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Islamic Voice Logo
MONTHLY    *    Vol 12-11 No:143    *   NOVEMBER 1998/ RAJJAB 1419H
email: editor@islamicvoice.com

HADITH


To Pray for Ones Parents


To Pray for Ones Parents

Commentary Adil Salahi

Related by Ahmad At-Tirmidhi and others on the authority of Abu Hurairah, who quotes the Prophet (Pbuh) as saying. “Three prayers are answered with out doubt: A prayer by a person suffering injustice, and a prayer by a traveller, and a prayer by parents against a child of their own.”

When a person believes in Islam, he develops a permanent close relationship with Allah. To him this relationship is more real than any relationship he may have with his relatives, neighbours, friends or colleagues. He feels that Allah watches over him, knows what thoughts he may entertain, his fears, hopes and ambitions. He knows his weaknesses and points of strength, motives, temptations and innermost thoughts and secrets. The stronger the faith of a Muslim is, the more real and vivid his relationship with Allah becomes. He turns to Allah at every point and prays Him for guidance, help, mercy and forgiveness.

If he does something good he thanks Allah for enabling him to do it. If he makes a mistake, he prays Him for forgiveness. If he hopes to achieve something, he prays Allah to fulfil it. If he stands in fear of something he prays Him to protect him against it. This sort of prayer, or “supplication”, is the companion of a Muslim throughout his life. He resorts to it like a soldier resorts to his weapon when he goes to fight. Supplication provides a Muslim with unfailing support. He feels that he does not stand alone against the problems of life, whatever they are. A Muslim fears nothing more than being abandoned by Allah. When he prays Allah he feels that He would not abandon him. After all, he says in the Qur’an: “Your Lord says: pray Me and I will answer you.” (40:60)

This verse from the Qur’an suggests that our prayers will always be answered. The Prophet (Pbuh) tells us, however, that when we pray Allah, He either grants us immediately what we have asked Him, or he may store it for us till the Day of Judgement when He gives it to us multiplied several times. When we are given it, we wish that Allah had deferred granting us everything we prayed Him for in this world. This means that for some of our prayers Allah will answer in this world. We feel that they are answered and we see the results with our own eyes. This enhances our feeling that our relationship with Allah is not something abstract. It is so real that it has its marked effects in our real lives.

The Prophet (Pbuh) tells us in several Hadiths which prayers are granted straightaway. One of these Hadiths is related by Ahmad At-Tirmidhi and others on the authority of Abu Hurairah, who quotes the Prophet (Pbuh) as saying. “Three prayers are answered with out doubt: A prayer by a person suffering injustice, and a prayer by a traveller, and a prayer by parents against a child of their own.” All three types of people share in common that they have no one around to turn to for the fulfilment of their legitimate needs or requests.

When a person suffers injustice and finds people turning away from him, his last resort is Allah. He turns to Him and prays Him with sincerity, hope and faith that He alone can restore justice to him.

Similarly, a person who has travelled for away from home feels himself a stranger among people with whom he may have little in common. That gives him a real sense of weakness. When he prays Allah, he does so with devotion and sincerity. Parents do not normally pray Allah against their own children unless they are genuinely and deeply hurt by them. Nothing hurts a human being more than ingratitude. When he has done someone a good turn, he feels deeply hurt by the latter’s ungrateful behaviour. Parents normally do every kindness they can to their children. They have a double motive in doing so, their natural inclination as parents, and their hope to be rewarded by Allah.

To his parents, a child represents hope for the future. When the helpless young boy of yesterday is a man going through life with confidence and ability, benefiting by his upbringing, his parents may stand in need of him because they have grown older and weaker. When the kindness they expect does not materialize, still they hope that their son will soon recognize his duty toward them. At first their forgiveness is easily forthcoming. Repeated unkindness by the son however, is bound to leave a growing sense of disappointment. If he hurts them so badly that they give up on him they feel that no one can restore their rights except Allah. They turn to Him with supplication. If they pray Allah against their own child, it means that they have been so hurt by him that their sense of injury becomes much stronger than their natural love of their own child. Such an injury cannot escape punishment by Allah. No one who has a shred of faith in Allah would cherish the prospect of having his parents praying Allah for support against him. If a Muslim finds himself in that position, he must immediately go back to his parents, ask them to forgive his mistakes and try as hard as he can to compensate them for his past unkindness. Normally, parents will easily forgive, even if their son or daughter has deeply offended them.

The Prophet (Pbuh) gives us an example of how Allah answers a parent’s supplication to Him against their own children without fail. Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate a Hadith on the authority of Abu Hurrairah who mentions that he heard the Prophet saying: “No human child spoke in his cradle except for Jesus, son of Mary, and the friend of Jurayj. The Prophet (Pbuh) was asked; ‘Who was the friend of Jurayj? The Prophet answered: ‘Jurayj was a monk who lived in his hermitage. A cowherd used to make his abode at the foot of Jurayj’s hermitage. A woman from the village used to come to the cowherd (having an affair with him.)

One day his mother came and called ‘Juraij’, when he was at his prayers. He said to himself while praying ‘Should I answer my mother or continue with my prayer?’ He preferred to continue with his prayer. She shouted to him a second time, and he thought, ‘My mother or my prayer’? He again thought it better to continue with his prayer. She shouted to him a third time and he again thought: ‘My mother or my prayers?’ Again he thought it better to continue with his prayer. When he did not answer her, she said: ‘Jurayj, may Allah not let you die until you have looked in the faces of prostitutes. She then left. (Perhaps we should explain here that his mother did not pray that he should commit any sin, but rather that he should be humiliated among people before he died).

Later, a village woman was taken to the king after she had given birth to a child. The king asked her who was his father. She answered, ‘It is Jurayj’s. He asked; ‘The man in the hermitage?’ She answered, ‘Yes’. He ordered that the hermitage be destroyed and that Jurayj should be summoned before him. They hacked at his hermitage with axes until it collapsed. They bound his hand to his neck with a rope and took him along. They were looking at him along with other people.

The king asked him: ‘What do you say to that which this woman claims?’ He said: ‘What does she claim?’ He said: ‘She claims that you are the father of her child.’ He asked her, ‘Do you claim that?’ She answered in the affirmative. He asked, where is the little one?’ She replied that it was in her lap. He turned to the child and said ‘Little one, who is your father’? The child answered. “The cowherd.’

The king said to him: ‘Shall we rebuild your hermitage with gold? He replied, ‘No’ He said. ‘With silver, then’? He answered, ‘No’. The king asked, ‘then of what shall we make it?’ He answered, ‘put it back as it was.’ The king asked him, ‘What made you smile?’ He answered, ‘Something which I recognized. My mother’s supplication has been fulfilled.” He told them the story.

In this Hadith, the Prophet (Pbuh) teaches us that even a man who has dedicated himself to prayer could not escape the consequences of his mother’s supplication against him, if she has a genuine grievance. Jurayj did not make any mistake by continuing with his prayer. His mother might have been unaware that he was in the middle of his prayer. She was genuinely annoyed when he did not answer her after she had called him three times. Her supplication was not extremely serious. She felt a little humiliated and she prayed that her son would be humiliated in return. Allah granted her prayer in the terms she wished. We should, then, be careful how we treat our parents. Whatever we do, we must not let them feel offended by our attitude towards them. We should guard against them coming to feel so hurt by us that they would turn to Allah for justice as it has been explained earlier. Allah grants a parents’ supplication against his child without delay, Allah also answers the supplication of parents for their children. This however may be deferred. A dutiful child, however, will certainly feel that his parent’s supplication on his behalf brings him immeasurable benefits. He will undoubtedly be successful in life.

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