The Status of Parents in Islam

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Islam
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As’salamu Alaikum Wa RahmatAllahi Wa Barakatuhu

(Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you)

There are many days set aside in different societies to honor and appreciate special people; examples of these are Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. In Islam, however, respecting, honoring and appreciating parents is not just for a single day of the year, but rather for each and every day.

Parents in the Quran

A child should respect and appreciate his or her parents on a daily basis. Allah mentions that human beings must recognize their parents and that this is second only to the recognition of Allah Himself. Throughout the Quran, we notice that parents are mentioned with appreciation and respect, even if they are senile. In the Quran, there is a very beautiful description of how parents are to be treated; Allah Says (what means):

“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’ [i.e., an expression of irritation or disapproval] and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say: ‘My Lord! Have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.‘” [Quran 17:23-24]

The recognition and respect of parents is mentioned in the Quran eleven times; in every instance, Allah reminds children to recognize and to appreciate the love and care that they have received from their parents. One such example is when Allah says what means:

“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents…” [Quran 29:8 & 46:15]

1. The demand for recognizing parents is made more emphatic when Allah Says (what means):

“And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them]: ‘Do not worship except God(Allah); and to parents, do good…’” [Quran 2:83]

2. Allah again emphasizes in chapter Four of the Qur’an that children should be kind to their parents. He says what means:

“Worship God and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good…” [Quran 4:36]

3. In Chapter Six of the Qur’an, Allah reemphasizes that people should be kind to their parents; He says what means:

“Say: ‘Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment…’” [Quran 6:151]


Although Islam recognizes both parents, mothers are given particular gratitude and respect. This can be appreciated if we reflect upon the hardships and suffering that mothers experience in their lives. In this regard, there is a Prophetic Tradition: It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah(R.A.) (one of the companions) that a man came to the Prophet(S.A.W.) and asked him:

“Who is most deserving of my close companionship?’ He replied: “Your mother; your mother; your mother; then your father; then the next closest to you in kinship; then the one next closest.”

Islam has endorsed respect for parents by their children, even if the parents are non-Muslims. If parents strive to convert their children to non-Islamic beliefs, the children should not obey them, but must still maintain goodness towards them. In this regard, Allah says what means:

“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is two years. Be grateful to Me and your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” [Quran 31:14-15]

More Respect

Islam teaches that of the most beloved deeds to Allah, having respect for one’s parents is second only to that of prayer and is greater than that of Jihad (fighting in His cause). In this respect, Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood may Allah be pleased with him narrated the following:

“I asked the Prophet(S.A.W.): ‘Which deed is the most beloved to Allah?’ He replied: “Prayers performed on time.” I then asked: ‘Which one is next?’ He replied: “Goodness to parents.” I then asked: ‘Which is next?’ He replied: “Jihad in the path of Allah.””

In Islam, respect for parents is so great that the child and his wealth are considered to be the property of the parents: `Aa’ishah(R.A.) narrated that a man came to the Prophet(S.A.W.) in order to resolve a dispute that he had with his father regarding a loan he had given him. The Prophet said to the man:

“You and your wealth are to (i.e., the property of) your father.”

Hence Islam encourages an individual to be kind and respectful to his or her parents regardless of their faith. On the contrary to modern day “mothers day” Islam demands that children should respect their parents at all time unless otherwise mention.


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