We hear an awful amount of talk about being good children but very little about being good parents. A learned friend said in a lecture he was giving that after Allah (swt) came the authority of parents, which is true to an extent but what does it really mean? I am a father and a grandfather so may I expect from my children obedience to my whims, preferences and irrational or unjust preferences? Are their lives my property to dispose of as I see fit? I think not!
O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.
A parent’s authority is derivative from and delimited by the authority of Allah (swt) and comes below that of the Prophet (saw), the Imams, Naibs, Caliphs (some of them) and it may be argued Marjai as their representatives. As a believer a parent is bound to act within their rulings and guidance. Therefore to expect obedience from their children parents must act within the guidelines, justly and for the best interests of their children. Imam ‘Ali (as) told parents to teach their children for the future, where they would live, and not for the world the parents had known. There is so much worry, pain and sorrow in our community because parents insist on telling young people how to live in a society they do not understand, press for marriages with unsuitable partners, impose racial views and try to compensate for their own shortcomings. It is not easy to be a good parent because you have to strive to be a good person first.
Loving, caring and not being rude to parents which the Qur’an praises is very different to obedience in all things. It is also different from being proud of them and respecting parents for their goodness, justice and kindness. I want my children to come to me because I offer them something precious and not because they have to perform duty. They may not always make me tea when I feel like drinking but when they do it is a reward from Allah (swt)