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How must we treat our parents?

In His Name, glory be to Him

There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Your Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and to be good to parents. If one of them or both of them attain to old age with you, say not to them �Fie�, neither chide them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And lower unto them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, �My Lord, have mercy on them both, as they did care for me when I was little.� Your Lord is best aware of what is in your minds. If you are righteous, verily He is All-Forgiving to those who are patient. (17:23-25)

O you, who are unaware of the filial responsibility towards parents, in whose house is one of his old parents, or helpless, invalid relative or brother-in-religion unable to make his living! Heed the verses quoted above and see how they insist in five different ways on the affection to be shown to parents!

Of course, paternal affection for children is one of the sublime realities of worldly life and, in turn, filial gratitude to them is a most urgent and heavy duty to be performed. Parents sacrifice their lives lovingly for their children, and if this is so, what falls to a child who has not lost his humanity and become transformed into a monster of ingratitude, is to show sincere respect for them, to serve them willingly, and to try to gain their approval. With regard to filial respect and service, uncles and aunts are like parents.

Now, you, who are neglectful of your duties to your parents, know how terribly disgraceful and lacking in scruples it is to be bored with the existence of old parents and to desire and expect their death. Know this and come to your senses! You must understand what an injustice it is that you desire the end of the lives of those who have sacrificed their lives for you.

O you, who are immersed in earning your livelihood! Know that your disabled relative whom you regard as unbearable in your house is, in fact, the means of blessing and abundance. Never com-plain that you can scarcely make a living (that your means of subsistence are strained), for were it not for the blessing and abundance bestowed on you, you would have to face even more difficulties in making your living. This is an undeniable reality, which I could prove to you except that I would like to keep this letter brief.

Believe me, I swear by God that this is an established reality to which even my satan and evil-commanding self have yielded. Indeed, as is witnessed by the whole of the existence, when the Generous, Majestic Creator, Who is infinitely merciful, compassionate, gracious and munificent, sends children to the world, He sends them together with their sustenance which He provides through the breasts of mothers abundantly. In the same way, He sends in the form of blessing and unseen, immaterial abundance, the sustenance of the old, who are like children and even more worthy and needy of compassion than children. He does not load their sustenance onto mean, greedy people.

The truth expressed in the verses, Surely God is He Who is the All-Provider, the Possessor of Strength and the Steadfast (51:58) and How many an animate creature that bears not its own provision, but God provides for it and you, (29:60) is openly proclaimed by living creatures of all kinds through the tongue of their dispositions. So, not only the sustenance of old relatives, but also that of pets, like cats, which are created as friends to human beings and usually live on food from human beings, is, again, sent in the form of blessing. I have personally observed this:

Some years ago, my daily ration consisted of half a loaf of bread. Since the loaf was very small, I barely managed with it, until four cats became my everyday guests. No sooner did they begin sharing my bread, than the same ration was always enough for all of us.

I witnessed this so often that it convinced me that I benefited from the blessing coming through the cats. I openly declare that they were not a burden upon me, and that I was rather indebted to them, and not they to me.

�But for the old bent double, calamities would be pouring down upon you�

O man, a human being is the most esteemed, noble and most worthy-of-respect among creatures; among human beings, the believers are the most perfect. Among the believers, the helpless, old people are those who are the most worthy and needy of respect and compassion. Among the old, the relatives deserve affection, love and service more than the others, and among the relatives, parents are the most truthful confidants and most intimate companions. Now, O man, if an animal becomes the means of blessing and abundance when it stays as a guest in a man�s house, then you can conclude how invaluable a means of blessing and mercy parents are in a house and, additionally, as stated in the hadith � But for the old bent double, calamities would be pouring down upon you� (Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa�, 2:163) what an important means for the removal of calamities they are.

If this is so, O man, come to your senses! If you have been assigned a long life, certainly, you too, will grow old, and if you do not show due regard for your parents, then, according to the rule, one is rewarded or punished in accordance with the kind of one�s action, your children will not respect you either. Further, if you consider your afterlife seriously, it is a precious provision for your afterlife to gain the approval of your parents by serving them. If you love the worldly life, again you should please them so that you may lead a pleasant life. If, by contrast, you regard them as unbearable, if you break their easily-offended hearts, and if you desire their death, you will be the object of the Qur�anic threat, he loses both the world and the world to come. So, whoever wishes for the mercy of the All-Merciful must show mercy to those entrusted to him by God in his house.

I had a brother-in-religion called Mustafa Cavus. I noticed that he usually succeeded in both his worldly affairs and the matters related to the Hereafter. I did not know how he could do so. Then, I came to understand that he succeeded because he observed the rights of his parents strictly. So, who-ever desires to be prosperous in both worlds should do as he did.

O God, bestow blessings and peace on him who declared, �Paradise is beneath the feet of mothers�, and on his family and Companions all together.

We have no knowledge save what You have taught us; surely You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.


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