Bismillah, Walhamdulillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Ala Rasool Allah

It was a battle over the Galactic Empire: the force vs. the dark side, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, mano-e-mano. The light sabers struck back and forth, almost in a poetic fashion, classical fencing at its finest. Luke Skywalker fought valiantly, but in a single blow Darth Vader struck young Luke’s shoulder, leaving him with only one arm to continue the struggle. Stuck in a corner, helpless and left for naught, Darth Vader made a proclamation that would go on to live in infamy… “Luke, I am your father…..”


Fast forward…the year is 2005, the venue is George Mason University, and the class is Rules of Engagement. It was like any other ‘Friday Freeday’: the weather was a chilly December night in Fairfax, the university was seemingly deserted, and all that remained on campus were thobes and jilbaabs making way to Enterprise Hall. The seminar was embarking on its second weekend, and the Friday Night Special was made free for all to attend due to the significance of the topic. The Importance of Parents is what Shaykh Muhammad was planning to cover, and being somewhat of a momma’s boy, I asked my mom to come along and attend.

Shaykh Muhammad began the session by reciting Verse 23 of Suratul Isra where Allah Azza wa Jal says:

And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.”

Shaykh Muhammad explained that Allah placed the Decree of being good to one’s parents directly after the commandment not to commit shirk. This was just one in a string of verses that were mentioned and then Shaykh Muhammad explained that this is because our parents bore our childhood with so much hardship and took care of us when we couldn’t even take care of ourselves. One of the stories that really hit me in class was when he mentioned that Muhammad ibn Munkathir (rahimah Allah) spent an entire night massaging his mothers’ feet while his brother prayed qiyaam. He would go on to remember that night and say that he didn’t wish to be in his brothers’ place!!

Realize that treating them well is not only to help them out, but in reality it is for our own benefit. Often times when performing good deeds people think that they are doing someone a favor, but being good to one’s parents is not a favor…It’s a right upon us.

At the end of the night, many were quiet, reflecting and contemplating on their own relationships with their parents. Having taught youth in the masjid, I have come across many situations where children and parents seem to interact like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (sans light sabers). You have many parents unaware of what their children do and children who feel isolated from their family and uncomfortable around their parents. Unfortunately this trend has even found its way into practicing households and many practicing Muslim brothers that I knew in college routinely argued with their parents over their practicing Islam.

At the end of the day, it is important to keep our issues in context. Your parents are not asking you to join the dark side and the Galactic Empire is not at stake. Shaykh Muhammad said that even if your parents have passed away they have rights over you and that if your parents aren’t Muslim you should deal with them in the best possible way (making ihsaan towards them). Ihsaan comes from the root ha seen noon which literally means beauty and encompasses three main components: 1) doing the utmost good in general 2) if they argue with you or return with anger, you still do good to them showing no signs of irritation 3) to strive to do the most good you are able of (above and beyond what is expected).

I pray that Allah Guides us all to have the best possible relationship with our parents and that He Assists us in creating a positive family culture in this society. Ameen