Doing well by one’s parents is considered paramount in our beliefs. Ustadh Salman Younas explains why we should take the opportunity to serve our parents now, before it’s too late.
My grandfather passed away aged 93. His son, my father, passed away an hour after him aged 58. My father was given the blessing and tawfiq from God to serve his father well into his old age in a way that most people found amazingly incomprehensible. He would often tell us when we asked him to visit us, “I cannot go anywhere while your grandfather is alive.” His service to him demanded his complete time and energy.
The Risk Of Losing Out
I was not given the blessing and tawfiq from God to be in the service of my father, as he had been in the service of his father. For many of us, service to parents starts after they retire or well beyond that when they become so old as to be in absolute need of their children. This is when we begin to think of taking care of them. But there is no guarantee that they will reach such an age. There is the risk of losing out on the immense reward of being in service to one’s parents during their lifetime, an act that the Qur’an regularly mentions alongside the most fundamental aspect of our faith: belief itself.
My service to my father after his passing can only be through good works on his behalf and striving to be a source of continual charity (sadaqa jariya) for him. I will not be able to feed him, stand up in respect for him, make him happy through an embrace, help him up the stairs when he is old, financially support him, give him the free time to enjoy his grandchildren, look after his health etc. I can only hope that what I do now will be sufficient in God’s eyes.
The basic lesson here is don’t wait to be in service of your parents. Whatever little you can do, do it now regardless of whether your parents are young or elderly because there are no guarantees. Do not miss out on the reward of this immense act based on the false perception that you will have time in the future.