Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 990 [Read full issue]
If we were to give a nametag to the society established by the Prophet, we may perhaps call it the "Do Good Society." Islam upholds all the universal values mankind have developed over many generations. In addition, some social values are given particular importance. Foremost among these is dutifulness to parents, even when they are unbelievers.
The Prophet provided practical examples of the importance of dutifulness to parents. Many people believe that joining a campaign of jihad (i.e. striving for God's cause) earns great rewards from God. This is true, but it must be put in proper perspective. Sometimes other things take priority. Abdullah ibn Amr reports that a man came to the Prophet declaring that he wanted to pledge himself to the Prophet doing both the immigration and jihad. He also made it clear that all he was after was God's reward. The Prophet asked him whether either of his parents was alive. The man said that both were alive. The Prophet said: "Do you say that your aim is to earn God's reward?" The man confirmed this. The Prophet said: "Then go back to your parents and attend to their needs with kindness." (Related by Muslim.)
Another version of this hadith adds that the man informed the Prophet that when he left his parents, both of them were in tears because he wanted to immigrate. The Prophet told him to go back and make them smile (this version is related by Abu Dawud, al-Nasai and Ibn Majah.)
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi