The Greatest Sin after Shirk



Dear brothers and sisters,

Last time I spoke in this masjid, it was still Ramadan, and we were still discussing things like Lailat-ul-Qadr, bringing families to the masjid and how to renew our emaan by shedding our bad habits so we can make room for good, productive habits. And in my last khutbah, I had said to beware that as soon as Ramadan ends, the Devils will be free to do what they do best... create chaos, make false promises of rewards, and disrupt good behavior. Hence, I had spoken to keep our guard up and make sure we stay informed and self-reflective, so we’d know when we’re in the right and when we’re in the wrong... that is the challenge of this world and truly, those who succeed in this world are the ones who can stay humble (Keyword: stay) when they are in the right and learn from theirmistakes (Keyword: learn) when they are in the wrong. In that spirit, today’s topic of discussion is related to self-reflecting to some Huqooq-ul-Ibad (rights of the people on others), specifically the most fundamental Huqooq-ul-Ibad of a parent over their child in broader terms and what does Islam say when it deals with parents, including the boundaries set by Allah SWT and how those who transgress the rights of their parents will be judged on the Day of Judgement Brothers and sisters, without a doubt, the most fundamental right of a parent is to be treated with good and kindness by their children. Allah SWT has said, in several places in the Quran, to do good and be kind to your parents e.g., in Surah Al-Nisa [4:36], Allah SWT says:

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.”  There are two things in this verse (Ayat) that should be pointed out. • Allah SWT says that he does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful right after he has given a list of people to do good with, meaning that Allah SWT does not like those who carry a feeling of superiority over others because that breeds arrogance as well as ignorance to their circumstances, hence do good so one can stay humble with others. This view is consistent with another verse picked from Surah Zumar [39:72] where Allah SWT again delivers the same message, but with an even harsher tone when talking about the arrogant. Allah SWT says: To them] it will be said, "Enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and wretched is the residence of the arrogant." {Keyword: eternally, wretched] • Among the many relations Allah SWT has described in this verse, parents were the first one Allah SWT mentions right after he tells us to stay away from Shirk (Associating partners to Allah SWT). This is because for Allah SWT, the greatest sin, after Shirk, is disrespecting parents. This view is consistent with several verses in the Quran e.g. In Surah Al Isra [17:23],Allah SWT says: “And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except to 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.” To those who aren’t familiar with the expression “uff”, that is more of an expression that suggests something along the lines of *smh*. When someone says, “oh boy” or “dude”, “oh man” or simply “MOM! /DAD!”, a lot of us are guilty of that. So yeah, all that projects the same feeling as “uff” is prohibited so hesitate from even doing that as Allah SWT condemns that tone and any expression that projects the same feeling Similarly, Allah SWT says in Surah Luqman [31:14]: “And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” These ayahs (verses) are simply a reminder to us that indeed, among humans, if there is anyone who deserves our kindness the most in this world, it is one’s parents.

The key thing to take away from today’s khutbah is to try to be as kind and humble towards our parents as much as possible. They are the most deserving of our love and compassion and Islam does not shy away from letting us know why parents have a higher status and why our attitudes towards them should be softer. Referring to that verse in Surah Al-Nisa that I spoke about earlier in the khutbah, one of the many reasons that I personally think Allah SWT spoke about kindness towards parents right after Shirk (associating partners with Allah SWT) is also because after Shirk, disrespecting parents is the greatest sin, as spoken earlier about. This view is also in line with a Hadith, narrated in Bukhari, 2654; Muslim, 126: "The Prophet SAW said: “Shall I not tell you of the greatest of major sins?” – three times – and we said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (SAW)” He said: “Associating others in worship with Allah, and disobeying one’s parents,” – and he was reclining, but he sat up and said, “And false speech and false witness.” [Key idea, after Shirk, it's all about Huqooq-ul-Ibad (rights of the people over others)] Imagine, even jihad comes after disrespecting parents and jihad (holy war) can be against several things... evil thoughts, evil people, and the best jihad against the true enemy, Shaitan. Even if you wanted to for the sake of Allah SWT, you cannot make a life-long commitment towards jihad unless your parents approve of it. That is how much a child owes to the parents according to the prophet of Allah SAW so understand, it is on very rare occasions that Islam allows you to take a decision that is contradictory to what your parents say e.g., as proven by the story of Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham) AS, even when Ibrahim (Abraham) A’s father urged him constantly to worship idols and threatened him that he will break ties with him, Ibrahim AS did not budge and said he stands against idol
worshipping. This is consistent with the fact that one cannot commit Shirk even if the parents wanted their child to and that is because Allah SWT is very clear to not go anywhere near it and to fight those who attack you on standing up against Shirk. But even then, using the same example of Ibrahim (Abraham) AS, even though Allah SWT had told Ibrahim (Abraham) AS, and in extension us via the Quran, that we’re not to pray for those who worship idols, Ibrahim (Abraham) AS still made duas for forgiveness for his father because of a promise that he made for him as Allah SWT recalls that story in Surah Tauba, [9:113-114], where Allah SWT says: “It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire.”

“And the request of forgiveness of Abraham for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became apparent to Abraham that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed, was Abraham compassionate and patient.” So, try your best, stay patient with your parents even when you think they are being unreasonable and make sure, as they approach old age, you take care of them as they took care of you. I’ll end today’s khutbah by sharing a hadith that brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it in the honor of parents. According to al-Adab al-Mufrad, 10, hadith classified as sahih that Abu Burdah reported: “Ibn Umar RA watched a Yemeni man circling the House (of Kaaba) while carrying his mother on his back, saying, “I am her humble camel. If her mount is scared, I am not scared.” Then he asked, “O Ibn Umar, do you think I have repaid her?” Ibn Umar said, “No, not even for a single pang of pregnancy.” (Also translated as ‘a tear drop shed during labor’)