (sws) and said: ‘I have some wealth
and I also have children but my father needs this wealth’. The Prophet (sws)
replied: ‘Both you and your wealth belong to your father’.
2. In spite of the status that Islam confers upon parents they do not have
the right to force their children to baselessly associate someone with the
Almighty. The Prophet (sws) has said that showing disobedience to parents is
the greatest sin after polytheism;
however the above quoted verses of Sūrah Luqmān say that the children should
openly disobey their parents with regard to polytheism and should follow the
way of those who follow God. Any calls to evade the Almighty must not
receive any positive response even if it is parents giving the call. On
these very grounds, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: ‘No one can
be obeyed if he calls to disobey the Almighty; one can only obey what is
good’, (Bukhārī, No: 7257).
Consequently, all other directives of the Almighty
shall also be considered subservient to this directive, and one cannot
disobey these directives if the parents ask them to do so.
3. Even if the parents force their children to commit a sin as heinous as
polytheism they must always be treated in a befitting manner. Their needs
should be met as far as possible and a prayer of guidance be continued to be
made for them. This is what the words ‘وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي
الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا’ (Remain kind to them in this world) of the
verse quoted above entail. The children may have a right to disobey their
parents if they insist upon disobedience to the directives of religion but
they must still not be slack or indifferent, in any way, to their duty
towards their parents.
The last part of the verses ‘ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ
فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ’ caution a person that one
day he has to return to the Almighty to give account of his deeds. While
commenting upon this part of the verse, Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī writes:
This part of the verse addresses both the parents
and the children and carries both a warning and an assurance. One day, each
person will have to return to the Almighty. Whatever he would have done
would be brought before him. If some parents had violated the rights given
to them regarding their children by making them deviate from the path of the
Almighty, they will have to face punishment for this attitude and if
children duly recognized the rights of the Almighty together with those of
their parents, as well as remaining steadfast in following the obligations
these rights entail, they will be rewarded for their perseverance.
(Translated by Shehzad Saleem)