Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
20 September 2019 / 20 Muharram 1441H
Looking After Our Family’s Welfare
Blessed Friday congregation,
Let us increase our taqwa in Allah s.w.t.. May it bring us to success and glory in the sight of Allah, in this world and in the hereafter. Amin.
My Muslim brothers,
Allah s.w.t. states in Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 83:
Meaning: “And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], "Do not worship except Allah; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah." Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.”
This verse reminds us that acts of worship are not limited to worshipping Allah through prayers, fasting, zakat, zikir recitation, but also comprise of the services that we provide for the people around us.
Our parents are amongst those whom we need to give our attention to. This is especially when they are in their golden years. This is the time for us to increase our compassion and love towards them by taking care of their wellbeing. As children, we need to support them in all aspects, especially their needs and welfare. They not only need our financial support, but they also need us to support them emotionally, mentally and physically. This can be understood by observing verse 23, Surah al-Isra’:
Which means: “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Surah al-Isra’, Verse 23]
The word “uff” mentioned in the verse earlier, despite being very short, is something that can hurt our parents’ feelings. Imagine the effects that harsher words will have on them – it would definitely cause them sadness, disappointment and worry. Therefore, be wary of the words we utter towards them.
My beloved brothers,
Being mindful of their emotions and feelings becomes even more important especially for those who are caring for their ailing parents. They may have started to be forgetful and unable to go about their normal daily activities, but they can still understand the words that are uttered by the people around them. Statements such as “mother/father is senile”. Words like these can easily hurt their feelings. What good is there if they are taken care of financially and physically but neglected emotionally?
We plead to Allah s.w.t that He will have mercy upon them just like how they had cared for us when we were little. Therefore, we ourselves need to show mercy and love towards them through our words and actions.
The duty of serving and treating parents well is the duty of all of the children. It needs to be mutually shared amongst the siblings. This effort needs to be undertaken willingly and is considered as a form of worship just like how we perform other types of worship. In fact, bountiful rewards will be given for this effort.
Indeed, how fortunate are those children who are filial and have the opportunity to serve their parents when they are in their most need. How fortunate are those children who strive to provide ease, joy and comfort to their parents.
Let us observe Rasulullah s.a.w. had said: “May he be disgraced, may he be disgraced, may he be disgraced." The Prophet s.a.w was then asked: "Who?" He s.a.w replied, “The person whose parents, or any one of them, attain old age during his lifetime, and he does not earn Paradise!" [Hadith reported by Muslim]
If we find that our siblings do not carry out their responsibility, do not feel disappointed or sad. Let us not complain or make a fuss. Whatever that is done in sincerity will be greatly rewarded in this life and in the hereafter.
My brothers, remember that as a child, each of us bears the responsibility of serving our parents. Strive to contribute the best of what we can to help our siblings in taking care of our parents. If we happen to not be the ones caring for our elderly parents at home, then ensure that we often check on our siblings who take care of them, and ask them if they need anything. As full-time caregivers, they surely need time to rest, go on a holiday and do activities with their family, for their own mental and emotional health, as well as their wellbeing as caregivers. Therefore, we must put in a lot of effort to spend time to call to ask how they are doing, and offer help if they need it. We should also consider inviting our parents to stay with us for a while, or hire a helper to look after them. With such measures, our caregiving siblings and our parents can live comfortably, and we can also gain rewards for taking care of and serving our parents. As long as they are still with us, appreciate their presence and take the opportunity to ask for their supplications. Remember that they are our keys to paradise.
May Allah s.w.t make us filial children, grant us the opportunity to continue serving and making du’a for our parents. May we be included amongst Allah’s servants whom He loves and blesses. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.