Kindness to Parents

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Allah says in the Quran: And worship Allah and ascribe no partners to Him and do good to parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, the related neighbour, the distant neighbour, the fellow traveller, the wayfarer and the slaves whom your right hand possess. Lo! Allah loves not such who are proud and boastful. (4-36).

Dear Muslims: Listen carefully to the owner of the noblest character, the kindest heart and the message of mercy who says in a brief but great tradition: Kindness to relations and charity cause homes to flourish and increase the life spans.

Listen also to what the Messenger (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) says: Listen to it with your hearts’ ears rather than your senses. For when hearts listen they comprehend, but when ears listen while hearts are neglectful then there is no use of hearing anything.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) who said the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Allah the Most High created the creation. When He finished, kinship emerged and said: This is the position of one who seeks refuge in You from boycotting. Allah said: Will you be satisfied if I am close to him who is kind to you and I boycott him who boycotts you. It said: Yes I will: He replied: This is for you. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said recite if you like: Would you then, if you were given sovereignty, work corruption in the land and cut your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah curses so that he deafens them and makes blind their eyes. (47:22-23). Will they not contemplate the Quran or do hearts have their locks on. (47: 24)

Dear Muslims: This is a serious issue and an important matter. The danger is pending so we have to wake up from our slumber. When Allah finished creating heaven and earth, do you know the first statement He made to His creation? Do you know the first dialogue that took place between Allah and His creation? It was between Allah and kinship ties. Kinship is actually two types: a general kinship and a special kinship.

As for the general kinship it encompasses every person who shares with you in saying La illaaha illa Allah Muhammad Rassoolullah (i.e. there is no other God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God). What is your duty and your rights towards such person? There are six things which have to be observed, namely:

1- That you offer salutations of peace whenever you encounter your brother or sister.

2- That you visit him when he is sick.

3- That you bless him when he sneezes.

4- That you follow his funeral when he dies.

5- That you give him sincere advice when he asks you for it.

6- And that you accept his invitation when he invites you. These are the general rights that bind you with everyone who says the testimony of faith.

Dear Muslims: Now I move with you to the special kinship and this is our topic today God willing. By special kinship we mean the relatives whom the Prophet classified as follows: First of all one’s mother, for indeed when a mother dies a caller from heaven announces: O son of Adam! She has passed away for whose sake we used to honor you. So now do good so that we honor you for it.

The mother then is the first name on the list of relatives. That is why a man once asked: O Messenger of Allah, my mother reached old age and I serve her. Did I pay back her right? The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Whatever good you do to her, you will never pay back her right. The man again said: How is this O Messenger of Allah? He said: For she used to serve you as a little one and she used to wish you long life, as for you, you serve her as an old, woman and you wish her death. There is a world of difference between him who wishes long life and who desires death.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) who said the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: He will be the lowest of the low, then the lowest of the low, who witnesses his parents at their old age either one of them or both and does not enter Paradise. Reported by Muslim.

Thus your mother should top the list then your father, then your sister, then your brother, then your aunt, then your uncle on your father’s side, then your mother’s side; then after that the closer and the closer relatives.

Dear Muslims: What are the rights of the special kinship? They have the same rights of the general kinship but added to them is that their expenses are your obligation if they need your financial help. That is why a man came to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said: O Messenger of Allah! This son of mine was poor while I was rich, he was weak when I was strong and I used to spend on him from my money. Then when I became poor, he, however, refused me his money. Hearing this the honorable Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) called that son and said: O youth, there is no stone nor land but weeps for the affair of your father. Son! Spend on your father for you and your wealth belong to your father.

Also Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Whoever likes expansion in his provision and long life, let him do good to his kinship. (Agreed Upon).

Now my dear Muslims! Listen to what our beloved Prophet said after Alqama was buried: He said: O mankind! Whoever prefers his wife over his mother, Allah will not accept from him neither obligatory nor voluntary actions.

As a matter a fact the special kinship is hanging from the throne of the Beneficent calling: Whoever does good to me Allah will do good to him and whoever cuts me Allah will cut him off.

Dear Muslims: Today is a precious day. It is not a day of visits to the dead ones but a day for doing good to the living ones; a day of exchanging visits, mutual forgiveness, and tolerance. Thus if there is any dispute or boycotting between you and another person, be the first one to do good for the sake of Allah and his messenger, so do good to your kinship, and spread peace among yourselves.

Allah says in the Quran: And those who do what Allah enjoined as good. “And we have recommended to man kindness to his parents. Here Allah commands us to worship Him and not ascribe any partners to him. He joined this command with his command of kindness to parents and to do good to them and to be kind to them at their old age one or both of them; we should avoid all that embarrasses them or is detested by them of deeds or words. We should treat them with the noblest behaviour and we should say all that is nice and beautiful to them.

This is based on what Allah says: “And your Lord decreed that you worship none but Him, and enjoins kindness to parents. When either or both of them attain with you old age express not a breath of resentment to them and never repulse them, but say good speech to them. (17:23)

Part of the beloved Prophet’s traditions concerning the obligation of this obedience and commitment is what Abdullah ibn Masoud (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says: I asked the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam): which is the dearest deed in sight of God? He said: Performing prayer on time: I said: then which? He said to be kind to parents. I then asked then which? He replied: then fighting in the way of God. (agreed upon)

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) who said: The Messenger of God (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: whoever believes in God and the last day let him be generous to his guests and whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him do good to his kins, and whoever believes in God and the Last Day let him say what is good or be silent. (Agreed upon).

Dr. Arafat el-Ashi, Canada