The family is considered the building block of any society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued and seen as essential for the spiritual and moral well-being of its members and of society as a whole. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured and rarely leave home until the time they marry.
The family is considered the building block of any society. Parents are greatly respected in the Islamic tradition. Mothers are particularly honoured. The Qur’an teaches that since mothers suffer during pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing, they deserve a special consideration and kindness.
Institutional homes for the elderly are virtually unknown in the Muslim world. Caring for one’s parents during this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honour and a blessing. In Islam, serving one’s parents is a duty second only to worshipping and it is the parents’ right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult to handle. It is written in the Qur’an:
“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and
be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age
with you, do not say to them a word of contempt nor chide them,
but speak to them in terms of honour and kindness. Treat them
with humility, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did
care for me when I was little.” (Qur’an 17:23-4)
Allah also states:
“And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to his parents.
With difficulty upon difficulty did his mother bear him and wean
him for two years. Show gratitude to Me and to your parents;
to Me is your final goal.” (Qur’an 31:14)
And render to the relatives their due rights, as (also) to those in
need, and to the traveller; and do nor squander your wealth in the
manner of a spendthrift. (Quran 7:26)
The Prophet said:
“He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbour beside
him is hungry” (Authenticated by: Bukhari)
“He does not believe whose neighbours are not safe from his
injurious conduct.” (Authenticated by: Bukhari)
Actually, according to the Qur’an and example of the Prophet, a Muslim has to discharge his moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives, and neighbours but to all mankind, animals and useful trees and plants. For example, the hunting of birds and animals for sport is not permitted. Similarly, cutting trees and plants that yield fruit is forbidden unless there is a very pressing need for one to do so.
Thus, on the basic moral plane. Islam provides mankind with a higher system of morality that can be used by an individual to realize his greatest potential. Islam purifies the soul of self-seeking egotism, tyranny, wantonness, and lack of discipline. It creates God-fearing men who are devoted to their ideals, motivated by piety, abstinence, and discipline, and unable to make any compromise with falsehood. It induces feelings of moral responsibility and fosters the capacity for self-control. Islam generates kindness, generosity, mercy, sympathy, peace, disinterested goodwill, scrupulous fairness, and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations. It nourishes noble qualities from which only good may be expected.