After mentioning that one must confess His Oneness, worship Him with sincerity, and remain upright in obeying Him, Allah follows that by giving instructions regarding the parents. These appear together in many places of the Qur’an, such as Allah’s saying,
(Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents.) (17:23)
(Be grateful to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.) (31:14)
There are many other Ayat like this as well. Here Allah says,
(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents.) (46:15) meaning, `We have commanded him to treat them well and show compassion towards them. Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded from Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him, that his mother said to him: “Hasn’t Allah commanded that you obey your parents Then I will not eat any food or drink any drink until you disbelieve in Allah.” Thus she stubbornly abstained from eating and drinking, until they had to open her mouth with a stick. Then this Ayah was revealed,
(And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. ) This was also recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers, except for Ibn Majah. Allah continues,
(His mother bears him with hardship.) which means that the mother suffers hardship because of her child, such as fatigue, sickness, vomiting, heaviness, distress, and other forms of hardship that the pregnant women suffer.
(And she delivers him with hardship.) meaning, she also delivers him with hardship, suffering the pains of labor and their severity.
(And (the period of) his gestation and weaning is thirty months,) `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, used this Ayah along with the following two Ayat to prove that the minimum period of pregnancy (gestation) is six months:
(And his weaning is in two years.) (31:14) and
(The mothers suckle their children two complete years — for those who desire to complete the term of suckling. ) (2:233) This is a strong and valid conclusion, and it was approved by `Uthman and a number of the Companions. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Ba`jah bin `Abdullah Al-Juhani that a man from his tribe (Juhaynah) married a woman from Juhaynah. She delivered a baby after six months. So her husband went to `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, and told him about that. Thus, `Uthman summoned her. When she was getting dressed, her sister started crying. She asked her: “Why do you cry By Allah, no one has ever approached me (for sexual relations) of Allah’s creation except him (my husband). So let Allah decree (for me) as He wills.” When she was brought before `Uthman, he commanded that she be stoned to death (for adultery). `Ali heard of this, came to `Uthman, and said: “What are you doing” He (`Uthman) said: “She delivered after six months! Can this ever happen” `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Don’t you read the Qur’an” He said: “Yes, of course!” He (`Ali) then said: `Haven’t you heard Allah’s saying,
(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months), and;
( two complete years) (2:233) (Subtracting the two numbers) we are only left with six months.” `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “By Allah, I did not see that! Bring the woman back.” But they found that she had already been killed. Ba`jah continued: “By Allah, no two crows and no two eggs are more similar than that child turned out to be to his father! When his father saw that he said, `By Allah! This is my son without any doubt.’ Later on, Allah afflicted him with a skin abscess in his face (because of his false accusation to his wife). It kept eating him up until he died.” Ibn Abi Hatim related from his father that Farwah bin Abi Al-Maghra’ told them that `Ali bin Mushir narrated to them from Dawud bin Abi Hind, who narrated from `Ikrimah that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When a woman delivers after nine months, the baby will only need twenty-one months of suckling. When she delivers after seven months, the baby will need twenty-three months of suckling. When she delivers after six months, the baby will need two full years of suckling, because Allah says,
(and his gestation and weaning is thirty months, till when he attains full strength).” meaning, he becomes strong, youthful, and attains full ability.
(and reaches forty years,) meaning, his complete intellect, understanding, and patience reach the level of maturity. It has also been said that usually one will not change his ways once he reaches the age of forty.
(he says: “My Lord! Grant me the power and ability) meaning, `inspire me.’
(that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You,) meaning, in the future.
(and make my offspring good.) meaning, my offspring and descendants.
(Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.) This contains an instruction for anyone who reaches forty years of age to renew his repentance and turn to Allah with strong resolution. Allah then says,
(Those are the ones from whom We shall accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise.) meaning, those to whom applies the above description — those who repent to Allah, turn back to Him, and rectify their shortcomings through repentance and seeking forgiveness – those are the ones from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their evil deeds. Many of their errors will be forgiven and Allah will accept from them a modest amount of deeds.
(among the dwellers of Paradise.) which means that they will be among the dwellers of Paradise. That is Allah’s ruling concerning them, as He has promised for those who repent and turn to Him. Thus, He says,
(That is the promise of truth that they had been promised.)
(17. But he who says to his parents: “Uff to you! Do you promise me that I will be raised up when generations before me have passed” While they invoke Allah for help: “Woe to you! Believe! Verily, the promise of Allah is true.” But he says: “This is nothing but the legends of the ancient.”) (18. They are those against whom the Word (of torment) has justified among the previous generations of Jinn and mankind that have passed away. Verily, they are ever the losers.) (19. And for all, there will be degrees according to that which they did, so that He might fully recompense for their deeds. And they will not be wronged.) (20. On the Day when those who disbelieve will be exposed to the Fire (it will be said): “You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein. Today, you will be recompensed with the torment of extreme humiliation, because you were arrogant upon the earth without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allah’s command.)
Taken from the Abridged Tafsir Ibn Kathir Volume 1 – 10