Rights Of Parents In Islam | Complete Guide

Parents and children have a highly regarded and respected relationship in Islam. The Qur’an and Prophetic teachings have emphasized taking care of our parents’ rights and treating them with dignity.

According to Islam, parents hold a high status, and their children must respect, honor, and fulfill their rights. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Paradise lies under the feet of the mother.” Islam emphasizes showing kindness and providing financial support to parents, especially in their old age.

However, the modern world has seen a decline in the value of parenthood, and children are often neglectful towards their parents. Therefore, we should pay attention to Islamic teachings about parents’ rights, which aren’t just obligations but also an act of worship. 

What are the Rights of Parents in Islam?

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In the tapestry of Islamic Shariah teachings, the status of parents is woven with threads of love, respect, and unwavering devotion. The Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) sayings emphasize the profound importance of honoring and cherishing our parents.

1. Mutual Obligations: A Covenant of Love and Care

Rights Of Parents In Islam - Mutual Obligations

In Islam, the relationship between parents and children is considered sacred. Children are responsible for protecting, caring for, and upholding the dignity of their parents, mirroring the love and care they received in their formative years.

Allah Almighty instructs and warns us in the Holy Quran:

۞ وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّۢ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًۭا كَرِيمًۭا

“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.” [Surah 17:Al-Isra, Ayat:23]

Also, Abdullah Ibn Masood said:

“I asked the Prophet (SAW) which deed is most liked by Allah. He (SAW) said: ‘Prayer offered on time. ‘I asked him: ‘Then what? He (SAW) said: ‘Kindness and respect towards parents.’…” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

2. Parents are Heaven & Hell

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) bestowed a profound insight when he stated that parents are the heaven and hell of their children. 

“Once someone asked the Holy Prophet (SAW): “What right does parents have over their children?” He answered: “They are your heaven and hell.” (Ibn Majah)”

Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also greatly emphasised taking care of one’s parents, especially if they are elderly.” [Sahih Muslim, no: 2551]

This metaphorical expression emphasizes the immense impact parents have on their children’s spiritual and emotional well-being. It underscores the responsibility parents carry in shaping the moral compass of their offspring.

This even takes precedence over jihad if there is a conflict between the two.

“Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him for permission to participate in jihad. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him, ‘Are your parents alive?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Then your jihad is with them.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2842; Muslim, 2549)

3. Obedience and Obligations Towards Parents

Obedience and Obligations Towards Parents

Parents have the right to expect obedience from their children, a principle deeply rooted in Islamic teachings. Islamic Shariah prescribes unconditional kindness, respect, and obedience to parents. Submission to parents is not merely a duty; it is an acknowledgment of one’s shortcomings and a demonstration of humility.

In the Quran, Allah says,

وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٰلِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُۥ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍۢ وَفِصَـٰلُهُۥ فِى عَامَيْنِ أَنِ ٱشْكُرْ لِى وَلِوَٰلِدَيْكَ إِلَىَّ ٱلْمَصِيرُ

“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.” [Surah 31:Luqman Ayat:14]

However, this obedience is not absolute. It is balanced by the caveat that children are not obliged to follow unjust commands or conflict with divine orders.

وَإِن جَـٰهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُشْرِكَ بِى مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌۭ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًۭا ۖ وَٱتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَىَّ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

“But if they pressure you to associate with Me what you have no knowledge of,1 do not obey them. Still keep their company in this world courteously, and follow the way of those who turn to Me ˹in devotion˺. Then to Me you will ˹all˺ return, and then I will inform you of what you used to do.” [Surah 31:Luqman, Ayat:15]

Allah warns us to obey our parents (without shirk) even if they are not Muslims. Allah says:

وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٰلِدَيْهِ حُسْنًۭا ۖ وَإِن جَـٰهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِى مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌۭ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَآ ۚ إِلَىَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

“We have commanded people to honour 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.” [Surah 29:Al-Ankabut, Ayat:8]

4. Praying for Parents

The bond with parents extends beyond their earthly existence. Children are encouraged to pray for the well-being of their parents, even after their demise. This act is considered a form of continuous charity (sadaqah jariyah) and a demonstration of perpetual gratitude.

Allah says and teaches us how to pray for them.

وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرًۭا

“And be humble with them out of mercy, and pray, “My Lord! Be merciful to them as they raised me when I was young.” [Surah 17:Al-Isra, Ayat:24]

5. Rights of Mother in Islam

Rights of Mother in Islam

Islam places a unique emphasis on the rights of mothers. The love and respect owed to mothers are highlighted, with Prophetic guidance emphasizing their priority in companionship.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“A man came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is most deserving of my good companionship?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He asked, Then who?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He asked, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘Your father.’”

So, the obligations of children towards their mothers, both during their lifetime and after their passing, are outlined, recognizing the unparalleled sacrifices mothers make for their children.

Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother.”

According to this saying, mothers have a high status in Islam, and they need to be respected and cared for.

6. Financial Support: A Filial Duty

While the obligation to financially support parents is established in the general framework, Islam uniquely emphasizes the duty of children to spend on their parents, particularly in times of need.

This right surpasses even the duty to provide for one’s children, highlighting the paramount importance of ensuring parents’ financial well-being, who have sacrificed abundantly for their children’s upbringing.

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

‘The Messenger of Allah said, “The best alms is that which you give when you are rich, and you should start first to support your dependants.”’

Exploring Islam’s Deep Emphasis on Parental Rights and Filial Duties

It is evident that the rights of parents in Islam are deeply ingrained in its teachings and are regarded as a sacred covenant. Children are supposed to protect, care for, and maintain the dignity of their parents.

As such, Muslims must show unconditional kindness, respect, obedience, and financial support to their parents following their filial duty. If we follow these teachings, we can strengthen our relationships with our parents and simplify our journey to heaven afterlife.

Omar Abdullah

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