Dr Ajaz Ahmad Khan Qadri
The Islamic way of life is a model of natural simplicity, humility and virtue. In it, domestic life and the entire society is sustained on the assurance of a household, which, in turn, is sustained on the rights of parents. In the holy Quran, Almighty Allah has requested us to trust in His oneness and to comply with His messenger; straight after this, the rights of the parents have been stressed. If we contemplate this subject, we will find that it is the most important subject of our practical, social and communal life.
Our life begins with our parents. In other words, the foundation of domestic life starts with our father and mother. Almighty Allah has spoken on this subject in the holy Quran on many occasions. For instance, it is stated in Sura al-Nisa, 4, 1: ‘O mankind! Fear your Lord, who (initiated) your creation from a single soul, then from it created its mate, and from these two spread (the creation of) countless men and women.’
Similarly, it is stated in Sura al-Isra, 17, 23: ‘And your Lord has commanded you not to worship anyone other than Allah, and treat parents with benevolence.’
There are numerous youngsters who, in their youthful inebriation, essentially follow their own impulses and desires and totally disregard the rights of their parents. Nor do they fulfil their responsibilities towards their parents. The obligations of youngsters towards their parents are the premise of a civilised society. It is hence that Almighty Allah has referenced the rights of the parents straight after His own worship. Youngsters are the most dynamic and persuasive class of society. Nowadays, youngsters will not listen to the exhortation of their parents. We ourselves are to be faulted for this. We should delve into our own hearts to discover the reasons why these youngsters don’t pay regard to our advice. As Allama Iqbal says, ‘Whatever comes out of the heart has some effect.’
Rather than continually exhorting them to do this and that, we should attempt to convince the youth through our own example and conduct. Allama Iqbal states, ‘But of his barren acres Iqbal will not despair/ A little rain and harvests shall wave at last, O Saqi!’
The holy Quran has named benevolent treatment to parents as a demonstration of ihsan (spiritual excellence). It ought to be recollected that regarding our parents well is an absolute commandment and is unconditional. It means that one ought to regard parents well even in the event that they are iconoclastic or violators. Regardless of whether one’s father or mother is evil and immoral, for the child their status should always be equivalent to those parents who are devout and virtuous. This is on the grounds that the reward for the child isn’t reliant on the high position and status of the parents, nor is it diminished because of the immoralities of the parents. Almighty Allah has not commanded children to judge the character and activities of their parents before indicating appreciation and adoration to them; rather, he has solicited them to act with generosity towards their parents unequivocally.
The holy Quran says in Sura al-Nisa, 4, 36: ‘And worship Allah and do not set up any partners with Him. And treat the parents with moral excellence.’
Whether the parents are young or old, pious and upright or reprobate and sinful, whatever their status is, their status has been defined in light of the fact that they are parents. Worshipping Almighty Allah and giving grace to parents have been referenced in Sura al-Baqara, 2, 83: ‘And (remember) when we took a firm promise from the children of Yaqub (Jacob): “Do not worship (anyone) besides Allah, and be kind to the parents.” Clarify that this commandment has been set up since the hour of the Prophet Adam (Alayhis-salam) and that it has proceeded to the hour of the last Prophet, Muhammad (Salla-llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam).”
The whole of mankind has been persistently commanded to worship Almighty Allah alone and to be kind and benevolent towards parents. In holy Quran, Sura al-Isra, 17, 23-24, says: ‘And your Lord has commanded you not to worship anyone other than Allah, and treat parents with benevolence. If either or both of them attain old age in your presence, then do not say even “Ugh!” to them nor reproach them. And always speak to both of them submissively, observing polite manners. And always lower your wings of submissiveness and humility out of soft-heartedness for both of them, and keep supplicating (Allah): “O my Lord, have mercy on both of them as they brought me up in (my) childhood (with mercy and clemency).”
This verse states that if your parents reach old age, you ought not to articulate even a single word of contempt before them. This is urged irrespective of what they say to you and regardless of how hurtful it is. Be careful! Your mouth should not utter a word of frustration against them. This implies your lips ought to be sealed before your parents to the extent that they don’t understand that you are discontent with what they have said. It ought to never happen that you become irritated with them to the extent that you start to contend with them, speak loudly, or hurt them with your words.
Here we have to understand the reason why we cannot even say “ugh” to our parents. This decision has been made in light of the fact that we by and large become disappointed with our parents when they reach old age. Old age is a very cruel thing, as it debilitates physical abilities and senses. This sentiment of futility and helplessness regularly drives an individual to feel unwanted. In old age, parents become dependent on their children. The very children they took care of since childhood, whose slightest pain was deplorable for them, for whose purpose they sacrificed themselves by starving and gave them all that they possessed without their asking. These are the children who cause their parents to feel helpless and give them pain; they forget that these are the same parents who used to be around them throughout the day. They used to remain awake the entire night when they became ill, and they used to give them all that they required. Children who are not brought up in accordance with the virtues Islam lectures on, reaching at pubescence they become disobedient and disrespectful.
In old age one’s behaviour starts to return to childhood, and accidentally the person starts to do infantile things. The children start to consider such behaviour as abnormal. The Holy Quran draws consideration towards the way parents in old age exhibit neurosis and silly requests. As their memory blurs, their capacity to do things and their tolerance level likewise fades. They can’t recognise what is useful or awful for them. Carrying on like a child and contesting everything turns into a ceaseless propensity. On the off chance that you attempt to stop them from accomplishing something, they will overlook you and do whatever they feel like. This is certainly not a momentary issue; their entire old age is spent in this perspective. Fathers and mothers criticise minor things, so children become baffled, wondering why they don’t simply stay out of other people’s affairs. They will likewise ache for food and things which are unbeneficial for them. We generally tell our old parents to deal with themselves however they are, to such an extent that they do whatever they feel like. It is a very testing time when a parent’s misinformed request causes issues. Disruptive behaviour and steady squabbling is an incredible test for even the honourable children. Presently it must be seen whether the Quranic advice (fala taqul lahuma uff-in) is contemplated and whether they pay regard to it. Enduring the careless comments and propensities of guardians who have reached old age, to the extent that not so much as an expression of dissatisfaction is articulated, is an incredible trial of a person.
Almighty Allah has explicitly advised mankind to take care of parents, particularly when they are impeded by old age. In the Holy Quran there are two commandments given about parents. The first commandment is the responsibility of carrying on with benevolence towards them. And the second commandment is that we should show them special care and kindness.
The writer is a post-doctoral fellow in Political Science, Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir