Kindness with Parents in Islam

Written by: Mahnoor Arif

We feel a weird kind of awkwardness when a religious scholar on the TV screen is speaking for the rights of parents or when one of our parents uses any typical emotional sentence. Casually joking about it, we walk away but the reality is we can never comprehend that they are a blessing for us as long as … they are in front of us.

Practise Ehsan!

There are many people on earth who regret every second of their lives not spent in the service of their parents because they, now, have either lost one or both of them. The rights of our parents upon us are many but it is imperative that we deal with them with ehsan, on the level of excellence, because:

وَأَحۡسِنُوۤا۟ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ یُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِینَ

And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.

Surah Al-Baqarah 195

From our mother, carrying us in her womb for 9 months, and that being only the start of her trials, to her carrying all our important or mundane tasks until we are able to do them ourselves and from our father, taking care of the little to significant details that he has to, in-home or outside, to him sacrificing even his health to give a better future to his kids, we have been forever indebted to what our parents have done for us. That is why Allah sets the priorities for us in the Quran in the following words:

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good.

Surah An-Nisa 36

Right after telling us to worship Him, He tells us to do good to parents. But how do we do good to our parents? There are a few things we can do, which involve very little effort but can be extremely rewarding.

Acknowledge their efforts!

The most hurtful thing one can do in return for the good done to them is not accepting that our parents have spent their lives in order to build us. We don’t even have it in our conscious memory the trials they went through, the emotional turmoil they suffered, or the lengths they went to for buying a small thing, maybe our favorite backpack for us.

Be grateful for them!

We can never pay back their efforts so the least we can do is being grateful for every single thing they did, that we know or don’t. And showing that gratitude in the form of small gestures is even better.

Respect their choices!

One will always have a generation gap with their parents and since every individual is different, we will always have differences in opinions but that doesn’t mean that one should get disrespectful to their parents. One can always have a healthy discussion with healthy disagreements. And if there are a few things which don’t really fall into your priority list, in those cases, being submissive to them will give them the sense of belonging to you (which they really yearn for). In fact, one can always involve them for the purpose of taking advice.

Do not talk back!

A small tip that the Quran gives us is:

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.

Surah Al-Isra’ : 23

If only we keep this in mind, that they are old and their lives have been spent differently and that they had different circumstances and experiences, then noble words can come out easily.

Show love through small gestures!

A small handwritten note saying, ‘I love you’, a pretty handmade greeting card, or a small gift bought from your pocket money, makes all the difference sometimes. Studies show that expressing gratitude benefits both the receiver and the giver resulting in better health, lower anxiety, and overall better satisfaction with life.

Spend time with them!

As we grow older and our lives revolve around studying harder, earning better and overall moving on with lives, we tend to forget that they are also growing older, and that old age requires extra love and care. Spending a little time with them daily, a small phone call asking about their health, their daily activities, or just a casual conversation with them will make them feel a whole lot better.


The New York Times: A serving of gratitude may save the day

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