How must we show our respect and affection towards our parents?
In His Name, glory be to Him.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Your Lord decrees that you worship only Him and be good to [your]
parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say even a
single word of contempt to or chide them, but speak to them in terms of
honor. Lower unto them the wing of humility out of mercy, and say: “My Lord,
have mercy on them, as they took care of me when I was young”. Your Lord
knows best what is in your minds [hearts]. If you are righteous, He is
All-Forgiving to those who are patient. (17:23-25)
O you who are unaware of filial responsibility toward parents, whose
house contains an elderly parent, a helpless and invalid relative, or a
coreligionist unable to earn a living. Heed these verses and see how they
insist in five ways that you show filial affection.
As paternal affection for children is a sublime reality of worldly life
filial gratitude is a most urgent and heavy duty. Parents lovingly sacrifice
their lives for their children. Given this, children who try to please them
and gain their approval without showing them sincere respect or serving them
willingly have no humanity and are monsters of ingratitude. Uncles and aunts
are considered parents. Know, you who neglect such duties, how terribly
disgraceful and unscrupulous it is to be bored with their continued
existence and so hope for their deaths. Know this and come to your senses!
Under-stand what an injustice it is to desire the deaths of those who
sacrificed their lives for you.
O you immersed in earning your livelihood! Know that your disabled
relative, whom you consider a burden, is a means of blessing and abundance.
Never complain about the difficulty of making a living, for were it not for
the blessing and abundance bestowed upon you, you would face even more
hardship. If I did not want to keep this letter brief, I would prove this to
I swear by God that this is a reality that even my devil and
evil-commanding self accept. All existence can see that the infinitely
merciful and compassionate, gracious and munificent Generous, Majestic
Creator sends children here along with their sustenance: their mother’s
breast milk. He sends sustenance for the elderly, who are like children and
even more worthy and needy of compassion, in the form of blessing and
unseen, immaterial abundance. He does not load their sustenance onto mean,
The truth expressed in: God is the All-Provider, the Possessor of
Strength and the Steadfast (51:58) and: How many an animate creature bears
not its own provision, but God provides for it and you (29:60) is proclaimed
by all living creatures through the tongue of their disposition. So not only
is the sustenance of elderly relatives sent in the form of blessings, but
also that of pets, created as friends to people who feed and take care of
them. I have personally observed this: Years ago, my daily ration was half a
loaf of bread. I barely managed with this until four cats became my daily
guests. As soon as they began sharing my bread, the same ration was always
enough for all of us. I saw this so often that I became convinced that I
benefited from the blessing coming through the cats. I declare that they
were not a burden upon me; rather, I was indebted to them.
O people, you are the most esteemed, noble, and worthy-of-respect of all
creatures. Among people, believers are the most perfect. Among believers,
the helpless and elderly are the most worthy and needy of respect and
compassion. Among the helpless and elderly, relatives deserve more
affection, love, and service than others. Among relatives, parents are the
most truthful confidants and most intimate companions. If an animal is a
means of blessing and abundance when it stays as a guest in your house,
consider how invaluable a means of blessing and mercy your elderly parents
are if they stay with you. The following Tradition shows what an important
means for removing calamities they are: “But for the old bent double,
calamities would pour down upon you”.
So come to your senses. If you have been assigned a long life, you also
will grow old. If you do not respect parents, then, according to the rule
that one is rewarded or punished in accordance with one’s action, your
children will not respect you. Further, serious reflection on your afterlife
shows that gaining your parents’ approval and pleasing them through service
is a precious provision for your afterlife. If you love this worldly life,
please them so that you may lead a pleasant life. If you consider them a
burden, break their easily offended hearts, and desire their deaths, you
will be the object of the Qur’anic threat: He [She] loses both the world and
the world to come (22:11). So, those who wish for the All-Merciful’s mercy
must show mercy to those entrusted to them by God.
I noticed that Mustafa Cavus, my brother-in-religion, usually succeeded
in both his worldly and otherworldly affairs. I did not understand why until
I learned that he strictly observed his parents’ rights. Whoever desires
prosperity in both worlds should follow his example.
O God, bestow blessings and peace on him who declared: “Paradise is
beneath the feet of mothers,” and on his Family and Companions. We have no
knowledge save what You have taught us. You are the All-Knowing, the