The highest right is Allah’s that He be worshipped alone without partners. After that comes the right of the creatures and foremost of these is that you show kindness to parents. Allah usually mentions the rights of the parents in the Quran along with His rights and there are many verses instructing kindness to parents.
Kindness to parents is next only to worshipping Allah alone
You can show kindness to your parents in many ways including:
- Spending some of your money on them, even if they don’t need it
- Increasing your help for them as they age
- Give time to talk to them without distractions
- Show interest in their stories, even if you have heard them many times before
- Constantly asking our Creator to forgive them and bless them
According to Ibn Kathir.
And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good. And to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.
A Hadith records that Ibn Mas’ud (RA) I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the best deed?’ He replied ‘Performing the prayer on time.’ I asked, ‘Then what?’ He said: ‘Being kind to parents.’ I said, ‘Then what?’ He answered, ‘Jihad in the cause of Allah’ (Recorded in the Two Sahihs).
Parents are among those who deserve the voluntary spending on them
They ask you, (O Muhammad), what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.”
Parents due rights are so important that the Quran states whatever you spend of good must be for parents and kindred etc. Spending on them is so commendable that by doing so, it makes you follow the commandments in the Quran regarding them so the reward will be increased.
A Hadith states that; those who deserve one’s generosity the most, are: Your mother, father, sister, brother, the closest and then the farthest (relative).
The end of the Ayah shows that whatever you perform of good works, Allah knows then and He will reward you for them in the best manner, no one will be dealt with unjustly.
Parents are the reason you came into existence
‘Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him,and to parents do good.’
Allah commands the servants of His to be dutiful to their parents, for Allah made parents the reason for the servants to come into existence. Allah joins the order to worship Him with being dutiful to parents in many places in the Quran.
A scholar called Ibn Jarir recorded that a person said: ‘You will find that he who is undutiful (to parents) is also arrogant, and deprived.’ The Quranic verse of 19:32 which says: ‘And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, deprived’ shows this link.
Man is obliged to treat his parents with utmost honour and respect, tending to their every need. Man should bear in mind he was once a weak and frail child who was unable to do anything for himself. It was the mother who tended to his every need despite her own weakness and needs.
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.’
The parents have to tend to the nourishment of the child being faced with difficulties and expenses while the father exhorts himself to earning a living for them. The child has only to sleep. When the child falls ill, the parents sacrifice their own comfort and sleep to put the child to rest. And so it continues as the child grows up, with different needs which he can’t overcome himself. Keeping all this mind, a child should have a burning desire to offer comfort and peace to his parents when he grows up.
A person’s sense of honour demands that he makes an effort to repay some of their efforts as a token of gratitude.
Asking forgiveness for your parents
‘Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.’
This is the prayer of Ibrahim (AS) which directs the Muslims to pray for their parents and ask Allah to forgive them as everyone sins to some extent.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also told us about a man raised to a very high station in Paradise. The man was surprised and asked how he achieved such a noble position. He was informed, ‘Because your son prayed for your forgiveness.’ (Ibn Majah)
Say only good words to your parents
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,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.
The emphasis on treating parents with love and respect is unmatched. This ayah (sentence) commands that you do not let them hear anything offensive from you, not even to say ‘Uff!’ which is the mildest word of disrespect. And do not do anything horrible to them, for example, do not raise your hand against them. But rather you should always address them in terms of honour being gentle, kind, polite and with respect and appreciation for everything they have done for you from before you were born until their last days.
It is obligatory to honour our parents, treat them kindly and thank them for their kindness to the child when he was in his mother’s womb and until he became independent and could take care of his own interests. Honouring them includes spending on them when they are in need, hearing and obeying them with regard to things that are good and proper, not raising one’s voice to them and addressing them with good words and politeness.
How to honor your parents after they die
In Islam there are a number of ways to honour and respect our parents after they have passed. We can honour the in the following ways after they die:
- Make dua (prayer) for them
- Give a charity on their behalf
- Initiate a perpetual charity on their behalf – such as a Masjid, an Islamic Library, an Islamic hospital, an orphanage etc.
- Perform Hajj and Umra on their behalf
- Read Quran on their behalf
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in one hadith, ‘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)
May Allah grant our parents a long-lasting life. May He also give us the ability to honour them and treat them the way they deserve.