Date : 22-10-2015

Question :

What is the ruling of Islamic Sharia on the person who keeps his parents or one of them at a nursing home, whether he is well-off or insolvent, and what is the ruling on the sons and daughters who don`t fulfill their duty as regards taking care of their parents and honoring them at old age?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Islam has urged on being dutiful to one's parents by obeying and assisting them with every possible mean: effort, money and the like. It also urges on addressing them in terms of honor and treating them softly; especially, at old age. This is because they need more care in return for their favors upon their children; therefore, it is impermissible for a person to abandon his parents at old age. Allah, The Exalted, says(what means), "Thy Lord hath 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."{Al-Isra`(23-24)}. From the perspective of Sharia, kindness to parents is one of the best actions by which a person gets nearer to Allah, The Almighty. This is because parents have begotten their children and have raised them properly, which made them(children) realize happiness in this world and the Hereafter. It was reported on the authority of 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah said: "The best of' the deeds or deed the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents."{Muslim}.

Therefore, it is obligatory that sons and daughters fulfill the rights of their parents, even if the latter are polytheists, and that they should obey them in whatever they order them to do, except if they order them to commit a sin and disobey Allah. Allah, The Almighty, says{what means}, "But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did."{Luqman/15}. They sons/daughters) are also obliged to show full respect to their parents at all times, treat them
softly and never raise their voice at their presence.
Moreover, it is obligatory to support them and attend to their needs as much as possible, without complaining. Article(197/A) of the Jordanian Civil Status Code states, "A well-off son or daughter, young or old, is obliged to support their poor parents, even if they are capable of making a living."
Islamic Sharia has warned against severing kinship ties with parents in order to avoid the severe punishment for such a major sin, in the Hereafter. Not only that, but it has also warned that those who commit such a thing will be punished in this world before their death. Our Prophet(PBUH) said, "Allah will defer whatever wrong actions He wills until the Day of Rising, except disobeying parents. He will punish the one who commits that thing in this world before he dies."{Al-Hakem}. And Allah knows best.