Yesterday, Friday, July 31, 2020 being the 10th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah was Eid ul-Kabir in Nigeria.
Eid ul-Kabir or Big Sallah (as it is popularly called in Nigeria) is an occasion upon which Muslims offer animal sacrifices to commemorate the initial sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim, Alayhi s-Salam (AS).
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Prophet Ibrahim (AS)’s submission to Allah and Prophet Ismail (AS)’s absolute obedience to his father’s wish and Allah’s command both reflect genuine and total loyalty.
To properly understand the meaning of obedience as taught by Islam, a recap of the Qur’anic story of how Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Ismail (AS) respectively expressed submission to Allah (SWT) is relevant. This is because today’s brazen defiance and disrespect by some children towards their parents’ is a cause of concern in some Nigerian homes.
When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) saw a vision in which he was commanded to offer his son, Ismail (AS) in sacrifice, the latter consented and submitted wholeheartedly to his father’s wish without asking questions or raising any objections.
The vision seen by Ibrahim (AS) occurred at the valley of Mina, few kilometers north of Makkah where a commemoration sacrifice is annually conducted as a rite of pilgrimage on the 10th day of Dul-Hijjah. This obliging brand of submission by Ismail (AS) to his father’s wish, which involved the supreme price, is the height of obedience to parents. It is the same aggregate of obedience that is expected from every responsible child towards his parents.
If Prophet Ibrahim (AS) were a modern-day Nigerian elite, he would have arranged a meeting with his son to discuss how convenient the latter finds the message of the vision. He may even ask the son to surf the internet for alternatives to the sacrifice. Ismail (AS)’s positive response illustrates absolute obedience to his father and total submission to Allah’s wish.
A disobedient child would challenge the authenticity of a “common”, which dream his father had and which (to him) is uncommon to commonsense. Such a rebellious child would openly show resistance to the fiat received in the dream by asking his father to explain why, when and how of the vision.
The general attitude of many of today’s children is regrettably a negation of the character symbolized in Ismail’s submission to his father’s vision. The relationship that exists between some children and their parents is a complete contradiction of the teachings of Qur’an 17: 23-24 wherein Allah states, “Thy lord had decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents, whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt nor repel them, But address them in terms of honour; And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood”.
The contempt that is characteristic of contemporary children is not only a disturbing trend to persons who qualify to be called “senior citizens” but also an embarrassment to those who are 70 years and above; having known what obedience practically meant in the traditional society they were nurtured in. The frustration of the circumstance is worse if a 60-year-old person (senior citizen) were a typical Nupe native.
In a conservative Nupe society, for example, a man no matter his age remains a “child” as long as his parents were alive; meaning that he lacks the maturity to take certain decisions including the naming of his children at birth. Obedience to parents and even teachers or community elders in Nupe land meant obedience to everything they owned including their personal belongings such as books, domestic animals, etc.
Defiant children see their parents as ‘compendium’ of dos and don’ts. They scold or snub their parents as if the latter were their children. Only a cursed child would pack out of his father’s house to join those who can never take the place of a father or mother in their life.
Sometime in 2008, the father of a political office holder in Zamfara state reportedly sued his son to court for refusing to take proper care of him; Subhana-llahi! An agreement had to be reached at the court for a monthly stipend to be paid by the son to the father. Stupid children don’t even feel for their sick or aged parents. For such, it is “let the man die so that I can inherit my share of his wealth”.
Sometimes, women tend to be the weight behind such maladjusted children in morally-bankrupt homes. Yet, women suffer more when the law of diminishing return catches up with ill-bred children. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Paradise is at the feet of our mothers”.
Imam Muslim relates on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (SAW) said whoever had (and lived with) aged parent(s), either one or both of them, and fails to enter Aljannah should blame himself”. Parents are too important to be molested.
Remember that you are irresponsible child if your parents would be the first to greet you when you meet them. You aren’t also a good ambassador of your parents if you are short of the virtues they possess. The one who snubs, shuns or deserts his/her parents isn’t an obedient and righteous child. He’s stupid! You can not be the pride of your parents if, for any reason, you walk out on them. It is an insult of the highest order when a child possesses the means to take care of his parent(s) but decides to forsake them. A man once approached the Prophet (SAW) and declared his readiness to migrate and fight (Jihad) for Islam but the Prophet (SAW) responded saying, “If you need reward from Allah, return to your parents and take good care of them”.
A child is genuinely obedient if he allows his parents’ wish, as demonstrated by Ismail (AS); prevail over his own interest. You are learned and obedient even without going to school if you will do the right thing at the right time without waiting for your parents to tell you to do so. You remain a ‘wealthy’ child even without money if your moral conduct can take you to every place without your parents having to follow you. You are virtuously a blessed child as long as you help your parents in their trades or occupations as farmers, traders, etc.
The road to sacrifice begins with obedience. Ismail (AS) couldn’t have agreed to the sacrifice if he were not an obedient child. Obedience to God, parents and constituted authority is a sure pathway to genuine sacrifices. You are a bad child if you cannot starve or die for your parents to eat or survive. Only a good child would buy a house for his parents while he lives in rented accommodation. Parents sacrificed so many things for their children to survive. Like Ismail (AS), may Allah (SWT) guide us to unreservedly remain dutiful to our parents, amin. Stay safe, Happy Sallah!