With Allah’s name The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer.
By Imam Omar Hazim
There are many special days set aside to honor and appreciate people, such as Memorial Day, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Let’s hope they’re remembered, however, beyond a single day to every day of the year.
Our parents and elders are the building blocks of our society and should always be treated as great assets to the community. They are the reason for our existence. The Holy Quran says “They Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but God, and that ye be kind to your parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in they life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor, and out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them they mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.’”
Kindness to parents is an individual act of piety.
When parents are strong and the child weak, parental affection is showered on the child. Then the human baby grows to become the strongest both spiritually and mentally, as well as the wisest, on Earth.
When the child grows up and is strong and the parents are old and may be weak or sickly, it is an obligation for the child to show a similar tender care and love for the parents.
We cannot really compensate for all our parents do for us, but we must approach them with at least gentle humility and compassion. There is too much child abuse in our world and that is a very, very, sad commentary of society. There is also too much neglect
of our elderly, so much that it has become a crisis in many cities in our county.
There is a saying in the Islamic tradition: “Any young person who is kind to an elderly person, God will send someone to him or her who will be kind to them when they become old.” And there is a Western saying, “The way you treat people, you will be treated.”
Growing old is a natural, beautiful process of life, part of a divine plan. I am sure none of us wants to be deserted, unwanted or neglected if we become ill in our old age.
The presence of our parents in our homes, when they cannot take core of themselves, is an honor and blessing. Their presence will bring rewards and peace if we do our best to take care of them. If it is not medically possible to do that , then and only then should other methods be sought.
Many of us wait until our parents have passed on before we realize how much we loved them. Honor then in their life and let then know it. If they have already passed on, we believe in Islam we can continue to honor them by offering prayers for their souls, giving to charities or distributing Islamic literature on their behalf, and more.
I am sure there is much you can do according to your own religious traditions to respect and honor your parents in life and death. But remember: Our parents and the elderly need us more in life than in death.