Disobedience to Parents: Islamic Rulings & Consequences

Syed Bukhari

Updated on:

Disobedience To Parents

Disobeying parents is one of the major sins in Islam. Everyone should realize that if they are disrespecting their parents it means they are sinning because of their abhorrent treatment of their parents and they are doing something that Allah has forbidden.

Punishment for Disrespecting Parents

The Quran and hadiths clearly warn us of the punishment for disrespecting parents in this life and the hereafter. Allah mentions obeying parents along with worshipping Him, highlighting the importance of honouring them. The Prophet (SAW) cursed those who cause hurt to their parents. He said the fragrance of Paradise can be smelt from a thousand years away but those disobedient to parents will not smell it.

In multiple hadiths, the Prophet (SAW) classified disobedience to parents as one of the worst major sins. He said Allah will not speak to three kinds of people on Judgement Day – those who disbelieved in destiny, drunkards, and those disobedient to parents. Such traditions underline the grave sin of disrespecting parents.

On the Day of Judgement, parents will complain to Allah about the disobedience of their children. The Prophet (SAW) said Allah’s anger is the parents’ anger. The supplication of parents against disobedient children is answered quickly. So being rude and causing hurt to parents has disastrous consequences in the afterlife.

Rights of parents in Islam

The Quran and hadiths repeatedly emphasize the rights parents have over their children and the importance of treating them with kindness and respect. Allah mentions goodness to parents along with worshipping Him alone. The Quran says to not even say “uff” to parents and always address them respectfully. Allah commands us to be gentle, merciful and grateful to them for bearing hardships in raising us.

The Prophet (SAW) when asked about the greatest sins said associating others with Allah and then disobeying parents. He gave such importance to parents’ rights that he compared jihad to serving them, saying looking after parents is a type of jihad. The Prophet (SAW) taught us Paradise lies under the mother’s feet, showing their lofty status in Islam.

Disobedience To Parents

Punishment for disrespecting – Disobedience parents in Islam

The worldly and eternal consequences of disobeying parents are dire. Disrespecting parents brings Allah’s curse, decrease in rizq, poverty, misfortune and difficulty in death. The Prophet (SAW) said of the three sins punished in this world – disobeying parents, injustice and ingratitude – the first to be punished is disobedience to parents.

According to hadiths, ingratitude, reminding them of charity done for them, and addiction to alcohol deprives one of Paradise. The Prophet (SAW) said he who disrespects parents will not enter Paradise, no matter his other good deeds. So the punishment for ‘uquq al-walidayn is clearly spelt out in Islamic sources.

Major Sins – Showing Disrespect To Parents

Allah has commanded us to worship none but Him and to be good to parents. We should not even say ‘uff’ to them but rather address them respectfully. Allah has told us to be gently submissive to parents, merciful and grateful to them. So we must serve them as they cared for us as children, though our service can never equal their sacrifices for us.

The Prophet (SAW) has said Allah’s pleasure is parental pleasure and His wrath is theirs. A person’s treatment of parents decides their position in the hereafter. Being good to parents is expiation for sins and prolongs life. Angels pray for such children. But those who cause hurt to parents are cursed.

The Prophet (SAW) emphasized mothers have greater rights than fathers and their pleasure takes precedence. He said Paradise lies under the mother’s feet. Her rights far outweigh the father’s because of bearing difficulties in pregnancy, childbirth and suckling.

Even if parents are kafir or sinful, goodness towards them remains wajib and disobedience haram in Islam. Allah tells us in the Quran to be good to non-Muslim parents, only disobeying them in matters against religion. The Prophet (SAW) said prayed for the forgiveness of Muslim and non-Muslim parents. So we must continue to treat parents well, irrespective of their faith.

What Constitutes Disobeying One’s Parents (’Uquq al-Walidayn)?

Though there is no outright command to “obey” parents, righteousness entails avoiding actions that clearly hurt or offend them. Context matters, like if fulfilling a request causes hardship or sin, refusing may not be wrong. But blatant rudeness would be. Parents must be reasonable too, a son isn’t expected to divorce his wife just because they say so.

If a dangerous action risks one’s life and parents forbid it, it becomes obligatory to obey them. Traveling away in a manner that distresses them is also counted as disobedience. But pursuing education, work or religious knowledge is allowed even if parents object.

Parents have rights even after death. Failing to repay their debts, pray for their forgiveness and do good works on their behalf constitutes ingratitude. We must strive to the utmost in doing righteous deeds for their salvation.

Those Who Are Disobedient To Their Parents

The Prophet (SAW) has classified ‘uquq al-walidayn as a major sin, mentioning it with shirk. Disobeying parents causes Allah’s wrath and cuts one off from His mercy. It leads to humiliation in both worlds and deprivation of Paradise.

On his deathbed, a young man was unable to say the shahadah until his previously estranged mother forgave him, showing the dangerous spiritual consequences of displeasing parents.

The Prophet (SAW) informed that those who don’t honour parents while alive but repent after their death will be forgiven by Allah. But those who are good to parents while alive and then neglect guiding them spiritually after their death will be considered disobedient.

Single righteous acts bring multiple rewards. Being good to parents in their lifetime and doing istighfar and charitable deeds for them after they pass away leads to Allah’s rewards in both worlds.

When Is Obedience To The Parents Wajib?

We are not bound to obey parents’ orders regarding wajib acts or haram prohibitions. Parents can’t prevent children from obligatory prayers or fasts. But obedience is wajib for makruh and mubah acts, and also wajib kifai duties, unless fulfilling them causes harm.

If parents order something explicitly haram or prevent an obligatory act like Hajj, children need not obey. However, disagreement should be respectful. Children must try their utmost not to displease parents.

Parents should not be followed if they promote severing ties or violating Divine commands. But within reason, when no sin or harm is involved, striving to please parents is virtuous. Parental advice for the child’s benefit, without selfish motive, deserves compliance.

Disagreement Among The Parents

If parents disagree, children should try to resolve conflicts amicably and satisfy both parties. But if reconciling their differences is impossible, the mother’s wishes take precedence in Islam. Her greater rights, sensitivity and selfless devotion towards children make her opinion deserving of priority. However, this does not discount the father’s status and children must be careful not to disrespect either parent.

The Material Effects Of ‘Aqq

Numerous hadiths detail the worldly repercussions of mistreating parents. It brings deprivation, poverty, curse and premature death. The Prophet (SAW) said Allah hastens the death of disobedient children as punishment. Kinder children are granted long life and prosperity by Allah as a reward.

Imam Baqir (AS) taught righteousness to parents, relatives and honouring oaths with non-Muslims attracts Divine blessings. So goodness towards parents, whether Muslim or not, leads to blessings in this world too. But ‘uquq al-walidayn results in decreased rizq and humiliation here as well as the hereafter.

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FAQ’s

Q: Does being rude or arguing with parents count as disobedience according to Islam?

A: Yes, blatant rudeness and actions that clearly hurt or displease parents for no valid reason are considered disobedience and a major sin in Islam, even if one does not directly defy their orders. This includes raising one’s voice at parents, turning away angrily from them, arguing or causing them distress by words or deeds. Causing pain to parents’ hearts hardens one’s own heart and distances oneself from Allah’s mercy.

Q: What if parents order something haram – does one have to obey?

A: No, Islam expressly prohibits obeying parents or anyone else if they order something explicitly haram or prevent an obligatory Islamic duty. However, children must still act respectfully and gently towards parents even while refusing compliance.

Q: Can parents be disobeyed in acts that are not wajib but only mustahab or mubah?

A: Though acts like nafil prayers or optional fasts are not obligatory, it is still sinful and considered an act of ‘uquq to defy parents’ wishes regarding mustahab acts without a valid reason. Obedience to parents is wajib in mubah and mustahab matters when no hardship or sin is involved.

Q: If parents order children to cease contact with relatives, do offspring have to listen?

A: No, severing family ties is against Quranic principles. Children cannot obey parents if they promote cutting off relationships, injustice or any other sin. Even when parents promote good, obedience is only within reasonable limits, not absolute servitude to them.

Q: What should one do if parents order something explicitly haram?

A: Children have no obligation to comply if parents command something explicitly prohibited in Islam, like drinking alcohol. Similarly, if they prevent an obligatory duty like Hajj or salaat, children need not obey. But wisdom lies in gently explaining why compliance is not possible instead of blatant defiance.

Q: Do the commands to honour parents still apply if they are non-Muslims or sinners?

A: Yes, the Quran and hadiths clearly state that dutifulness towards parents is required irrespective of their faith or conduct. Even if parents are unbelievers or sinful, being good and gentle towards them remains an Islamic obligation while disobeying them continues to be prohibited.