Parents should teach children how to be responsible.
Appreciating parents is a noble deed that brings a lot of benefit to an individual. These are the only people in the world who would wish your success overtakes theirs. They would be willing to sacrifice their life to see you grow.
Just remember those days when you were a baby, when a little cry wakes your mother up all night. Just remember those times, when your parents stood by you when you could neither walk nor speak or even eat. Just remember those times, when they bought everything to make you happy as a baby, a toddler, a child; and should they have the means, they would continue to do so up to your adulthood.
Why then treat them casually, when they are getting weaker because of age, why should you neglect investing in their happiness simply because you have come of age. Being a teenager, a young person is not a license to abandon parental responsibility.
As you strive towards fulfilling this noble responsibility, always understand that there is a hierarchy even in the priority you give to the parents. The sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are clear about this. When he was asked about the person who had the best right, the prophet replied, “Your mother.” He was asked again and he said, “Your mother.” When asked a third time he said, “Your mother,” and then finally, the fourth time, he said, “Your father.”
This is quite important especially in this age where some people erroneously ascribe maltreatment of women with Islam. Perhaps some of our attitudes towards women do not help, yet if we could imbibe this quality, the world would a better place.
In his classical work, Minhaj Al Muslim, a book that focuses on manners and the character of a Muslim, Shaykh Abubakar Jabir Aljazairi (may Allah prolong his life), who is still alive and has been teaching in the Prophet’s mosque in Madina for the past 50 years, has succinctly compiled a number of narrations from authentic Islamic sources about the role of parents in our lives as reported from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Interestingly, the book has been translated into many languages.
In one of the haadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad), and reported by Bukhari and Muslim, two of the leading compilers of hadith, the Prophet stated, “Allah has forbidden for you, disobedience to mothers, withholding the right of others when one has the ability to fulfil them, and burying daughters alive. Allah also disliked for you, irrelevant talk, persistent questioning and wasting of wealth.”
In fact one day the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, ‘Alaa unabbi ukum bi akbaril kabaa-ir?” (Shall I not inform you of the greatest of the great sins?) His companions answered in the affirmative “Certainly, O Allah’s messenger.” He said, “Al-ishraaku billahi, wa uququl walidayn.”(They are ascribing partners to Allah, and disobeying parents.) Then the prophet sat up and added, “And false testimony and false witness. Verily false testimony and false witness.”
As such, it is not a small responsibility that perhaps some of us give casual attention to. When ibn Mas’ud, a companion of the prophet asked him what was most beloved to Allah, the prophet said, “Being dutiful to parents”.
And being dutiful to parents is a responsibility that should continue even after their lives, as confirmed by the Prophet (peace be upon him), where he stated, “From the most dutiful acts is that a man keeps contact with the beloved friends of his father after the father has passed away”. For more on this see Minhaj Al Muslim: A book of Manners, Character, Acts of Worship and other Deeds, (pp. 181-185).
Always remember that no one has invested in your life more than your parents, and one way of appreciating their effort is by being dutiful to them. Just imagine the joy you will create in them by being such a responsible person who lives up to his responsibility without a reminder from them.
As we work towards fulfilling this responsibility, especially in this age where the attention of the youth is carried away due to the influence technology, sports etc., parents should strive to help their children to understand such responsibility, after all, the parents will be the major beneficiaries when their kids become responsible to them. So do not just buy the children smart phones but also encourage them to read smart books that teach them the value of parents, because smart phones will one day expire or be overtaken by smarter technologies, but smart investment in the upbringing of your child to understand the value of his parents shall live forever.
I recommend the book, Loving Our Parents: Stories of Duties & Obligations by Abdulmalik Mujahid published by Darussalam, for every parent, son and daughter. It is one of the smartest treasures you will give your children. You will find amazing stories about how the prayer of parents changed the lives of their children. You will find interesting stories about how other people were dutiful to their parents, and so should you.
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