Posted in Islamic articles

Prayer is a must


How can we feel comfortable doing anything else ignoring prayer?!

How can we ignore the 5 daily prayers when we know the below,

– It is the first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment.

– Missing prayer is a major sin!
– It was made obligatory upon all the prophets and for all peoples.
– The obligatory status of prayer was declared during the
majestic occasion of prophet’s PBUH ascension to heaven.
– Prophet (peace be upon him) stated the most virtuous deed is prayer three consecutive times when a man asked and then on the fourth occasion he stated, “Jihad in the way of Allah.”
– “Verily, the prayer keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds” (al-Ankaboot 45)”
– The five daily prayers and the Friday Prayer until the Friday prayer are expiation for what is between them.” (Recorded by Muslim)
– The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The most burdensome of prayers for the hypocrites are ‘Isha’ and Fajr. If only they knew what (reward) there is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl. I was thinking of ordering that the call to prayer be given, then I would tell a man to lead the people in prayer, then I would set out with some men carrying bundles of wood and go to people who do not attend the prayer, and burn their houses down with them inside.”
– Abu Dawood (561), al-Tirmidhi (223) and Ibn Maajah (781) narrated from Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Give glad tidings to those who walk to the mosques in the dark, of perfect light on the Day of Resurrection.”
– “Whoever prays ‘Isha’ in congregation, it is as if he spent half the night in prayer, and whoever prays Subh (Fajr) in congregation, it is as if he spent the entire night in prayer.” Muslim (656)
– al-Bukhaari (555) and Muslim (632) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Angels come to you in succession by night and by day, and they meet at Fajr prayer and at ‘Asr prayer, then those who stayed among you ascend and He (Allah) asks them, although He knows best, ‘How did you leave My slaves?’ They say: ‘We left them when they were praying and we came to them when they were praying.’
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Posted in Islamic articles

Four Principles of a Noble Character


Shaykhul Islaam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Reference: Madaarij ul Salikeen: Vol 2, P 308.

“It is not imagined that one can have noble character except if it is founded upon four pillars: The First: Sabr (Patience) The Second: ‘Iffah (Chastity) The Third: Shujaa’ah (Courage) The Fourth: Adl (Justice) Patience, inspires him to be tolerant, control his anger, endure the harms that he receives from others, to be forbearing and deliberate in his decisions. It motivates him to be gentle and not to be rash or hasty. Chastity, inspires him to avoid every imprudent characteristic, whether in statement or action, and encourages him to have a sense of modesty and integrity which is the epitome of all good. It prevents him from fornication, stinginess, lying, backbiting and spreading tales to cause separation and discord between the people. Courage, inspires him to have a sense of self esteem, to emphasize high and noble manners and to make it apart of his natural disposition. It also encourages him to exert himself and to be generous, which is in essence, true courage and it leads to strong will and self determination. It encourages him to distance himself from his ardent lowly desires, to control his anger, and to be forbearing because by such, he can control his temper, take it by the reins and curb his violent and destructive behavior just as the Messenger (SAllaahu alaihi wa salam) said: “The Strong is not the one who can wrestle his opponent to the ground but rather the strong is the one who can control himself when he gets angry.” This is true genuine courage and it is the sole trait that the slave utilizes to conquer his opponent. Justice, encourages him to be impartial in his behavior with people and to be moderate between the two extremes of negligence and extremism. It motivates him to be generous and kind which is the middle course between absolute degradation and arrogance, and to make this apart of his disposition and makeup. It encourages him to be courageous which is the middle course between cowardice and imprudence, and to be forbearing which is the middle course between extreme unnecessary anger and ignominy. These four virtuous characteristics are the axis and provenance of all noble manners and the foundation of all repugnant and ignominious characteristics are built upon four pillars: The First: Jahl (Ignorance) The Second: Dhulm (Oppression) The Third: Shahwah (following ones lowly desires) The Fourth: Ghadab (Anger) Ignorance, allows him to view good in the form of evil and evil in the form of good, and to consider that which is complete to be incomplete and that which is incomplete to be complete. Oppression, causes him to put things in places which are not appropriate for them, so he gets angry when its time to be happy and he is happy when its time to be angry. He is ignorant and hasty when its time to be deliberate and deliberate when its time to be hasty, he is stingy when it is time to be generous and generous when its time to be stingy. He is weak when it is time to be courageous and assume responsibility, and he assumes responsibility when it is time to take a step back (and let someone else undertake the initiative). He is gentle and lenient when it is time to be harsh and firm and he is harsh and firm when it is time to be lenient. He is humble when it is time to be superior and arrogant when it is time to be humble. Following (his) lowly desires, encourages him to be diligent in obtaining that which the soul ardently desires, to be stingy and greedy. It encourages him to adorn himself with all types of despicable and imprudent characteristics. Anger, incites him to be arrogant, jealous, envious, to hold enmity of others and to be imprudent and shameless. The foundation of these four repugnant and blameworthy characteristics are two pillars: Either, Extreme Self Ignominy Or Extreme Self Pride.

Translator: Shadeed Muhammad, Abu Az-Zubayr

Posted in Islamic articles

About Pictures


My question is : IS the taking of PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED,(I know drawing pictures of living things is not allowed -but what about taking photograph’s of people etc.), can you supply me with some evidence please. I need this information quickly.- Inshallah.
Jaazakala hair.

Praise be to Allaah.

Photography (tasweer) means the taking of pictures of living, animate moving beings, like people, animals, birds, etc. The ruling is that it is forbidden on the basis of a number of reports, such as the following:

‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382).

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, says: ‘Who does more wrong than the one who tries to create something like My creation? Let him create a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn.'” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see Fath al-Baari, 10/385).

‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any built-up tomb without levelling it, and do not leave any picture in any house without erasing it.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i; this is the version narrated by al-Nisaa’i).

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and for every image that he made a soul will be created for him, which will be punished in the Fire.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “If you must do that, make pictures of trees and other inanimate objects.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/1871)

These ahaadeeth indicate that pictures of animate beings are haraam, whether they are humans or other creatures, whether they are three-dimensional or two-dimensional, whether they are printed, drawn, etched, engraved, carved, cast in moulds, etc. These ahaadeeth include all of these types of pictures.

The Muslim should submit to the teachings of Islam and not argue with them by saying, “But I am not worshipping them or prostrating to them!” If we think about just one aspect of the evil caused by the prevalence of photographs and pictures in our times, we will understand something of the wisdom behind this prohibition: that aspect is the great corruption caused by the provoking of physical desires and subsequent spread of immorality caused by these pictures.

The Muslim should not keep any pictures of animate beings in his house, because they will prevent the angels from entering. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/380).

But nowadays, unfortunately, one can even find in some Muslim homes statues of gods worshipped by the kuffaar (such as Buddha etc.) which they keep on the basis that they are antiques or decorative pieces. These things are more strictly prohibited than others, just as pictures which are hung up are worse than pictures which are not hung up, for how easily they can lead to glorification, and cause grief or be a source of boasting! We cannot say that these pictures are kept for memory’s sake, because true memories of a Muslim relative or friend reside in the heart, and we remember them by praying for mercy and forgiveness for them.

Taking pictures with a camera involves human actions such as focusing, pressing the shutter, developing, printing, and so on. We cannot call it anything other than “picture-making” or tasweer, which is the expression used by all Arabic-speakers to describe this action.

In the book Al-I’laam bi naqd kitaab al-halaal wa’l-haraam, the author says: “Photography is even more of an imitation of the creation of Allaah than pictures which are engraved or drawn, so it is even more deserving of being prohibited… There is nothing that could exclude photography from the general meaning of the reports.” (p. 42, see also Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/355).

Among the scholars who have discussed the issue of photography is Shaykh Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani, who said: “Some of them differentiate between hand-drawn pictures and photographic images by claiming that the latter are not products of human effort, and that no more is involved than the mere capturing of the image. This is what they claim. The tremendous energy invested the one who invented this machine that can do in few seconds what otherwise could not be done in hours does not count as human effort, according to these people! Pointing the camera, focusing it, and taking the picture, preceded by installation of the film and followed by developing and whatever else that I may not know about… none of this is the result of human effort, according to them!

Some of them explain how this photography is done, and summarize that no less than eleven different actions are involved in the making of a picture. In spite of all this, they say that this picture is not the result of human action! Can it be permissible to hang up a picture of a man, for example, if it is produced by photography, but not if it is drawn by hand?

Those who say that photography is permitted have “frozen” the meaning of the word “tasweer,” restriciting it only to the meaning known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and not adding the meaning of photography, which is “tasweer” or “picture-making” in every sense – linguistic, legal, and in its harmful effects, and as is clear from the definition mentioned above. Years ago, I said to one of them, By the same token, you could allow idols which have not been carved but have been made by pressing a button on some machine that turns out idols by the dozen. What do you say to that?”
(Aadaab al-Zafaaf by al-Albaani, p. 38)

It is also worth quoting the opinion of some contemporary scholars who allow the taking of photographs but say that the pictures should not be kept: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures.” (See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/198).

There are many bad things involved in the making of pictures. Besides the element of imitating the creation of Allaah – which is an accusation denied by many of those who make pictures – reality bears witness to the great extent of immorality and provocation of desires caused by the prevalence of pictures and picture-making nowadays. We must remove or blot out every picture, except when it is too difficult to do so, like the pictures which are overwhelmingly prevalent in food packaging, or pictures used in encyclopaedias and reference books. We should remove what we can, and be careful about any provocative pictures that may be found.

“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can…” [al-Taghaabun 64:16 – interpretation of the meaning]

Photographs which are essential are permitted – such as those required for identity documents, or for identifying or pursuing criminals [e.g. “wanted” posters and the like – translator’s note], or for educational purposes which cannot be achieved otherwise. The principle in sharee’ah is that we should not exaggerate about what is necessary.

We ask Allaah to accept our repentance and have mercy on us, and to forgive our excesses, for He is the All-Hearing Who answers prayers. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Posted in Islamic articles

Slow down! by Abdur Rahman Umar


“Can you believe this!” lamented Yusuf as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.
“This is so frustrating!” he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, “Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?”
Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone paying little attention to the monologue until Yusuf turned to him and asked:
“Did you hear what I said? I really didn’t need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean…”
“What’s so special about now?” enquired Ridwaan not bothering to look up from his cell phone.
Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast “Mojo was here!” “Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector” “On the other hand, you have different fingers” and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.
“I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! and at a time when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There’s so much to do …. preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work.”
Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, “So what’s the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!”
“You don’t understand, do you!” said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, “You don’t know what it means. I really didn’t even have enough time to eat let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?”
“I know exactly what it means,” replied Ridwaan, “It means you were moving too fast so Allah put down a speed breaker”
“What!” he exclaimed, “What you mean…speed breaker?”
“You see, sometimes when we rush through life and we forget the important things then Allah puts down a speed bump so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we’re doing and what we should be doing. And that’s it! You were chasing like a madman so you got hit with a speed bump.”
He paused allowing his words to sink in then continued, “You know most of us get so caught up in life then we forget about Allah, our salaah becomes just a ritual and the family …well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?”
“Hey, it’s not that bad,” said Yusuf struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, “But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter’s pre-school jalsa, my son’s graduation and dropped a couple of salaahs on the way and jip, Allah knows what else I gave up for this tender….”
Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, “So this wasn’t all bad then. Actually….”
“It was for you own good,” Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, “Too often we forget the real things in life…our Allah, our Deen, our families and those so called little things we tend to forget.”
“Yup,” chorused Yusuf, “I remember a clever guy telling me once, pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really can’t believe Allah’s mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him.”
Allah, The Most Wise, says:“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” ( Qur’an-Surah Baqarah: 216)
A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.
Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us

Posted in Islamic articles

A Story of a Man who was going to offer “FAJR” Prayer!


A man woke up early in order to Pray the Fajr Prayer in the masjid.. He got dressed, made his ablution and was on his way to the masjid. On his way to the masjid, the man fell and his clothes got dirty. He got up, brushed himself off, and headed home. At home, he changed his Clothes, made ablution, and was, again, on his way to the masjid. On his way to the masjid, he fell again and at the Same Spot! He, again, got up, brushed himself off and headed home. At home he, once again, changed his clothes, made his ablution and was on his way to the masjid. On his way to the masjid, he met a man holding a lamp. He asked the man of his identity and the man replied ‘I saw you fall twice on your way to the masjid so, I brought a lamp to lite your way. ‘The first man thanked him profusely and the two were on their way to the masjid.
Once at the masjid, the first man asked the man with the lamp to come in and pray Fajr with him. The second man refused. The first man asked him a couple of more times and, again, the answer was the same. The first man asked him why he did not wish to come in and pray. The man replied, “I am Shaitaan”(the devil). The man was shocked at this reply. Shaitan went on to explain, “I saw you on your way to the masjid and it was I who made you fall. When you went home, cleaned yourself and went back on your way to the masjid, Allah forgave all of your sins. I made you fall a second time, and even that did not encourage you to stay home, but rather, you went back on your way to the masjid. Because of that, Allah forgave all the sins of the people of your household. I was AFRAID if I made you fall one more time then, Allah will forgive the sins of the people of your entire village, so I made sure that you reached the masjid safely.”
So do not let Shaitan benefit from his actions. Do not put off a good action that you intended to commit as you never know how much reward you might receive from the hardships you encounter while trying to accomplish it!
~Dr Zakir Naik
Posted in Islamic articles

Dealing with Halloween -Tips


So your kids have come home and begged you to go trick-or-treating on Halloween night (October 31). They can’t wait for all of the bubble gum, lollipops and jawbreakers, not to mention dressing up in a Pokemon or witch costume like the rest of their friends.

You watch all of this in dismay. Knowing that Halloween is about Shirk you want to put your foot down once and for all and not let the kids go out that evening.

Ekram Beshir is a mother of four and co-author of the book Meeting the Challenge of Parenting in the West: An Islamic Perspective.

Munir El-Kassem has served as Imam in London, Ontario in Canada and is a father of five.

Shaema Imam is a graduate of McGill University and Muslim youth activist who grew up in a suburb of Montreal, Canada.

These are their tips about how you can deal with the Halloween hoopla:

Tip #1: Find out exactly what Halloween is

Too often, parents themselves are in the dark about the background of occasions and holidays like Halloween. Don’t think this is a trivial matter.

Once you find out why Halloween is celebrated, you will think twice about getting your kids involved.
In fact, any parent who is trying to raise his or her child as a God-conscious individual will object to the celebration of the occasion. Just spend an hour at the library looking it up in the encyclopedia. To get an Islamic perspective, check out a review of Holiday Myths.
If you discuss it with your kids using correct information, and they sense that you know what you are talking about, they may even agree with you about not participating in the ritual.

Tip #2: Talk to them at least a few weeks in advance

This is made easier by the fact that Halloween sales of candy and costumes are already underway and the yearly ritual of horror movies being released or shown on television (see our unTV guide) will soon begin.

So the atmosphere is right to sit Aisha or Ali down to have a talk about Halloween. Talking to them now as opposed to on the morning of October 31 will give them some time to think about it too, and get used to the concept of not having to go trick-or-treating just because their friends are.

Tip #3: Rationally explain that we have our own celebrations

Talking about Halloween in the context of a fiery speech against the holiday will not help Aisha or Ali see why they should not participate.

Your histrionics will only blind them to reality. Instead, explain that every group or culture has its own celebrations, and we, as Muslims have our own. Halloween is a pagan celebration. But when Eid comes, that is our celebration.
Do not condemn those who celebrate Halloween. Rather, explain what it is calmly, point out its dangers, and let your kids think about it.

Tip #4: Mention the other dangers of Halloween

Horror stories about razor blades in apples, Ex-Lax laxative given instead of chocolate to trick-or-treaters, or the dangers on the street should also be mentioned, but not made the focus of the reasons why you object to Halloween.

Tip #5: Explain that every one of our occasions has a meaning

Remind your kids that for Muslims, our holidays always have a good, positive meaning.

For example, at Eid-ul-Fitr, we celebrate our joy of fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan, which is a time we strive to get closer to God and be better Muslims.
Halloween, on the other hand, is celebrated partly as a reminder of satan, who is evil, and from whom everyone should avoid and seek refuge in God from.

Tip #6: Emphasize that there is nothing wrong with being different

This is crucial because there will be other occasions later on in their lives when Muslim children must not participate in school activities (for example, theProm.

This does not mean permanent exclusion from all school and/or peer activities, but it means that as Muslims, they can take what is good, but they also have to learn to reject what is bad in a wise manner.

Tip #7: Meet your child’s teacher to discuss it

Arrange a meeting to discuss Halloween and celebrations or activities you, as a Muslim would not want your child to be involved in. But also talk about what kinds of activities you would recommend or approve of, and discuss Muslim celebrations.

Volunteer to come in during Ramadan, for example, to present and bring food for the kids during a talk about what is the month’s significance for Muslims. For more tips see 17 Tips for Parents to Present Ramadan in your Child’s Class

Tip #8: Don’t send them to school the day of Halloween if there’s a party

If the teacher has scheduled a class Halloween party, simply don’t send Ali or Aisha to school that day.

However, before you do this, you should write a short letter or note to the teacher and/or principal explaining why your son or daughter will not be attending school that day.

Tip # 9: Take them to a Muslim friend’s house on Halloween

Don’t make this a special occasion. If you regularly meet with other Muslim families and your children are friends with their children, visit them or invite them over just to play or hang out. This can take their minds off the Halloween hysteria happening outside.

Tip #10: Take them out for a doughnut

Or anything else Halal, just so you are not home when trick-or-treaters come knocking, which will reinforce the Halloween hysteria.

Tip #11: Turn off the lights, close the windows and educate your neighbors

Turning off the lights will give the message this home isn’t really interested in Halloween. Closing the windows may be necessary, since throwing eggs at someone’s home who hasn’t given candy is not uncommon on Halloween.

Educate your neighbors about Halloween by posting a brief polite note about why you are not celebrating the occasion. Shaema Imam for example, on one Halloween, posted a decorative note on her door telling neighbors she does not support the pseudo-satanic glorification of evil as represented by Halloween. However, she said it is excellent that there is neighborhood cooperation to promote children’s safety on Halloween (there were efforts in her area to ensure kids could trick-or-treat in safety).

She also expressed her support for the collection of money for Unicef, which children sometimes do when they go trick-or-treating. Imam didn’t get any comments, but no one egged her house either, she says.

Tip #12: Spread the word: two to three weeks in advance, organize a seminar

This would be for Muslim moms, dads and their young kids. There should be a presentation on what exactly Halloween is and what Muslim parents can do about it. There are Christians who also feel similar way about Halloween, you can organize this event together.

While this is being discussed, kids should be allowed to play together under the supervision of a couple of baby-sitters. This will serve to inform moms and dads, while giving kids a chance to have fun (and perhaps set up an invitation so they can avoid Halloween night craziness-see Tip #9)
Posted in Islamic articles

The Etiquette of Dealing with Parents by Yasri Qadhi


In Sūrat’l-Kāhf (a chapter of the Quran) is the famous story of Khidr (p.b.u.h) and his encounter with Moses (pbuh). Khidr meets three people, and each time he meets one of them, he does something strange. One of the three people that he meets is a young man. What does Khidr do when he sees this young man? He kills him. Moses (pbuh) is shocked. “Have you killed an innocent soul?” Khidr is doing this as a commandment from God. He says to Moses (pbuh), “I told you [that] you can’t be patient with me.” At the end of the story, what do we find out? “As for this person that I killed, their parents were good people, and God knew that if we caused this young man to grow older and mature, he would have caused much grief and hardship to his parents, so God wanted to replace him with one who will be merciful to them.”One of the things this story tells us is that one of the most painful experiences of human existence and one of the most emotionally traumatic situations is to find a son or daughter who is displeasing. To raise a child with love and mercy and tenderness and to have this child grow up and flourish in front of one’s eyes, and to spend one’s entire livelihood, one’s savings, one’s life and time and efforts on this young son or daughter and then to find this son or daughter turns around and goes against them. This child treats them in a harsh or rude manner. This human being, because of whom they felt motivated to live – a child motivates a parent to live – and this human being because of whom they changed their whole life plans and worked hard and struggled; someone from whom they expected nothing but mercy and tenderness in return – instead, when this child turns against the parent and treats them with contempt and arrogance, ridicule, sarcasm, the emotional trauma and distress that a parent feels is the most profound. That is why, as a mercy to righteous parents, God actually decided to take this servant away because if he were allowed to live, he would have caused distress and grief.

This is something one needs to think about. Parents would be less distressed at the death of their child and at the nonexistence of this boy that they raised than they would be if he were allowed to remain and allowed to flourish and cause them grief and harm. This really shows us how much a parent loves a child and how important it is that the children treat their parents with that love and respect that is due to them.

God emphasizes the rights of the parents using the strongest nouns, strongest verbs, and strongest adjectives. He always emphasizes the rights of the parents straight after He emphasizes His own rights. “Your Lord has decreed…” This is the decree of God and this is the eternal decree upon which there is no other decree that will supersede it. “…that you shall worship none except Him and that you should treat your parents with ihsān.”

What does ihsān mean? Ihsān comes from husn, and husn means perfection. The state of ihsān as defined many of the famous commentators of the Arabic language means that you give everything you possibly can to the other party without expecting anything back from them. This is what the state of ihsān is. You give everything you can – your heart and your soul, your body and your efforts – and what do you want in return? Absolutely nothing. That is the state of iḥsān (perfection). My parents have already done for me much more than I can possibly do for them.

In another famous verse, God says, “We took a covenant with the children of Israel that they worship none except God and they treat their parents with iḥsān.” In yet another verse, God tells us that when your parents reach an elderly age, don’t even say uff to them. Scholars of the Arabic language tell us uff is an expression or phrase that actually doesn’t have a verbal meaning. There is no noun that it is based of uff. It is simply a sound that is uttered like when you are hurt and say “ouch.” It is not a noun, and it is not a verb; it is simply a sound. Uff is the least expression of contempt. The Arabic scholars tell us the least expression of irritation and anger is uff. God is saying, “Don’t even say uff to them.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Had there been a word lesser than uff, God would have used it in this verse.”

The meaning here is that when your parents reach that age when you have to take care of them, they will do things that will irritate you. They will treat you in ways that you will find troublesome. Why? Because you are not a child anymore; you are an adult, but for your parents, you are always going to be a child. No matter how old you are – 40, 50, 60 – in their eyes, you are always their little baby. They are going to command you and tell you this and that, and you being 30 or 40 or 50, will think that you are in charge. It is very easy to lose track of the fact that when your parents are there, you are always going to be their little baby. God says, “Don’t even say uff to them.”

The beauty of the Qurʾān here is that God does not command you with more than you can bear. Notice God doesn’t say don’t get angry and God doesn’t say don’t get frustrated and Allāh doesn’t say don’t get emotional because that is inside the heart.What God does say is don’t express that emotion externally; control it, trap it, and make sure it is not manifest to your parents. This is the beauty of our religion. Anybody who is dealing with elderly parents knows this first hand. It is very difficult to take care of elderly parents. It is very frustrating. God didn’t tell you to not get frustrated. God said, “Don’t express that frustration. Don’t let it manifest. Don’t let anything come that will show your parents you are frustrated. Trap it; keep it within you.” Outwardly, show them the respect that they deserved, even if it has to be forced.

In another saying of the Prophet, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The pleasure of God is in the pleasure of the parents, and the anger of God is in the anger of the parents.” If your parents are happy with you, then even if you haveother sins and other major problems, if God permits this is a source of expiation and kaffārah for you. Once a man came to Ibn ‘Abbās (a companion of the Prophet) and said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, I have done this and I have done that. I have fornicated and I have drunk wine” He basically did every sin in the book. “What can I do to make amends?” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Are your parents alive?” He said, “My mother is alive.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Go and serve her because I know of no good deed that cleanses a man of all of his sins than servicing his parents.”

In another tradition narrated in the Musnad of Imam Aḥmad, a man comes to the Prophet (pbuh) and says, “O Messenger of God, I have come from a far away land [in some versions he says Yemen], and I have immigrated to Madīnah in order to be with you and do jihad (striving in the way of God) behind you, and I have even left my parents crying in order to be with you.” This is the first time he is seeing the Prophet (pbuh). He is trying to boast to the Prophet (pbuh) that he has done so much for the sake of jihād that he even left his mother and father crying. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Go back to them and make them laugh just like you made them cry.”

After a parent dies and moves on to the next life, still a lot can be done. First and foremost, as the companion of the Prophet (pbuh) said, seek forgiveness for them and ask God to forgive them and raise their ranks. Pray for them. Secondly, make sure that their wishes, requests, and wills were fulfilled. Make sure that anything they wanted done is executed on their behalf. Thirdly, give Sadaqah (charity). Give money and say, “O God, reward my mother for this ten, twenty, thirty dollars.”

Also, make Ḥajj and ‘Umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah) for them. Making Ḥajj and ‘Umrah is one of the greatest and most noble acts that you can do as a child as long as you have done your own Ḥajj and ‘Umrah.

Also, the Prophet (pbuh) said one of the ways we can show respect to the parents and to fulfill their rights after they have moved on is – and this is something hardly anybody does – meet the friends and relatives of our parents who we would not meet otherwise.Some scholars have derived the wisdom behind this. They say that when you go to these people, you don’t have much in common except one thing: your mother, your father. What will the topic of discussion be? Your mother or your father. What do you think will happen when this person reminds you of how they interacted and what your mother did? How will you feel after that? You will feel so much love and tenderness and want to go home and give ṣadaqah on her behalf and make du‘ā’ for her. That love will be rejuvenated and revived. Therefore, by visiting the friends and relatives of our deceased parents, the love of our parents is once again rekindled within us. This is one of the wisdoms some of the scholars derived from this particular legacy of the Prophet (pbuh).

Let me conclude by quoting a very interesting and beautiful tradition that is reported from the famous companion Ibn ‘Abbās (pbuh). It is narrated that once a man was doing ṭawāfaround the Ka‘bah and had his mother on his back. He saw Ibn ‘Abbās in the distance, so he came running over to him and said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, this elderly lady on my back is my mother. She has been asking to come for Ḥajj for as long as I can remember. She has always wanted to go for Ḥajj, and I could not afford to buy an animal to bring her, so this year I decided to carry her on my back and do Ḥajj with her on my back. Have I now fulfilled the rights of a son to his mother?” Ibn ‘Abbās smiled and he said, “You have done good, but you have not even done a fraction of what you should.” In other words: “Alḥamdulillāh (all praise be due to God), you are a good son, but don’t come and tell me ‘Have I fulfilled the rights of my mother?’”

The man said, “O Ibn ‘Abbās, I have come from the city of so-and-so [me mentioned a far-away city] carrying my mother on my back, and you are telling me I haven’t done even a fraction?” Ibn Abbās said, “You haven’t done a fraction of what your mother did to you because when your mother took care of you and did everything that she did for you, her goal was to give you life. She did it out of love and to see you flourish. She did it genuinely for your own nourishment and flourishing. Now when you are paying her back, you are doing it as a duty and burden. You are doing it out of a sense of guilt and duty, and you are waiting for the day that she dies. You are not wanting to see her flourish and live. You are simply doing it as a dutiful son. You don’t have the same genuine, selfless love that your parents had for you when they did what they did.”

Simply one psychological statement: your parents did for you everything to see you live and flourish. When you become old and they are now the ones being taken care of, you are not doing it in the same philosophy. You are doing it as a burden and to pay back. How can you compare the two? One is selfless love and the other a sense of gratitude and duty.

If your parents are alive, the only way to be a pleasing servant to Allāh and the only way to be a good Muslim is to have your parents love you. If your parents are angry with you or if your parents are not happy with you and you are not trying to change that situation, it doesn’t matter what you do in the eyes of God. The parents have ultimate priority in this world.