Feb 19, 2021 19:35 UTC

Salaam and welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

Salaam and welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

We start from where we left you last week, and here is Ayah 15 of Surah Ahqaaf:

“We have enjoined man to be kind to his parents. His mother bears him in hardship, and brings him forth with hardship; 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 my parents, and that I may do righteous deeds which may please You; and invest my offspring with righteousness. Indeed I have turned to you in penitence, and I am one of the Muslims.’”

If you remember, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah we said the eternal bliss of paradise is a reward from the Almighty Creator for the true believers for their firm faith and their righteous deeds, since sincere belief from the depth of the heart is not limited to mere verbal expression of faith, but is accompanied by virtuous deeds and practical steadfastness. We also said that a person who firmly believes in God and has trust in Him, will not fear anyone or anything, in view of the fact that it is righteous belief that grants peace and tranquility to the soul, in contrast to the lack of inward calm and anxiety engulfing the disbelievers, even the rich ones.

The Ayah that we recited to you now points to the hardships of pregnancy, delivery, and suckling of infants by mothers, who enjoy a special privilege and therefore deserve kindness from children, since the Loving Creator has embedded this trait in the innate nature of both children and parents, irrespective of the creed one follows. A person’s life and felicity is based on kindness and compassion, and since parents are part of the very existence of children, God Almighty enjoins children to do good to the parents.

In this vein, motherly love for her child is one of the wonders and secrets of creation, since despite suffering many hardships during nine months of pregnancy and the painful delivery that follows, her love for her child, even if the baby happens to be ugly or deformed, or grows into a troublesome person, her love for the child she had given birth to and suckled, never turns into disgust. This process of child-bearing and weaning lasts for thirty months, as pointed out by the Ayah, which means mothers bear the burden of begetting and rearing the child, compared with fathers, whose hardships, of course, for the proper upbringing of children, are of a different nature, such as providing provisions, housing, and education until the son or daughter grow into responsible adults.

As the Ayah specifies, regarding duty towards parents on the basis of the intellect which a person fully attains by the age of forty when he/she has achieved the perfect state of physical and mental development and perhaps has children themselves, to discern clearly whether to tread the path of felicity or go astray. At this age, a person has children of his/her own, but this doesn’t mean neglecting the elderly parents on the pretext of caring for one’s own children. Thus, a virtuous person regards duty towards parents, including love and affection for them, as acts of worship and invokes God Almighty to help him to be more dutiful, while seeking the welfare and guidance of his/her own offspring.

From this Ayah we learn that:

  1. Islam lays emphasis on both parental love for the children and the duties of the children towards parents throughout their life, even if they have matured in age with families of their own.
  2. The reciprocal love of parents and children is part of innate human nature, which means lack of affection towards each other is not just violation of one’s own nature, but disobedience towards God.
  3. The mother enjoys a privileged position in a practicing Muslim family in view of the hardships she went through during pregnancy, childbirth, and suckling – all of which created in her a deep love for her children.
  4. The holy Qur’an commands us to seek God’s blessings for the parents, as well as for one’s own children, along with their proper upbringing – values which the secular culture of the West sorely lacks, resulting in the disintegration of families and upsurge of crimes and other social ills.

Now let us listen to Ayah 16 of Surah Ahqaaf:

“Such are those from whom We accept the best of what they do, and overlook their misdeeds, [who will be] among the inhabitants of paradise - a true promise which they had been given.”

As is clear, this Ayah means to say that being dutiful to parents and doing good to them, is a sign of expression of gratitude towards Allah for His bounties, and results in the acceptance of good deeds in the Divine Court of the All-Merciful Who forgives the faults one has committed. In other words, the good deeds of the children and even their intentions of doing good to the parents, is accepted by God Who gives them better recompense by forgiving sins and the promise of Paradise.

Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) has said: “One who obtains the satisfaction of his parents, has gained the satisfaction of God and one who angers his parents, angers God.”

He also said “One who wishes to have life prolonged and daily sustenance increased should be good towards parents and provide for the blood relatives.”

Imam Ali (AS), the Prophet’s Vicegerent and the Commander of the Faithful, has said: “The most significant Divine obligation is to do good to parents.”

This Ayah teaches us that:

  1. A worthy deed is the one accepted by God.
  2. Good deeds towards parents results in forgiveness of sins by God.
  3. Serving parents, especially the mother, paves the way towards paradise, in view of God’s promise in the holy Qur’an, and the famous hadith of the Prophet: “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother.”

Now let us listen to Ayahs 17 and 18 of this Surah:

“As for him who says to his parents, ‘fie on you! Do you promise me that I shall be raised [from the dead] when generations have passed away before me?’ and they (the parents) invoke Allah’s help [and say], ‘Woe to you! Believe! Indeed Allah’s promise is true.’ But he says, ‘These are nothing but myths of the ancients.’”

“Such are the ones against whom the word became due concerning the nations that have passed away before them of jinn and humans. They were indeed the losers.”

Unworthy children are a source of trouble for parents and insult them with such derogatory words as “fie upon you”, but the compassionate parents seek God’s assistance to guide these erratic children and urge them to be virtuous and desist from disbelief, sins, and vices. Here the reference is to the disbelieving children of God-fearing parents, whose advice to believe in the Power of God Almighty and the Day of judgement, falls on deaf ears, to the extent that these erring children say in a mocking tone: Are you telling us to believe in myths when we have seen generations who died before us, could never be raised to life!

In other words, compassionate parents make every attempt to rescue their obdurate children from the abyss of ignorance and the painful torment in afterlife, but the unworthy children persist in their disbelief and their parents find no other alternative but to leave them to their miserable fate.

As Ayah 18 means to say, obdurate disbelievers, whether mankind or the species called jinn or genie, are those against whom the Word of Divine wrath has passed, and the disbelieving nations before them, they are the permanent losers who will be cast into hell.

These Ayahs teach us the following points:

  1. It is a cardinal sin to be disrespectful towards parents.
  2. Parental love makes the father and the mother seek God’s help for their erring children that have deviated from the right path.
  3. Those of the children who realize their fault and seek forgiveness from parents are forgiven by God Almighty as well.
  4. For those who obdurately stick to disbelief by ridiculing the manifest truth, including Oneness of God Almighty, the raising of prophets, and occurrence of the Last Day for the final judgement, cannot be saved from Divine Wrath.