Saturday, 15 January 2011
When They Sacrificed Everything for You;
Your rewards are not with your parents (What I'm Blogging about mother and father)
Humanity and ethics demand that we safeguard these two jewels (our mother and father) - by exhibiting goodness towards them while they are alive, and by means of charity and goodly remembrance after their death.
Today we live in a 'global village', where it takes seconds for news to reach from one end of the world to the other end. Yet how sad that people doesn't care and don't ask about their parents or relatives. So close yet so far. What is then the point of this 'global village'? This is a sin that Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) will not forgive. So teach your children this message, not just through words but through your own actions. Teach them the value of parents through your actions.
Our lives are an extension of our parent's lives while our children's lives are a continuation of ours. Our good behavior towards our parents and our exhibition of kindness towards them shall cause our children to grow up as grateful and righteous individuals. They shall behave with us just as we have behaved with our own parents.
Just as it is beyond our means to fulfill the rights of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) and to thank Him for all His bounties in their entirety, similarly we can never thank our parents sufficiently for their efforts. The only thing that we can do is to acknowledge our inability and submit ourselves, in humility and reverence, before these two angels. However, comprehension of their status in the eyes of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) paves the way to fulfill some of their numerous rights.
Many are the khutba that we have heard about the rights and status of parents in Islam. Many are the ayat and hadith that outline this very, very important relationship. How often have we heard them? But have we truly acted upon them? Have we truly understood the role of parents and the status that Allah ‘azza wa jel has given them? And it is not just in our religion, it is not just with the coming of the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi Wasallam, no! Allah says in the Qur’an:
Here is a point to ponder over: We do not find in Noble Qur'an and Hadith so much emphasis on looking after the children as is the case with the rights of the parents. Why?
The Sharia (Islamic law) has put a new challenge to those who think. Find out how logical this attitude is. The fact is that the parent's heart is the fountain-head of the love for the child; this affection becomes the life-blood of the parents. Noble Qur'an has alluded to this instinctive parental love in several places.
Abdullah ibn Umar R.A. was doing Tawaaf around the ka’ba as an elderly person, many years after the death of the Prophet Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam. And he saw a man doing Tawaaf around the Ka’ba who had a very old lady on his back. He was doing Tawaaf carrying this lady on his back. And when the man saw ibn Umar, he rushed up to him, recognizing who he is, and he said, “Oh ibn Umar,” oh son of Umar ibn al-Khattab, “Oh ibn Umar, this lady on my back is my mother.” This lady is my mother. “And she had a desire to go do Hajj. And I live in such and such a province,” and he mentioned a far province in the Muslim lands, “And I could not afford a mount.” I could not afford an animal, I could not afford do bring her in any other means except by carrying her on my back, walking from such and such a village. “Oh ibn Umar, have I done my duty as a son?” Is the scale now equivalent? Have all of the good deeds that the mother did, have I now recompensed her the way that she deserves?
Ibn Umar responded: “You have done nothing in return.” You’re proud and boastful about this? You have done nothing; your deeds are not worth anything in the scale! You’re comparing a scale of what your mother has done to what you have done back to her?! He says, “You have done nothing in return. But you have done well, and Allah will reward you.”
The man said, “Oh ibn Umar, I have traveled from such and such a province,” what do you mean I’ve done nothing? “I have traveled from the furthest lands, carrying my mother on my back – and you say I have done nothing?” Ibn Umar said – and listen to this psychologist, listen to the profundity of the response that he gave to this man, listen to it and understand it and apply it in your daily lives – he said: “You have done nothing because: when she sacrificed everything for you; when she did everything that she did for you – she gave up her time, her pleasures, her health – she gave up everything she had to raise you as you are – she did it out of a pure love and joy – wanting to see you flourish, waiting so you grow up and you live a full healthy life – she did it for your life – and now that you do it in return, you are waiting for her death – doing it as a pity – doing as an equivalent, doing it in return for the favors – you’re not doing it to see her flourish and live. You’re doing it as a sense of guilt, trying to pay back what she’s done, and waiting for her death, so she is literally off your back.”
The psychology of what she did and versus what you are doing is completely separate! How can you compare the two? And how true, how profound is the statement of ibn Umar! When the child is raised by the parents, when the mother and father give everything that they have: their money, and their health, their wealth, their beings, everything. When they give to this child, what is the motivation of the parent? The parent wants to see this child flourish and live! They will literally give their lives for this child to live.
But when the child becomes old, and the child is entrusted to take care of his or her parents, the same emotions are not felt. The same patience is not there, the same love and tenderness, completely absent. And [for] this one reason, ibn Umar said: you cannot compare the two.
When Allah took a meethaaq from the children of Israeel – from the most ancient civilizations -
- “Worship none but Allah, and show ihsan to your parents…” (2:83) -
From the earliest civilizations, Allah ‘azza wa jel took a meethaaq – do you know what a meethaaq is? It’s a covenant of the highest order! It’s a treaty that should never ever be gone against and contravened. It is a treaty between Allah and man. That is what meethaaq is. And what are the conditions of this meethaaq? Allah mentions many in the Qur’an – but the first two in every single series of verses that talks about it, the first two: worship Allah; number two: be good to your parents.
“Your Lord has decreed” – such is the decree of Allah, such is the commandment of Allah, pay attention and heed – “Your Lord has decreed: that no one shall be worshipped except for Allah, and that you be good to your parents.” – (17:23)
This is the decree of Allah – the eternal decree of Allah: be good go your parents.
What does it mean, be good? Allah mentions the word ihsan. Ihsan is the highest level of good. There is no level; there is no word in the Arabic language that gives the meaning of ihsan. And the famous linguist of the Arabic language by the name of al-Raaghib al-Asfahaani, very famous ‘alim of the Arabic language, he said that ihsan is a state. It is not an action – it is not a deed, it is a state of mind, it is a frame of relationship, in which you give the most that you can, and you expect the least in return. You give your utmost being, this is what ihsan is. You do everything you possibly, physically, spiritually, emotionally, can. What do you want back from the party? The least amount: nothing. You do it out of ihsan. That is what ihsan is.
Your rewards are not with your parents; your parents are not going to give you anything back – no. You do what you do, you give them the most – and you expect the least back. And had there been a word higher that ihsan, Allah would have used it.
Notice in these series of verses – verses that you have all heard, all read, numerous times: “Your Lord has decreed that you shall worship none but Him and that you have ihsan to your parents” (17:23). “If either of them or both of them,” Allah says, “If either of them or both of them reach old age,” and you are in charge of them – it is a blessing that they are old and you are alive, it is a blessing – many have been deprived of this blessing – if either or both of them have reached this age where you’re in charge of them – what does Allah say? You all know:
“Don’t say uf…” (17:23) -
What is the meaning of “uf”? Uf – two letter word; smallest letter, smallest word in the Arabic language that as a meaning: uf. Uf means: you are irritated. It’s the equivalent of “tsking” in English, or saying “ouch” when you’re hurt. The smallest indication, the slightest indication, that you are irritated is said by uf. The scholars of Tafseer say: had there been a word that was less trivial, Allah would have used it here.
So the first verse uses ihsan, the second versus uses “uf.” Ihsan is the Peak; uf, the lowest, but of what?” Of what”? Profound, brothers and sisters, think about this: Allah ‘azza WA jel said: “Don’t say uf to them” – meaning, don’t show and express your frustration and anger.
If Allah ‘azza WA jel had said to us, don’t become irritated, don’t be angry, don’t be frustrated, Allah ‘azza wa jel would have commanded us with something we could not bear. It is human nature to get frustrated, especially at elderly parents. It is human nature to get angry, it is human nature to get irritated. Allah knows this. So Allah did not oblige us that we don’t get angry, we don’t get frustrated, we don’t get irritated – no. He obliged us with something that is well within our capabilities. Don’t say, don’t express, don’t show, and don’t outwardly give the impression that you’re irritated. Feel what you like in your heart, control it, be a man – control it:
“…and don’t speak to them in a harsh manner…” (17:23) -
An old man was sitting in the courtyard of his house along with his son who had received a high education. Suddenly a crow perched on a wall of the house. The father asked the son: What is this? The son replied: It is a crow. After a little while the father again asked the son: What is this? The son said: It is a crow.
After a few minutes the father asked his son the third time: What is this? The son said: Father, I have just now told you that this is a crow. After a little while the old father again asked his son the fourth time: what is this? By this time some statement of irritation was felt in the son's tone when he rebuffed his father: Father! It is a crow, a crow. A little after the father again asked his son: What is this? This time the son replied to his father with a vein of temper. Father: You are always repeating the same question; although I have told you so many times that it is a crow. Are you not able to understand this?
The father went to his room and came back with an old diary. Opening a page he asked his son to read what was written. What the son read were the following words written in the diary:
'Today my little son was sitting with me in the courtyard, when a crow came there. My son asked me twenty-five times what it was and I told him twenty-five times that it was a crow and I did not at all feel irritated. I rather felt affection for my innocent child.'
The father then explained to his son the difference between a father's and a son's attitude. While you were a little child you asked me this question twenty-five times and I felt no irritation in replying to the question twenty-five times and when today I asked you the same question only five times, you felt irritated, annoyed and impatient with me.
Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) mentions in Noble Qur'an:
"And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) "Ugh" nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word. And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my Lord! Have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little." Noble Qur'an (17:23-24)
Notice, Allah ‘azza wa jel has created us, He knows how difficult it is, not just to take care of children, especially to take care of parents. He knows how difficult it is. So Allah ‘azza WA jel put upon us a condition and a rule that is well within our limits: feel what you like; don’t express it, don’t make it outward, don’t show it to them.
“…say to them beautiful, generous speech…” (17:23) -
Say to them sweet things. Kareem: be generous in your speech to them. “And if they ask you,” Allah goes on in Surat al-Isra, “If they ask you for more that you can give” – if they ask you for things you don’t have, Allah ‘azza wa jel says,
“…give them optimistic phrases…” (17:28)
“Inshaa’ Allah, I’ll try,” “inshaa’ Allah, we’ll do that,” give them hope, give them encouragement. Allah ‘azza wa jel is saying, even if they want more that you can give – don’t get irritated, don’t get angry – give them good speech, give them optimism, fill them and their hearts with joy, just like they had done for you when you were a child.
And make du’aa for them, “Oh Allah, have mercy on them as they raised me…” (17:24) -
… Because they have raised me, due to the face they raised me, just as they raised me; all of these meanings are encompassed in “KUM”. Beautiful speech here, we cannot go into too much detail, beautiful speech of Allah that Allah ‘azza wa jel is giving so many profound meanings: because they have raised me, just as they have raised me, due to the fact that they have raised me, oh Allah have mercy on them, because of what they have done for me.
Let us pray to God that He guide us to be respectful, kind, and obedient to our parents, and that we continue to show them humility regardless of the power, position, wealth, and influence we may possess. Let us also pray that we be patient, kind, thoughtful, and friendly with our children, as we guide them through their lives, and that we discharge our responsibilities towards them as required by our religion, so that God may be pleased with us, and may He Bless and reward us, both in this world and in the Hereafter; Ameen.
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