Ok, admit it. You may be fifteen, or you may even be twenty-five, but there’s no way in hell you can get away with doing anything behind your parents’ backs. You get the third degree if you come home from school or work five minutes late. Your mates can stay out late clubbing, partying, and smoking sheesha whilst you have a silly four-thirty curfew... that is to say, 4:30 pm.
You feel resentful coz your parents are adamant in trying to control every aspect of your life: from what you wear, where you go, who you hang around with, where you study and even what you choose to study. Your mobile rings non-stop when you’re running late from somewhere forcing you to switch it off (so that you can later claim that your battery went “dead!”)
Then on top of all this, your parents can’t stop nagging you about Islam. If they’re not banging on about how tight your clothes are, they’re doing your head in to grow a beard. And what’s more annoying is that even if you DO try to live your life according to their rules, they’re STILL never happy!!
Yep, parents can be a headache. However, no one said that being a Muslim in this day and age, living in a country that contradicts many teachings of Islam was going to be easy. Allah (swt) has ordered us to “obey our parents.” We must recognize their God-given right to make rules for us and tell us what do to.
We need to understand that their ‘rules’ are only for our own good and that they only stop us from doing what we want to do because they love us and want to protect us from all harm. Think about it, if they couldn’t care less about us, why on Earth would they care about where we went, or who we hung out with and how we were getting home?
So, should we obey our parents even if they’re clearly in the wrong?
No, parents are only human and prone to making mistakes just like you and I. The Prophet (s) said: “There is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator.” (Bukhari, 4340) However, even if we disagree with our parents, we must still respect them and learn how to respectfully disagree.
Respect of parents means listening to what they have to say, even if they’re clearly in the wrong...without screaming, shouting, ranting, raving and banging doors in their faces. Even when they drive us up the wall with infuriating comments we should always stay calm. Kicking up a fuss and giving them sarcy, lippy answers achieves nothing.
We should NEVER under any circumstances physically or verbally abuse our parents. Bear in mind that on the Day of Judgment we will be accountable for all that we said or did to our parents and excuses such as “Mum started it” will not be valid in the Court of Allah (swt). Yes, parents can be annoying, they can drive us up the wall, embarrass us in front of our mates and often come out with the most infuriating statements; however, we’re never allowed to give them lip back.
Islam teaches us that “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” Being good to our mother is the shortcut to paradise even if we’re weak in worship… (It’s like those secret short-cuts in Super Mario Brothers or them cheats in play station) Allah (swt) never refuses the prayer of three types of people, one of which is the prayer a loving mother makes for her child. However, Allah (swt) also does not refuse the curse an angry mother makes against her child.
In other words, our happiness and peace of mind in this world and the hereafter depends on whether or not our mother is pleased with us…so it makes sense to keep mummy happy, don’t it?
The Holy Prophet (s) has also said “He who has pleased his father has pleased Allah (swt).” So, if our dad isn’t happy with us, then we should know that Allah (swt) isn’t happy with us either. Our parent’s opinions about us matters a lot, so we should make sure we go out of our way to keep them happy with us.
Talk to your parents
Also, don’t become sneaky and try to get away with doing dodgy things behind your parents back. This betrayal will break their heart and you will feel like a fool when you get clocked and trust me, you WILL get clocked. No one can get away with secretly breaking the limits of Allah (swt): such people are eventually named and shamed by Allah (swt) Himself.
You wouldn’t have to resort to sneaky, undercover behaviour if you improve your relationship with your parents. Just talk to them. Tell them about your day and ask them about their day. Tell them about the kind of people you hang around with and make sure they’re aware of your interests and the stuff you’re involved in.
Don’t leave them in the dark. If you can establish a friendship with your parents, you’ll understand one another a lot better, and there’ll be fewer conflicts and you’ll no longer feel the need to do stuff behind your parents back. If you get into the habit of confiding in your parents over minor things, then when major things happen you won’t find it hard to tell them what’s on your mind.
Don’t tell yourself “What’s the point, they won’t understand.” The chances are that your parents most likely have already been through whatever it is that’s bothering you.
And who can understand and know you better then the ones who brought you up? Just give it a shot!
Lead by example
And parents, you need to be great role models so that your children can follow in your footsteps - Lead by example. It is a must that you educate your children with Islamic knowledge because as parents you are accountable for your children’s success and failure.
You are mistaken if you think that your children are going to pick up Islamic values and morals from outside the home. You need to teach your children what is haraam and halaal from day one, that way it won’t be a shock for them to abide by the teachings of Islam when they hit their teens.
However, if Islam isn’t a priority for you, chances are that it won’t be a priority for your children either. You cannot afford to be hypocritical in your actions, because if you choose to ignore the teachings of Islam, it is most likely your children will choose to ignore your advice. You should befriend your kids, know what they’re up to, be approachable and try to understand the time and society they’re living in.
Respect at all times
And guys, our parents should be our friends, not our foes. They should be the ones we turn to when we’re in trouble and above all, they should be the ones we look up to and aspire to be like. We need to remember that even if our parents are not the greatest people in the world; respecting them is Fard (obligatory) on us. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qu’ran “If one of them or both attain old age in your life, then do not say to them uff (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them; rather address them in terms of honour. And lower for them the wing of submission and humility through mercy. [ 17:23-24]
So should you respect your parents even if they’re not worthy of any respect? Yes, coz even though our parents may be far from perfect, we are all indebted to the sacrifices that they have made for us. You know, there were many young Sahaba who were persecuted by their pagan parents for accepting Islam; but Allah and His Messenger forbade these young Sahaba from disrespecting their parents.
There is a story of a man who took his elderly mother to Hajj and because she could not walk, he carried her on his shoulders. After he completed his Hajj, he asked the Holy Prophet (s) if he had repaid his mother for all that she had done for him. The Holy Prophet (s) told him that he had not repaid her for even one night that his mother spent awake because of him.
Mothers have sacrificed their comforts and sleep to provide comfort for us. It is through her love, patience and mercy that we learned how to crawl, walk, speak, and how to relate to others in the community. She sacrificed her health and her wealth to rear us into maturity. Did she ever complain when she had to feed, clean, clothe and stay awake at night because of us? Do our fathers ever complain about working day and night to give us what we need?
Even common courtesy tells us that if someone gives a person something, he should be thanked. In Islam, we are under no obligation to repay our parents because we can never do that. However, respect and appreciation is very important. We must always respect our parents and show mercy to them the way they showed mercy to us when we were younger.
Some parents have sacrificed their careers, ambitions, and desires for their children; some have changed their lifestyles completely just to keep their little darlings (us) happy. For what? Only for them to be treated like crap by their kids later on in life? Above all remember, we too will be parents one day and the way we behave with our parents is how our kids will behave with us.
What goes around comes around. So, could we really hack our kids behaving with us the way we behave with our parents? Think about it…