By Sancheet Hoque
Parents are the people that Allah has used to put one into existence. Let alone the time, money, and sweat that many spend to raise their child, even missing just one parent will cause the child to be at a disadvantage mentally as they do not receive all the love. One can also notice the suffering that orphans have to go through as they do not have protection from the evil around them. Through them, Allah shows us the value of parents and the drawback of not having parents around. In this modern age, especially in the west, familial ties have become a lot weaker as parents aren’t home often and children are fed thoughts that parents are burdens. Even if the family lives together, each member eats by themselves instead of basking in the blessing of being together. Due to Covid, some families were forced to be together which in a way could have healed that relationship. Unfortunately, some were separated, but also could have been healing. As the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching it’s time to mend these relationships and start valuing each other. In this article, let us dive into the Quran to learn more about the value of parents.
Honoring Parents even during their Weakness
For your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And honor your parents. If one or both of them reach old age in your care, never say to them ˹even˺ ‘ugh,’ nor yell at them. Rather, address them respectfully. [17:23]
In this verse from Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey), Allah states the first focal belief in Islam which is to worship only Him. Immediately after, He says to honor one’s parents. The verb honor means to hold in respect and to show courteous behavior towards. They could be wrong, annoying, or strict as they are people just like anyone else. Think about if a child or a stranger said something wrong, one for the most part would not lash out at them right? But it’s to the ones that are close to us that receive wrath. As anything ages, they tend to get weaker mentally and physically after a certain point. A child in their prime will tend to be in a better state than the parents. This causes the child to feel as if it is a chore to care for their parents and treats them as if they are a dispensable good. True love is to take care of one when they are at their weak and strong state just like how most parents care for their child. Parents remember taking care of the weak baby, but once the baby grows up they forget all of that effort.
˹It was later said,˺ “O John! Hold firmly to the Scriptures.” And We granted him wisdom while ˹he was still˺ a child, as well as purity and compassion from Us. And he was God-fearing, and kind to his parents. He was neither arrogant nor disobedient. [19:12-14]
In this verse from Surah Maryam, Allah relays to us the birth of Prophet Yahya (as) (John), the son of Prophet Zachariah (as). Zachariah (as) was influenced by Maryam receiving different types of off-season fruits from Allah. This led him to ask Allah to give him a son to his barren wife and which Allah promised him so. After he was born, Allah speaks highly of Yahya (as) and describes him as so in the verses above. One of the most important verses here in regards to the value of parents is the verse “And he was God-fearing, and kind to his parents.” Allah is drawing a parallel between someone who fears God and someone who treats their parents well. To respect and honor one’s parents is also a means of fearing Allah. Allah wants parents to be respected. Allah is also a guardian and caretaker to a believer even more than a parent, so if one disrespects their parent, then by proxy it’s almost as if one is disrespecting the Lord of All Worlds.
Hardships of a Mother
And We have commanded people to ˹honour˺ their parents. Their mothers bore them through hardship upon hardship, and their weaning takes two years. So be grateful to Me and your parents. To Me is the final return. [31:14]
In this verse from Surah Luqman, Allah talks about the hardship that a mother goes through while carrying the child in her stomach and the early stages of that child’s life. When a woman is pregnant they go through many bodily changes. They have reduced movement, less bladder control, cramps, appearance changes, and many more. They then have to deliver the baby which many know is quite painful in itself. After giving birth, there will be sleepless nights and stressful days to care for this child. The love of many mothers cannot be repaid, so the best a child can do is care for her the same way. Through this, we can learn the love of Allah. Take heed to the hadith reported below by Umar ibn al-Khattab:
Some prisoners of war were brought to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and a breast-feeding woman was among them. Whenever she found a child among the prisoners, she would take it to her chest and nurse it. The Prophet said to us, “Do you think this woman would throw her child in the fire?” We said, “No, not if she was able to stop it.” The Prophet said, “Allah is more merciful to his servants than a mother is to her child.” [ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5653, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2754]
Through this hadith, readers can see that the love of a mother is like no other. In nature, mothers put their life on their line to protect their children from other predators. A parent could be strict, but at the same time easily forgives their children’s mistakes. Allah also may not bestow something because it is not beneficial for His servant. He also wants the best for His servant, so He trains them to be better than the day before. Just like how children are slightly afraid of their parents, the servants of Allah should display that same fear, but show Him love as well. Allah forgives His servants very easily if they are sincere just like how a mother can’t stay mad at her child for too long after they did something wrong.
We have commanded people to honor their parents. But if they urge you to associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, then do not obey them. To Me you will ˹all˺ return, and then I will inform you of what you used to do. [29:8]
In this verse from Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider), Allah again says to honor one’s parents, but he reveals a limitation as well. As parents are humans like everyone else, they could also sin. They might even teach their children to disobey Allah and His Messenger. In such cases, Allah instructs the believer to not listen to those orders. This does not mean one should be rude to their parents or hurt them. Try to be kind and help them understand why it is not the right thing to do. If one’s parents are disbelievers, they should still be given respect as they still went through hardship to raise a child. If they become abusive regarding the religion, stay strong and show them that Islam is a religion of love and peace. Moving to a different place is also an option, but do not cut off parents as Allah does not like division of relatives. Still, reach out to them through phone and see if it’s possible to visit once in a while.
Parents are a great blessing that Allah has given to people, and just like any blessing, it can be taken away as well. During the time parents are still alive, no matter what state they are in, be it weak or strong, uneducated or educated, poor or rich, they did their best to raise their children. They are many with abusive parents, but even they could be a source of growth for the believer. Being able to be kind and patient with oppressors takes a different kind of heart. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was never harsh to his opponent which resulted in many reverting to Islam. Parents even though they could be harsh at times, at the end of the day, need love as well. Through the love and kindness a child gives to this type of parent, that parent could heal to be a better person. Allah will reward those that help others through their ordeals. It starts with oneself then spreads to those that are close. Work to be the best version of yourself!
Read: The Status of Mothers in Islam >>
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Learn more about parenting from the lessons and stories in the Quran:
The Holy Quran: https://quran.com/
The Teachings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): https://sunnah.com/
Side effects of Pregnancy: https://redrockfertility.com/blog/pregnancy-side-effects/