[(24) Practical Islam] Advice from Quran: Be respectful and caring to parents

Advice from Quran: Be respectful and caring to parents 

By: Shaik Kadir

Author's grand-children, Nur Iffah Imran (left) and Adam Rayan Dula:  "Children who take care of their parents in their old age would themselves be taken care of by their children later on."

Author’s grand-children, Nur Iffah Imran (left) and Adam Rayan Dula: “Children who take care of their parents in their old age would themselves be taken care of by their children later on.”

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Recently (in July 2015), Singapore Muslims were shocked by the news of a young woman who slapped her own mother. The Muslim community have deemed what she did as gravely wrong. Such abuse does do not reflect the akhlak (manners) of a Muslim and is positively against the teachings of Islam.

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Islam teaches Muslims to respect and love their parents and treat them well, with the Quran advising them to say this little prayer: “O My Lord! Bestow Your Grace upon them as they had cherished and reared me when I was a child.”

The full verse goes: “And out of tenderness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: “O My Lord! Bestow Your Grace upon them as they had cherished and reared me when I was a child.” (Quran, 17:24)

Well-known translator, in commenting this verse, says:

“The metaphor is that of a high-flying bird which lowers her wing out of tenderness to her offspring. There is double aptness:

(1) When the parent was strong and the child was helpless, parental affection was showered on the child: when the child grows up and is strong, and the parent is helpless, can he do less than bestow similar tender care on the parent?

(2) But more: he must approach the matter with gentle humility; for does not parental love remind him of the love with which Allah cherished His creatures? There is something here more than simple human gratitude: it goes up into the highest spiritual region.

In this article, extracts from the Friday prayer sermon delivered in all Singapore mosques on 31 July 2015 and my article on the subject published in my blog on 8 May 2013 are produced here as a reminder to Muslims of the Quranic advice to respect their parents and treat them well (while non-Muslim readers of this blog too can gain some insight through this knowledge-sharing article).

Treat your parents with love and respect

Extracts from the sermon, entitled, “The Akhlak (Manners) and Ethics of a Muslim in Facing Challenges in Today’s Modern World”, prepared by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Muis) (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), are as follows:

“A strong sense of spirituality will help us face the challenges of living in today’s modern world. A strong spirituality is one that enables a believer (mukmin) to be confident in fulfilling their religious duties wisely and responsibly. A confidence that is based on spirituality will lead to a serene heart that will help one to face and overcome the stresses of life in today’s modern world. This is crucial because the environment today is such that one faces many forms of hurdles that lead to stress – not just for us but also in our relationship with others.

Sometimes we become extremely stressed out by many factors including the various demands of life, our busy daily jobs, managing the household, or even the demands of studying. Without a calm and peaceful heart, we will become easily agitated and tend to lose our patience when faced with a difficult situation to the point that we may forget that it is our obligation as the ummah (Islamic community) of our Prophet (PBUH) to uphold noble traits in all circumstances.

Let us not be among those who forget the obligation to be kind to others, especially to our parents and family members simply because we are too tired from work or we are facing difficult problems. Be fair and do not take it out on our family members who are in need of our love, care and concern. No matter how tired we are, or how difficult the problem that we are facing, our parents, spouse and children deserve to be treated with love and not with violence or neglect.

In overcoming the challenges of this post-modern world, the noble values taught by our Prophet (PBUH) should serve as a guide and for us to emulate. Among the values that our beloved Prophet (PBUH) emphasised is being polite in our interactions with others, especially towards both our parents. Respecting and caring for them are our obligations as a child. Do not hurt their feelings, do not be rough toward them and do not abuse them; whether through our speech or actions. We must also not neglect them. Allah calls upon us to not be harsh toward our parents. Allah says in Chapter 17:23 which means: “Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. 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.”

For example, do not be rude, or shout or raise our voice at them. No matter what their mistakes are, we do not have the right to abuse them. If there is something that we do not agree with them, then try to discuss nicely and politely. Any grievances should be discussed with kindness with them. At the same time, parents must create a culture of open communication with their children so that children are able to discuss and share their thoughts honestly and openly, and politely. This will ensure that good relationship is maintained.”

Show gratitude to your parents

Extracts from the article, “Do good to your parents, show your gratitude to them”, written by Shaik Kadir, are as follows:

Our own prophet, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was doubly orphaned when he was a little child. His mother passed away when he was only six years old, and his father passed away even before he was born.  But life must go on even without parents.  But those with parents are fortunate, so do good and show your gratitude to them. This is the advice of Islam.

Our Prophet said that “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.” This powerful statement acknowledges the fact that mothers do their best for their children’s welfare.  It is a dedication to show how a mother makes sacrifices in caring for her baby from the time the baby was in her womb for nine months and right to at least two years after its birth, the period when the baby most needed the mother’s care and attention for survival.

To remind people of the great sacrifice a mother always does to her child or children, Allah points out: “We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents.  His mother bore him by bearing hardship, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years.  (Hear the command O man!):  Show gratitude to Me and to your parents.” (31:14)

Islam teaches Muslims to do good to parents and show their gratitude to them every day, not once a year. Instructions in the Quran mention children have to love both the mother and father together as advised in Chapter 31, Verse 14 of the Quran, shown above.

The Quran has numerous instructions in which both parents are mentioned together.  Some of the instructions are:

  1. “Do good to your parents…” (4:36 & 6:151)
  2. “Treat your parents with kindness…” (2:83)
  3. “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents.  Whether one or both attain old-age in your lifetime, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.” (17:23)
  4. “Bear them (your parents) company in this life with justice and consideration and follow the way of those who turn to Me in love.” (31:15)

The sincere display of kindness and love on parents would not go unrewarded. Children who take care of their parents in their old age would themselves be taken care of by their children later on.   The Prophet said: “Be of good service to your parents for surely your children will be of good service to you.”

Apart from the respect, gratitude and help given to parents, Allah advises a Muslim to say a do’a (short prayer or supplication) for them regardless of whether they are still alive or have passed away. The do’a goes: “O My Lord! Bestow Your Grace upon them as they had cherished and reared me when I was a child.” (17:24)

For full text, go to:

(Muis’ Friday prayer sermon):  http://www.officeofthemufti.sg/documents/E15Jul31_-_The_Akhlak_and_Ethics_of_a_Muslim_in_Facing_Challenges_in_Todays_Modern_World.pdf )

(Shaik Kadir’s article):  https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/do-good-to-your-parents-show-your-gratitude-to-them/ )

2 August 2015

 

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