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Pay Back Your Parents

A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said:

“Oh Messenger of Allah, I’m cleaning my mother now (she was old and decrepit in her bed) the way she used to clean me, is this Birr (showing them righteousness)?

He said:

No, you’re just doing for her now what she did for you.

Don’t think this is extra. This is payback, that’s all it is. You loan somebody something you give it back.

When your parents get old, you’re supposed to take care of them. Why? Because look what they did for you for the first fifteen years of your life. And look how Allah is fair! Usually about fifteen years of their lives in which they don’t have strength. Isn’t it? So till they’re 65/70, they’re fine if they live to be 80, you might spend ten years looking after them.

Well, what about the ten years or the fifteen years your mother spent? what about the nine months vomiting? What about the two years changing your diaper, cleaning your feces and your urine? Getting up in the night when you cried, worrying about you through your childhood sicknesses, fixing food for you three times a day… What about all of that?

And then your father going out in the world to provide for you, to give you clothes, give you food…

Let’s pay back!

And now, in this culture, look what they do to their parents? They put them in old folks homes, and they pay somebody that has no love for them. They can’t wait till the end of the shift, that’s all they want, they just want the day to get over because they don’t want to wipe. Why should I wipe this person’s bottom? I don’t even know that people!

When I worked in a hospital, it was very interesting because I’d noticed some Asian people wouldn’t let the nurses clean their parents, they would stay by the bedside.

There are still most of the Muslims have that understanding as well, but they’re losing it. You look at these young Muslims now, these children, seriously you better start worrying. Because they’re going to school with all these non-Muslims, and they’re imbibing the same understandings, they’re watching the cartoons that all make fun of parents, they’re watching the sit-comedies that make fun of parents… Like parents are the brunt of jokes in this culture.

Your parents are stupid, they don’t know, they’re uncool, they’re unhip…

No. The Deen is something else, it is teaching people to honor your parents. If you want honor from God, you better honor your parents.

And the Christians had that commandment too:

Honor thy parents.

That was a commandment. It’s not, “you should take care of your parents, it’s a good thing to do to take care of your parents”.


“Honor thy parents”.

It’s a command. It was written in stone according to their own tradition, on the tablets… and now look how they treat their parents! There are comedians that their own parents are the brunt of their jokes, they make other people laugh.

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