The Rights of Fathers and Mothers

The Father

My child! Even if the Holy Qur'an and the religious leaders had not advised you on how to treat your father and mother, your intelligence would command you to honour them. And as far as human nature is concerned, treating them with due respect is a must. There are many verse in the Holy Qur'an, as well as many statements concerning the topic.

The Almighty, in the Holy Qur'an says:

وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا. وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُلْ رَبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

“And your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him and honour your parents. For as long as they live, one of them or both of them, you shall not speak harshly to them or mistreat them; you shall speak to them amicably. And lower for them the wings of humility and kindness and say: My Lord, have mercy on them for they brought me up from infancy.” (The Holy Qur'an 17: 23-24)

The Almighty Allah in another place in the Holy Qur'an says:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

“We enjoined the human being to honour his parents; his mother bore him as he got heavier and heavier and cared for him for two years until weaning. You shall be appreciative to Me and to your parents. To me is (thy final) goal.” (The Holy Qur'an 31:14)

The Holy Prophet (S.) in answer to a person who had asked what right has father to his child, said:

لا يسميه باسمه ولا يمشى بين يديه ولا يجلس قبله ولا يستسب له.

“The child should not call him by his name. Neither should he walk in front of him: nor be seated before he is seated and he should use no evil words, to anyone, except after one has used evil words against his father.” 1

A foster sister of Prophet once went to his visit. The Holy Prophet (S) treated her with utmost love and respect. After she had left, her brother went to his visit. But he did not receive as much attention from him. People present at both meetings, asked the reason. The Holy Prophet (S) explained:

“The reason is that she had treated parents with more respect and kindness than he had.” 2

Our Fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (as) says:

وحق امك ان تعلم انها حملتك حيث لا يحتمل احد احداً واعطتك من ثمرة قلبها ما لا يعطى احد احداً ووقتك بجميع جوارحها ولم تبال ان تجوع وتطعمك وتعطش وتسقيك وتعرى وتكسوك وتضحى وتظلك وتهجر النوم الجلك ووقتك الحر والبرد لتكون لها فانك لا تطيق شكرها الابعون الله وتوفيقه واما حق ابيك فان تعلم انه اصلك فانك لولاه لم تكن فمهمارايت من نفسك ما يعجبك فاعلم ان اباك اصل النعمة عليك فيه فاحمدالله واشكره على قدر ذلك ولا قوة الا بالله.

“You are indebted to your mother for she carried you in a manner that no one else did. She fed you the essence of her life whereas no other person did. She fed no other person such food.

She used her entire being for the purpose of protecting you. Whereas, she would not care about herself being hungry or thirsty, she fed you and quenched your thirst. She dressed you well when she had no cover for herself. If she were in the sun, she would put you in the shade.

She deprived herself of a peaceful sleep for you sake. She protected you from heat and cold. She did all these so you would stay alive for her. Oh human, without Allah's help. You shall never be able to thank her enough! And you are indebted to your father for that he is your roots. If he were not, you would be not give him credit for all good fortunes you may have, because he is the one, who is the basis for them. Be grateful and appreciative to him. And there is no power except by Allah.” 3

Imam Ar-Ridha’ 4 (as)quotes the Holy Qur'an where Allah say:

ان اشكر لي ولوالديك.

“Oh human give thanks unto me and unto your father and mother.” 5

Therefore, he who does not appreciate his parents, he does not appreciate Allah.

Again Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) says:

من لم يشكر المنعم من المخلوقين لم يشكر الله عزوجل.

“He who does not express his appreciation for a gift, given to him by someone, has not indeed thanked Allah.” 6

The Child

Of course, the wisdom advises one to honour one's father and mother. And Holy Qur'an as well as our religious leaders confirm such as advice.

  • 1. Usul al-Kafi, New Edition, vol.II pp. 159-161
  • 2. Usul al-Kafi, New Edition, vol II.159-161
  • 3. Wafi, 3rd part, 0.127
  • 4. The Eighth Imam, Ali, known as Ar-Ridha’ (as) (148-203/817). The son of the seventh Imam, he lived in a period when the Abbasids were faced with increasing difficulties because of Shi'ite revolts. Finally the caliph al-s thought he would solve the problem by naming the Imam as his own successor, hoping thus to ensnare him in worldly affairs and turn the devotion of his followers ways from him. After finally being able to persuade Ar-Ridha’ (as) to accept, al-Ma'mun realized his mistake, for Shi'ism began to spread even more rapidly. Finally he is said to have had the Imam poisoned. Ar-Ridha’ (as) is buried in Mashhad in Iran.
  • 5. Oyoon Akhbar Ar-Ridha’, p. 143
  • 6. Oyoon Akhbar Ar-Ridha’, p. 194