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The Debt that can Never be Repaid

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‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) was once performing tawaaf when he saw a man from Yemen who was carrying his mother on his back in tawaaf. As the man carried her, he was uttering the following words of poetry:

I am her subservient camel

Although her conveyance may frighten and worry her, I will never cause her concern

Though I am carrying her (on my back), the period for which she carried me (in her womb) was longer

The man thereafter turned to Ibnu ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and asked, “Have I fulfilled the right of my mother (by carrying her in tawaaf)?” Ibnu ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) replied, “No! In fact, you have not even repaid her for one gasp she emitted (due to the pain of labor).” (Shu‘abul Imaan #7550)

The son of Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Ali bin Husain (rahimahullah), who was also known as Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah), was once asked, “You are a person who always ensures that he is obedient to his parents. Why is it that you then refrain from eating out of one utensil with your mother?” Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) replied, “I fear that my hand will reach for a morsel of food whereas my mother’s gaze may have fallen on it and she may have wished it for herself. If I have to take a morsel which my mother wished for herself, I will be regarded as a disobedient son.” (‘Uyoonul Akhbaar vol. 3 pg. 97)   

Lessons:

1. When the kindness and favor of the mother is such that it can never be repaid, then how shameless indeed is the person who causes his mother inconvenience!

2. Inconvenience to mothers can be caused in many ways; physical, mental, emotional, etc. The pious people of the past would exercise such caution in this regard, that they refrained from any action that could, in even the slightest manner, cause their parents disappointment.

3. When we are unable to repay our parents for their kindness, we should never ever make them feel that our service to them in their old age is a burden and a favor to them. Rather, always make them feel as if you are honored to have the chance to serve them. 

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