Money what do we spend it on? Who has the most right over our earnings?
Generally in our teens the money is usually spent on fashionable clothes, eating out with friends, going to the movies etc. As we grow older it gets spent on getting a big house, multiple cars, clothes, jewelry, trips abroad and the list goes on. Anything left over is readily put into an investment portfolio.
But the people who get neglected are often the parents. Generally there’s no money for the parents who are often trying to make ends meet with their small pension cheques or by working at low-end jobs. Not all children do that but from what I have seen majority of them fall into this category when asked for money by the parents they cite household expenses and necessary long overdue vacations.
Tafsir al-qurtubi contains a beautiful narration about a father and son it is as follows: Al-Qurtubi has reported from Sayyidna Jabir ibn Abdullah (RA) that a man came to the Holy Prophet and complained that his father was taking away what belonged to him. He said,
“Go and ask your father to come here.”
Right then, came Sayyidna Jibrail and told the Holy Prophet SAWS,
“When his father comes, ask him about the words he has composed in his heart and which his own ears have not heard yet.”
When this man returned with his father, he (SAWS) said to the father,
“Why is it that your son complains against you? Do you wish to take away what belongs to him?”
The father said,
“You better ask him on whom do I spend other than his paternal or maternal aunts or myself”
The Holy Prophet SAWS said: (an expression which denoted that he had understood the reality and there was no need to say anything else). After that, he asked the father of the man,
“What are those words that have not yet been heard by your own ears?”
The father said, “O Rasulallah, Allah Taala increases our faith in you through everything.” Thereby he meant that he (SAWS) got to know what was not heard by anyone, which was a miracle indeed. Then, he submitted,
“It is true that I had composed some lines of poetry within my heart, something not heard even by my own ears.”
The Holy Prophet SAWS said, “Let us hear them.” Then he recited the following lines of poetry he had composed:
I fed you in childhood and took care of you when young. You lived on my earnings alone.
When on some night, you became sick, I spent the whole night remaining awake and restless because of your sickness
As if your sickness was my own and not yours and because of which my eyes kept shedding tears throughout the night
My heart kept trembling lest something happens to you, though I knew that the time of death is fixed, being neither early nor late
So, when you reached the age and maturity that I had always been looking forward to
Then you made hard-heartedness and harshness my return as if you were the one doing me favors and giving me rewards
Alas, if it was not possible for you to fulfill my right as a father, you could have at the least done what a good neighbor would have done
So, you could have given me the least right of a neighbor and abstained from becoming miserly in my case in my own property.
After having heard these verses of poetry, the Holy Prophet SAWS held the son by his shirt and said: Go, You and your property, everything belongs to your father.
(Tafsir al-Qurtubi, p. 246, V. 10)
According to another narration parents rights supersede those of wife and children as illustrated in the following narration. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:
“Three persons of a people before you were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm and therefore they took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the exit from cave.
One of them said: “The only way for deliverance left is to beseech Allah in the name of some virtuous deed.” Thereupon one of them supplicated, “O Lord, my parents were very old, I used to offer them their nightly drink of milk before my children and the other members of the family. One day I went astray far away in search of green trees and could return only after my parent had gone to sleep. When I had milked the animals and brought their nightly drink to them, They were fast asleep, but I did not like to disturb them, nor would give any part of the milk to my children and other members of the family till after my parents had their drink. Thus, with the vessel in hand, I awaited their awakening till the flush of dawn, While the children cried out of hunger at my feet. When they woke up, they had their drink. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do relieve us of the distress wrought upon us by this rock.” Thereupon, The rock moved a little…”
Money should be spent not only on parents but also on relatives, orphans, the helpless and travelers in need as illustrated by the following verse of the Qur’an. "They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend in charity. Say: 'Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travellers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.'" - The Holy Quran, 2:215
But more than relatives and other people in need money should first and foremost be spent on parents as they are more deserving of our good treatment than anyone else. The following famous narration illustrates this point. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).