Good behavior, respect and honor of parents are so important that they even transcend religious beliefs. Even an iota of disobedience and disrespect to them is intolerable in the eyes of Islam. Goodness to them has been enjoined in their lifetime as well as after their death rather it has been equated to prayers, fasting and Hajj. Islam has likened being thankful to parents with being thankful to Allah.1
And your Lord has commanded that you shall not 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.2
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.3
With unlimited importance of obedience to parents, the Holy Quran has also warned:
And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly…4
Obedience to parents is allowed only till it does not involve disobedience to Allah. Parents cannot be obeyed by disobeying Allah.
Mansoor Ibn Haazim asked Imam Ja’farSadiq (a.s): What are the best deeds?
Imam (a.s.) replied:
Being punctual in prayers, obeying parents and striving in the way of Allah.5
Importance of goodness to parents can be realized from the fact that it has been clubbed with praying on time and striving in the way of Allah.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said:
Allah, the Almighty, has not given respite to people in three things:
Safeguarding trusts – whether the one who has kept the trust is a good doer or a sinner
Fulfilling promises – whether promised to a good doer or a sinner
Goodness to parents – whether they are good doers or sinners.6
Goodness towards parents is not restricted to this material world alone rather it continues even after a person departs from this world. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
One who performs good deeds for his parents after their death, shall be appointed a leader of good doers on the day of Judgement. 7