While this site mainly deals with how to raise children and the responsibilities of parents, we thought it would it also be useful to also have a category about the rights and status of parents in Islam. So in this post, we want to briefly mention the major sin of disobeying parents. As parents, this is something we should teach our children – not only for our personal gain, but to avoid children from committing a major sin.
We shouldn’t raise our children to be “scared of us” and that’s the only reason they don’t disobey us. Rather we should instil the fear of Allah in their hearts and as part of this, they should know that Allah does not like them to be disobedient to us. A child’s fear of their parents will eventually reduce as they get older, but the fear of Allah should always be there, and this is what we should base our teachings on in this regard.
In Islam, it is the right of parents that their children should treat them with kindness, obedience, and honor. Devotion to parents is a natural instinct which must be strengthened by deliberate actions. The rights of the mother are stressed the more because of her suffering during pregnancy and childbirth, her suckling of the child, and her role in rearing it. In the words of Allah Ta’ala:
And We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents. His mother carries him in pain and she gives birth to him in pain, and (the period) of carrying him and weaning him is thirty months….(46:15)
Once a man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and asked, ‘Who is most deserving of my good companionship?’ ‘Your mother,’ replied the Prophet (peace be on him). ‘Who next?’ the man asked. ‘Your mother,’ replied the Prophet (peace be on him). ‘Who next?’ he asked. ‘Your mother,’ replied the Prophet (peace be on him). ‘Who next?’ asked the man. ‘Your father,’ replied the Prophet.(Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
The Prophet (peace be on him) declared disobedience to parents to be a major sin, second only to ascribing partners to Allah, as has been stated in the Qur’an. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report his saying, ‘Shall I not inform you about the three major sins?’ Those who were present replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said ‘Associating partners with Allah and disobedience to parents,’ and sitting up from the reclining position, he continued, ‘and telling lies and false testimony; beware of it.’
He also said, “Three persons shall not enter the Garden: the one who is disobedient to his parents, the pimp, and the woman who imitates men.” (Reported by al-Nisai, al-Bazzar on the authority of excellent transmitters, and al-Hakim) and, “Allah defers (the punishment of) all sins to the Day of Resurrection excepting disobedience to parents, for which Allah punishes the sinner in this life before his death.”(Reported by al-Hakim, on the authority of sound transmitters.)
Moreover, Islam emphasizes treating parents kindly, especially when they grow old. As their strength fails, they require more attention and care, and more consideration of their even more sensitive feelings. Concerning this the Qur’an says,
Thy Lord hath decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. If one or both of them attain old age with thee, do not say a word of annoyance (Literally, “Do not say Uff! (an expression of annoyance) to them.” (Trans.)) to them nor repulse them, but speak to them in gracious words and in mercy lower to them the wing of humility and say, My Lord, bestow Thy mercy othem, as they cherished me when I was little….(17:23-24)
In explaining this verse, a commentator says, “If a lesser thing than saying ‘Uff!’ to parents were known to Allah, He would have prohibited (even that).”