Serving Our Parents

The husband has this habit of sharing the salient points of every Friday khutbah’s with the wife. Maybe he feels that it’s part of his duty of being a good Muslim husband. So last week, he told me to download the khutbah itself because he felt it ‘spoke’ to him and hence, it would do so to me. Yes it did. Here I share with you the particular khutbah below as copied from the MUIS website.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura – Friday Sermon: 22 June 2012 / 2 Sya’ban 1433

Serving Our Parents Through Contribution Of Daily Maintenance

Dear Friday jemaah blessed by Allah,

Let us increase our taqwa to Allah s.w.t., by understanding the commandments as reflected in the Al-Quran and exemplified in the Sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w. Reflect upon the lessons therein, so as to raise awareness in us to be more faithful to Allah’s commandments, and to avoid all of the prohibitions as set by Allah s.w.t.

Dear blessed jemaah,

As an opening for today’s sermon, I wish to invite you to think about various scenarios for a moment. Let us imagine ourselves as a newly-wed, or as a father who has just been blessed with a newborn child. Now imagine ourselves in the future, between 35-45 years from now, when we have reached our retirement age, and therefore we are no longer earning any salary. By the time we reach this stage of life, will our children be willing to contribute part of their earnings for our daily expenses as we sail into our twilight years? Similarly, let us also ponder upon ourselves, have we, as a son, been contributing financially to both of our parents so as to reduce their financial burdens in their old age?

Let us now reflect together the words of Allah s.w.t. in surah Al-Israa’ verse 23:

Meaning: “And Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you must be kind to your parents”

My dear beloved brothers,

As indicated in this verse, to perform good deeds and be compassionate to your parents has indeed contained a wider meaning. It begins from obeying the instructions of our parents to being polite and treating them well, making them happy, including but not limited to, caring and be thoughtful them in sustaining their daily needs. Being compassionate here therefore includes taking care of their welfare, as well as their well-being, as they reached their elderly years.

It is indeed clear to us that the duty of maintenance is not just applicable between husbands and wives, it is also not limited to just our children, but it includes both of our parents, especially if they are advanced in years and are no longer able to earn a living on their own. In fact, to be compassionate to our parents is such an important lesson that Allah placed that only second just after His command for us to worship Him and not ascribe others with Him.

As when we were young, needing their love and their protection, our parents similarly require our support and assistance in their old age. Although they do not ask, but as responsible and grateful children, we must at least provide them with financial support, moral boost and physical assistance based on our affordability and ability.

For example, for those among us who are enjoying fixed employment, we may reserve a fixed sum of money every month to contribute to our parents. For those who are not working yet or are not able to afford, they should voluntarily take physical care of their parents. In fact, even if all of the children are working and find it difficult to care for their parents, this cannot be an excuse for not serving them. We have other alternatives and options such as obtaining the assistance of a domestic helper to specifically take care of our parents. This is also an opportunity for siblings to share the costs for this noble purpose.

Such attitude of competing to serve both our parents must exist in every child. In fact, if our siblings are not concerned about our parents and think only of their own self interests, we should not blame each other because whether we like it or not, one of us must assume that role of supporting and taking care of them. If not us, who will be taking over the responsibility?

Why must we still be calculative in managing the welfare of our very own parents? Are not our existences in this world due to our parents? They are the reason that we are able to enjoy the pleasures of life in this world. They are the ones who nurture and guide us until we are able to be independent today. Why is it that parents are able to raise many children, but on the contrary, the fact that there are many children does not guarantee that their parents will be taken care off?

 Do we not feel even an inch of guilt for not helping our parents, while we are able to well afford what we want for ourselves; such as a comfortable home, our own cars, employing domestic helpers and the rest. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves, are we not being compassionate to our parents, if we do not support and lesson their burdens, or worst, when our parents have to resort to seeking assistance from others?

Do we not realize, that no matter how much act of worship and good deeds we performed, if we fail to serve our parents, especially if they are being neglected and are living in despair, it may be the single cause that may obstruct our entry into the gates of paradise in the hereafter.

The Prophet s.a.w. reminded us in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah r.a. which means: “May he be disgraced, May he be disgraced, May he be disgraced! Rasulullah s.a.w. was then asked, “Who is the one that is disgraced?” He replied: “One whose parents, one or both, attained old age during his life time, and yet he does not enter Jannah (by failing to be dutiful and serve them).”  Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.

Dear blessed Muslims,

It should be made clear, that providing maintenance to both parents is not limited to just being the responsibility of the sons, but also includes the daughters. In such a case, the daughter’s ability to give maintenance and serve her parents is subjected to the consent of her husband. However, a merciful, compassionate and responsible husband surely will not prevent or deny his wife from nursing her parents.

Therefore, if our wives have some financial ability because she is working, we must not prevent or obstruct her from contributing to her parents. In fact, we must encourage our wives to serve, as any charity will surely invite blessings into our daily lives, Insya Allah. If we ourselves have some additional financial means, there is absolutely nothing wrong with offering monthly financial contribution to our in-laws who are just like our own parents.

In fact, this is one of the signs for us to show our gratitude to them, as mentioned by Allah in surah Luqman verse 14:

Meaning: And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.”

Remember and realize, when our parents are pleased, happy and grateful with our gifts and contributions, their prayers and hopes for us will be one of the causes of our happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

Dear Muslims beloved by Allah,

Allow me to conclude three salient points from today’s sermon. First, the command to do good and to provide maintenance for our parents is a command from Allah that we must obey. Second, providing maintenance to our parents and our parents-in-laws is our responsibility and a sign of our gratitude to them. Third, the good that we do for our parents will bring us happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

May Allah assist us in our humble and sincere efforts to help and to do good to two important persons who have contributed tremendously to our lives. Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

 

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