One of the most difficult but satisfying and rewarding jobs is to be a parent. You have the joy of bringing a new person to life, taking care of them and watching them grow, all the which demands huge sacrifices from you.
Parenting is not an easy task. Every parent knows the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis for their children. And the Qur’an and hadith recognize and praises the efforts of every parent. Such that, several ahadith and verses of the Qur’an talk about the rewards that await parents on the day of Judgement, in sha’a Allah.
As Muslims, we do not only take our parents’ sacrifices and run with it to build a life of our own and abandon them, we return their favors upon us through dua and personal sacrifices.
Buying nice stuff for your parents is good and highly encouraged, but more than material things, dua is a powerful thing to reward your parents with.
The Special Position of Parents in Islam
It is unfortunate that nowadays, parents are not revered as they used to be. Yes, you have many people who still respect and revere their parents, but there is a growing amount of disobedience towards parents for several reasons.
The Qur’an places a high importance on the need to respect and take care of parents. Allah (ta’ala) tell us to be dutiful to our parents, just after He told us to not worship anything apart from Him.
Anas narrated from the Apostle (ﷺ) about the major sins. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: “Associating anyone with Allah, disobedience to parents, killing a person and false utterance.” (Muslim)
If anything, this shows us how important obedience and respect towards our parents is. It also shows us that it is a sin to do otherwise to them.
Even when we don’t get along for certain reasons, as long as they do not ask us to do things that are against the laws of Allah (ta’ala), a Muslim is expected to treat his parents in the best of manners.
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Dua for Parents
The Qur’an is an all-encompassing guide for us as Muslims. And in it, we have the most beautiful dua that anyone can make for their parents:
رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
“My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Qur’an 17:24)
This is such an easy way to make dua for our parents. Light on the tongue, easy to memorize, and can be said anywhere at any time.
Beneficial Things to do for Parents
Making dua for our parents is great, but beyond that, we can also show our appreciation for them through other means that they can see and appreciate.
Obedience and Kindness
Obedience towards parents shows respect and love. It shows that we understand their position in our lives and that we respect them. No matter how much you pray for parents, if you don’t obey them (within Islamic boundaries), it will be difficult for them to believe that you love them.
And with obedience comes kindness. You obey your parents and show kindness with their needs, their emotions, what they request from you, etc. Just because someone is your parent does not mean that they don’t have needs or that they are immune from the trials of life.
As a child, do not be a trial for your parents by being disobedient and be kind enough to be empathetic to whatever challenges they have in life.
It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah observed: “The best of’ the deeds or deed is the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.” (Muslim)
From the time that a child is born, the parents are bound by duties towards the child. They feed, clothe, clean up, educate and entertain the child. The parents are the cook, drive, doctor, etc. all rolled into one.
While we all believe that these are the primary duties of parents, we should also remember that as Muslims, the honorable thing for us as regards our parents, is to be dutiful to them not just when they are old, but every day that they are alive.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Shall I inform you of the biggest of the great sins?” They said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah, and to be undutiful to one’s parents.” (Bukhari)
Help your parents run errands and help them fix stuff around the house. Make their schedules lighter with your support, and check in on them frequently if you don’t live together. Even when your parents are not so old and are fully independent, we should never believe that they do not need our help. Ask them what they need from you and help them with that.
Acts of service to parents, no matter how inconvenient we view it sometimes, are some of the noblest acts in Islam.
“A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) asking his permission to take part in Jihad. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked him, “Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service.” (Bukhari)
“And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents- his mother conceived him in feebleness upon feebleness, and his weaning was in two seasons. Give thanks to Me and to your parents; to Me is the Destiny.” (Qur’an 31:14)
Parenting is not an easy task. It takes a lot to raise a child from birth till the age of independence. So, we should show gratitude to our parents. We shouldn’t take any of what they have done for us for granted because while something they did may look small to you, it probably requires great strength from them.
Appreciate their love and sacrifices, and be gentle with them for that which they were unable to give.
The love between parents and their children cannot be explained. It is a relationship of mercy that is loved by Allah (ta’ala). For every Muslim who has parents, alive or not, it is a duty of ours to appreciate this relationship by remembering to make dua for our parents.