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    Arrow Showing Kindness to one's Parents

    Showing Kindness to one's Parents

    To be obedient and to show kindness to parents has been enjoined in the Holy Quran in such a manner as to say that among the noble deeds, to obey parents, treat them respectfully and to show kindness to them is next to worshipping Almighty Allah.

    In the Qur'an, Allah asks Muslims to show kindness to their parents and forbids them from making even the smallest gesture or uttering even the smallest word of reproach to them.

    No impatience, disrespect, or contempt may be shown to parents.

    The Holy Quran says, "Your Lord has 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." - Surah Al Isra (17:23).

    Allah says in the Qur'an what means,

    [And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve any but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) "ugh," nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord, bestow on them Your mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."]

    (Al-Israa' 17:23-24)

    The metaphorical use of the word "wing" calls to one's mind the way in which birds tenderly and gently lower their wings for their offspring.

    The reason for the necessity of showing compassion toward parents is also given in the verse that reminds Muslims that their parents, and particularly the mother, suffered and sacrificed for them when they were young, weak, and totally dependent.

    Allah says in the Qur'an,

    [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: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal.]

    (Luqman 31:34)

    According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the parents of a certain person are his Heaven or Hell. What this means is that if a person obeys his parents, attends to their needs and keeps them happy and comfortable, he will attain Paradise. On the other hand, if he is disrespectful and rude to them, offends them by ignoring their needs and feelings or causes them grief in any manner, his place shall be in Hell.

    The stricture ordained by Islam makes it clear that shrugging off the responsibility of old parents serves as an invitation to Hell. Both the father and mother are equal when it comes to caring for them and providing them all possible physical comforts and mental peace. The time that the parents need to be looked after most, is in their old age. To serve them devotedly at that stage of their lives is the best way of pleasing Almighty Allah. It is also one of the easiest ways of attaining Paradise.

    Abu Hurairah, a companion of the holy Prophet, has said that "a person is indeed disgraced, who does not earn Paradise by caring for his parents during the life time and old age of his/her parents".

    A person once asked the holy Prophet, "Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kind treatment?" The Holy Prophet replied, "Your mother and again your mother and once again your mother. After her is the claim of your father, then that of your near relatives, and then of the relations next to them". (Al-Bukhari)

    This shows that the claim of a mother is greater than a father over the care that you endow upon them in their old age. Serving and obeying parents is a matter of give and take. Those who treat and obey their parents can rest assured that their children will also show kindness and compassion to them. Respecting and caring the parents is a virtue of the highest order that continues to transcend generation after generation.

    Asma bint Abu Bakr relates that her mother had come from Makkah to Madinah to meet her. Her mother was not a Muslim and followed pagan tribal customs and beliefs. Asma enquired from the holy Prophet how she was supposed to treat her. The holy Prophet told her to be kind and considerate and to behave towards her as was a mother's due from a daughter. Obeying one's parents and treating them with respect and affection is a great virtue and it serves as repentence for a person's sins. Similarly, to ask Almighty Allah to have mercy on them after death is an act that brings them comfort in their graves. It is the duty of sons and daughters to pray for the forgiveness of their parents after their death and treat their relatives and friends with due respect. In the Holy Quran, Muslims have been urged to pray for the salvation of their parents as shown in the following verse: "And say, My Lord, Have mercy on both of them as they cared for me when I was little".

    The holy Prophet has said that to abuse one's parents is a major sin. So much so that if a person abuses someone else's parents and that person, in retaliation, abuses his parents, then it is as though he himself has abused his parents. On another occasion, when asked about the major sins, the holy Prophet replied, "To associate someone with Almighty God, to disobey parents, to kill unlawfully, and to give false evidence".

    In fact, keeping ties with one's family is so important in Islam that Allah has said that He will cut off ties with those who cut off ties with their family. Prophet Muhammad has said:

    "Rahim (family ties) is a word derived from Ar-Rahman (the Compassionate) and Allah says: I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you." (Al-Bukhari)

    Abu Hurairah replied that he had heard from the Prophet that our deeds are presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds rejected. Abu Hurairah did not want any such person sitting in his gathering, which was held on the same night, for fear that it could deprive the entire gathering of blessings.

    Another hadith explains further the reason for this fear: "He who severs ties of kinship, will not enter Paradise." (Muslim)

    Keeping ties with one's family is so important that it is even tied to one's belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment. The Prophet said:

    "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relation with his kindred." (Al-Bukhari)

    Those who break these ties are cursed in the Quran. Allah says in the Quran:

    *{And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives) and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse, and for them is the unhappy home (i.e. Hell)}* (Ar-Ra`d 13:25)

    Maintaining ties with one's family is required, regardless of how that family treats you. One must maintain these ties and treat one's family with kindness, even if that family does not treat you with kindness.

    One of the best examples of this lesson is in the story of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). After his daughter, Aishah, was slandered in the worst way, Abu Bark found out that the man who began the rumor was Mistah, the cousin whom Abu Bakr had been supporting financially.

    Naturally, Abu Bakr withheld the charity he had been giving the slanderer. Soon after, Allah revealed the following verse:

    *{Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.}* (An-Nur 24:22)

    Upon hearing this verse, Abu Bakr not only continued to give the man money, he gave him more.

    One should be very cautious about causing someone to break ties with their family, since Allah punishes for this sin in this life and the next. The Prophet Muhammad has said:

    "There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of family." (At-Tirmidhi)

    The Prophet is reported to have said:

    "Indeed, gentleness adds more beauty to the atmosphere it reposes therein." (Muslim)

    Hazrat ibn Abbas narrates from the Prophet that a person whose parents are alive and he obeys them, listens to and respects them, then Allah will open two doors of paradise for him. But if one of his parents is not happy with him, then Allah will not be happy with him either. Then someone asked the Prophet , “Even if they are oppressors?” The Prophet replied, “Yes, even if they are oppressors.”

    It is said, a person who disobeys his parents, or disrespects them and does not listen to them, Allah will open two doors of hell for him. And if he disrespects only one of them, then Allah will only open one door of hell for him.

    Above all, this requires patience and self-restraint. Learn about the tremendousness of being good to one's parents, and keep this in mind.

    When troubled, tried, or tested, turn to Allah in earnest, heart-felt supplication (dua), for He has told us to, "Call upon Me: I will answer you."

    The fire of anger is put out by the water of love: respond to her harshness with love, and soon you will find things changing.

    Allah told the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the Qur'an,

    003.159 It was by the mercy of Allah that You were lenient with them, for if You had been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about thee. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And when You art resolved, then put your trust in Allah. Lo! Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).

    003.160 If Allah is your helper none can overcome you, and if He withdraw His help from you, who is there who can help you after Him? In Allah let believers put their trust.

    Allah, the exalted, ordered us to treat them kindly even when they try to make us associate partners to Allah.

    When being kind to one’s parents, we do not expect a reward from them, but we expect a reward from Allah.

    If the parents are not kind and do not appreciate the kindness of their children, then one has to be patient, bearing the difficulties and be steadfast in doing good to them, and the outcome will be good, Insha Allah.

    And Allah alone gives success.

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