Friday 6 Muḥarram 1446 - 12 July 2024
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Making Du’a for Parents Though They Fall Short in Raising Children

Question

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small’” [Al-Isra 17:24]. 

I heard someone whose knowledge I do not trust say that in the case of a father or mother who did not play his or her proper role in bringing up the child, there is no obligation to obey them, honour them or offer supplication for them, because Allah, may He be exalted, says: “ ‘as they did bring me up when I was small’”. I cannot work out how sound this view is. Is this view correct according to Islamic teachings? Did any of the early generations hold this view?

Summary of answer

If the parents do not give their children their rights, and fall short in raising them, that is a sin for which the parents will be brought to account and will be punished, but that does not justify not making du’a for parents or disobeying them.

Praise be to Allah.

How to seek knowledge in Islam

It is not appropriate to take knowledge from anyone except scholars who have good knowledge, and knowledge will remain so long as the scholars remain, then when Allah wants to take away knowledge, He will take away its people. Muslim narrated in the introduction to his Sahih (1/14) from Muhammad ibn Sirin that he said: This knowledge is the (foundation of) religion, so watch from whom you learn your religion.

Parents’ rights in Islam

It is the parents’ right over their children that they should honour them, even if they fall short in terms of upbringing and spending on their maintenance. 

If the father does not give his child his rights, and falls short in his upbringing of him, that is a sin for which he will be brought to account and will be punished, but that does not justify disobedience to one’s parents, which is one of the gravest of major sins. 

If it were the case that every time the father falls short in his duty towards his son, it would be permissible for the son to fall short in his duty towards his father, then all Muslim families would be ruined, and the son would disobey his father or mother for the slightest reason, and he would take his own opinion as a means of disobeying his parents. Therefore, he would say: My father fell short and did not give me my rights, and my mother fell short and did not treat me like my siblings, so he will disobey them and will think that they have no rights over him. This would cause trouble in the family and in society. 

Ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about the Islamic ruling on a person whose father – as he says – did not play any role in his upbringing and did not give him any kind of care, even when he was an infant, despite the fact that the father could have spent on his child. In this case is it still obligatory to uphold ties between the father and his son? 

He replied: 

“Yes, the son is obliged to honour his father, acknowledge his rights and treat him kindly, even if the father did badly and even if he fell short. And the father has to repent to Allah for his shortcomings; he has to repent to Allah from his shortcomings with regard to his upbringing of his son, but this does not justify disobedience on the part of the son. Rather the son must honour his parents, even if they fell short with regard to his rights. Allah says concerning the rights of the disbelievers, in the story of Luqman (interpretation of the meaning): “but behave with them in the world kindly” [Luqman 31:15], even if they are disbelievers. What is required of the son is to treat his parents kindly and honour them , and to interact with them in a nice manner, even if they fell short with regard to his rights.” From the Shaykh’s website.

Making Du’a for Parents Though They Fall Short in Raising Their Children 

With regard to the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning), “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small’” [Al-Isra 17:24] 

This is what usually happens: the parents bring up their children , so the child should pray for mercy for them, responding to the blessing with gratitude. No one deviates from that except a few, and there is no ruling for the deviant. 

By analogy with what this person says, if the parents, or one of them, was to die following the birth of the child, they would have no share in this prayer for mercy, because they did not bring him up when he was small, and the one who brought him up and spent on him is more deserving of this supplication than them, but no one would say that. 

For more, please see these answers: 176847 and 90178 ,

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A