Being righteous and dutiful towards parents


The National Mosque, Abuja: A Jumat centre in Nigeria.

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One of the important tasks for Muslims is being righteous and dutiful to parents.  We must realise that being righteous and dutiful to parents is an obligatory (wajib) action and it is at the same level as five daily prayers, fasting, going to hajj etc. That is how heavy the task is.

What being righteous and dutiful to parents means?
1) Taking care of them
2) Complying with their orders and commands
3) Honouring them and being respectful to them

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In Surah Luqman (Verses 13-15) Allah says:  And (remember) when Luqmân said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allâh. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allâh is a great Zûlm (wrong) indeed. And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years — give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.

In this verse it is clear how high the level of respect and regards that we must give to our parents are (especially to our mother).  Even if we are not obeying them in committing shirk to Allah, we must be kind to them in this world.
This verse was revealed to highlight matters about how Saad bin Abu Waqqas dealt with his mother who was still a disbeliever.

The Imam went on to mention about mothers’ position in Islam.

A few hadith show how high the position of mothers is.  Among such hadith is one which can be found in Book 73: Good and Manners and Form (Al-Adab) – Sahih Bukhari, from Volume 8, Book 73, Hadith Number 2: Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your father.”

Volume 8, Book 73, Hadith Number 3: Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: A man said to the Prophet, “Shall I participate in Jihad?” The Prophet said, “Are your parents living?” The man said, “Yes.” the Prophet said, “Do Jihad for their benefit.”

So, how to translate these verses and hadiths into our real life in dealing with our parents? Here are some points to be remembered and acted upon:
1) Follow all their orders except in shirk to Allah (this is the golden rules)
2) Honour them
3) Seek advice from them in any matters
4) Taking care of them if/when they need it
5) Make them happy
6) Spend money/time/wealth on them
7) Get consent from them when going away from home (like to other countries)
8) Don’t get angry with/ at them
9) Don’t say even ‘uf’ to them
10) Don’t raise your voice when you are with them
11) Don’t interrupt their speech. Let them finish their message
12) Lower your wings even if you think you are potentially more educated or more successful than they are
13) Be humble to your parents always

And the task of being righteous and dutiful to parents should continue after they have passed away. We should do these:
1) Make prayers (du’a) and ask forgiveness of Allah for them
2) Fulfilling their promises
3) Keep ties with relatives
4) Honouring their friends

These are mentioned in a hadith cited by Imam al-Bukhari as well: “A man approached the Prophet asking, “Is there anything I must do in terms of kindness towards my parents after their death?” The Prophet replied, “Yes, there are four things for you to do: Praying and asking forgiveness of Allah on their behalf, fulfilling their promises, respecting their friends, and fostering their ties of kinship…”

*This piece first appeared Friday April 9, 2o10 on

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