Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Birr al-Walidayn
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل للوالدينِ على أولادِهما حقوق، وأمرهم بالبرِّ إليهما ومنعهم من العقوق، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
Islam, as we have said in previous khutbas, is a deen with wide-reaching social dimensions since a very large part of it deals with how we relate to and deal with other people. And, the closer those people to us, both in terms of geography and in terms of family, the more emphasis the deen places on maintaining ties and acting well towards them. And it is often during this month of Ramadan that the value and importance of these relationships strikes home the most, especially at the times of suhur and iftar when we gather to eat together.
One of the most important relationships that a person has is that between him and his parents, for they are the ones whom Allah charged with bringing him into being and raising him. And so the deen places special emphasis on birr - being good to them. This has always been a fundamental building block of every healthy society, but today those values are being eroded and destroyed by the cult of the individual whereby a person’s individual ‘rights’ - or perhaps we should say ‘caprices’ - take precedence over all other concerns. So, today, one finds laws that allow a person to cut off his parents from inheritance or even divorce them. And one finds “old peoples’ homes” becoming increasingly common - places whereby one simply washes one’s hands of one’s parents and one’s duty of care towards them and leaves them in a loveless and soulless environment in the hands of total strangers.
Alhamdulillah that we, as Muslims, have thus far been largely immune to such practices, for we still recognise and value the importance of family in our lives and have meaningful relationships with them. But, unfortunately, even that is starting to change - even among Muslims, the cult of the individual is starting to take hold - and so it is necessary and indeed beneficial to remind ourselves of what Allah and His Messenger have said with regard to birr al-walidayn - acting well towards one’s parents.
Every Muslim knows that Allah created him in order to worship Him, but is he also aware that Allah directly links worship of Him to ihsan, ‘being good’, towards one’s parents in many ayas in the Noble Quran? Allah says in surat an-Nisa,
وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانً
the translation of which is, “Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him and be good to your parents,” And He says in surat al-An’am,
قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا
the translation of which is, “Say: ‘Come and I will recite to you what our lord has made haram for you’: that you do not associate anything with Him; and that you are good to your parents,” And He says in surat al-Isra,
وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا
the translation of which is, “Your lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents.”
So, in many places throughout the Qur’an, only a single waw - only an ‘and’ - separates being good to one’s parents from worshipping the Creator. This direct link indicates a direct relationship between Allah’s rights over you and your parents rights over you - it is through them that Allah brings you into this world and it is through them that Allah shows you His mercy and concern. They are the intermediary through which Allah’s blessings reach us and have gone through a great deal on our behalf. Allah says,
وَقُلْ رَبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
the translation of which is, “Say, ‘Lord, show mercy to them as they did in showing mercy to me when I was small.” And Allah says,
حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ
the translation of which is, “Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years.”
We owe them a debt we can never repay. Whoever is ungrateful to them is ungrateful to his Lord - indeed some of the the ‘ulama have gone so far as to say that the acceptance of a person’s thanks to Allah is dependent upon him thanking his parents, saying, “There are three ayas in the Qur’an in which the acceptance of one of the matters mentioned in the aya is dependent upon the other matter mentioned in the aya first being fulfilled: The first is Allah’s Words,
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآَتُوا الزَّكَاةَ
the translation of which is, “Establish the prayer and pay the zakat.” If someone prays but does not pay zakat, his prayer is not accepted. The second is Allah’s Words,
وَأَطِيعُوا اللهَ وأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ
the translation of which is, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” If someone obeys Allah but does not obey the Messenger, his obedience to Allah is not accepted. The third is Allah’s Words,
أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ
the translation of which is, “Give thanks to Me and to your parents.” If someone thanks Allah but does not thank his parents, his thanks are not accepted.”
And if this were not enough in its own right to show the importance of acting well towards one’s parents, there are also numerous hadiths from the Messenger of Allah:
It is narrated by Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said,
ما مِن مؤمنٍ له أبوانِ فيُصبِحُ وهو محسنٌ إليهما إلا فَتح اللهُ له بابين من الجنّة، ولا يَسخَطُ عليه واحدٌ منهما فيرضى اللهُ تعالى عنه حتى يرضى، قيل وإن كان ظالما، قال وإن كان ظالما، ولا يصبحُ وهو مسيئ إليهما إلا فَتح اللهُ له بابين من النار، وإن كان واحدا فواحدٌ
“For every believer who acts well to his parents when he gets up in the morning, Allah will open up two gates to the Garden - but if either of them are displeased with him, Allah will not be pleased with him until they are pleased with him, even if it is the parents who are in the wrong. For every believer who acts badly to both his parents when he gets up in the morning, Allah will open up two gates to the Fire - and if it is only one of them he has acted badly towards, then only one gate will be opened.”
On another occasion, the Messenger of Allah was asked what the best form of action was. He replied,
الصلاةُ في وَقتِها، ثم برُّ الوالدين ثمَّ الجهادُ في سبيلِ الله
“Praying the prayer in its time, then being good to your parents, then doing jihad in the Way of Allah.” Thus, the Prophet considered acting well towards one’s parents to be better than jihad. And that is further confirmed by a hadith from Abdallah ibn Amr ibn al-As,
جاء رجل فاستأذنه في الجهاد فقال (أحيٌّ والداك) قال: “نعم” قال (ففيهما فجاهد)
A man came to the Prophet to ask his permission to go on jihad, so the Prophet asked him, “Are your parents still alive?“ When the man replied that they were, the Prophet said, “Then your jihad is with them.” In other words, “Your jihad is looking after them.”
It is narrated that Muawiya ibn Hayda said,
قلتُ: “يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ من أبر؟” قال: (أمَّك) قال قلتُ: “ثم مَن” قال: (أمَّك) قال قلتُ: “ثم مَن” قال: (أمَّك) قال قلتُ: “ثم من” قال: (أباك ثم الأقربُ فالأقرب)
“I asked the Messenger of Allah,”To whom should I be good?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then to whom?” I asked. “Your mother”, he replied again. “Then to whom?” I asked. “Your mother,” he replied a third time. “Then to whom?” I asked once again. “Your father,” he replied, “and your relatives, starting with those of them who are closest to you.”
And birr - being good - to one’s parents does not stop when you have left home and they have become old - indeed, it becomes all the more important then for you to be there for them and care for them - it is not our way to wash our hands of them and place them in the hands of a stranger. Allah says,
إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا
the translation of which is, “When one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say ‘uff ’ugh to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity.”
And birr to them does not even stop after they have died.
عن مالك بن ربيعة الساعدي رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قال بينا نحن جلوسٌ عند رَسُول اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم إذ جاءه رجل من بني سلمة فقال: يا رَسُول اللَّهِ هل بقي من بر أبوي شيء أبرُّهما به بعد موتهما فقال: (نعم الصلاة عليهما، والاستغفار لهما، وإنفاذ عهدهما من بعدهما، وصلة الرحم التي لا توصل إلا بهما، وإكرام صديقهما)
As-Saa‘idi narrated that while they were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, a man from the Banu Salama came up to him and said, “Messenger of Allah, is there any form of birr I can do for my parents after they have died?” The Prophet replied, ‘Yes, you can pray for them, ask forgiveness for them, make sure their unfulfilled contracts are fulfilled, maintain to those whom you are only related through them, and honour their friends.”
And, finally, know that birr to one’s parents is not dependent upon their being Muslim - you must still keep company with them, treat them with love and respect, and obey them except when they forbid you from worshipping your Lord. Allah says,
وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا
the translation of which is, “If they try to make you associate something with Me about which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. But do keep company with them correctly and courteously in this world.”
A significant number of us have parents who are not yet Muslim, and so it is important for us to take this counsel to heart and not neglect them if we want their hearts to soften to the deen of Allah. Do you not see that if you become Muslim and turn your backs on them completely, you are helping to harden their hearts to Allah because all they can see of Islam from you is ingratitude? May Allah guide them to Islam. We ask Allah that He enable us to always treat our parents with the respect and deference that is due to them and that He have mercy on them as they had mercy on us when we were small.
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيمالحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: “وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا”
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “We have instructed man to be good to his parents.”
We have talked in the first khutba about the importance of birr al-walidayn - being good to one’s parents - but have said little about what that actually entails? How should one be good to one’s parents - what must one do and what must one avoid doing? What practical steps can we take to ensure that we are following the wasiya - the instruction that Allah gives us in the aya I have just mentioned? The ulama have mentioned principles which, if a person lives according to them and puts them into practice, he has acted well towards his parents:
The first is that he feed them when they are in need of food and the second is that he clothe them when they are in need of clothing. When the Messenger of Allah recited the Allah’s Words,
وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا
the translation of which is, “Keep company with them correctly and courteously in this world,” he explained that part of what that entailed was feeding them when they were hungry and clothing them when they lacked clothes to cover themselves with.
The third is that he serve them when they need serving, and the fourth is that he place themselves completely at their beck and call, attending to them immediately whenever they ask.
The fifth is that he obey them completely except when they command him to disobedience of Allah.
The sixth is that he only use gently and kind words when speaking to them, even when they have done something which has angered or irritated him. One should not even address minor expressions of irritation towards such as ‘uff’. You should never ever raise your voice to your parents.
The seventh is that he not address them by their name, as has become the practice in many parts of the world today.
The eighth is that he never walk in front of them, but should afford them the honour of leading the way.
The ninth is that he should want for them what he wants for himself, and dislike for them what he dislikes for himself, and the tenth is that he should make dua for their forgiveness whenever he makes dua for himself. And indeed, that is the sunna of all the Prophets and men of Allah. Allah says, quoting Nuh,
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ
the translation of which is, “My Lord, forgive me and my parents,” And He says, quoting Ibrahim,”
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ
the translation of which is, “Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents.”
This list is far from exhaustive, but it does give us some idea of how to put birr into practice. Each one of us must examine his relationship with his parents and measure it against those things we have mentioned. We must pay more than lip service to the concept of birr al-walidayn - we must make it a living reality and then and only then can we hope for acceptance from our Lord. The path to His good pleasure is through the good pleasure of your parents - never forget that. And do not for one moment take their displeasure with you lightly. The Prophet said about one of his Companions, that the displeasure of his mother with him blocked his tongue from saying the shahada (while he was lying on his deathbed), and that his tongue was only freed to say it by his mother becoming pleased with him again.
So, take great care not to incur the displeasure of your parents, for that could lead to your final destination being a very hot place! May Allah protect us from that and always keep us in their good graces. May He give us the correct adab towards them and towards the rest of creation, and never let us forget that it is from Him that all blessings ultimately come. May he make all our actions sincerely for Him alone and purify all our intentions from shirk.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين أبي بكرٍ وعمرَ وعثمانَ وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصارَ منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراءِ وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تضعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَّقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله