If they don't come for dinner, whose fault is it anyway?

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai Dehiwela.

There was an ad. in the recent papers where forlorn looking parents are waiting at dinner for their grown up children to visit them. It is a touching heart rending scene, all too familiar in many a home.

This is pathetically true in many parents' cases. We see any number of parents who are practically on the road while their children are doing very well. While the attitude of the children has to be condemned in no uncertain terms, I feel the parents too have to take part of the blame.

It is the parents' duty to teach the children that they have an obligation to look after the parents in their old age.

According to Islam the parents in old age can be the stepping stone for the children to hell or heaven. If they look after and care for the parents then they will be a way to heaven, and if not they will be away to enter the hell. Being obedient to parents is said to be only secondary to being obedient to Allah. Allah say in the Quran : 17:23

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.

Thus if any parents truly care for their children, they will teach them from childhood that the obligation to look after them is of paramount importance. Also when they do not look after them in adulthood, they will demand it, and reprimand them.

The parents should not feel that the "children should know" their needs. As much as the child told the parents their needs when they were small, now that the roles are reversed, the parent should feel bold to tell them what they need. Of course the children should know their parents' needs and do more than necessary, whenever possible. And the parents should not demands unreasonable obligations. But the children should remember that what most parents need is not money or material, rather a matter of visiting them often and keeping in touch with them in the true sense, not merely by giving some money and feeling they have done their part.

After all if the parents did only that, just spending money on them without looking into their real needs, the children would not be in the high status they are in now.

It is important to teach the children to make supplication for their parents while the parents are alive. Often people do not do this but only after the death of the parents they mourn and wish they have supplicated for their health and long life.

Similarly many do not tell their parents they love them, do not thank them for having brought up them in a good manner though they will spend thousands sending presents to friend they recently met.

when did you last hugged and kissed your parent? Do so today, even if you do it regularly, for, however much you do, you cannot do it enough.

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai


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