I want to talk to the parents. The new ones and the old ones. The ones of toddlers and teens and grown adults. I hope you will listen.
You don't have a right to blind obedience by your children. You aren't entitled to it just because you 'brought them into the world'. Yes, you did a great sacrifice by raising your children. You spent your blood and sweat and tears. But that doesn't translate into you owning your children and deciding only you know what's best for them. They didn't come to you before their birth and ask you to bring them to life. YOU chose to do the deed and bring a human into this world. So guess what, it's YOUR responsibility to look after your children and family. It's not charity.
I don't know what about this is so difficult to understand. I have heard so many instances of spiritual abuse by parents who conveniently quote this ayah from the Qur'an-
'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.' -
to convince their children that they can never say no to their parents. That they have to be mute as their parents decide what they should study, who they should marry, and even when they should have kids.
There are parents who do nothing for their children's well being or future but have great expectations of unquestioning obedience from their children. They basically want a slave.
What these cherry picked ayah quoting parents forget is this verse which comes right after-
Be humble and merciful towards them and say, "Lord, have mercy upon them as they cherished me in my childhood."
In this verse there lies a key expectation that the parents raised their children with mercy and cherished them. This relationship of parents and children is shown as one of mercy and love and humility. Now if the parent didn't show the child mercy as he/she was growing up, how can they just expect mercy and unflinching obedience from their child when they grow up?
What I have observed is that truly merciful parents who raised their children right, don't hold them and their future ransom over this verse. They don't emotionally blackmail children with filmy dialogues and accounts of how much they have spent on them. It's the parents who do nothing for their child that are petty later on in life and demand unreasonable things from their child and sometimes even the child's' spouse. Some being as crass as accounting for education expenses, food, and lodging. As though the child made a reservation in their life through booking. com. These parents are also the ones usually complaining to others about how ungrateful and disobedient their kids are.
Listen, parents, you are not doing your children a favor by raising them, clothing them, and feeding them. This is your RESPONSIBILITY. This living breathing mass of cells that is your child didn't come into earth of their own will. Parenthood is not an opportunity to blackmail your children into being your slave till the end of your life.
The following beautiful verses by Kahlil Gibran encapsulate what I wanted to convey in this (rant) write up.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
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