Abdullah ibn Mas’ud RA said: “I asked the Prophet SAWS, ‘Which deed is most liked by Allah SWT?’ He said, ‘Prayer offered on time.’ I asked him, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Kindness and respect towards parents.’ I asked him, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Jihad for the sake of Allah SWT.’”
Doing this opens the biggest door to Paradise and is one of the best of all righteous deeds you can imagine.
Not doing it is major sin.
It is one of the unparalleled beauties of Islam.
Strangely enough it is one of our most neglected deeds. What is it?
It is birr al-walidayn, respect and kindness towards parents— one of the most productive deeds you can ever do in Islam!
Back to Basics: Why Are You Here Again?
You see some people, always in the masjid, busy with activities in the community, sadaqah, reading the Quran, but they have forgotten about their parents. They hardly ever visit them.
Or you have young brothers and sisters, busy studying Islamic knowledge, yet who daily shout at their mothers at home. Special homes are made for the aged parents to live in because their children are too busy chasing money and can’t be bothered to take care of them. Do you truly appreciate your parents?
But let’s go back to basics. What is our purpose of life? It is to worship Allah (swt) alone. After Allah (swt) enjoined us to worship Him only, He enjoined us to be kind to our parents, a status mankind never knew except through Islam. Many ayaat describe pleasing your parents as coming second only to pleasing Allah (swt) and the best of good deeds after having faith in Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) says, Alla ta‘budu illa iyyahu wa bi’l-walidayn ihsana, that you worship Him alone and that you show ihsaan to your parents. Ihsaan means the best of the best! Ihsaan is from the highest verb in the Arabic language to show the proper treatment.
How Can You Earn the Greatest of All Pleasures?
Talking about kindness to parents often results in a “preachy” talk. However, today I want to do something different. I want to motivate you, make you want to yearn for it. Show you how Allah (swt) in His ultimate wisdom gave you the opportunity, a prize right there for you waiting to be grabbed, to earn the greatest of all pleasures— to see Him. A chance to be able to meet Him, see Him, and talk to Him, maybe even every day. Stop for a moment. Can you imagine meeting Him, Allah (swt), meeting Him every day?
Do you want Jannah?
Birr al-walidayn will bring you Paradise. It will give you the chance to be happy forever.
In the famous hadith, a man came to the Prophet (saws) and said, O Messenger of Allah, how do I enter Jannah? The Prophet (saws) said, “Is your mother alive?” The man said, “Yes, she is alive.” The Prophet (saws) said, “Find her feet and stick yourself [izlimha] to them; there you will find Jannah.” This is an Arabic expression meaning “to lower and humble yourself to service your mother.”
Their Love is a Miracle from Allah (swt)
The love that comes from the heart of a parent is an ayah, a miracle from Allah (swt). Muslim or non-Muslim, this type of love is nowhere else to be found amongst humans.
The love they give is a love that does not make you feel indebted, however how many times we do just a little thing for them, we make them feel indebted to us.
This really made me think. Sometimes we serve our parents because we know we “have to”, but look at it differently; your parents are a miracle from Allah (swt) and in your relationship with them you have the chance to earn Allah’s pleasure just by loving someone else. SubhanAllah, may Allah (swt) forgive us for all the times being nice to our parents was such an “effort” for us!
Our Prophet (saws) said, The pleasure of Allah is found in pleasing the parents, and the anger of Allah is found in making the parents angry. [Musnad of Imam Amad].
How Can You Be Grateful?
So all we do in this life is travelling towards Allah (swt). Wanting Paradise and working for it. What is one of the most important characteristics of a true believer? Gratitude.
Allah (swt) says in Surah al Israa’ . . . Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. [Ayah 24]
How many of us are not grateful, neither to Allah (swt) or their parents? Allah (swt) teaches us to be good to our parents for life, especially when they are older and become most in need of kind words and care. Your kindness to your parents includes doing each good deed for them you can and refraining from doing anything that may hurt them. This is how you are grateful to them. SubhanAllah Ibn Sirin (radhiallahu anhu) used to speak to his mother in a soft voice, like that of a sick person, out of respect for her!
But what should you do when your parents want you to do something haraam?
There is no obedience to a created being in disobeying the Creator; no other bond may supersede that of faith and belief in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). So you refuse, but you cannot be harsh and you still have to be just and honor them.
Also a lot of reverts are confused as to how to deal with their Non-Muslim parents. The Prophet (saws) said to Asma (ra) referring to her non-Muslim mother: Yes, keep in touch with your mother and help her.
Greatest Deed Versus Greatest Sin
Next time when you feel like shouting at your mom or answering back your dad or even not being bothered to go see them when they ask you to come visit them think about this:
Abu Bakrah Nufay’ ibn al-Harith said: Allah’s Messenger (saws) asked us three times, “Shall I tell you the greatest sins?” We said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Associating partners with Allah (swt) and disobeying one’s parents.”
Remember, productive Muslims have active hearts and keep reminding themselves of their priorities!
Here’s Your Chance for Jannah— Don’t Let it Pass You By!
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam also said: Let him be humbled, let him be humbled, let him be humbled. It was said: Allah’s Messenger, who is he? He said, “He who accompanies his parents in old age, either one or both of them, but did not use their presence (by doing good to them, etc.) to cause him to enter Paradise.” (Muslim).
A man’s father passed away and he was crying very much at the funeral. One of the other men came and comforted him and tried to console him and said, “O brother, I am not crying just because my father died. I know insha’Allah he is in a better place now than he was in this world. I am crying because my biggest door to Jannah has now been shut.”
SubhanAllah. So what is birr al-walidayn? Here are some examples of deeds:
-Listen to their advice
-Don’t wave your hands when you talk to them and don’t raise your voice (control yourself!)
– Take them out to a nice place or cook for them
– Write them a personal letter
– Assist them financially
– Try not to sit higher than them
– Don’t interrupt them when they speak and use kind words to address them (How beautifully does Yusuf as calls his father ‘Ya ebbatee’)
– Assist financially
– Don’t look at them angrily
And very, very important: Make dua’ for them.
From now on, make it a productive habit of asking for your parents’ forgiveness in every salah! In your sujood ask Allah (swt) to forgive your parents and give them Paradise. Insha’Allah the angels will repeat the dua for you plus it is birr al-walidayn, so one of the greatest deeds you can do. Win-win!
And: this weekend insha’Allah contact your parents and tell them you love them and ask them to forgive you. Call them, go see them, send them an e-card or when you live together just walk up to them and give them a big hug. Allahu akbar for giving us the chance to His gardens by loving our parents!
May Allah (swt) make us righteous children and may Allah (swt) forgive our parents. May Allah (swt) cause us to be resurrected with our parents and be with our parents in Jannat Al-Firdaws Al-‘Alaa
And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” [Quran, 17:24)
I pray you will benefit,
~Khawlah bint Yayha, United Kingdom
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