From the minute we are in our mother’s womb our destiny has already been written. Who we will be, what kind of name we will have, what sort of person we will be in this world and what kind of parents we will have. So we can’t choose our parents, right?
Right. It’s already decided for us. However, we can choose how we want our relationship to be with the people that Allah has chosen to be our parents. Allah has decided that the two people who you will call mom and dad, are now in charge of you and you don’t have a say in it at all!
Now that I am an adult, and about to be a parent, God willing,I ask myself what does it really mean to be a parent. Who is a parent and what is their role?
The first thing that comes to my mind is all the grief and worry that I must have caused my mother and father when I was a teenager. All the times that I was late coming home or when I hadn’t called because I was having such a good time with my friends that I simply forgot.
Looking back on those times, I think well, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was with other Muslim friends, my parents knew where I was and what I was doing, so why did they worry so much. Often times I felt like my parents didn’t understand me or didn’t know how I really felt and what I really wanted. Any of this sound familiar?
Well, we all get older and hopefully wiser. As I got married and moved away from home, I slowly but surely began to be on a different level with my parents. I wasn’t treated like a child anymore. I had my own responsibilities now and they treated me like an adult, often times I felt like I was on par with them like I was their friend. The role of parent and child started to gradually change into a relationship of mutual friendship and love.
Many teenagers today, can’t say that their mom or dad treats them like an adult or a good friend. And I always wonder well have you earned that respect from them so that you could be treated so? From the time you learn how to make a friend and maintain a friendship, you work hard to earn that other person’s trust, right? I feel that it works the same way with your parents. You have to prove that you are capable of earning their trust and becoming their friend.
Many of you might have heard lectures or read hadith about how one should behave and act towards one’s parents. We’ve heard them a million times. How our mother’s carry us for nine months, and how we should care for them in their old age as they did for us when we were baby’s, etc.
But have you ever thought about what a parents Islamic duties are? As I come close to being a mother myself, I thank Allah first and foremost for blessing me and my husband with a new life to be responsible for. When I feel my baby move inside of me, I don’t know what kind of person this new little being will be and likewise the baby doesn’t know me. According to Medical research, the baby is likely to hear my voice and recognize even her father’s voice, but who we really are is unknown to us both.
I pray to Allah that the baby we are blessed with will be among the believers and I can pray for that all I want, but ultimately, the brunt of the work will be in my hands. Not only will I be responsible for feeding and taking care of the physical needs of this new being, but I will also be responsible for how the child develops as an individual. Being a parent is an extremely important and challenging role. If I were to raise my child not knowing Allah (swt) and guiding him/her to the path of Allah, I will be questioned on the day of Judgement for what I did.
Likewise, when I think about my teenage years and about how hard it must have been for my own parents, to bring up my sister’s and I in this society and what responsibilities where upon them to make sure we did not go astray, I thank Allah for blessing me with the parents that he did.
Not only did they feed and cloth me, but they nourished my heart and soul. They taught me to love Allah. They taught me that he is my creator and that he placed me temporarily under their care and guidance. In the big picture we are all the same, we are equal in Allah’s eyes, there is no distinction anymore between parent and child and we will all be accountable for our deeds and actions on this earth.
So the next time you have an argument with your parents or you feel that they just don’t understand you, really try to talk to them, and understand that, from their perspective, not only do they want to protect you, but they have the duty to guide you and make sure that you are making the right choices for yourself. Just as you are accountable for all your actions, your parents are accountable for how they raise you.