Why is being kind to parents mentioned in the Quran but obedience to them is not mentioned?

The Details of the Question
Why is being kind to parents mentioned in the Quran but obedience to them is not mentioned?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Ihsan is something beyond obedience. Being kind means to treat people well. Treating well is a concept that includes love and respect. If you show respect and love to a person and if you treat him well, it means you already obey him.

Besides the Quran says, “say not to them a word of contempt”:

“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 honor. 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, 17/23-24)

The Quran, which prohibits uttering “any word of contempt”, shows with this phrase that it does not allow even the slightest disobedience.

It is indicated by the following phrase of the verse that we will never be allowed to disrespect them: “lower to them the wing of humility”.

Yes, we have to obey them related to the issues that are not contrary to Allah’s orders and prohibitions. If they have some interventions or advice that we see as contrary to wisdom, we should try to persuade them using a soft style. If the conditions are not suitable, things change. Allah states the following:

“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear.” (al-Baqara, 2/286)

Thinking about the good deeds and treats our parents did to us when we were children, their efforts to educate us, the troubles they suffered while doing it and the compassion and mercy they showed to us, we should fulfill all of their orders and try not to make any mistakes while serving them. 

Allah lists our five duties – in the verse of the chapter of al-Isra given above – and He virtually addresses us as follows:  

1. I do not want you to say evena word of contemptto them. I want you to show patience in the face of pains, agonies and troubles caused by them.

2. When they order, offer or want something, try to fulfill them as much as you can. Do not refuse and reject their requests.

3. Please your parents by saying soft and sweet words to them. Smile to them and say nice words. Use words like “Mummy! Daddy!”, which express respect and kindness to win their hearts. Therefore, avoid the expressions and words that will sadden them.

4. Lower to them the wing of humility originating from compassion and mercy; avoid acting conceitedly toward them. 

5. Do not find them enough and say, "My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy! For, they cherished me in my childhood, when I was very weak. They protected and raised me. O Allah! Show them mercy by treating them with your generosity and grants!"

However, we should not do these careful deeds respect and services in order to win their favor, obtain their wealth or outdo the other inheritors; we should do them in order to attain divine consent. What we do should be in accordance with what is in our hearts. That is, we should do them for the sake of Allah, not for material interests.

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