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Project Islam: Part 3

Parents.
 

Allah SWT has conferred a very special status upon parents: immediately following upon the prohibition on associating with or attributing to HIM anyone or any single thing, is the absolute command to honour and care for Parents:
 

Bismi Llahi-R-Rahmani-R-Raheem
In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
 
Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 36
And worship Allah (alone), and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside HIM.
And do good to your Parents, and near of kin, and to orphans, and the needy, and the neighbour from among your own people, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the freind by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess.
Verily, Allah does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner.

 
The suffering and sacrifices of Parents, who strive tirelessly to protect and provide for their children, meets its reward when children - upon attaining maturity - strive to protect and provide for their Parents:
 
Surah 17 Al-Israa, Verses 22-24
And do not set up any other deity side by side with Allah, lest you find yourself disgraced and forsaken:
for your Sustainer has ordained that you shall worship none but HIM.
And do good to your Parents. Should one of them or both attain old age in your care, never say "Ugh!" to them or scold them, but (always) speak to them with reverant speech,
and spread over them humbly the wings of your tenderness, and say: "O my Sustainer! Bestow your Grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me as a child!"

 
Each successive stage of human development and growth is characterized by great weakness and vulnerability as babies and children, followed by a period of strength and ability as adults: once more to be replaced by weakness and vulnerability as the elderly. Each phase enables human beings to acquire knowledge, whilst being sustained and sheltered by their loved ones. Without this familial support network and familiar environment, people lose their sense of direction, lose hope and ties to society inevitably loosen.
 
Good parents are those who instill in their children the right moral values: imparting to them the importance of maintaining familiy bonds; of explaining to them the absolute necessity of exhibiting generosity, patiance, tolerance, humility and compassion; informing them of the destructive effects of greed, jealousy, unkindness and intolerance. The best manner in which children learn how to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, true from false, is by example. Thus, the example which is set before children by Parents, is that which determines the form and type of life they will live:
 
Surah 29 Al-Ankabut, Verse 8
Now (among the best of righteous deeds which) WE have enjoined upon man (is) goodness towards Parents; yet (even so) should they endeavour to make you ascribe divinity, side by side with ME, to something which your mind cannot accept (as divine), obey them not: (for) it is to ME that you all must return, whereupon I shall make you truly understand (the right and wrong of) all that you were doing (in life).

 
It is the Mother who bears the greatest physical and emotional strain when delivering, rearing and nurturing children. And because she suffers a type of pain the Father never can begin to imagine, it is the Mother who recieves special mention by Allah SWT in the Qur'an:
 
Surah 31 Luqman, Verse 14-15
"And (Allah Says:) WE have enjoined upon man goodness towards his Parents: his Mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependance on her lasted two years: (hence, O man) be grateful towards ME and towards your Parents, and with ME is all journey's end.
"(Revere your Parents) yet should they endeavour to make you ascribe divinity, side by side with ME, to something which your mind cannot accept (as divine), obey them not; but (even then) bear them company in this world's life with kindness, and follow the path of those who turn towards ME. In the end, to ME you all must return; and thereupon I shall make you understand all that you were doing (in life)."
 
Surah 46 Al-Ahqaf, Verse 15
Now (among the best of the deeds which) WE have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents. In pain did his Mother bear him, and in pain did she give birth to him; and her bearing him and his utter dependance upon her took thirty months. And so, when he attains full maturity and reaches forty years, he (that is righteous) prays: "O my Sustainer! Inspire me so that I may forever be grateful for those blessings of Yours with which You have graced me and my Parents, and that I may do whatever is right (in a manner) that will meet with Your goodly acceptance; and grant me righteousness in my offspring (as well). Verily, to You have I turned in repentance: for, verily, I am of those who have surrendered themselves to You!"

 
The stress upon honouring Parents and granting them their due rights is the one constant in Revelation. It is part of the Law revealed to the People of The Book - the Jewish and Christian communities - and finds confirmation in the Final Testament revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): who was himself an orphan:
 
Surah 2 Al-Baqarah, Verse 83
And lo! WE accepted this solemn pledge from (you,) the Children of Isra'el: "You shall worship none but Allah; and you shall do good to your Parents and kinsfolk, and the orphans, and the poor; and you shall speak to all people in a kindly way; and you shall be constant in prayer; and you shall spend in charity."
And yet, save for a few of you, you turned away: for you are obstinate folk!

 
In order to create and maintain a morally vibrant, intellectually alert and spiritually discerning society, Parents need to acquire knowledge of the Qur'an in order to teach it to their children. Ignorant people beget ignorant offspring: leading to families and communities devoid of any sense of right and wrong. Above all else, if Parents are good to their children, then their children will, most likely, be good to them. Gratitude to Allah SWT for HIS infinite blessings and gifts manifests gratitude towards Parents and all else.
 
Wa Llahu 'Alam
 
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