Parents in the Quran is a subject that is discussed in different verses and surahs. God has told us to be good and kind to our parents, respect them, and refrain from causing them trouble. In this article on Islam4u, we will take a look at the following:
God Asks Us to Be Good to Our Parents
In different verses of the Quran, God has asked believers to be good to their parents and to refrain from disrespecting them. However, if one’s parents force one to give up one’s belief in God, one should not follow them. For example, verse eight of surah ‘Ankabūt (العَنکَبوت) reads:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنًا ۖ وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۚ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿8﴾
We have enjoined man to be good to his parents. But if they urge you to ascribe to Me as partner that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. To Me will be your return, whereat I will inform you concerning what you used to do. 1
However, if one’s parents are righteous, it is necessary to obey them and not disrespect them.
The Prominent Role of the Mother
In the Quran, God emphasizes that the mother’s role in raising children is very prominent. Therefore, one should especially be respectful toward one’s mother. God says in the Quran:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ ﴿14﴾
We have enjoined man concerning his parents: His mother carried him through weakness upon weakness, and his weaning takes two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is the return. 2
Elsewhere, the Quran highlights the role of the mother by saying:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ﴿15﴾
We have enjoined man to be kind to his parents. His mother has carried him in travail, and bore him in travail, and his gestation and weaning take thirty months. When he comes of age and reaches forty years, he says, ‘My Lord! Inspire me to give thanks for Your blessing with which You have blessed me and my parents, and that I may do righteous deeds which please You, and invest my descendants with righteousness. Indeed I have turned to you in penitence, and I am one of the Muslims.’ 3
Islam emphasizes respecting one’s mother because she went through the difficulties of pregnancy, child labor, nursing, and raising one as a child. Nevertheless, the Quran enjoins one to be kind to both parents while devoting special attention to the mother.
The Duties of Parents Toward Their Young Children
Parents have specific roles to play when a child is bornbased on the Quran. The Quran says in a long verse:
وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَّهُ بِوَلَدِهِ ۚ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَٰلِكَ ۗ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا ۗ وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ ﴿233﴾
Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years—that for such as desire to complete the suckling—and on the father shall be their maintenance and clothing, in accordance with honourable norms. No soul is to be tasked except according to its capacity: neither the mother shall be made to suffer harm on her child’s account, nor the father on account of his child, and on the [father’s] heir devolve [duties and rights] similar to that. And if the couple desire to wean with mutual consent and consultation, there will be no sin upon them. And if you want to have your children wet-nursed, there will be no sin upon you so long as you pay what you give in accordance with honourable norms, and be wary of Allah and know that Allah watches what you do. 4
God means two lunar years in the Islamic calendar by two full years of suckling. Other than nursing the child, the father must provide food and clothing for the child. Some people choose to have their children nursed by others for various reasons. Islam is not against this as long as the wet nurse is paid sufficiently and she is a good person.
Being Respectful Toward Parents in Quran
There is a reason that God wants us to be respectful toward our parents. This is because they were the ones who took care of us, raised us, and educated us. Therefore, they have a right over us. Quran says in surah Isrā’:
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا ﴿23﴾
Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship anyone except Him, and [He has enjoined] kindness to parents. Should any of them or both reach old age at your side, do not say to them, ‘Fie!’ And do not chide them, but speak to them noble words. 5
One point in this verse is that. This shows how vital respecting parents is. Moreover, we should not make even a slight remark of disrespect when speaking to them. The following verse states:
وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا ﴿24﴾
Lower the wing of humility to them, mercifully, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, just as they reared me when I was [a] small [child]!’ 6
God commands us to be humble to our parents, who have cared for us and raised us with much difficulty.
What is the Meaning of Uff?
God has told us in the Quran that we should not make the slightest disrespectful remark toward our parents. We should not even say uff (افّ) to our parents. Uff has been translated as fie by some English translators of the Quran. It is an interjection rather than a word showing the individual’s repugnance toward their parents. Therefore, we must be careful that we do not even make such disrespectful interjections when talking to our parents.
Prophet Moses and the Butcher
One day, Prophet Moses asked God, “I want to know who my companion in paradise is.” Therefore, God told him to go to the butchery. He went there and saw a young man selling meat. As night approached, he got some meat and walked home. Moses followed him to the door of his house. Then he said to the youth, do you not want a guest? The youth accepted Moses, and he went in.
Then he saw that the youth prepared some food, carried an old woman, washed her, and gave her the food he had prepared. The old woman said something that Moses did not hear properly. So he asked the youth. The youth said, “This is my mother. I take care of her all the time. She said may God make you the companion of Moses in paradise.” Then Moses said, “Congratulations! Your mother’s prayer has been answered, and you are my companion in paradise.”
Prophets who Prayed for Their Parents
رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ ﴿19﴾
‘My Lord! Inspire me to give thanks for Your blessing with which You have blessed me and my parents, and that I may do righteous deeds which please You, and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your righteous servants.’ 7
Prophet Ibrahim also prayed for his parents as well as believers when he said:
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ ﴿41﴾
Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and all the faithful, on the day when the reckoning is held.’ 8
Prophet Ibrahim said this prayer when he was in his old age. Therefore, it becomes clear that both his parents were righteous believers and monotheists. And, the one whom he called father was not his biological father, but rather his uncle who raised him.
The Quran clarifies that being kind to and respecting parents is an obligation all Muslim individuals must fulfill. It is because parents go to a great deal of trouble raising and educating their children, and they deserve to be respected. Being good to your parents is so important that God always mentions it after saying we must worship Him. In other words, after the worship of God, being good to your parents is extremely important.
- Quran 29:8 (Qara’i).
- Quran 31:14 (Qara’i).
- Quran 46:15 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2:233 (Qara’i).
- Quran 17:23 (Qara’i).
- Quran 17:24 (Qara’i).
- Quran 27:19 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:41 (Qara’i).