Showing kindness to parents is one of the most meritorious acts and the best rewarded in the sight of Allah. In fact, Allah mentions it alongside the act of worshipping Him in many places in the Qur’an.
Islam considers dutifulness to parents one of the deeds that lead to Paradise. The Prophet said, “A parent is the middle gate of all the gates of Paradise. (That is, obeying parents leads to entering Paradise from its middle gate, which is the best of them all) Now, if you like, you may lose it or keep it.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 1900)
- Seriousness of disobedience to parents
All revealed religions consider disobedience to parents one of the greatest of all major sins and warned against such a monstrous act. The Prophet once asked his companions, “Shall I not inform you of the greatest of the major sins?” “Yes, please do, Messenger of Allah,” they replied. He said, “Associating partners with Allah in worship and disobedience to parents.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5918)
- Dutifulness to parents but without disobeying Allah
A Muslim must obey his parents in everything unless they ask him to do something which Allah has forbidden. In this case, he must not obey them but must still be kind to them, as the Qur’an states, “We have instructed man to honour his parents, but if they endeavour to make you associate with Me something about which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” (Soorat Al-‛Ankaboot, 29:8)
- Showing kindness to them in their old age
Allah says, “Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not utter the slightest harsh word to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity.” (Soorat Al-Israa’, 17:23)
This verse informs us that a Muslim must honour his parents and obey them and that he must not repel them especially if they have attained old age, even by muttering sounds to express annoyance, let alone saying a word of contempt.
- Non-Muslim parents
A Muslim is required to obey his parents and show kindness to them even if they are not Muslim, as the Qur’an states, “But if they strive with you to make you associate with Me something of which you certainly have no knowledge do not obey them. Even then, treat them with kindness and due consideration in respect of [the life of] this world.” (Soorat Luqmaan,31:15)
- Marrying a good devout woman to provide the best possible upbringing to her children. Indeed. This is the best gift a man can give his children.
- Giving them good names, as a person’s name conveys meaning and becomes a symbol of that person.
- Teaching them the principles of Islam “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for those is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and children and is responsible for them, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. Therefore, all of you are guardians and all of you are responsible for those under your care.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 2416; Saheeh Muslim: 1829)
The father must support all his children without exception and must not neglect this duty. Rather, he must carry it out to the best of his ability and according to his means, as the Prophet said, “It is a sufficient sin for a man to neglect those who are under his care.” (Sunan Abu Daawood: 1692)
Regarding spending and caring for girls in particular, he also said, “Whoever is in charge of any of these girls and treats them well, they will be a shield for him against the Fire.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5649; Saheeh Muslim: 2629)
All children must be treated equally, as the Prophet said, “Fear Allah and treat your children justly.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 2447; Saheeh Muslim: 1623)