The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah al-Israa’:

وَقَضَىٰ رَ‌بُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ‌ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْ‌هُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِ‌يمًا

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. [17:23]

Commenting on this ayah, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

Allah’s statement, “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment“.

 أمر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة بإخلاص العبادة له وحده ، وقرن بذلك الأمر بالإحسان إلى الوالدين . ـ

In this noble ayah, He commanded them with sincerity of worship towards Him alone. And He paired that with the command to have excellent treatments towards parents.

وجعله بر الوالدين مقرونا بعبادته وحده جل وعلا المذكور هنا ذكره في آيات أخر ; كقوله في سورة ” النساء ” : واعبدوا الله ولا تشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 4 \ 36 ] ، وقوله في البقرة : وإذ أخذنا ميثاق بني إسرائيل لا تعبدون إلا الله وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 2 \ 83 ] ، وقوله في سورة لقمان : أن اشكر لي ولوالديك إلي المصير [ 31 \ 14 ] ، ـ

He made mention of Birr al-Waalidayn (good treatment towards parents) paired with worshiping Him alone both here and in other ayaat, such as His statement in surah al-Nisaa’,

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ وَلَا تُشْرِ‌كُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good [4:36]

until the end of the ayah, and His statement in al-Baqarah,

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَ‌ائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّـهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

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

until the end of the ayah [2:83], and His statement in surah Luqman,

 أَنِ اشْكُرْ‌ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ‌

Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination [31:14].

وبين في موضع آخر أن برهما لازم ولو كانا مشركين داعيين إلى شركهما ; كقوله في ” لقمان ” : وإن جاهداك على أن تشرك بي ما ليس لك به علم فلا تطعهما وصاحبهما في الدنيا معروفا [ 31 \ 15 ] ، وقوله في ” العنكبوت ” : ووصينا الإنسان بوالديه حسنا وإن جاهداك لتشرك بي ما ليس لك به علم فلا تطعهما إلي مرجعكم الآية [ 29 \ 8 ] . ـ

And He clarified elsewhere that treating them well is a must – even if they are polytheists calling (you) to their polytheism, such as His statement in Luqman,

وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُشْرِ‌كَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُ‌وفًا

But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness [31:15]

and His statement, in al-‘Ankaboot,

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنًا ۖ وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِ‌كَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۚ إِلَيَّ مَرْ‌جِعُكُمْ

And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return [29:8]

until the end of the ayah.

وذكره جل وعلا في هذه الآيات بر الوالدين مقرونا بتوحيده جل وعلا في عبادته ، يدل على شدة تأكد وجوب بر الوالدين . وجاءت عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في ذلك أحاديث كثيرة . ـ

And in these ayaat, He mentioned Birr al-Waalidayn paired with singling Him out in worship, which demonstrates the definite certainty of the obligation of Birr al-Waalidayn. And many ahaadeeth concerning this have come from the Prophet (ﷺ).

وقوله جل وعلا في الآيات المذكورة : وبالوالدين إحسانا [ 17 \ 23 ] بينه بقوله تعالى : إلا إياه وبالوالدين إحسانا إما يبلغن عندك الكبر أحدهما أو كلاهما فلا تقل لهما أف ولا تنهرهما وقل لهما قولا كريما واخفض لهما جناح الذل من الرحمة وقل ربي ارحمهما كما ربياني صغيرا [ 17 \ 23 – 24 ] ; لأن هذا من الإحسان إليهما المذكور في الآيات ، وسيأتي إن شاء الله تعالى إيضاح معنى خفض الجناح ، وإضافته إلى الذل في سورة ” الشعراء ” ، وقد أوضحنا ذلك غاية الإيضاح في رسالتنا المسماة ” منع جواز المجاز في المنزل للتعبد والإعجاز ” . ـ

And His statement in the aforementioned ayaat, “and to parents, good treatment” [17:23] is clarified by His statement,

وَقَضَىٰ رَ‌بُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ‌ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْ‌هُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِ‌يمًا * وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّ‌حْمَةِ وَقُل رَّ‌بِّ ارْ‌حَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَ‌بَّيَانِي صَغِيرً‌ا

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. And lower to them the wing (of humility) out of mercy and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small’ [17:23-24]

because this is part of the ihsaan (excellent behavior) towards them which is mentioned in multiple ayaat. And inshaAllaah the clarification of the meaning of “and lower to them the wing (of humility)” is forthcoming, and He connected it with humility in surah al-Shu’araa’, and we have made that as clear as can be in our treatise entitled, “Prohibition of the use of Metaphor in Place of Worship and Miracles”.

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 3/86]

For more on good treatment towards parents, see also the examples of prophets ‘Eesaa and Yahya towards their parents: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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2 thoughts on “The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: “And remember when We took a convenant from the Children of Israa’eel”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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