By Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr
In America there are many special days set aside to honor and
appreciate special people. Some of these are: Father's Day,
Mother's Day, Grandfather's Day, Grandmother's Day, Memorial
Day, Labor Day, etc. We do realize the significance of these
occasions and we recognize the ideas, ideals, and philosophies
of such days. We appreciate the efforts of those who initiated
these occasions for the recognition and appreciation of special
As for the appreciation of parents, we admire the efforts of
children who remember their parents on such occasions by sending
them greeting cards and gifts. However, we hope that the
appreciation is not for one single day in a year, but for every
day throughout the year.
II. PARENTS IN QUR'AN
A Muslim child should respect and appreciate his or her
parents every day throughout the year. Allah asked human beings
to recognize their parents after recognition Allah Himself.
Throughout the Qur'an, we notice that parents are mentioned with
appreciation and with respect, even if they are senile. In Surah
Al-Isra' (Children of Israel) there is a very beautiful
description of how parents are to be treated. Allah (swt) says:
"Your Lord had decreed, that you worship none save Him,
and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both
of them attain old age with you, say not "Fie" unto them nor
repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And lower
unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My
Lord! Have mercy on them both, as they did care for me when I
was young." [17:23-24]
The recognition and respect of parents is mentioned in the
Qur'an eleven times; in every instance, Allah reminds children
to recognize and to appreciate the care and love they have
received from their parents. In one aspect, Allah demands that
children recognize their parents by saying to them:
"We have enjoined on man kindness to parents." [29:8/46:15]
1. The demand for recognizing parents is made more emphatic
when Allah says in the Qur'an Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) the
"And (remember) when We made a covenant with the children
of Israel, (saying): worship none save Allah (only), and be good
to parents..." [2:83]
2. In Surah Al-Nisaa' (The Women) Allah (swt) emphasized
again that children should be kind to their parents.
"And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him.
(Show) Kindness unto parents... " [4:36]
3. In Surah Al An'Am (The Cattle), Allah (swt) reemphasized
that people should be kind to their parents.
"Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord
has made a sacred duty for you; that you ascribe nothing as
partner unto Him and that you do good to parents..."
Although Islam recognized both parents, mothers are given
particular gratitude and respect. This attitude of Islam is
understood if we realize the hardships and the suffering that
mothers experience in their lives. In this regard, Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) said:
It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (R) that a man came to the
Prophet (pbuh) and asked him, 'Who is to be close to my
friendship?' The Prophet (pbuh) answered:
Your mother, your mother, your mother, then your father,
then the one closest to your kinship, and the one after.
Islam has endorsed respect for parents by their children even
if the parents are non-Muslims. If parents strive very hard to
convert their children to non-Islamic beliefs, they don't follow
them, but they are to be good to them. In this regard, Allah (swt)
says in Surah Luqman:
"And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents--his
mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is
in two years--Give thanks unto Me and unto your parents. Unto Me
is the journeying. But if they strive with you to make you
ascribe unto Me as partner that of which you have no knowledge,
then obey them not. Consort with them in the world kindly, and
follow the part of him who repents unto Me. Then unto Me will
you return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.--"
IV. MORE RESPECT
Islam teaches us that respect for parents comes immediately
after praying to Allah and before Jihad (struggle and striving
in the way of Allah). In this respect, the Prophet (pbuh) said
Narrated by Abi Abder Rahman Abdullah bin Massoud (May Allah
be pleased with him) saying: I asked the Prophet (pbuh),
"which deed is more liked by Allah?" He replied, "Prayers
on time." Then I asked, "Which one is next?" He said,
"Goodness to parents." Then I asked, "Then which one
is next?" He said, "Jihad in the way of Allah." (Agreed)
In Islam, respect for parents is so great that the child and
his wealth are considered to be the property of the parents. In
this regard, the Prophet (pbuh) said:
Narrated by Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) that a
person came to the Prophet (pbuh) to resolve his dispute with
his father regarding a loan given to the father. The Prophet (pbuh)
said to the person,"You and your wealth are to your father.
V. FINAL REMARKS
We hope and we pray that all of us will respect our parents
while they are alive and even after they are dead. You may honor
your parents after they died through the following methods:
- Make daily Du'a' for them
- Give a charity on their behalf
- Institute a perpetual charity on their behalf - such as a
Masjid, an Islamic Center, an Islamic Library, an Islamic
hospital, an orphanage, a senior citizen's home, etc.
- Perform Hajj on their behalf or ask someone to do so.
- Read Qur'an on their behalf
- Distribute Islamic Literature on their behalf
Let us pray to Allah that we will do our best to respect our
parents, to honor them, to be kind to them, to help them, and to
please them for the love of Allah.
O Allah! Accept our humble prayers and make us obedient
servants to you.
O Allah! Help us to be respectful children to our parents.