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The Rights of the Parents

In Islam, it is imperative that a child is obedient to his parents. Allah (SWT) in the Qur’an, after commanding to worship him alone, commanded to be good to the parents. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an ``Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them: uff (a word or expression of anger or contempt) and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words.” There are numerous examples in the Qur’an regarding being good to the parents. Today, we will be understanding the Islamic perspective on being dutiful to ones' parents, and the child’s responsibility of serving them.

Virtues of respecting the parents:

In the Qur’an and Ahadeeth, there are many examples of the obligation of being good to one’s parents, one was the verse just mentioned, another is the verse after “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: `My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” There is a story narrated by a man who asked Sa’d ibn al-Musayyib (RA) “I understood everything from the verse except the part “And address them in terms of honor.” What are these respectful words? Ibn Musayyib (RA) replied, “It is the way a slave who has done something wrong approaches a harsh and strict master.” This shows the level of respect a must show to his parents, to such a level as a slave under his master.

عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ جَاهِمَةَ السَّلَمِيِّ أَنَّ جَاهِمَةَ جَاءَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَغْزُوَ وَقَدْ جِئْتُ أَسْتَشِيرُكَ فَقَالَ هَلْ لَكَ مِنْ أُمٍّ قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَالْزَمْهَا فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ رِجْلَيْهَا

Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported: Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the military expedition, and I seek your counsel.” The Prophet said, “Do you have a mother?” He said yes. The Prophet said, “Stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.”

Furthermore, Rasulullah (SAW) said,

أنت ومالك لأبيك

You and your wealth are for your father.

Imam Timidhi said “Verily the father has an open hand in the wealth of his child, he can take whatever he wants and some say that he will take according to his need. Whatever wealth you have gained in your life was only due to your father, therefore, your wealth is his wealth, him taking from your wealth is merely you paying off your debts to him. In another hadith

رواه ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال: سألت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : أي العمل أحب إلى الله؟ قال: الصلاة على وقتها، قال: ثم أي قال: ثم بر الوالدين، قال: ثم أي، قال: الجهاد في سبيل الله

It is narrated from Ibn Masud (RA) who said, “I asked Nabi (SAW), which action is the most beloved to Allah? He said, “Salah at its time” Then I said, then which, he said “Being good to the parents.” I said, then which, then he said “Striving in the path of Allah.”

Sayyiduna Abud Darda (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

الوالد أوسط أبواب الجنة فحافظ على ذلك إن شئت أو دع

“The father is the middle door of Jannah so preserve upon it if you want or leave it.”

Rights of the mother:

The mother is the main caretaker of the child. From young, the child is nurtured, taken care of, and loved by the mother. It is through the mother that a child becomes what he is as an adult. Here are some rights of the mother:

To love and respect: The love of the mother over her children is the greatest love one can have for another. Even before you were born, the mother goes through so much hardship and bears so much pain just to bring you into the world. Furthermore, the mother endures sleepless nights because of the crying of the child, the mother must breastfeed the child, clean his diapers, and so many other things. For this, we must show love and respect to our mothers attempting to replicate their love for us. There is a Hadith from Abu Hurayra (RA) who asked “Who is most deserving of best companionship”, Rasulullah (SAW) said “Your mother”, Abu Hurayrah (RA) asked again, he said “your mother”, he asked again, he said “your mother”, he asked again, he said “Your father”. This hadith proves that one should show utmost respect, good companionship and love to your mother.

Furthermore, another right of the mother is to fulfill their needs and to serve them. The mother would always stay up late and look after the child through patience. Due to the efforts they have made, we must serve them and help them in their affairs as much as possible. This obligation even goes past Jihad. It is narrated from Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As (RA) that a man asked permission to go for Jihad, Rasulullah (SAW) asked him if his parents were alive, to which he replied, “Yes,” then Rasulullah (SAW) said, “In them is your Jihad (Effort and Struggle).” This hadith shows that we must serve and fulfill their needs as much as possible

Rights of the father:

The father is the breadwinner of the family and provides all the wealth and resources for them. Without the father, none of what the child achieved could have been possible. His position, his money, his power, his honor all stems from his father. This is why the lineage of a man goes through his father, because he is the one who holds the power and honor of the family, and it is through him that the family is known and respected. Due to this, it is important that we keep in mind his rights also. To not anger him and to always be in his good graces:It is important that we always are in the goodness of our father. We should always strive to please him and make him happy. When one’s father is angry at the child, then the anger of Allah descends upon that child. This is evidenced from the Hadith,

رضا الرب في رضا الوالد، وسخط الرب في سخط الوالد

Due to this, one should always strive to be pleasing to his father and keep him happy.

Right over wealth: All the position a person gains, all the power, money, strength, influence, and fame these all come from your father. Without him, you would’ve gained none of what you’ve gained. It was through his money which he spent that allowed the child to get all the power and money that he has. Even when you look at the lives of non-muslims, one example that can be given is Donald Trump, it was only through the loan of a million dollars his father gave him that he was able to build his business. Therefore, in Islam, all your wealth is by extension his wealth, and whenever your father takes from you, it is merely paying off the unpayable debt which you hold on your shoulders. This is evidenced from the hadith,

أنت ومالك لأبيك

You and your wealth are for your father. 

How to be dutiful to the parents: 

Now that we have heard the evidence of the virtues of respecting parents and their rights. Now comes the question, how can one be dutiful to his parents? There are many ways one can be dutiful to his parents. One should always treat his parents with kindness and love, and should never talk back, shout and argue with them. One must understand that whatever advice they give is from their seniority and experience over you. It is very important that one heeds the advice of his parents, even if he does not recognize the good from their advice. Whenever our parents tell us to do something, we should hasten to get it done, and whenever our parents forbid something, then we should absolutely never do it. This is as long as their command and their prohibition is not disobeying Allah. Another way to be dutiful to the parents is to make abundant du’a for them. One du’a that can be recited is “رب ارحمهما كما ربياني صغيرا.” Our parents most definitely made du’a and continue to make du’a for us for our future and our success. So it is only fair that we do the same for them.

Another way is to be humble and lower ourselves in front of them, one must always keep in mind that whatever success, position, power, wealth etc. he has gained in his life is only through the upbringing of his parents, without them, he would never be able to attain any position. Therefore, it is important that one does not become prideful over his job, or his position over his parents. You would have never gained that job if it weren’t for the times where your mother had sleepless nights to take care of you, or your father worked overtime just to provide for you. Being humble in front of your parents is evidenced from the Qur’an,

وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرًۭا 

“Lower for them the wings of humility from mercy, and say, have mercy on them just as they raised me when I was young.”

A story:

There are many stories in regards to respecting parents. One is the story of Uwais al-Qarni, who was a follower of the Sahabah. He lived during the time of Nabi (SAW) but was unable to meet him because he was serving his sick mother. For this, Nabi (SAW) instructed Umar (RA) to take du’aas from him. Look at how high a status he was given because of his respect for his parents. Furthermore, there is the story of the 3 men in the cave. One of them was a man who used to give milk to his parents every day. One day he found them sleeping when he came back with the milk. So he stayed up the whole night so he could give them the milk when they woke up. This shows how much they used to respect and honor their parents over everyone else.


We should keep this in mind when dealing with our parents that no one can attain true success in this world or the next, if there is no obedience to his parents in his life. May Allah give us tawfiq to act upon what has been said. Ameen

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