Parental Rights

Parental rights are far beyond measure, for parents are the reason behind their children’s existence in this toilsome life, after Almighty God. Moreover, children will never be able to acknowledge the anguish and distress that befell their parents, the hardship and sleepless nights, the concern and discomfort they have been through for their children’s sake, nurturing and looking after them all the time. Protecting them from the heat, cold and illness. Vowing to monitor their children’s state of hunger, satiation, thirst, clothing, and noticing their pain and sorrow. Thus, they are keen on taking care of their children, by paying attention to their movements and stillnesses, whether walking or seated, laughting or sulking, in health and in illness, they rejoice in their joy, and grieve for their grief, and fall ill to their illness. Likewise, a mother bears her baby for nine months and often goes through a lot of pain and sickness in that time. And when in labor, she faces death, and suffers from an unbearable pain, a distress only known to God. Sometimes she might die, and other times might survive. It would have been one thing if the pain and hardship ended upon giving birth, but what lies ahead is even more distressing, “She bore him with reluctance, and brought him forth under duress.”

A mother withers and weakens whenever her baby falls ill, and her smile fades the moment his laughter vanishes; she sheds tears if his illness aggravates, denies herself food if he happens to stop eating, and even jeopardizes her life to save her child. She bears heaps of humiliation and misery to help enable him lead a happy life, and dies full of satisfaction once he grows up, even if it is on account of her own health, strength and happiness. Her life is full of optimism whenever she sees her child playing with the other boys or going to school. (This is the mother who the Prophet, peace be upon him, told us to obey and taking care of. He emphasized this three times when asked by a man, who amongst his relatives has the greatest right over him…) For the mother has triple the rights of a father and that is why God said that heaven lies beneath the mother’s feet.

And the father? He is the man enduring hardship, exerting himself, moving to and fro to fill his son’s or daughter’s life with joy. For no one is more dear to the child (after his mother) than his father. He who welcomes him home with a grin, plays with him, and is concerned once he leaves; but, unfortunately, many children soon forget that favor, and then begins a cycle of ingratitude, denial and lack of appreciation (except those with the guidance from God). Thus, the ingrate son returns the favor with rebellion and disobedience. However, You must know that obeying your parents is an obligation in both the Quran and the Prophetic traditon. The prophet said: “May his nose be rubbed in dust who finds parents with him after growing old, whether one of them or both of them, then does not enter Paradise serving and obeying them”(dust refers to mortification). One can never repay his parents for what they’ve done for him; as the Prophet once explained: “No son will ever repay his father unless he finds him enslaved and he frees him.”

God, we beseech You to help us love our parents more, fill our hearts with compassion and mercy as so to repay only some of their favor. For parents have numerous rights over their children in return for treating them well and providing them with a righteous upbringing in an effort to seek God’s contentment. Some of these rights are:

Islam commands us to obey our parents for the privilege they bestowed upon us. This is mentioned in both the Quran and the Prophetic tradition. God says: “We have enjoined on man kindness to parents” Al Ankabut; He also says: “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 return.” Luqman. For the mother withstands pre labor and post labor stress, as does the father whilst he is looking after his young child, worrying about him and providing for him, thereby earning with that the child’s obedience, for the parents are the ones who raised him in his utter depentancy and looked after him as he grew up. Thus, obedience to parents is obligatory, yet it is also greatly rewarded since it is one of the best deeds in Islam as nothing comes before the rights of the parents except obedience to God and the Prophet.

Parents come before anyone else when it comes to obedience, be it children, wife, friends, other relatives, etc. Obedience also involves anything regarding food, clothing, treatment; and obedience continues even after the parents’ death. A man once came and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, is there any goodness I can show my parents after they die?” He said, “Yes. Praying for them, seeking forgiveness for them, fulfilling the pledges they made, keeping ties with their relatives, and honoring their friends.”

It has also been narrated: “Once, while we were sitting in the company of Prophet, a dead man was brought. The Prophet was requested to lead the funeral prayer for the deceased. He asked, ‘Is he in debt?’ The people replied in the negative. Then he asked, “Has he left any wealth?” They said, “No.” So, he led his funeral prayer. Another dead man was brought and the people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Lead his funeral prayer.” The Prophet asked, “Is he in debt?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “Has he left any wealth?” They said,” Three Dinars.” So, he led the prayer. Then a third dead man was brought and the people said to the Prophet, “Please lead his funeral prayer.” He asked, “Has he left any wealth?” They said, “No.” He then asked, “Is he in debt?” They said, “Yes! He has to pay three Diners.” He refused to pray at that time and said, “Then pray for your deceased companion.” Abu Qatada said,” O Apostle of God! Lead his funeral prayer, and I will pay his debt.” So, he led the prayer.

Thus, we sometime come across people who neglect paying their parents’ debts, yet this hadith and others indicate the importance of paying the deceased’s debts. Even more, some might even plunder some of the inheritance belonging to their brothers, sisters or wives disregarding the fact that plundering is solemnly forbidden in every way and is the most forbidden in a relative’s case for it leads to cutting ties with them. So shall we pay our debts and parent’s debts before it’s too late? For people’s debts remain unforgiven until they’re repaid, life is short and death is sudden. Obey your parents and your children shall obey you, be aware that God’s wrath is in your parents wrath, and that His content is never obtained unless your parents content is obtained, and nothing increases your life span more than parental obedience.