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Family Life

Sons’ duties

Islam has given a great attention to sons whom are required to respect and obey their fathers absolutely. Thus, impiety to parents is one of the grand sins for which God has threatened the hell-fire. God’s Book refers to the obligation of benefaction and obedience to parents in more than one position. God has attached the obedience of parents to worship and compliance with Him. He says:

And your Lord has commanded that you shall serve any but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them so much as ‘Ugh’ nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word. And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion and say: O my Lord! Have compassion on them, as they brought me up when I was little.

Muslims should treat their parents according to this straight course that represents Islam’s genuineness and constancy in education and teachings. Muslims should also meet their parents with thorough travails of service and charity, and dedicate all of the deeds to the parents’ use until they are emotionally satisfied. Besides, the spirits of contentment and acceptance should be dispersed in the parents’ mentalities. Any single word of boredom or annoyance should not be said to the old parents who lack the ability of managing their affairs. In such cases, it is insistently imperative to serve and superintend them. It is quite obligatory to use leniency with them and supplicate to God for their good and meet them with the best forms of dignifying and honoring since these acts leads to God’s forgiveness. Reports of confirmations of the Prophet and the Imams on the commitment to benevolence and piety in treating parents are uninterruptedly existence in the reference books of hadith and history.

Imam As-Sadiq (a) narrated: “O God’s messenger!” a man addressed at the Prophet, “I have the desire to participate in jihad.” “Yes,” said the Prophet, “You should strive for God’s sake. If you are killed, you will be divinely alive and rewarded with earnings. If you die, God will be rewarding you. If you come back safe, your sins will be totally condoned as same as the day on which your mother had given birth of you.” “O God’s messenger!” said the man, “I have aged parents who claim they feel at ease with me and disagree to my departure.” “Then,” said the Prophet; “You are to settle with your parents. By the Prevailing of my soul I swear, one day’s ease you provide to your parents is more preferable to a year participation in jihad.”

Hence, we notice that sons’ piety to their parents is more rewardful than jihad, which is one of the portals of the Paradise. Zakaria Bin Ibrahim said: I had been Christian before I converted to Islam, performed the ritual pilgrimage and came to Abu Abdillah (Imam as-Sadiq) and told of my conversion to Islam. “What have you noticed in Islam distinctively?” asked the Imam. I referred to God’s saying:

You had not known what is the Book or the believing. But, We made it a light by which We raise whom We desire. The Imam raised his hands upwardly supplicating to God for my good and guidance. “My father and mother, who is sightless, are Christians,” said I, “I usually accompany them and eat from the same saucer.” “Do they have the pork?” asked the Imam. “Never,” I answered, “They do not even touch it.” The Imam instructed, “Never mind. You should be pious to your mother. If she dies, none other than you should make her funeral ceremonies. You should manage her affairs.”

As I was back hometown, I began to implement the Imam’s instructions of piety of my mother that she wondered the reason beyond my extraordinary supervision. “O son!” she pondered, “When you were on my religion, you did not do this to me. As you converted to Islam after your immigration, I noticed this fantastic piety to me, what is this?” “A man, who is one of our Prophet’s descendants, instructed me,” I answered. “Is he a prophet?” asked she. “No,” I answered, “He is a prophet’s descendant.” “These are certainly the prophets’ instructions,” she expressed, “Your religion is really the best.” She then Islamized.

Islam is grounded on rewarding the well doers and piety to parents as much as possible.

Islam asserts on mothers’ piety specifically more than fathers’. This is because mothers’ rights upon sons are more abundant than fathers’ are. On the authority of Imam as-Sadiq, a man asked the Prophet which of his parents he should treat more benevolently. “Your mother is,” said the Prophet. “Who’s next?” asked the man. “Your mother is,” confirmed the Prophet. “Who’s next?” reasked the man. “Your mother is,” said the Prophet. “Who’s next?” reasked the man. “Then comes your father,” worded the Prophet..

Sons are responsible -before Allah- for supervising and honoring their mothers by saving whatever they need. It may be a part of rewarding the burdens and difficulties that they stood and exerted in educating their sons. As a man was shouldering his mother to perform the ritual circumambulating of the precept of pilgrimage, he asked the Prophet whether he had fulfilled her duty. “No at all,” asserted the Prophet, “You have not met even a single sigh.”

The filial piety and obeying the parents -by serving them- are fundamental constituents of the Islamic education that aims at establishing social ties that should be based upon true amiability and association.

Adapted from the book: "The Educational System in Islam" by: "Baqir Sharif Al-Qireshi"