In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
KINDNESS TO PARENTS
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment. Allah, the Exalted, says: "Thy Lord hath decreed that you worship none but Him and that you 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. And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."" Q17:23-4
Furthermore, Allah says: "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: "Show gratitude to Me (Allah) and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal." Q31:14. Parents play important roles in the life of children. Allah put love of children in the heart of parents and they work relentlessly to make sure that their children lack nothing. Therefore, it is a religious duty on every child to be kind to his/her parents. Kindness to parents is the second of the most beloved deeds by Allah. One of the companions of our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) narrated that:
“I asked the Prophet "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents." I again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's cause." 'Abdullah added, "I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet would have told me more."” (Bukhari 1.505).
"Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: "Let him be humbled into dust; let him be humbled into dust. It was said: Allah's Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by neglecting his/her duties towards them)"”. (Muslim 6189)
The reward of kindness to parents is so great that our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommended it in place of Jihad. It is narrated that a man came to the Prophet asking his permission to take part in Jihad. The Prophet asked him, "Are your parents alive?" He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said to him, "Then exert yourself in their service." (Bukhari 4.248).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said, "If anyone possesses these three characteristics Allah will give him an easy death and bring him into His Paradise: gentleness towards the weak, affection towards parents, and kindness to slaves." (Tirmidhi 3364)
Our mother, in particular, deserve more attention and care. It is narrated that a man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father." (Bukhari 8.2)
In Islam, disobedience and maltreatment of parents is one of the great sins. Allah's Apostle said thrice, "Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the great sins?" We said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle" He said, "To join partners in worship with Allah; to be undutiful to one's parents." The Prophet sat up after he had been reclining and added, "AND I WARN YOU AGAINST GIVING FORGED STATEMENT AND A FALSE WITNESS; I warn you against giving a forged statement and a false witness." The Prophet kept on saying that warning till we thought that he would not stop. (Bukhari 8.7). In another hadith (statement of prophet Muhammad (PBUH)), Allah's Apostle said. "It is one of the greatest sins that a man should curse his parents." It was asked (by the people), "O Allah's Apostle! How does a man curse his parents?" The Prophet said, "The man abuses the father of another man and the latter abuses the father of the former and abuses his mother." (Bukhari 8.4)
However, parents are not to be obeyed if they enjoin their children to associate partners with Allah or worship other deity other than Allah. "We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) you to join with Me (in worship) anything of which you have no knowledge, obey them not. You all have to return to Me and I will tell you (the truth) of all that you did." Q29:8. In Islam, there is no obedience to any being in disobedience to Allah. It should be noted that disobeying parents in this regard does not mean that they should be maltreated or be denied of their rights.
Kindness can be shown to our dead parents. In a hadith, it is narrated: “While we were with the Apostle of Allah! (peace be upon him) a man of Banu Salmah came to Him and said: Apostle of Allah is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death? He replied: Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, ask forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honor their friends.” (Abu-Dawood 5123).
Unfortunately, man-made laws, in the name of freedom and individual rights, in the so-called “civilized” countries encourage children to rebel against their parents. No wonder, a teenager may wake-up one day, kill his parents, teacher, other students in school, then commit suicide. Special homes are made for the aged parents to live because their children are too busy chasing money and merriment to take care of them.
May Allah make it easy for us to follow His commandments. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.