The Quran emphasizes the duty to parents in such serious terms that it is mentioned immediately after worshiping Allah. Allah says, “Your Lord has decreed that you should worship no one except Him, that you should be kind and favorable toward your parents. If one of them or both of them reach an old age, then do not shun them and do not say “uff” to them.
Speak to them with a noble speech. Lower the wing of humbleness out of compassion for them. Say: Our Lord! Have mercy upon them the way they showed mercy to me when I was small. (s. Israa v. 23-24)” These ayaat illustrate to us that Allah wants us to acknowledge the role of parents in our lives, even when they are old, i.e. even after we have reached maturity and knowledge and are now in a position to advise them.
We must still treat them kindly; it is not becoming of us to shun them, jerk them around, or look down upon them. This is a tremendous ordeal for many people in the world today, because today individuals feel as if they are independent and perceive themselves to be above and beyond the idea of owing anything to anyone other than themselves.
We must be exceedingly prudent and take careful steps to save ourselves from falling into this ignoble category, and be sure to tread the waters of life in such a manner that saves us from “drowning” into its dark depths.
To begin with, nikkah, or marriage, is the individual prerogative between the two people who want to get married and live their lives together, without any outside coercion. The compatibility issue is thus between the husband and wife, and not between the two sets of in-laws. As such, the nikkah between the husband and wife will technically be valid even if the parents disagree to it. However, though the nikkah is still valid, will it be blessed? This is the bigger question.
A man once asked the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, “Who should I be kind to?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother.” The man then asked, “Then who?” The Prophet replied a second time, “Your mother.” The man then asked a third time, and was given the same answer. Upon the fourth time, the Prophet said, “Your father.”
This hadith refers to the showing of compassion and moral support to one’s mother at all times. Words cannot begin to describe the dedication of a mother to her child- conception, labor, delivery, the suckling of milk, the child’s weaning and upbringing-the mother has undoubtedly gone through tough experiences. Allah mentions these realities several times in the Quran to ensure that we do not forget what our mothers have gone through and experienced for our wellbeing.
The Prophet also said, “The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of the father, and the displeasure of Allah is in the displeasure of the father.” From this hadith we see that the father also plays a huge role in the Islamic psyche of a Muslim. A Muslim who goes about life thinking that it is not compulsory to please his father is sorely misguided. Pleasing your father is pleasing Allah.
It is necessary therefore, for us to always show compassion and concern to our mother, and to make sure our father is always pleased with us (within the boundaries of Shariah). Given the noble stature parents hold over their children, it is illogical for anyone to assume that the seeking of one’s parents’ blessings at the time of marriage is unnecessary.
Though marriage between two partners without the explicit blessings of the parents is technically still valid, the bride and groom are seriously doing themselves a great disservice. Parents play a significant psychological and spiritual role in the lives of their children, and for the respective bride and groom to avoid seeking the blessings of their parents will result in the couple depriving themselves of a huge gift, which will only lead to future repercussions in their lives and in the lives of their children; the initial pleasure between the newly-wed couple may indeed be very well short-lived.
With that being said, many parents nowadays have issues with the decisions their children make in choosing a spouse. Sadly, many of these “reasons” are fundamentally unfounded, such as, “his nose is crooked, or her eyes are not large enough, that he is not from this clan or family, or that she can’t cook this, or that he can’t do that, and etc, etc, etc.”
It is incumbent for everyone to understand that the primary reason one should get married is to avoid sin. As such, if a couple are in love, they must say so openly to their parents so that the parents realize and understand that if their boy or girl does not get married they (the parents) will be guilty of facilitating sin for their child, i.e. fornication. In this respect, the Prophet said to parents, “For two people who are in love, I have never seen anything like nikkah.”
Meaning, that if one’s child is in love, the parents must acknowledge that this is now beyond any logical and rational explanation; the parents must ask themselves “If we stop this nikkah, is there a chance our child will commit zina (adultery), the sin of which will rest on our heads?” If the parents do not agree with the marriage, they must know how to say so and provide alternatives. It works both ways, the children must seek the blessings of their parents, and the parents must be reasonable and willing to give their children their blessings (without holding their sons and daughters emotionally hostage to any “blackmailing tactics”).