Aseer ibn Jaabir narrates: Whenever people would come from Yemen, Umar would ask them, “Is Uways Al-Qaranee amongst you?” until, one year, he met Uways. He said, “Are you Uways Al-Qaranee?” He said, “Yes.”Umar continued, “From Muraad, then Qaran?”
He said, “Yes.”
Umar then asked, “Were you once afflicted with leprosyand your skin healed except for a dirham’s area?”Uways said, “Yes.”
Umar finally asked, “Do you have a mother (that is alive)?”
He said, “Yes.”
Umar then said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam say, ‘Uways ibn Aamir will come to you with the delegations from Yemen, from Muraad, then from Qaran. He was once afflicted with leprosy and his skin healed except for a dirham’s area. He has a mother, and he treats her kindly. If he was to ever swear by Allah (for something) Allah would fulfill his oath. If you can, request that he ask forgiveness for you.” Umar then requested from Uways, “Ask forgiveness for me.” And Uways Al-Qaranee did.
Allah ta’aala commanded us in the Qur’an:
And your Lord decreed that you should worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both attain old age in your life, then do not say to them ‘uff’ (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them, rather address them in terms of honor / And lower for them the wing of submission and humility through mercy. And say, ‘My Lord! Grant them Your mercy as they brought me up when I was small’ (Al Isra’ 17/23-24).
Ad-Daylami collected from Al-Husayn ibn Ali, that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“If Allah knew any smaller than ‘uff’ (tsk) to be disespectful to parents, He would have decreed it to be haram!”
A man came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam seeking permission to go for jihaad. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam asked him, “Are your parents alive?”
He said, “Yes.”
He – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Perform jihaad (in you kind treatment) of them” (Bukhari).
If someone came to you today and offered you a free lunch, no doubt your response would be to smile, speak kindly to them, and reserve a special place in your heart for their memory. Why is it then that our parents receive only cold stares, harsh words and bitter treatment and they are who they are in our lives? For twenty or thirty years they fed us, clothed us, washed us, and showered their mercy on our soft skin. Their love for us never dies even if we do; it is a love that goes even beyond us, to our children and even our children’s children.
Dear brothers and sisters, we all have parents, whether they are with us or not, and many have not understood the severity of their position in our lives and their right to be respected and revered. Today I want to remind you and I of the true position of our parents, may Allah have mercy on them all.
Birr al-waalidayn is a characteristic of the mu’min. Al-Hasan Al-Basree defined it saying, “Al-birr is to obey the parents in everything that they ask so long as it is not to disobey Allah. Uqooq is to disown your parents, denying them all of your goodness.”
By the ijama’ of the ‘ulama, being respectful and obedient to one’s parents is fard. Ibn Hazm said, “(Obeying ones parents) is Fard!” and he quoted the verse:
And your Lord decreed that you should worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents.
To better understand what is meant by birr al-walidayn (kindness to parents), the scholars set the following conditions for one to follow:
One: He should place the pleasure of his parents above the pleasure of anyone else, including himself and his wife and kids – everyone. Two: He should obey them in everything they command or forbid, whether it agrees with his desires or not, so long as they do not command the disobedience of Allah.
Three: He should present them with everything he feels they desire, whether they ask for it or not. He should present it with kindness and mercy, understanding that no matter what he does he will always have some shortcomings in fulfilling the true kindness that his parents deserve.
Allah’s love comes when our parents love us. And Allah’s anger comes when our parents are angry with us. Ibn Abbas radi Allahu anhu said, “There are three things that will not be accepted if its mate is not fulfilled.” And he mentioned,
Thank Me (Allah) and your parents…(Luqman 31/14)
Ibn Abbaas continued, “Thus whoever thanks Allah and is not thankful to his parents, Allah will not accept from him.”
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“The pleasure of Allah is from the pleasure of the parents, and the anger of Allah is from the anger of the parents.”
Let us think about how many of us treat our parents. We shy away from them when they may need something. We never visit if we are away from them. In fact, many people dispose of their parents in retirement homes. And when an argument ignites between our parents and us, many of us shout at them as if we were arguing with our evilest enemy. May Allah protect us all.
Compare this to those that came before us. Dhibyaan ibn Ali At-Thowree radi Allahu anhu used to travel with his mother to Makkah. There, in the scorching heat, he would dig a little pool and fill it with cool water. Then he would turn to his mother and say, “Ummi, sit in this water to cool yourself.”
For many of us, our friends are more precious to us than our mother and father. Forgetful we are of the time a man came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and asked him who is more worthy of his dear companionship. He – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Your mother!” The man asked again and again, and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Your mother! Your mother!” Until on the fourth time he – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Your father.”
Today, when the common question is asked, “Who is your best friend?” How many people would say, “My mother!” But this is how the question should be answered and implemented.
What pleases our parents comes before everything, so long as it is not in disobedience of Allah. The scholars understood this and set the example for us. Haywah bin Shurayh radi Allahu anhu, one of the imam’s of our ummah, used to give classes in front of his home. During the class, his mother would call him to feed the chickens. He would stand up, leave the halaqa, and go feed the chickens. We all want Allah to accept from us; we would all like to enter Paradise. Look down dear brothers and sisters, and you will find paradise at the feet of your mother.
Narrated Ahmad and An-Nasaa’ee, from Mu’aawiyah ibn Jaahimah As-Sulamee: My father, Jaahimah radi Allahu anhu went to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, I would like to go out and fight for the sake of Allah, and I have come to you for advice.”
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam asked him, “Is your mother alive?”
He said, “Yes.”
“Then stay near her,” advised the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “For at her feet is Jannah!”
On the other side, making our parents sad or even making them cry is one of the many ways to earn Allah’s anger. Imam Ahmad narrates, from Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-Aas radi Alllahu anhu: A man came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to give him his pledge of allegiance. He said, “I have come to pledge allegiance to you for hijrah and I have left both my parents behind crying.”
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam commanded him, “Go back, and the same way that you made them cry, make them laugh.”
Ibn Umar radi Allahu anhu said, “Making ones parents cry is amongst the uqooq, a major sin!”
Shaykh al-Qaasim once said, “Subhan Allah! How can we leave our parents sobbing, tears that the throne of Allah shakes for, tears that unsettle the angels in the heavens, and then we claim that we want to go for jihaad so that Allah will be pleased with us? Go back and make them happy with your visit as you made them sad by your departure. If they laugh and are pleased with you, Allah will be pleased.”
During the funeral of his mother, Al-Haarith Al-Aklee radi Allahu anhu weeped. When asked for the reason of his tears he said, “Why should I not cry when one of my doors to Paradise has now closed?”
We reap what we plant. In a far away land, a long time ago, a boy was born blind. His widowed mother, the good Muslimah that she was, did not lose hope in her du’a and pray she did, continuously. A few years later, the boy’s sight returned, alhamdulillah. Soon after she realized that her village was not befitting for her son to excel in Islamic education, so with her son in hand they migrated to Makkah. There she saw that he was being instructed in Qur’an and Hadith, the latter becoming the young man’s focus. He went out far and wide collecting Hadith and compiled a Hadith book that sits next to the Qur’an in authenticity forgetting not his mother who had raised him well. His mother named him Muhammad ibn Isma’il, and many of us know him today as Al-Imam Al-Bukhari!
Dear brothers and sisters, how often is it that a farmer plants wheat and it comes out as a sunflower? You may say, never! For how can someone farm the seed of one plant and expect some other plant to grow. It just does not happen. Similarly, some parents leave their children waddling in the mud of television, music, movies, and disbelieving friends. Then, when the child reaches grade 12 and asks to go to the prom with his girlfriend, or when he enters university and stops praying, or when he gets married to a kafir and himself becomes one, then the parents say, “What happened?”
Brothers and sisters, it is the harvest of what we planted. If we do not raise our children to be obedient, where do we expect them to learn? If we do not practice Islam ourselves, who will be our children’s example? How do you teach a child to wake up for Fajr, when he sees his own father and mother sleeping in, day after day? You may ask: how do I raise my children to be good Muslims, obedient to their parents? Consider the following:
Firstly: One should discipline their children throughout their youth. Hisham ibn Abd Al-Malik missed a son of his during Jumah one week. When he met him later, he asked him, “Why did you miss Jumah?”
His son replied, “My donkey couldn’t make the trip.”
His father then said, “Couldn’t you have walked!” For an entire year after that, Hisham ibn Abd Al-Malik made his son walk to Jumah.
Secondly: The piety of the father and mother reaches the children. In the Qur’an, Allah recalls for us the story of Khidr, and how he rebuilt a wall for 2 orphans.
And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town. Under it was a treasure belonging to them and their father was a righteous man…(Al Kahf 18/82)
Look at how Allah protected these orphans because of the piety of their father. In tafseer, it is said that it was in fact because of the piety of their grandfather seven generations back! Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said, “I often lengthen my salah for the sake of my son; perhaps Allah may protect him (because of it).”
In conclusion, let us reflect on the virtue of respecting our parents:
It is one of the greatest things that we can do. In Bukhari and Muslim, from Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radi Allahu anhu, a man asked the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “What deed is most beloved by Allah?”
He – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Salah on time.”
The man asked, “And then?”
He – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Respecting and revering ones parents.”
He asked, “And then?”
“Jihaad for the sake of Allah.”
It is a means by which our sins are forgiven. When Allah commanded in the Qur’an:
And We enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents …
The next verse tells us:
…They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. They shall be amongst the dwellers of Paradise…(Al Ahqaf 46/15-16)
Respecting our parents will lead us to Jannah! In Muslim, Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam say, “May he perish! May he perish! May he perish!”
It was asked, “Who, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “He whose parents attain old age in his life – one or both of them – and he does not enter Paradise (because of his goodness towards them).”
And when our parents are gone, the goodness towards them does not end.
Malik ibn Rabi’ah Al-Saa’idi narrated: We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam when an Ansari man came and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, is there anything left from my birr to my parents that I should present to them after their death?”
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Yes, four things: Pray and ask forgiveness for them. Fulfill their pledges. Be kind to their friends. And maintain the ties of kinship that come from only their direction. That is what is left from your birr to them after their death.”
Ahmad, Abu Dawood, and Ibn Maajah reported that Aamir ibn Abd Allah ibn Az-Zubayr radi Allahu anhu said, “My father died, and for an entire year I did not ask Allah for anything except that He forgive my father.”
Remember dear brothers and sisters as you meet your parents today, the words of Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “Fa feehima fa jaahid!” – Do Jihad in (your kind treatment of) your parents.
O Allah, forgive us and our parents, and reward them with the finest reward. O Allah, elevate their position in the hereafter and this dunya; make that which befalls them an expiation for their sins. O Allah, grant them residence in Firdaus, the highest level of Jannah, with the Prophets, the Siddeeqeen, and the Martyrs.