The imam reminded us of the 23rd ayat of Sura Al-Isra which is translated to say:
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.
Dear brothers and sisters, being devoted and humble to our parents is the minimum that is required of us. However, practically we are required to do far more than just the minimum as this duty is held in the highest regard and importance by Allah SWT.
We are obliged to keep their care in our thoughts and to look after each and every of their needs, especially as they get older in life. It is only when we are at that stage in our lives that we will truly appreciate the love, kindness and care that we receive from our own children but of course, by that time it will be too late for most of us to do the same for our parents.
By analysing this ayat we can see that we need to hold them in the highest regard. So, let’s compare this to people that society holds in high regard.
It may be that your boss, someone who does your career appraisal is held in a high regard for some. It may be that your teacher who marks your assessments is held in a high regard. These are people who you would not dream of showing any type of attitude to because you know the worldly implications of such an act.
However, some of us are at a risk of failing the individuals that should be held in even a higher regard than that. Our parents have a direct influence, not only in our success in this life but especially on our success in the next life.
As a result, how we behave with them should surpass the level of dignity and respect shown to any other relations in our personal or professional lives.
We conclude this weeks reminder with 3 practical examples of how we can manifest this sentiment in our behaviour towards our parents:
Firstly, we ought to make an effort in our interaction with them. Dear brothers and sisters, we need to remind ourselves that parents in older age may feel sensitive to their age, to their usefulness. Once upon a time, they provided us with everything we needed. As great as this was for us, it was also a great source of pleasure for them to provide and so when we become self-sufficient, it has an adverse reaction in making them feel less useful or important.
We ought to make it an effort to compensate for this. Ask them for their advice. Even in things that you may not need it for. Make them feel useful and important. Involve them in your decisions just like how you relied on them in the past. Follow this with etiquettes such as listening to them, letting them finish what they are saying to you and relaying to them any advice you find useful.
Secondly, we ought to make their happiness a personal goal for ourselves. It should not be a secondary thought to what we are doing in life, but instead should be part of our master plan of living life whilst they are still with us.
The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this point in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Allah’s pleasure results from the parent’s pleasure, and Allah’s displeasure results from the parent’s displeasure.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is true that often we are faced with parents who become eccentric in their old age. Often viewpoints and attitudes will differ. It may be a challenge to keep them happy and some would argue a mission impossible.
However, all of us have had a time where we have had to work with people we don’t agree with. Whether its work, study or elsewhere, we learn to adapt and utilise our best traits to work keeping those people on the right side of us.
Parents are a key to our success. Our attitude ought to be one of persistence. We ought to work and to adapt and to strive to get them to be happy and to keep them that way. The ease or difficulty with which we achieve this is our test from Allah SWT and we should be mindful of this.
And lastly, what we ought to do for them when they are no longer with us. This part is split into 3 points:
- Supplicate for them. The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him”
- Perform any acts of worship they may have missed. Obligatory acts such as missed prayers, fasts or even Hajj can be done.
- Give charity on their behalf. The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
The mother of one of the companions of the Prophet SAWS died in his absence. He said: “O Allah’s Messenger SAWS, my mother died in my absence , will it be of any benefit for her if I give charity on her behalf? The Prophet SAWS said “Yes”. He said “I make you a witness that I gave my garden called Makhraf in charity on her behalf.”
Dear brothers and sisters, our parents were once our world due to the dependency we had on them. Let us not forget that as we get older, they may not be such a source of dependency in this world but instead have been promoted from being our world only to our next life.