This is the second articles on Ihsaan

Excellence (Ihsaan) in Interacting with Parents


This is the second articles on Ihsaan. The Urdu
speaking readers please note that Ihsaan in Islamic
terminology is not the same Ihsaan that is used in
Urdu. The Arabic word for Urdu Ihsaan is 'Mann'. As
mentioned last week, Ihsaan in Arabic means
excellence, graciousness, generosity and doing better
than expected.

Excellence (Ihsaan) in Interacting with Parents

Just as the starting point of practicing ‘Adl is
fairness in fulfilling the rights of Allaah on us as
our Creator and Master without letting anything come
in our way of our obedience to Him or of our
performance of the duties assigned by Him, the
starting point of practicing Ihsaan is the excellence
in our interaction with our parents. In the Holy
Qur-aan, Allaah SWT has enjoined excellence in one’s
behaviour with one’s parents immediately after
mentioning Towheed and pure submission to Allaah. In
Soorah Banee Israaeel, the Qur-aan says:

“Your Lord has decreed that you do not serve anyone
like a slave except Allaah and deal with parents in an
excellent manner. If one or both of them reach old age
in front of you, do not express any annoyance to them,
do not raise voice to them and speaking pleasantly,
say only respectable things. And lower yourself in
humility with kindness in front of them and pray: O
Lord have mercy on them as they brought me up when I
was little.” Banee Israaeel 17:23

Similarly, when reporting Luqmaan’s admonition to his
son about not associating any partners with Allaah SWT
or equating anyone in any respect with Him, Allaah
interrupts the flow of what Luqmaan had said in order
to emphasize one’s obligation to his parents, saying:

“We have exhorted man (human beings) about his
parents. His mother bore him enduring difficulty after
difficulty, nursing (suckling) him for two years, so
that you thank Me and your parents.” Luqmaan 31:14

The same style of commanding Ihsaan towards parents
immediately after emphasizing Towheed as our duty to
Allaah is repeated in the following verses:

“And remember when we took a promise from Israelites
that: Dedicate your servitude exclusively to Allaah
and be good to your parents, to close relatives, to
orphans and to the poor; and talk nicely to people,
establish Salaah and pay Zakaah.” Al-Baqarah 2:83

“And serve Allaah, do not equate anyone or anything
with Him and treat parents superbly. And be nice to
close relatives, orphans, the poor, close neighbours,
farther neighbours, a fellow traveller, and the
wayfarer.” An-Nisaa 4:36

“Say: Come, I will recap what inviolable duties your
Lord has obligated on you:
Ø Do not equate anything or anyone with Allaah;
Ø Be excellent to your parents;
Ø Do not kill your children fearing poverty because we
provide for you and for them;
Ø Do not go near lewdness or shameful things, whether
it is open or hidden; and,
Ø Do not take a life, which Allaah has made sacred,
except for the administration of justice.
Thus does he command you so that you can attain
wisdom. Al-An’aam 6:151

This suggests that in terms of importance and status
of one’s responsibilities, obligation to one’s parents
is immediately next to one’s obligations to Allaah

One of the special characteristics of Yahya (John, the
Baptist) and Eesa (Jesus), peace be upon them,
mentioned in the Holy Qur-aan (Maryam
19:14 and 32) is
that they were very respectful and dutiful in
fulfilling their obligations to their parents/mother.

Serving and obeying parents is also a topic that has
been very strongly emphasized in Ahaadeeth.

Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood asked the Messenger about the
actions Allaah loves the most. He said, “Salaah at its
time.” Asked, then what, he said, “Serving the parents
well.” Asked then what, he said, “Jihaad in the way of
Allaah.” Muslim kitaabul-eemaan

A person asked the Messenger of Allaah about the right
of parents on their children. He responded, “They are
your Jannah and your Fire.” Aboo Umaamah in Ibn Maajah

Allaah’s pleasure is in the pleasure of father, and
His displeasure is in the displeasure of father.”
Abdullaah IbnUmar in At-Tirmidzee

Fighting in the way of Allaah and migrating for that
purpose are the most virtuous actions to gain the
pleasure of Allaah SWT. However, if someone has old
parents who are dependent on him for their living and
their survival, the serving of the parents takes
precedence over migration and fighting in the way of

A person came to the Messenger of Allaah, leaving his
parents crying, to make a commitment for migration to
Madeenah (Hijrah). The Prophet sent him back saying,
“Return to them and make them happy just as you caused
them to cry.” Abdullaah ibn Umar in Al-adbul-mufrad

A person came to the Messenger of Allaah to seek
permission for Jihaad. The Prophet asked if his
parents are alive. On receiving a positive answer, he
said, “Perform Jihaad (work hard) in their service.”
Abdullaah IbnUmar in Muslim kitaabul-birr, in
Bukhaari kitaabul-jihaad.

A person came from
Yemen to the Prophet and was asked
if he had left behind some relatives in
Yemen. When he
said that his parents were there, the Prophet asked,
“Did you seek their permission for migration?” On
receiving a negative response, the Prophet said, “Go
back and seek their permission. If they allow, then
participate in Jihaad. Otherwise, keep serving them
well.” Reported from Aboo Sa’eed Khudriy in Aboo

Jaahimah, the father of the narrator, who had a very
old mother at home depending on him for her survival
came to the Messenger of Allaah and said, “O Messenger
of Allaah, I want to go for Jihaad and am seeking your
advice in this respect.” The Prophet asked if his
mother was still alive. When he confirmed that she
was, the Prophet responded, “Dedicate yourself to her
service because your Jannah is at her feet.” Mu’aawiah
Ibn Jaahimah in Musnad Ahmad

At the time of the Messenger, sons were closer to,
more attached to and more subservient to the father
than the mother and there was a chance that father may
be favoured at the expense of mother. Hence, the
Messenger of Allaah emphasized that if someone has to
choose between father and mother, the mother deserves
three or four times more servitude than the father.

A person came to the Prophet and asked who had more
right on his companionship and service. The Prophet
indicated it to be his mother. He was repeatedly asked
“Then who?” The Prophet repeated three times, “Your
mother”. Then on the fourth question, he said, “Your
father”. Reported from Aboo Hurairah in Bukhaari
kitaabul-adab and in Muslim kitaabul-birr

Sometimes, we may feel that we have done enough in the
service of our parents. Here is something to ponder
for those who may think so:

A person came to the Messenger of Allaah and narrated,
“O Messenger of Allaah! I carried my mother on my back
from Yaman for Hajj, performed Tawaaf of the House,
performed Sa’yy betweem Safaa and Marwah, stayed in
Arafaat, brought her to Muzdalfah, stoned the pillars
in Minaa. I did all this carrying her on my back, as
she is too old even to move. Have I fulfilled my
obligations to her?” The Prophet responded in the
negative. The person wondered why. The Prophet
responded, “Whatever she did when you were little, she
did with a strong desire for you to live. Whatever you
have done for her, you have done while desiring her
death.” Zaadi Raah (Urdu, page 61) with reference to

The Messenger of Allaah also gave strong warnings to
those who disobey or disrespect their parents or do
not serve them lovingly:

Once the Messenger of Allaah exclaimed, “May he be
humiliated! May he be humiliated! May he be
humiliated! He was asked, “Who? O Messenger of
Allaah!” He said, “Who finds one or both of his
parents grown old, but he does not avail the
opportunity to gain entry into Jannah.” Reported from
Aboo Hurairah in Muslim

“He who keeps reminding after doing someone a favour,
he who is disobedient to parents or he who is an
alcoholic, cannot enter Jannah (paradise).” Abdullaah
IbnUmar in Mishkaah with reference to At-tabaraani
and Nisaai

Allaah curses anyone who curses his parents.”

Reported from ‘Ali in Muslim

“Cursed is one who uses abusive words to his father or
his mother.”
Musnad Ahmad

Allaah forgives whatever sins he wants except the
disobedience to the parents which is punished in this
world even before death.” Reported from Abee bakrah in

The Messenger of Allaah also said,

“The following are major sins: Equating others with
Allaah in obedience or worship, disobeying the
parents, taking a life, and telling a lie. Reported
from Anas in Muslim

The kindness, humility and service to one’s parents is
incumbent on Muslims regardless of whether the parents
are Muslims or non-Muslims, guided or misguided, right
or wrong. However, obedience to them is only in the
things that are in accordance of Islamic teachings. In
the matters of Deen, it our duty to Allaah that we
believe and practice only what is right and we follow
only the person who helps us to the right path to
Allaah SWT. In the ordinary worldly matters, the
obedience and Ihsaan to the parents must continue in
all circumstances.

“And if they coerce you to equate with Me others, of
which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, but
continue to provide them good companionship in the
world, and follow the path of the person who leads to
Me.” Luqmaan 31:15

If the parents are not Muslims or are misguided, part
of the Ihsaan is to earnestly pray to Allaah for their

How to serve the parents if they have already died?

A person asked the Messenger of Allaah if there was
any obligation that he could fulfill to serve his
deceased parents. He replied, “Yes, there are four

Praying for them; seeking forgiveness for them;
fulfilling their words and commitments; maintaining
the relationships that emanate from them (uncles,
aunts, cousins, etc.); and, respecting (honouring)
their friends.” From Aboo Usayd in Aboo Dawood

“The greatest virtue is to be friendly to the people
loved by one’s father.” IbnUmar in Muslim

Those who keep their parents happy can immensely
benefit from their duaa:

“Three supplications (Duaa) are answered without
doubt: A Father’s duaa, a traveller’s duaa and an
oppressed person’s duaa.” Reported from Aboo Hurairah
in Aboo Dawood

Wa aakhiru da'waanaa anilhamdu lillaahi
Ayub Hamid


Read also Ihsaan


Home - Quran & HadithCharity - Family & HealthIslamMiscellaneousMatrimonials

Human Rights - WomenNewscenterBoycottChechnyaPalestine - Links