Communicating with Parents

Call me naive and close-minded, but I experienced my first dreadful taste of the norms within the Western society roughly a decade ago when I had immigrated to Canada from the East. I encountered an incident at the mosque where a father had simply requested something from his son, but the son casually dismissed his father’s request and in fact started to talk back. The son was perhaps in his early teens. I, being about 11 years old and someone who was instilled with the notion that you must absolutely never talk back to your parents let alone even raise your voice against them, was left in a state of shock and awe. Maybe, if this was an event that occurred once or twice, I could have downplayed it as a one-off thing. However, the fact that I was seeing this trend in many of the children and young youth, caused me to seclude myself from many of them as it seemed that very few were not in the same boat. I could not see myself associating with individuals who lacked the most basic of manners and etiquette when it came to parents. Was I really seeing this? Where had I immigrated to? I thought my parents brought me here because this was where I was meant to get educated and have a great future. It seemed that this great future won’t be coming that easily.

Sure, those aforementioned purposes can be accomplished. However, I realized that due to the struggles that the parents had to go through themselves after immigrating, their children were just not receiving the proper upbringing that they would have perhaps received in the East. If one is not a Muslim, the distinguished respect for your parents and elders is still instilled in the cultural values and norms of the society and opposing them is seen as detrimental to your reputation in the community. This didn’t seem to be the case here. Rather it was perhaps “cool” that one would oppose their parents’ requests and do acts contrary to what they say.

The punishments and the severity of Aaq al-Walidayn have been mentioned in abundance in the ahadith. Allama Majlisi writes in his commentary on al-Kāfi that Aq al-Walidayn means that the son or the daughter cause disrespect to parents by speech or actions. Or they do not obey them in matters which are within reason and matters which are not in any way against religion.[1] The severity of disobedience can be understood by an incident recorded in Bihār al-Anwār. A young man was on his deathbed when the Holy Prophet (S) came, sat near him, and told him to recite two kalimas (Shahadatain). But the youth could not speak. The Holy Prophet (S) inquired if his mother was present? A woman sitting near his head said, “Yes, I am his mother.”

The Holy Prophet (S) asked, “Are you displeased with him?”

‘Yes, O Prophet (S), we have not spoken to each other since the last six years.’

The Holy Prophet (S) asked this woman to forgive her son. Thus at the Prophet’s instance she forgave his mistakes and was reconciled. At once the young man was able to recite the Kalima al-Shahadat.

The Holy Prophet (S) asked him,

“What do you see, at this moment?” “O Prophet of Allah a dark and smelly man has got hold of me and is not leaving me.”

The Holy Prophet (S) told him to recite the following Du’a,

يامن يقبل اليسير ويعفوعن الكثير اقبل مني اليسيرواعف عني الكثيرانك انت الغفور الرحيم

“Ya man Yaqbalul yasīra wa y’afo ‘Anil Kathīra Iqbal minnil Yasīra Wa ‘Āfo ‘Annil Kathīra.”

Then asked, “Now what do you see?” He replied, “A fair complexioned man, handsome and fragrant, is moving towards me.”

The Holy Prophet said, “Keep repeating this Du’a.” When the youth repeated this Du’a he said “O Prophet of Allah (S) both of them have disappeared from my sight.” After this the face of the Holy Prophet (S) was illuminated with joy. He said, “O Allah forgive the sins of this young man.” Then the youth passed away. [2]

The man was unable to utter even the testimony on his death bed until his mother was pleased with him. May Allah (swt) never let us experience this event happening in our lifetime. The lack of poor communication between the parents and their children has caused issues within the community that at times go beyond amendable. Seeing the trend of many of the youth unable to grasp a basic foundation and understanding in what respect to parents entail, Alhamdolillah during the March Break, the Al Mahdi Youth Society had conducted an Al-Noor Discussion at the Al Mahdi Islamic Center for the very purpose. Two notable speakers, Moulana Zaki Baqri and Moulana Hassan Mujtaba were present to discuss on the topic of communication with parents/children. It was a two-fold event where two simultaneous lectures were going on. Moulana Hassan Mujtaba lectured to the youth about communicating with parents, whereas Moulana Zaki Baqri spoke about the equally important and critical topic of communicating with your children.

Perhaps I have put a lot of blame on the children and have completely ruled out the responsibility the parents have in upbringing their children. There is no doubt that the primary responsibility does lie with the parents and this was one of the reasons the aspect of parents communicating with their children was also  incorporated in the event. But there comes a time when the child grows up, matures and understands that they do indeed need to respect and obey their parents, but still does not do so due to past habits and negligence. Fortunately, the videos from the event were recorded and uploaded online for everyone to view. They are embedded below, and I encourage all youth and parents alike to watch it and reap the benefits out of it.


[1] http://www.al-islam.org/greater_sins_complete

 

[2] http://www.al-islam.org/greater_sins_complete/11.htm#5

1 thought on “Communicating with Parents

  • It’s also interesting to note the degree of tolerance parents have with their children when it comes to reispect. Parent’s are tolerating these sorts of behaviours from their own children, and in turn the children don’t learn anything. They’re behaviours are validated…

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