After a long journey, he was able to reach Medina to see the Prophet (saw). First, he intended to declare his belief in him as Allah’s last Messenger, and then he was going to underpin this belief by pledging loyalty to him. He had left his family behind. His needy mother and father were in tears when he departed... They understood that their son’s soul was filled with zealous passion. Perhaps they felt that he would not return home once he left for Medina. Now, he was standing before the Prophet (saw). When he expressed his intention to the Prophet (saw), he could not help but say, “I came to you, O Messenger of Allah but I have left behind my mother and father in tears.” He appeared eager to demonstrate what he was willing to sacrifice for his religion. However, the response of our Prophet was very disheartening to him. For the Prophet said: “Go back to your family, and make them smile as you made them cry!” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 31; Nasa’i, al-Bi’ah, 10; Ibn Majah, Jihad, 12; al-Sharh ala Ibn Battal, IX, 191)

When the Prophet (saw) was asked what was the best deed, he replied, “To perform the (daily compulsory) prayers at their stated fixed times, to be good and dutiful to one’s own parents, and to participate in jihad in Allah’s cause.” (Bukhari, Tawhid, 48; Muslim, Iman, 139) Thus, it is clear that relations with parents have an aspect closely related to the appreciation of Allah.

The hadith books are replete with accounts containing principles to guide our relations with our parents. In these hadiths, the term “al-birr” is used to refer to good deeds. In fact, the term “al-birr” refers to all kinds of good deeds and beauties in this world and the hereafter. For example, being rightly guided, and enjoying blessings and abundance in this world are all different forms of “al-birr.” This term also includes the meaning of attaining ultimate happiness on the Day of Judgement and earning Paradise as a final reward.

Furthermore, “al-birr” refers to the genuine interest a child takes in his or her parents, enduring not to break their hearts, and taking on the responsibility of caring for them in their old age. Performing these good deeds is also a sign of being a good servant of Allah (swt). This is one of the best ways to gain Allah’s pleasure.