Total Pageviews

The Etiquette of Dealing with Parents and the Elderly

In childhood they carried our burden and in their old age they become dependent upon us. May Allah allow us all to achieve Jannah by serving our parents.

The Etiquette of Dealing with Parents and the Elderly

Yasir Qadhi

In Sūrat’l-Kāhf (a chapter of the Quran) is the famous story of Khidr (p.b.u.h) and his encounter with Moses (pbuh). Khidr meets three people, and each time he meets one of them, he does something strange. One of the three people that he meets is a young man. What does Khidr do when he sees this young man? He kills him. Moses (pbuh) is shocked. “Have you killed an innocent soul?” Khidr is doing this as a commandment from God. He says to Moses (pbuh), “I told you [that] you can’t be patient with me.” At the end of the story, what do we find out? “As for this person that I killed, their parents were good people, and God knew that if we caused this young man to grow older and mature, he would have caused much grief and hardship to his parents, so God wanted to replace him with one who will be merciful to them.”

One of the things this story tells us is that one of the most painful experiences of human existence and one of the most emotionally traumatic situations is to find a son or daughter who is displeasing. To raise a child with love and mercy and tenderness and to have this child grow up and flourish in front of one’s eyes, and to spend one’s entire livelihood, one’s savings, one’s life and time and efforts on this young son or daughter and then to find this son or daughter turns around and goes against them. This child treats them in a harsh or rude manner. This human being, because of whom they felt motivated to live – a child motivates a parent to live – and this human being because of whom they changed their whole life plans and worked hard and struggled; someone from whom they expected nothing but mercy and tenderness in return – instead, when this child turns against the parent and treats them with contempt and arrogance, ridicule, sarcasm, the emotional trauma and distress that a parent feels is the most profound. That is why, as a mercy to righteous parents, God actually decided to take this servant away because if he were allowed to live, he would have caused distress and grief.

This is something one needs to think about. Parents would be less distressed at the death of their child and at the nonexistence of this boy that they raised than they would be if he were allowed to remain and allowed to flourish and cause them grief and harm. This really shows us how much a parent loves a child and how important it is that the children treat their parents with that love and respect that is due to them.

God emphasizes the rights of the parents using the strongest nouns, strongest verbs, and strongest adjectives. He always emphasizes the rights of the parents straight after He emphasizes His own rights. “Your Lord has decreed…” This is the decree of God and this is the eternal decree upon which there is no other decree that will supersede it. “…that you shall worship none except Him and that you should treat your parents with ihsān.”

What does ihsān mean? Ihsān comes from husn, and husn means perfection. The state of ihsān as defined many of the famous commentators of the Arabic language means that you give everything you possibly can to the other party without expecting anything back from them. This is what the state of ihsān is. You give everything you can – your heart and your soul, your body and your efforts – and what do you want in return? Absolutely nothing. That is the state of iḥsān (perfection). My parents have already done for me much more than I can possibly do for them.

In another famous verse, God says, “We took a covenant with the children of Israel that they worship none except God and they treat their parents with iḥsān.” In yet another verse, God tells us that when your parents reach an elderly age, don’t even say uff to them. Scholars of the Arabic language tell us uff is an expression or phrase that actually doesn’t have a verbal meaning. There is no noun that it is based of uff. It is simply a sound that is uttered like when you are hurt and say “ouch.” It is not a noun, and it is not a verb; it is simply a sound. Uff is the least expression of contempt. The Arabic scholars tell us the least expression of irritation and anger is uff. God is saying, “Don’t even say uff to them.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Had there been a word lesser than uff, God would have used it in this verse.”

The meaning here is that when your parents reach that age when you have to take care of them, they will do things that will irritate you. They will treat you in ways that you will find troublesome. Why? Because you are not a child anymore; you are an adult, but for your parents, you are always going to be a child. No matter how old you are – 40, 50, 60 – in their eyes, you are always their little baby. They are going to command you and tell you this and that, and you being 30 or 40 or 50, will think that you are in charge. It is very easy to lose track of the fact that when your parents are there, you are always going to be their little baby. God says, “Don’t even say uff to them.”

The beauty of the Qurʾān here is that God does not command you with more than you can bear. Notice God doesn’t say don’t get angry and God doesn’t say don’t get frustrated and Allāh doesn’t say don’t get emotional because that is inside the heart.What God does say is don’t express that emotion externally; control it, trap it, and make sure it is not manifest to your parents. This is the beauty of our religion. Anybody who is dealing with elderly parents knows this first hand. It is very difficult to take care of elderly parents. It is very frustrating. God didn’t tell you to not get frustrated. God said, “Don’t express that frustration. Don’t let it manifest. Don’t let anything come that will show your parents you are frustrated. Trap it; keep it within you.” Outwardly, show them the respect that they deserved, even if it has to be forced.

In another saying of the Prophet, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The pleasure of God is in the pleasure of the parents, and the anger of God is in the anger of the parents.” If your parents are happy with you, then even if you have other sins and other major problems, if God permits this is a source of expiation and kaffārah for you. Once a man came to Ibn ‘Abbās (a companion of the Prophet) and said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, I have done this and I have done that. I have fornicated and I have drunk wine” He basically did every sin in the book. “What can I do to make amends?” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Are your parents alive?” He said, “My mother is alive.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Go and serve her because I know of no good deed that cleanses a man of all of his sins than servicing his parents.”

In another tradition narrated in the Musnad of Imam Aḥmad, a man comes to the Prophet (pbuh) and says, “O Messenger of God, I have come from a far away land [in some versions he says Yemen], and I have immigrated to Madīnah in order to be with you and do jihad (striving in the way of God) behind you, and I have even left my parents crying in order to be with you.” This is the first time he is seeing the Prophet (pbuh). He is trying to boast to the Prophet (pbuh) that he has done so much for the sake of jihād that he even left his mother and father crying. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Go back to them and make them laugh just like you made them cry.”

After a parent dies and moves on to the next life, still a lot can be done. First and foremost, as the companion of the Prophet (pbuh) said, seek forgiveness for them and ask God to forgive them and raise their ranks. Pray for them. Secondly, make sure that their wishes, requests, and wills were fulfilled. Make sure that anything they wanted done is executed on their behalf. Thirdly, give Sadaqah (charity). Give money and say, “O God, reward my mother for this ten, twenty, thirty dollars.”

Also, make Ḥajj and ‘Umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah) for them. Making Ḥajj and ‘Umrah is one of the greatest and most noble acts that you can do as a child as long as you have done your own Ḥajj and ‘Umrah.

Also, the Prophet (pbuh) said one of the ways we can show respect to the parents and to fulfill their rights after they have moved on is – and this is something hardly anybody does – meet the friends and relatives of our parents who we would not meet otherwise.Some scholars have derived the wisdom behind this. They say that when you go to these people, you don’t have much in common except one thing: your mother, your father. What will the topic of discussion be? Your mother or your father. What do you think will happen when this person reminds you of how they interacted and what your mother did? How will you feel after that? You will feel so much love and tenderness and want to go home and give ṣadaqah on her behalf and make du‘ā’ for her. That love will be rejuvenated and revived. Therefore, by visiting the friends and relatives of our deceased parents, the love of our parents is once again rekindled within us. This is one of the wisdoms some of the scholars derived from this particular legacy of the Prophet (pbuh).

Let me conclude by quoting a very interesting and beautiful tradition that is reported from the famous companion Ibn ‘Abbās (pbuh). It is narrated that once a man was doing ṭawāfaround the Ka‘bah and had his mother on his back. He saw Ibn ‘Abbās in the distance, so he came running over to him and said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, this elderly lady on my back is my mother. She has been asking to come for Ḥajj for as long as I can remember. She has always wanted to go for Ḥajj, and I could not afford to buy an animal to bring her, so this year I decided to carry her on my back and do Ḥajj with her on my back. Have I now fulfilled the rights of a son to his mother?” Ibn ‘Abbās smiled and he said, “You have done good, but you have not even done a fraction of what you should.” In other words: “Alḥamdulillāh (all praise be due to God), you are a good son, but don’t come and tell me ‘Have I fulfilled the rights of my mother?’”

The man said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, I have come from the city of so-and-so [me mentioned a far-away city] carrying my mother on my back, and you are telling me I haven’t done even a fraction?” Ibn Abbās said, “You haven’t done a fraction of what your mother did to you because when your mother took care of you and did everything that she did for you, her goal was to give you life. She did it out of love and to see you flourish. She did it genuinely for your own nourishment and flourishing. Now when you are paying her back, you are doing it as a duty and burden. You are doing it out of a sense of guilt and duty, and you are waiting for the day that she dies. You are not wanting to see her flourish and live. You are simply doing it as a dutiful son. You don’t have the same genuine, selfless love that your parents had for you when they did what they did.”

Simply one psychological statement: your parents did for you everything to see you live and flourish. When you become old and they are now the ones being taken care of, you are not doing it in the same philosophy. You are doing it as a burden and to pay back. How can you compare the two? One is selfless love and the other a sense of gratitude and duty.

If your parents are alive, the only way to be a pleasing servant to Allāh and the only way to be a good Muslim is to have your parents love you. If your parents are angry with you or if your parents are not happy with you and you are not trying to change that situation, it doesn’t matter what you do in the eyes of God. The parents have ultimate priority in this world.

Received by e-mail:
Dr Benil Hafeeq K.P
Consultant Nephrologist
MIMS and IQRAA Hospital

What is Righteousness?

On the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam'aan (radiAllaahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :
Righteousness is in good character/morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.
It was related by Muslim.
And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma'bad (radiAllaahu anhu) who said :
I came to the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and he said : "You have come to ask about righteousness". I said : "Yes".
He said : "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour]."
Explanation of Hadeeth:
His (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "Righteousness (al-Birr) is in good character/morality" means that good character is the greatest characteristic of Birr, [and not its only characteristic]. This is similar to his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "The Hajj is [standing in] Arafaat", ie. standing in the plain of Arafaat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah is the greatest part of the Hajj, but is not all of the Hajj. As for Birr then it is that which encourages its doer to perform good righteous actions, and it is associated with the abraar [righteous, pious individuals], and they are the ones who are obedient to Allaah 'azza wa jall.
And what is meant by 'good character' is justice in ones dealings, and kindness and consideration in ones endeavours, and justice in ones orders, and being generous in offering help and other than these from the characteristics of the believers, those whom Allaah ta'aalaa has described by saying :
"The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'aan) are recited unto them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord alone. Who perform as-Salaat and spend out of that which We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise)." [Soorah al-Anfaal 2-4]
And Allaah has said :
"(The believers whose lives Allaah has purchased are) those who repent to Allaah (from polytheism, sin, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allaah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) with Al-Ma'roof (all what Islaam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (all that Islaam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allaah. And give glad tidings to the believers." [Soorah at-Tawbah 112]
And He has said :
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salaat with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghuw (dirty, false, evil, vain talk). And those who pay the Zakaat. And those who guard their chastity. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors; Those who are faithfully true to their Amanaat (all the duties which Allaah has ordained, honesty, trusts etc.) and to their covenants; And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawaat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors [of Paradise]." [Soorah al-Mu'minoon 1-10]
And He said :
"And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allaah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness ..." [Soorah al-Furqaan 63],
until the end of the Soorah.
So whoever is unsure of his condition should compare himself to these aayaat, and if he finds in himself all of these good qualities then this is a sign of possessing good character, and if he finds that he does not possess any of them then this is a sign of bad character. And if he finds only some of them, then he should strive to retain that which he posseses and to obtain that which he does not.
And let not one think that 'good character' is interpreted as being only gentleness, and leaving fawaahish (lusts), and sins, and that whoever does only that has purified his character. Rather, good character includes all that along with all the other characteristics of the Believers that we have mentioned above.
And from good character also is patiently bearing bad treatment, as has been narrated in the two Saheehs [of Bukhaaree and Muslim] that a bedouin pulled at the cloak of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) until its hem left a mark upon the shoulder of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), and he [the bedouin] said : "O Muhammad! Grant for me from the Wealth of Allaah that is with you", so the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa salaam) turned to him and laughed, and then ordered that he be given something.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about" means that wrongdoing is that thing which results in aversion/dislike in the heart, and this is a principle that is depended upon in distinguishing sin/wrongdoing from righteousness: that sin is that thing which wavers in the breast and the individual hates that the people should come to know of it. And what is intended here by 'the people' is those who are equals in status and respectability, or the best of society, and not the common riff raff. So this is what is sin/wrongdoing, so it is to be left, and Allaah knows best.

Parenting and Life Skills for Children

My son and daughter attended a 24 hour long life skills training camp organized by ISPAF (Indian School Parents Forum). 
Even though you / your child did not attend the camp, the message in the mail can be understood and practiced to certain extend!............ Hence the sharing. 
Don't forget to come back and leave your experience with your kids on this, in the comments column. 
Dear Parent,
It has been more than a week since we conducted the camp. It is important that we follow up on the learning that they underwent during the camp. We need your help to ensure that the skills become their habit. I would like to give you a few guidelines to make this happen.
Step # 1
Engage in a conversation with them : Spend some time with your wards trying to recollect the camp experience. Ask them questions like:
What did you like the most in the camp?
Why did you like it?
What are you doing on a daily basis to apply the skills in their real life?
This is just casual chat. So take it easy and don’t make them feel uncomfortable.
Step # 2 – Do it Today!
Do it today was one of the sessions we did with the juniors. This is basically to discipline the kids to understand what is needed to be done TODAY! They usually put off their daily tasks to tomorrow and then tomorrow, which is called Procrastination. If, we as parents , could inculcate the habit of doing today’s task today and not putting off for tomorrow, I would say that we are successful to a greater extend in guiding them to a successful life.
Questions to ask.
Do you know what Procrastination is?
Putting off important tasks, until later and then later and later, while one keep themselves busy with not so important activities.
Do you think that you Procrastinate things?
You will know if they have this habit or not. So they have to be honest with you.
Step # 3 – Take time to plan
Get them take action with your help.
Ask them do a list of all things they want to do in the coming week, like completing their study portions, visiting their friends, shopping, watching television etc.
Ask them to put ‘A’ on their important things as a student, then put ‘B’ on all second important things and ‘C’ on all not that important things. Also ask them put ‘E’ on all things that they can eliminate from the list. You should then check this list to make sure that they are doing it properly.
This list should then turn into a daily list, so they know that what exactly they should be doing daily. Get them to commit to this list and follow up with them. Again no force or blaming! Be patient until they it becomes their habit.
Once the daily list is ready, ask them to do all A items and not to do any B or C items until they complete all A items of the day. This will bring their focus on all important things in their life and help them to understand the items they should be eliminating.
The weekly list should then become, a monthly, quarterly ,half yearly , yearly and 3 to 5 year list, at a later stage. This is where they can effectively set their goals and follow through it.
I know this is not a simple task. The best way to make them practice is to practice it by yourself, if you are already not doing it. Let us be a role model for our children!
You can call me  any time between 7 pm and 11 pm, 7 days a week, if you require any clarification or assistance in this regard.
Thank you for your trust in ISPAF. Our mission is to help the young generation to be able to successfully face challenges of their life.

A-Z about Prophet of Islam (Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him)

Muhammad: A - Z : By Yusuf Estes, Former Christian Preacher

While others are clamoring over what to do when someone draws a cartoon or a picture of one of the prophets of Almighty God, (peace be upon them all), we decided it was time to show the "Real Picture of Mohammed" - everything we could find from A to Z. The results were far too many to list all of them. So, we took the first 26 and put them in alphabetical order, but as you read through the commentaries of others, you will be able to realize many hundreds of additional qualities of this man, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

This "A-Z" on Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, deals with well established facts about Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, but certainly does not include everything there is to know about Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. 

Volumes and encyclopedias and even libraries have been dedicated to presenting the picture of this great man.

Please visit below link to read more: