PARENTS IN ISLAM
All the praise and glory belongs to Allah swt who is the Sustainer and Cherisher of the
The closest meaning of the word ‘Rab’ is sustainer and cherisher. Allah swt is ‘Rab’ in
the global sense. He is the ‘Rab’ of every living and non-living particle of any size that
exists in this whole universe. All the sovereignty of heaven and earth belongs only to
Allah swt at various places in the Holy Quran invites, dictates and warns the people of
all religions and races to love, respect and to be compassionate with the Parents. He
educates the mankind a special sense of dignity, honor and respect to be given to the
parents. Undoubtedly He is the ultimate authority and the cherisher but in order to show
the importance of the parents He goes on to say in Sura-e-Kahf (17:24) "Qul rabbir
ham huma kama rabbayani saghira..." which means He instructs the
mankind to pray for them by calling ‘O my Lord! Have mercy on them
(my parents) as they cherished me when I was little’. Here He wants
the mankind to understand the magnitude of dignity, honour and respect
that parents deserve by calling them as a cherisher even after the fact that
He being the ultimate cherisher. He elevated their position to a very high
degree by explaining to mankind that the parents share what I do in terms
of sustaining and cherishing the children when they are little. Although the
word ‘Rab’ used here is in a specific sense and to show the high degree of importance
of the parents to the mankind, He is actually commanding mankind to honor and respect
their parents exactly in the same manner as one would honor and respect Allah swt
himself. This obedience is only in terms of honor & respect and not in terms of
prostration and prayers (ibadat). The prayer (ibadat) is only done specific to Allah swt.
There are many places in Holy Quran & traditions of Masoomeen (a.s.) that addresses
the issue of special honor and respect to be given to the parents and they uphold a
special and elevated position in the eyes of Islam.
There is an authentic hadith that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Paradise is under the
feet of the mothers!"
In another tradition he reinforced:"The pleasure of parents is the pleasure of Allah,
and the anger of parents is the anger of Allah."
Amirul Momineen Imam Ali (a.s.) explained: "Honoring parents is one of the noblest
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) explained: "If a person desires a long life and blessings, he must
honor his parents and stay in contact with kin."
Imam Reza (a.s.) said: "The Almighty Allah commands that thanks be given to Him
and to parents. Whoever fails to thank his parents does not thank Allah."
The divine Imams (a.s.) even warned us from misbehavior and disobedience to the
parents. The sixth Imam Sadiq (AS) said: "Disobedience towards the parents is a
heinous sin, for Allah has made the disobedient one rebellious and hard."
He also warned, "The mildest form of ill conduct towards parents is "uff", and if
Allah knew something lesser than that, He would have forbidden it."
While explaining the verse, "And lower unto them the wing of submission
through mercy" (Al-Quran 17:24), sixth Imam (a.s.) said: "When you look at
them, do not fill your eyes with anything else but mercy and sympathy, and do
not raise your voice above their voice, and do not put your hand above theirs,
and do not go in front of them!"
Commenting upon the ayat, "And say kind words unto them," Imam al Sadiq (a.s.) said:
"If they strike you, say to them: May Allah forgive you both."
Thus, it is incumbent on us to abide by the teachings of Holy Quran and to be steadfast
& follow the teachings of Ahlu’l-Bayt (a.s.). Disobeying parents is disobeying the verses
of Holy Quran & denying the teachings of Masoomeen (a.s.). This is making mockery of
Allah’s commands and Allah swt warns those people:
“The warning not to take the communications of Allah for mockery”,
“Evil was the end of those who rejected the communications of Allah
and mocked at them”, Room 30:10
“Do not sit with people who mock at the communications of Allah
otherwise you will end in Hell with them”, Nisa, 4:140
Thus it is very important to abide by the command of Allah swt that says, 'Your Lord
has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to
parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say
'uff' to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and
kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, 'My Lord! Have mercy
on them, for they did care for me when I was little' (17:23)