When your parents are happy with you, doesn’t everything in your life just go smoothly? Maybe it’s because your mother is constantly making dua for you, or because your father has told you that he’s proud of you. The barakah associated with having pleased parents is amazing. But sometimes maintaining this source of barakah seems impossible.
Sometimes it is difficult to maintain a smooth relationship with your parents. You can justify and explain why this is the case, but at the end, the barakah gained from having happy parents is worth fighting for.
So, I’m going to share with you a few tips on how to achieve that.
Realise who your parents are
Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has enjoined obeying parents right after He has enjoined worshiping Him.
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment.” [Qur’an: Surah 17, Verse 23]
Obeying parents is an act of obeying Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) –. In order for us to really understand how we should treat our parents, we must firstly embed into our mind that Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has given a high rank to parents. We are not on a level to judge our parents, even though yes, sometimes our parents may have shortcomings. But, as a believer, you cannot contest the rank Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has given them.
When it gets difficult, we must remind ourselves that ultimately we want to please Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — first. Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has said you can only disobey your parents when they ask you for something sinful like disbelief in Him or disobeying Him, and even then you must still treat them with kindness.
“But if they endeavour to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.” [Qur’an: Chapter 31, Verse 15]
However, this in itself is not easy. We must acknowledge that some parents do not have adequate knowledge of the deen. There are families that mix bad cultural habits with Islam, and this can cause arguments in the home between children who want to follow religion properly and parents who cannot let go of bad cultural habits.
But what you must never forget is that parents have a special love in their hearts that does not allow them to harm their children. As long as they are of sound mind, true parents do not wish to cause harm to their children.
Sometimes we misunderstand harm and in this day and age, we see things like curfews or opinions about our friends as our parents not caring about how we feel. That is why it is very important that you do not confuse rules with lack of love from your parents and so end up being angry at them and losing their barakah.
Be present and have patience
Patience is key in everyday life and in calamities, but is crucial with your parents. Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has told us to treat our parents with Ihsan which means to treat our parents with excellence in every aspect. Excellence in patience, in kindness, going the extra mile for them, even if your parents are not Muslim. Every difficult situation should be perceived as a test for us, and we should be thankful everyday that we have the deen to guide us and keep us steadfast.
However, here is where people get confused.
Being patient does not mean ignoring them or isolating yourself from them because you find them difficult to be around. Everyone knows the ayah where Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — told us not to say uff to our parents:
“…say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 23]
However, what people don’t realize is what this ayah implies. In order to be told not to say uff, there has to be a conversation going on between you and your parents, not silence. Therefore hiding in your room because you don’t want to be around your parents is not the equivalent of being patient.
Many of us have this idea of “my parents are wrong, I deserve to be treated better, they come from back home and have a backward mentality.” This only worsens the situation. Be diplomatic and avoid arguing. Answering back doesn’t work because it ends up being a vicious cycle; trying to prove each other wrong, and then blaming each other.
These are your parents who were mentioned by Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — in the Qur’an. Do you think Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — doesn’t know that there would be good and bad parents? Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — knows your struggle and knows the effort you are putting to be patient and that is why He told us to strive for Ihsan. Is it not worth it for the beautiful dua that your parents make for you?
We must visualize how much our parents must be respected, and strive for excellence in treating them. Do you think your parents won’t change when they see this kindness? They undoubtedly will and I say this because I went through the same thing.
I want to ask you something.
Think of a friend you have who is going through something difficult and as a result he/she took out their anger on you? Do you stay by their side because you love them or not? Sometimes we don’t do that with our parents.
Think about the time you spend helping others, I want you to ask yourself: do you give even a fraction of that to your parents?
Always try to respond with kindness
I told you that I struggled with my parents and so what me and my sisters did is that we would always go the extra mile to make my mother happy. I was very cautious not to make my mother angry by showing her the beauty of akhlaq (manners) n Islam. I would cook and clean before she woke up to please her. If I were asked to bring some cake, I would brew some tea with it.
As busy as you think you are, remember that your parents are the source of your creation and when you please your parents there is only reward in that, even if it is through mundane activities like housework. Basically it is always a win-win situation. Your parents are happy, and Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — is happy.
In Islam we do not have this notion of treating others the way they treat us. If we are treated kindly, we respond with kindness, and if we are treated badly, we bear it with patience and we respond with kindness. From experience I promise you that with time, your parents will change because all of these kind actions are for the sake of Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) –.
When pleasing our parents sometimes our patience run out because ‘they bother us, they don’t understand us’, and so you feel like what you can endure is limited. But when your intention is to please Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) –, then your motivation is more durable. You do more because you want to please Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) –, and so the nafs that feels arrogant gets shunned on the side.
When you feel like answering back your parents, remember that Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — has forbidden us from even saying uff. If just sighing out of frustration is a sin, then imagine any words on top of that.
When you feel like motivation is running low, always turn to Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — and remember what He said about His servants:
“When he draws near Me by the span of his hand. I draw near him by the length of a cubit and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit. I draw near him by the length of a fathom and when he draws near Me walking I draw close to him hurriedly.” [Muslim]
Have no doubt, this is divine justice and this is Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) –’s promise.
Do not share your problems with others
Allah the All Wise has ordained these parents for you, and so you should not go and speak to others about being ungrateful to them. It is sinful to expose the flaws of a muslim, let alone your own parents.
Furthermore, imagine your relationship becomes better, in fact it becomes better than ever, but your friends will remain thinking badly about your parents because of the way you have spoken about them.
When your parents upset you or make you angry, remember what they have done for you before. They brought you into this world, clothed you, fed you, spent on you, raised you and looked after you. Given all of this, are you really going to let Satan tell you that your parents are bad?
No parents are perfect and we are all prone to mistakes, but I promise, the barakah gained from having happy parents is like no other. Remember that if we could have chosen our parents we obviously would have chosen the best, but Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — wants to test us, so that we can be rewarded. If your parents are difficult then realise that you are not alone. Their mindset will not change overnight, but through your patience and kind actions, Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — will help you soften their hearts and make the way to Jannah much easier.
I ask Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — to bless all of our parents and to soften their hearts and help anyone who is having a difficult relationship with them. May Allah — subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) — grant you ease.