Islamic morality guarantees all people's social and personal lives and shows them how to live the easiest, most content, and happiest life. This morality prescribes justice, tolerance, compassion, and helpfulness toward all people, regardless of gender, age, and economic status. Irrespective of whom they are dealing with, Muslims are required to always abide by this morality as best they can. Muslims adopt these superior moral characteristics because Allah tells them to do so. As a result, a person's social status, gender, age, and other such characteristics are irrelevant to them.
Allah states the importance of treating parents well. Parents do their best to give their children a good education, a decent character, and teach them to treat all other people properly. Given that they make many sacrifices, financial or otherwise, for many years, the children are obligated to return their efforts and selfless support with respect and service. Allah reveals this responsibility in the Qur'an:
We have instructed man to honor his parents. (Surat al-'Ankabut: 8)
We have instructed man to be good to his parents. (Surat al-Ahqaf: 15)
Say: "Come, and I will recite to you what your Lord has made forbidden to you: that you do not associate anything with Him, that you be good to your parents, that you do not kill your children because of poverty-We will provide for you and them, that you do not approach indecency-outward or inward, and that you do not kill any person Allah has made inviolate-except with the right to do so. That is what He instructs you to do so that, hopefully, you will use your intellect." (Surat al-An'am: 151)
The Qur'an also reveals that one must treat parents well and avoid arrogance and pride:
Worship Allah, and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives, orphans and the very poor, neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, companions and travelers, and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa': 36)
Clearly, Allah advises people to always be tolerant, understanding, compassionate, and respectful toward their parents, especially toward their mothers. He also reminds us of the difficulties that mothers suffer while giving birth and raising their children. For example:
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility, and the period of his weaning was two years: "Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination." (Surah Luqman: 14)
We have instructed man to be good to his parents. His mother bore him with difficulty and, with difficulty, gave birth to him; and his bearing and weaning take thirty months. Then when he achieves his full strength and reaches forty, he says:
"My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You. Make my descendants righteous. I have repented to You, and I am truly one of the Muslims." (Surat al-Ahqaf: 15)
Every mother suffers for many months and displays great devotion in order to give birth. As Allah reveals, this is an agonizing process for her. After this period, she adopts a selfless devotion and begins to feed and nurture her child. Allah reminds people of this reality and points out that mothers are very special beings.
In addition, He advises people not to forget their parents' selfless devotion to them and to treat them equally well when they reach old age and become dependent:
Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say "Ugh!" to them out of irritation, and do not be harsh with them; rather, speak to them with gentleness and generosity. Take them under your wing, out of mercy, with due humility and say: "O Lord, show mercy to them as they did in looking after me when I was small." (Surat al-Isra': 23-24)
As we all know, old age means the loss of physical strength, dynamism, health, and energy. Such people become dependent on other people's care, protection, and help. Their mental faculties decrease, and they come face to face with memory loss and other problems. Muslims, as required by Allah, treat their elderly parents with compassion, tolerance, understanding, and care.
In the verses cited above, Allah reveals how Muslims should treat their elderly parents. As we see, He forbids Muslims to show even the slightest disrespect toward their parents and commands them to say nice things and treat them gently so that they will have no reason to become upset. As a result, Muslims are very understanding, considerate, and careful with their elderly parents. They do their best to make their parents comfortable and continue to love and respect them.
Considering the difficulties and complaints associated with old age, Muslims try to provide for their parents' needs before being asked to do so. Whatever the circumstances, they are always polite and giving.
Muslims not only provide for their parents' spiritual and psychological needs, but also do everything to meet their material and financial needs. Allah reveals that parents have rights to their children's financial assistance:
They will ask you what they should give away. Say: "Any wealth you give away should go to your parents and relatives, orphans and the very poor, and travelers." Wher good you do, Allah knows it. (Surat al-Baqara: 215)
Prophet Yusuf's (Joseph's) (as) exemplary treatment of his parents is a perfect example for all people ("as" is short for "alayhis salam", which means "peace be upon him".) Following his appointment by the King as treasurer of Egypt, he hosted his parents in the most respectable manner and then expressed his gratitude and devotion to them by seating them on the throne. Allah reveals Yusuf's (as) behavior:
Then when they entered into Yusuf's presence, he drew his parents close to him and said: "Enter Egypt safe and sound, if Allah wills." He raised his parents up onto the throne. The others fell prostrate in front of him. He said: "My father, truly this is now the interpretation of the dream I had. My Lord has made it all come true, and He was kind to me by letting me out of prison and brought you from the desert when Satan had caused dissent between me and my brothers. My Lord is kind to anyone He wills. He is indeed All-Knowing and All-Wise." (Surah Yusuf: 99-100)
The Qur'an reveals that believers pray for their parents and for Allah's forgiveness and mercy for them. From some of the verses, we gather that the Prophets made similar prayers. Allah reveals that Prophet Nuh (Noah) (as) prayed for his parents:
"O My Lord, forgive me and my parents and all who enter my house as believers, and all the men and women of the believers. But do not increase the wrongdoers except in ruin" (Surah Nuh: 28).
We understand from the Qur'an that Islamic morality places a great value on parents. Allah makes clear that such character traits are important for all Muslims when they are young as well as when they are old.
However, in certain cases believers are required to disobey their parents. For example:
But if they try to make you associate something with Me about which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. Keep company with them correctly and courteously in this world, but follow the way of him who turns to Me. Then you will return to Me, and I will inform you about the things you did. (Surah Luqman: 15)
Through this verse, Allah advises Muslims to disobey their parents only if the latter choose to rebel against Allah and encourage their children to do the same. But still, as required by Islam's morality, one must not be disrespectful toward them and must honor their wishes and treat them well.