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by Habeeba Husain

I call my parents Mummy and Baba. They are two people in my life I wish I gave more honor and appreciation to growing up. It is true what people say—you do not know what you have until it is gone.

Thankfully, I still have both of my parents, even though seeing them now requires a FaceTime call or a two and a half hour’s drive. It was only after moving out of their house did I realize how selfless my parents were, how much they loved, cared, and nurtured me with absolutely zero expectations of something in return. Even now when I go to visit, I will try to plan in my head in what ways I can make their lives easier, but upon my arrival they have ten things waiting that will put a smile on my face instead.

I remember back in sixth grade, my parents came to my middle school one evening for a program. Children were in separate groups from their own parents. I was in one classroom with a group of parents and kids, and my mom and dad were in a separate room entirely. All I can recall now almost fifteen years later is my dad’s frustration after hearing a bunch of preteens discuss how their parents embarrass them. My dad was disgusted by the lack of respect the students so publicly put on display.

In Islam, we learn parents deserve much of our respect and love. Whether we are kids, teens, or adults, our parents should never be disrespected by us. Allah says in the Quran, “Do good to your parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them uff and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words” (Q. 17:23). Think to yourself…how many times have you talked back to your parents? Unfortunately, for most of us, we do not have enough fingers and toes to put a number on how many times we disrespected our mothers and fathers. Yet despite our repeating offenses, they are quick to forgive over and over again.

Their prayers for us are made without any request, while we struggle to remember checking in with them via phone. Our debts to our parents can never be repaid in full, but along with our utmost respect, we must make a habit of remembering them in our prayers.

As Prophet Ibrahim supplicated, we should do the same: “Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and all believers on the day the reckoning shall take place” (Q. 14:41).

May Allah allow us to respect our parents, and our children us. May He grant them the best in this life and the next, and enter us into His Paradise with them without taking us to task.