All cultures and faiths have elevated parents to noble status. From a purely material standpoint, we owe our parents—especially our mother—a duty of gratitude. In addition to feeding us inside of her, she also endured pain and sorrow. Before we were even born, she loved us. When we were completely helpless infants, she toiled. She stayed up all night taking care of us. Together, our parents met all our needs, including those that were physical, educational, psychological, and, frequently, religious, moral, and spiritual.
All religions and all societies have given parents an honourable status. From a purely material viewpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, particularly our mother. She not only nourished us in her womb but went through pain and suffering. She loved us even before we were born. She toiled when we were helpless infants. She spent sleepless nights caring for us. Our parents as a team provided for all our needs: physical, educational, psychological, and in many instances, religious, moral, and spiritual.
Our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it fully. Instead of this, it becomes obligatory for us to show the utmost kindness, respect, and obedience to our parents. The position of parents, and the mutual obligations and responsibilities, have been addressed in Islam in detail.
The Qur'anic commandments, as well as the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) guide us in this matter. The parent-child code of behavior in Islam is unique since rules were laid down by divine command.
References to parents have been made at least 15 times in the Holy Qur'an."And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents. In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in two years was his weaning. Show gratitude to Me and thy parents; to Me is thy final goal." (Quran 31:14)
According to the above verse, gratitude to God and parents go hand in hand. Gratitude to God is incomplete without showing gratitude to one's parents. Since being grateful to God is a form of ibadah (worship) that earns heavenly rewards, it can therefore be said that being grateful to one's parents also earns heavenly rewards.
"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or more attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, "My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood." (Quran 17: 23-24)
If someone is rude and disrespectful towards his parents, hurt them by saying insulting remarks, or cause them grief or misery in any manner, then he shall find his place in Hell. Once someone asked the Holy Prophet: “What right do parents have over their children?” He answered: “They are your heaven and hell.” (Ibn Majah)
May Almighty Allah guide us to be respectful, loving, and kind to our parents, and may we always stay humble and courteous regardless of the power, wealth, position, and influence we may possess.