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]
- The ayah begins with two commands: To enslave yourself to Allah alone, and to be the best to your parents.
- Worship is exclusively for Allah; obedience can be for others, provided there is no disobedience to Allah. We are commanded to obey our parents, and obeying them is part of obeying Allah.
- The word Rab is used as opposed to Allah, since the former has the connotation of upbringing, caretaking, providing, sustaining, maintaining, etc. After Allah, our parents are the closest beings who do all of these.
- The root of the word is ولد/يلد which means to give birth. Implication: As long as your parents have given you birth — and nothing else — then you are required to be the best to them.
- Wisdom of this ayah: No matter how much the actions of our parents irritate us, the good that they have done by giving birth to us, providing for us, taking care of us, etc. surpasses the harm. What are few words compared to pregnancy?
Once a man came to ibn Umar RA (he was carrying his mom on his shoulder and doing tawaf of the kabah) and said, “we did not have enough money to purchase a mount, so I carried my mother from our home all the way to the Kaba. Have I done my duty to her?” ibn Umar replied, “you have not even done a fraction in return.”