Showing kindness to parents is one of the most meritorious acts and the best rewarded in the sight of Allah. In fact, Allah ﷻ mentions it alongside the act of worshipping Him in many places in the Qur’an.
Islam considers dutifulness to parents one of the deeds that lead to Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said, “A parent is the middle gate of all the gates of Paradise. (That is, obeying parents leads to entering Paradise from its middle gate, which is the best of them all) Now, if you like, you may lose it or keep it.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 1900)
- Seriousness of disobedience to parents
All revealed religions consider disobedience to parents one of the greatest of all major sins and warned against such a monstrous act. The Prophet ﷺ once asked his companions, “Shall I not inform you of the greatest of the major sins?” “Yes, please do, Messenger of Allah,” they replied. He said, “Associating partners with Allah in worship and disobedience to parents.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5918)
- Dutifulness to parents but without disobeying Allah
A Muslim must obey his parents in everything unless they ask him to do something which Allah has forbidden. In this case, he must not obey them but must still be kind to them, as the Qur’an states, “We have instructed man to honour his parents, but if they endeavour to make you associate with Me something about which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” (Soorat Al-‛Ankaboot, 29:8)
- Showing kindness to them in their old age
Allah ﷻ says, “Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not utter the slightest harsh word to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity.” (Soorat Al-Israa’, 17:23)
This verse informs us that a Muslim must honour his parents and obey them and that he must not repel them especially if they have attained old age, even by muttering sounds to express annoyance, let alone saying a word of contempt.
- Non-Muslim parents
A Muslim is required to obey his parents and show kindness to them even if they are not Muslim, as the Qur’an states, “But if they strive with you to make you associate with Me something of which you certainly have no knowledge do not obey them. Even then, treat them with kindness and due consideration in respect of [the life of] this world.” (Soorat Luqmaan,31:15)