How important are parents in Islam
God has said in the Qur’an that
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.[Quran 17:23]
By this text it can be understood that one of the biggest sins in Islam is to be disobedient towards one’s parents. Disobedience generally includes back chatting, being rude, aggressive or any other form of disrespect. The Qur’an has gone as far as stating that a person cannot even utter a sound of contempt against their parents, the word “ufff” has been mentioned specifically. If understood contextually, it refers to the modern day equivalent of tutting or rolling one’s eyes when their parents have said something to them. The worrying thing is that we are probably guilty of doing way worse towards them.
How much importance and love does Islam advise us to give to our parents?
A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari and Muslim)
From this we can understand the people that are most deserving of our time, care, love and attention are in fact our parents. And this extends way beyond the dedication we give to anyone else.
Even the level of preference we give to our individual parents can be derived from the Prophet saying by which your father is the second most important person to you and your mother is the most important. It may also be noted that the mother is liable to receive three times as much as importance as the father. So maybe it’s worth taking a deep breath at times to reflect on this and working out if we are actually doing justice with them.
Why are parents given such great importance?
Parents are given such great rights as this is the proper way to honour the people that brought us into the world. Thus by acknowledging and honouring the humans that bore us into this world we will be able to better appreciate the ultimate creator that is God.
If parents are so important then do we have to listen to everything they say?
In short, the answer is no. But generally anything and everything that your parents ask you to do is compulsory for you to do (providing it doesn’t go against anything that God has said). An example would be that if your parents have forbidden you to pray, then this would be considered as something that you would not be liable to obey.
How to interact with parents when they tell you to do something against Islamic teachings?
It is never appropriate to be rude or derogatory to your parents regardless of whether they are asking you to do something which Islam objects to or not. If your parents tell you to do something against Islam (such as not praying) then the onus is on you to explain to them with kind words as to why you do not want to do it and to help educate them as to why you feel their viewpoint isn’t the strongest opinion.
On the other hand if your parents ask you to do something that doesn’t conflict with Islamic teachings (such as going to the high street to do the grocery shopping) then regardless of whatever your excuse is… I’m afraid you need to get on your bike and get to shopping!
Why should we obey our parents?
Just as there are great punishments for committing wrong and heinous crimes, there are also great rewards and merits for doing good deeds and actions. As we mentioned earlier that disobeying parents is a major sin so to abstain from this and to in fact go over and beyond to obey them with result in greater rewards and blessings for yourself.