Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Being thankful to Allah (عز و جل) for our Parents
As youth in today’s tumultuous times one of the greatest fitnahs we face can be right in our own home. For most of us, our parents have come from a time of ignorance (relative to today), where being successful in the dunya, obtaining an education, raising kids and families took precedence over servitude and submission to Allah (عز و جل) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
Even for others who had pious and practicing parents, there is still a problem of the parents being overbearing on their children, and making it difficult for them to practice Islam to their fullest.
For those who have converted I don’t even feel comfortable commenting on their situation as in no way can I even begin to understand the hardship they go through, may Allah help them.
Those who have pious parents should however, be the utmost in thankfulness in Allah(عز و جل) for the blessing they have been given, because it is something that is absolutely beautiful to have.
We all know of the importance of obedience and practicing birr (excellence in goodness) with them. Many times has Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) mentioned in the Quran, the importance of being good to parents, by mentioning the deed right after mentioning the obligation of worshipping Him.
وَاعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانً
Worship none but Allah alone and be dutiful and good to parents (Surah Nisa v.36)
وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانً
And your Lord has decreed that your worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents (Surah Isra’ v.23)
And of course, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) took no liberty from reminding us of this importance, when a man came to him, asking him for permission to take part in Jihad. Upon which, he was asked by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), “Are your parents alive?”.
He replied, “Yes.” Upon this, he was told by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), “Then exert yourself in their service.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
In another hadith from Sahih Bukhari, Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) even commanded us to forfeit our property if commanded to by our parents.
Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنهما) once saw a man carrying his mother on his back and doing Tawaaf around the Ka’bah. He asked Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنهما), “Have I fulfilled my duty towards her?” Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) replied, “Not even for one contraction (during birth)!
However, you have done good and Allah will reward you immensely for the little that you could do.”
In a story of a scholar amongst the Salaf, named Haywah bin Shurih, he used to sit teaching the people, his mother would sometimes say to him: “O Haywah! Feed the chickens some barley,” he would leave the audience, obey his mother, and then resume the lecture! I could post many ayaat from the Qur’an, many ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم), many stories and lessons from the lives of the Salaf (First three generations of Muslims) and from the righteous scholars, but it would take days to type up and fill up the entire blog.
And sure that many of us are aware that we have this obligation, to fulfill the rights of our parents in Islam, obey them, do the utmost in good to them, to attend to their every need, even if they do not ask, seek their pleasure every single time we can, love them and care for them, spend time with them and be gentle, kind and respectful with them and never abandon them or lose patience with them.
But as many of us find, we find things to be very difficult today. As mentioned, many of our parents don’t look at many of the issues of the deen like we do, and they may be lacking in their practice in varying degrees.
For any brothers or sisters who find themselves in this situation, here some naseeha, hoping that it may be of some benefit.
1) Don’t abandon Patience.
No matter what. Many of our parents will be reluctant to let us attend classes on Islam, to let us go to prayers at the masjid and to spend time there, to let us grow our beards, wear the hijab, memorize the Quran etc. The first key thing to realize, is that our parents do this out of sincere love for us, no matter how flawed this love is, they do it because they believe it is in our best interest.
The second thing to understand is the hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that “There is no obedience to any created being (person) if it involves disobedience to the Creator.”
It is difficult , but you must strive hard to do what is still required of you as a servant of Allah (عز و جل), such as learning the religion, avoiding what is forbidden, going to halaqahs and Islamic lectures, learning, memorizing and reading the Quran, attending the Masjid for prayers as often as you can etc, but realize that you have make your decisions with wisdom and understanding of the situation you are in, and never let your parents be displeased, angry, or upset with you when you make your decision, instead be gentle, understanding and try to explain to them the situation, and be respectful when explaining to them, never raise your voice.
Be patient because what you have been given is through the Qadr of Allah, and it may not be known to you yet, but developing that balance of patience may make you a better Muslim and a better human being.
2) Don’t abandon hope.
Never ever abandon hope in Allah (عز و جل). One of the aspects of tawheed involves always having hope in the mercy of Al-Mujeeb (the one who answers the prayers of the supplicant). It may make you upset, cry and lose hope and patience when you see the condition your parents and family, and you should.
One of the aspects of Birr is to love your parents and want only the best for them.
And what is better than Islam?
Keep making Dua’a, keep enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, keep teaching them about the religion and trying to increase their practice, but do it with the utmost of wisdom, utmost of love and utmost of respect.
3) Don’t remember to focus on yourself. Leave the house when you can to join religious gatherings such as halaqahs and lectures, to go the masjid to pray the fard prayers as often as you can, to go visit your brothers in Islam.
Have friends who are not only excellent in their deen but who also are good to their parents and who balance their deen and dunya well. Bring into the house as well, religious books, pious Muslims if possible and practice Islam and have Taqwa at home as much as you do outside, or even more.
Additionally, don’t fringe on your responsibilities, study hard at school, help out around the house with chores etc, improve yourself as a human being from all aspects. Become so that when your parents see you they see what Islam has done to you and so are also motivated to change.
4)Get advice. From all sorts of people. Get advice from knowledgeable Muslims who are closer to your age group. Look for Shuyukh and scholars who can relate to your problems, especially scholars in the West who are around your age.
6) In the end, it’s almost like an art. You have to have a judicious mind. Know when to weigh your options, when to do what you have to do for the sake of Allah, and when to be patient and listen to your parents and not argue back. An example is knowing when to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, because in the end your goals may end up being, protecting yourself and preserving your Taqwa and Eman at home while obeying and being good to your parents as much as you can and trying to repair your parent’s condition without turning them away from Islam.
7) NEVER STOP MAKING DUA.