in category Family, Gender and Sexuality

What is Islam's philosophy on parents?

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The importance of the role and function of parents in the life of Muslims cannot be understated.

It is that significant it has been mentioned a number of times in Qur'anic verses:

Your Lord has enjoined the following: You should not worship anyone but Him Alone! Treat your parents with great kindness; if either or both of them attain old age, do not even say uff to them; nor rebuke them; but speak to them kind words. Treat them with humility and tenderness and pray, O our Lord, be merciful to them, just as they brought me up with kindness and affection in my childhood. (Bani Israel 23-24)

And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command) "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. (Luqman 14)

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years he says "O my Lord! grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed upon me and upon both my parents and that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam." (Ahqaaf 15-16)

"They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever ye spend that is good is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever you do that is good Allah knows it well." (Qur'an 2:215)
There are a number of ahadith on the matter too:

A man said, "O Messenger of Allah (saws), what rights can parents demand from their children?" He (saws) replied, "They are (or your relation with them will determine) your Paradise or your Hell." (Tirmidhi)
Allah's Messenger (saw) said: Let him be humbled into dust! Let him be humbled into dust! It was said: O Allah's Messenger (saws), who is he? He (saws) said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (through his deeds of service towards them) (Muslim)

It was asked: O Messenger of Allah(saw)! To whom should I show kindness most? He (saw) replied: Your mother. I asked (again): Who next?. He (saw) replied: Your mother!. I asked: Who next? He (saw) replied: Your mother! I asked again: Who next? and he (saw) replied: Your father and then your relatives in order of relationship. (Abu Dawood)

I asked the Prophet (saw): "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He (saws) replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He (saws) replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents." I again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He (saws) replied, "To participate in Jihad (warfare) in Allah's cause." Abdullah added, "I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet (saws) would have told me more." (Bukhari)

A man came to the Prophet asking his permission to take part in Jihad. The Prophet asked him, "Are your parents alive?" He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said to him, "Then exert yourself in their service." (Bukhari)

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