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Right of Parents and Disobedient Sons in Islam

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

01 April 2019

Let us do some spiritual introspection to feel significance of parents and know their rights. Allah Almighty has blessed us with parents. The parents, who bear up well despite facing stresses and strains for the sake of our upbringing, moral training and wellbeing, are indeed unforgettable bounty and blessing of God Almighty. In recompense for unbearable pain our mothers felt until we were born and for what our parents did until we were grown, we cannot give them their due.

In spiritual observation substantiated by Islamic teachings, one idea comes across that only God Almighty can give our parents their deserving due and reward. However we should do take care of their rights and perform our duties, to the best of our capacity, as the Quran says, “Allah tasks no soul beyond its capacity” (2:286/2:33/6:152/7:42/23:62). Enshrined in Islamic teachings, the rights of parents and our duties towards them are not beyond our capacity nor are they less than the necessity of pleasing the parents.

Respecting the parents is one of our duties that keep them happy. Allah Almighty says, “Your Lord decrees that you worship none but Him, and be virtuous to parents. Whether one or both of them reaches old age, say not to them “Uff” (a word of contempt) nor chide them, but speak to them a noble word.” (17:23)

This Quranic verse commands us to address our parents with utmost respect and nobility. The Arabic word ‘Uff’ can be an expression of complaint, annoyance, feeling of irritation or any sort of ugly or harsh expression. The implication here is that we should be tolerant and patient with parents, their needs and dependencies, just as they were tolerant and patient with us as children. We should remember this duty enshrined in this verse and perform it in all situations.          

The Quran also says, “And lower your wing humbly for them, with mercy, and pray, “My Lord! Have mercy on them both, the way they nursed me when I was young.” (17:24)

This verse commands us to treat our parents with abundance of mercy, affection and humility. Moreover even if one’s parents are disbelievers, one must still pray for God’s mercy upon them and that He Almighty give them guidance.

Showing kindness towards parents is so significant in Islam that even if they ask us not to obey God Almighty, we are still commanded to treat them kindly. Allah Almighty says in the Quran,

“But if they endeavour to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” (31:15)

This verse asks the believers not to obey the parents in matters of faith. However when it comes to worldly matters, such as taking care of parents physically or financially or in any other way necessary, they should not fall short about it. Instead they should be kind and benevolent and keep refraining from causing any pain and grief to them in worldly matters.

Someone requested Ala Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza to tell him the ruling of Islamic Sharia on the Questions mentioned below;

A son disobeyed his father, grabbed his entire property and did not leave anything to his father for his subsistence. Moreover he insults and defames his father, whereas Allah Almighty, in the Quran, commands the believers to obey the father. In this situation that the son violated the command of God, did he become Munkir (disbeliever or denier) of God’s commands or not? What does Islamic Sharia say about the one who denies or breaches the Divine Orders (Kalam-e-Rabbani)? And what sort of sinner is he?  

In reply to these questions, Imam Ahmad Raza says,

“The aforementioned son is Fasiq, Fajir, perpetrator of Kabair, disobedient and is liable for great torment and wrath of God Almighty. Disobedience to father is disobedience to Allah Almighty and displeasure of father is the displeasure of Allah Almighty. If a man pleases his parents, then they are his Paradise and if he displeases them, then this act of displeasing becomes a cause of his Hell. Unless he pleases his father, none of his acts of worship- Farz, Nafl, and righteous deeds will be accepted at all. In addition to the torment of the Hereafter, the severe sufferings will befall him in this worldly life. Moreover there is a risk that he may be unlucky to recite the holy Kalima during final moments of life (We seek refuge in Allah)”

He then quotes the following Ahadith to substantiate the aforementioned reply.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

طاعة الله طاعة الوالد ومعصية الله معصية الوالد

 “Obedience to Allah is obedience to the father and disobedience to Allah is disobedience of the father.” [Tabrani narrated it from Hazrat Abu Hurairah]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

رِضا الله في رِضا الوالد وسَخَطُ الله في سَخَطِ الوالد

 “Pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of the father and displeasure of Allah is the displeasure of the father” (Tirmizi, Ibn Habban and Hakim narrated it from the chain of Abdullah b. Umar)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

هما جنتك ونارك

“The parents are your Paradise as well as your Hell.” [Ibn Maaja narrated it from Abi Amama] (This implies that if you displease your parents you are liable for the Hell but if you please your parents you are liable for the Paradise.)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

الوالد أوسط أبواب الجنة فإن شئت فأضِع ذالك البابَ أو احفظه

“Father is the middle door of all the doors of Paradise. So if you like, you may lose it or take care of it.” [Tirmizi, Ibn Maaja and Ibn Habban narrated it from Hazrat Abi Darda’]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

ثلثة لا يدخلون الجنة، العاق لوالديه والدَّيُّوثُ والرَّجُلَةُ من النساء

“Three persons will not enter the Paradise; 1) One who disobeys the parents, 2) the one who is Dayyuth” and 3) A female who makes male appearance (Nasai and Hakim narrated it from Hazrat Abu Umar)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

ثَلاثَةٌ لا يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ صَرْفًا وَلا عَدْلا : عَاقٌّ ، وَمَنَّانٌ ، وَمُكَذِّبٌ بِالْقَدَرِ

 “There are three persons whose compulsory and optional good deeds (Farz and Nafl) will not be accepted by Allah; 1) the one who is disobedient to his parents, 2) the one who offers someone charity (Sadaqa) but reminds him of this favour, and 3) the one who denies the Taqdeer” (Ibn Abi Aasim narrated it from Hazrat Abu Amamah).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said,

كل الذنوب يؤخر منها ما شاء إلى يوم القيامة إلا عقوق الوالدين فإن الله يجعل لصاحبه في الحياة قبل الممات

 “The punishment of all other sins, If Allah wishes, may be left for the day of Judgment (Qayamat) but He Almighty does punish those who are disobedient towards their parents in this world itself.” (Hakim, Asbahani, Tibrani]

In the eighth Hadith it is reported that “A young man was one the deathbed. The people asked him to recite Kalima but his tongue was unable to recite it. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached there and asked him to say, “There is no god but Allah”. However he expressed his inability to say it. Later on it came to notice that his mother was displeased with him. When she had been pleased, the young man’s tongue was able to recite the “Kalima” (Imam Ahmad and Tibrani narrated it from Hazrat Abdullah b. Aufa)

Having quoted these eight Ahadith, Imam Ahmad Raza further says with reference to the aforementioned questions, “The afore-mentioned son is disobedient and his deeds are violation of the commands of God Almighty. But this does not mean he has become denier (Munkir) of God or disbeliever of God’s commands, unless he says that obedience to father is not compulsory as per Islamic Shariat to obey the father or (May Allah save us) he says that it is permissible to insult and defame the father in Islam. Whoever keeps such belief is no doubt a Munkir (disbeliever) of God’s commands and the ruling of apparent Kufr is applicable to him.... Allah is the Most Knowing.”  (Imam Ahmad Raza, Al-Huquq li Tarhil Uquq)

A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).


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