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Quran and Sunnah

Beauty of the Qur’an Regarding The Rights of Parents


While preparing for my upcoming seminar on the meaning of ṣalah, I came across something amazing that I wanted to share with everyone. A beautiful function of the Arabic language is Uslūb al-Taghlīb – that is when two different things are mentioned together frequently and associated with one another, one of the two mentioned entities takes on its dual form to represent both entities. One of the words literally takes over the other. A linguistic reason is usually the determining factor in deciding which word will dominate. Some popular examples of this occurrence are:

  • قمران – which literally means 2 moons, but is representative of both sun and moon.
  • عمران – literally means 2 ‘Umars, but is representative of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (ra)
  • حسنان – literally means 2 Hasans, but represents both Hasan and Husain (ra)

Now we come to the 2 instances of this that I want to point out from the Qur’an; والدان and أبوان both of these words mean parents, however they’re different in their origins.

The word والدان   comes from the root of ولد   ‘to give birth’. So this is actually representative of the mother. The father is called والد   figuratively.

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أبوان  is the dual form of the word أب   which means father. So by extension both mother and father are referred to as أبوان

Both of these words have been used in the Qur’an for parents. The real lesson is where and how?

All the ayaat that speak about (أحسان         او   برّ     او   دعاء) good treatment, kindness, and making du’a for the parents mention the word والدان    to show preference for the mother.

As in the Hadith, a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked, “Who is most deserving of my good companionship?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother.”

The man then asked, “Who is next?”  The Prophet replied, “Your mother.”

The man further inquired, “Who is next?”  The Prophet once again said, “Your mother.”

The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?”  The Prophet said, “Your father.”

So, when mentioning the good treatment of the parents, the Qur’an uses the word for ‘parents’ that is indicative of the mother over the father.

When mentioning the distribution of inheritance, the word أبوان   which is indicative of the father is used, due to the father’s share being greater than the mother.

This is a small example of the beauty and precision of the Qur’an. May Allah grant us the ability to study and benefit from the Qur’an. It is also a strong reminder of the rights that our mothers have on us. Our mothers care so much for us, but we tend to forget everything they have and continue to do for us. May Allah bless all mothers and grant us the tawfiq to treat them with the kindness, and respect they deserve.

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Abdul Nasir Jangda is the founder and director of Qalam Institute. He is a hafiz and specialist in Sīrah & Hanafi Fiqh with a Bachelor's from Jamia Binoria, a Master’s in Arabic from Karachi University, and a Master’s in Islamic Studies from the University of Sindh.



  1. AsimG

    April 16, 2009 at 12:39 AM

    jazakullah khair shaykh

  2. talwar

    April 16, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    JazakAllah khair, absolutely beautiful! mashaAllah tabarakAllah…

  3. MM Associates

    April 16, 2009 at 1:03 AM

    SubhanAllah, jazaakum Allahu khayran.

    We are eagerly awaiting your class this weekend inshaAllah with us at Nurayn.


  4. MR

    April 16, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    :-( check private twitter message shaykh


    April 16, 2009 at 3:32 AM

    I watched your video on Surah Hujarat and it was amazing shaykh…MashAllah.


  6. kk

    April 16, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Assalamu Alaykum
    ameen to the du’a…and a beautiful article


    April 16, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    I just wanted to add some comments about the beauty of the Quran…..

    I don’t know if you guys know DR. AHMED ELKADI. He just past away this last SATURDAY IN TAMPA. He was a cardiovascular surgeon of Egyptian descent and was a very renowned man for his work in Islamic organizations such as MAS and ISNA and was the founder of MYNA……Allah give him JANNATUL-FIRDOUS

    Well Dr. Elkadi did research on the benefits of the Quran on the body and mind in his lab in our town and he found out in his research that there is measurable difference in positive BRAIN WAVES when people listen to the QURAN even if they don’t understand it. He did his research with putting many non-muslims to listen to SURAH YASIN and it showed a lot of positive results. He also used black seed. THIS research was done many years ago in the early to mid nineties before the black seed phenomena………………. His research didn’t get published because they had taken away his license to practice.

    I WAS VERY VERY SICK IN THE HOSPITAL IN THE MID-NINETIES and even though my father is a cardiologist they could not find out what was wrong with me. To this day they don’t know. I was sick and tired of staying in the hospital…………. so I tried his therapy and I also tried the black seed and used other methods recommended by the PROPHET for different things. Seriously, i was in so much pain i was ready to do everything and Alhumdullilah I was better.

    Btw, my cholesterol (this was when i was really really young)was so high and after i used chelation therapy and took black seed like he had prescribed and did other things from quran, MashAllah my cholesterol went down below 200 MASHALLAH. EVEN MY OWN FATHER WAS SO SURPRISED, he has since than started taking black seed and taking the other stuff that was recommended. SO THERE IS SHIFA IN THE QURAN even if one doesn’t understand it in the beginning……….. Just by listening it.
    Recently, there was an author on the TAVIS SMILEY SHOW ON PBS, who was talking about his research on spiratuality and the BRAIN and he was stating the same thing that they have found out clinical data in changes in brave waves and dendrite formation in the frontal lobe for people that pray and have GOD in their lives. He even said, that even atheist that don’t believe in GOD have been shown to have positive changes in the brain just by THINKING ABOUT GOD even if don’t belive it………….. JUST BY THINKING AND SAYING ALOUD…………
    any way so saying words about ALLAH AND Having POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES LINKED TO GOD helps increases positive brain chemical reactions…………… I FORGOT HIS NAME BUT UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA…………… i think the show was on this last MONDAY.


  8. Slim |

    April 16, 2009 at 1:59 PM

    Thanks for sharing. My father had drilled that hadith into my siblings and I when we were growing up so we knew the importance of our mother.

    Even knowing that, she has done so much for our lives that we can never ever repay her. I ask Allah to give my mother and all mothers of believers afeeyah and taufeeq in this life and the next and forgive them for any shortcomings they may have.

  9. M. Le Brock

    April 17, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,
    Jazaka Allahu khair for sharing this insight with us. I’ve been saving articles I like in “Delicious” but I don’t see that possibility on this page. Is that no longer possible?
    Thank you,
    M. Le Brock

  10. ibnabeeomar

    April 17, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    m. le brock – that was an oversight. its fixed now, if you refresh the page you should have a delicious icon at the end of the article

  11. Algebra

    April 17, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    are you going to be putting up the videos of your lecture this weekend on SALAT like you did the others?

    Where you put the Surah Hujurat ones????

  12. M. Le Brock

    April 18, 2009 at 8:30 PM

    Jazakumu Allahu khair.

  13. Luv2Veil

    April 26, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I would like to have more information on the research done by Dr. Ahmed Elkadi(rahimullah). Algebra, if you know where I can locate such research and possibly contact the people who continue it can you please post it on the forum?

    Jazakhallahu khairun,


  14. Luv2Veil

    April 27, 2009 at 5:41 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    I am also very interested in obtaining information on Dr. Ahmed Elkadis’ research on the uses of Black Seed. Are there any publications available?

    Jazakhallahu khairun,



    April 27, 2009 at 9:05 AM


    Its funny you ask, we just came back last night from visiting Iman Elkadi this weekend. InshAllah, I will check with her in a few days to find out if I can share his publications and information about the research on this forum and try to see if i can get you a phone number to call as well or a website of some sort IF any. He did use to sell the products as a business in Virginia at some point. His office is no longer in our town since he moved to Virginia and than subsequently Tampa. I would have to confirm with his wife before i do anything.
    Also you can read about the benefits of black seed in the Hadiths.
    InshAllah i will get back to you in a week.

  16. Luv2Veil

    April 30, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakhatu,

    I would appreciate any and all you can do regarding this matter. I have spent hours researching everything I can regarding Dr. Elkadis’ (Rahimuhullah) research but information via the internet is limited.

    If possible, can you contact me

    Jazakhallahu khairun.

  17. Algebra

    April 30, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    here is a website i found that has research on the BLACK SEED
    maybe you can look at that. I did e-mail you so please read your e-mail.

    Here is information of a doctor that used to work with Dr. Elkadi

  18. Algebra

    April 30, 2009 at 7:32 PM

    Here is another website that has some information on him and it lists the Journals.

    Read the paragraphs
    “Much of Dr. El-Kadi’s written work can be read in the Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America (JIMA), published by the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA).”

    I am sure they have the work in those journals. But you are right it does not have that much info on the web concerning his work. When i started researching after you asked i found very little as well. However, try to contact the info i gave and go from there.

  19. irshad

    July 31, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    Salam wa alaikum

    The Real value of mother is Never known till you loose her, and I am one of the unfortunates that has lost the most valuable person on earth……

  20. ibn warraq

    August 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Dear Mr. Jangda,

    While I respect the sentiments expressed in your post, I have to diagree with the linguistic argument you are putting forth. The Arabic word والدان does not carry within it an intrinsic relationship to the mother either semantically or linguistically.

    First let us examine the semantic argument you have put forth that since the word والدان comes from the triliteral root و-ل-د , which carries within it meanings of child-bearing, the word والدان must carry a maternal sense. This is untrue. In fact, the root و-ل-د does not carry the meaning of actual childbirth itself, but rather the practice of child-bearing and procreation. It recognizes it as a two-person act. Thus the verb ولد can mean a variety of things. It can mean to physically give birth, but also to procreate, to produce, to have a child with someone. Other forms of the verb move beyond physical child birth and focus on the act of procreation or breeding.

    Secondly, linguistically the word والدان is the dual form generated from the masculine word والد, which is the masculine active participle of the verb ولد , meaning procreator or father. Of course there is a feminine form of this active participle, والدة , meaning “mother,” but the word والدان is not derived from this or else it would be والدتان . In fact, if we look at this from the point of view of the grammar of the Arabic language, what we see is the والدان most simply means “two procreators.” It’s secondary meaning is “parents.” However, because it is derived from the masculine active participle, we can say that it’s semantic leanings are not feminine. That is to say the word والدان does not acknowledge the mother over the father, rather it acknowledges both as equal partners in the act of procreation. Further evidence of this derives from the fact that in most Arabic dictionaries, والدان will be listed as a sub-entry under والد.

    This ability of containing extra meanings in dual forms, what we call اسلوب التغليب is not something unique to Arabic, but is shared by all Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Aramaic. So while I enjoy the sentiments that we should honor both our fathers and mothers equally, this is not, as you say, something inherent in the Arabic language or even unique to Arabic.

    • Siraaj Muhammad

      August 20, 2009 at 12:13 PM

      Can you please point out where Shaykh AbdulNasir states اسلوب التغليب is unique to the Arabic language? I believe he mentions that it is one of the features of the language, but never limits it to Arabic alone, so your conclusion has no connection whatsoever with the point you were making in the preceding paragraphs.


      • ibn warraq

        August 20, 2009 at 12:20 PM

        This is true. I misread and apologize. He does not. Thank you for pointing that out.

    • Saaddd

      October 7, 2009 at 9:39 AM

      We give doctors enough respect of always referring to them by the their title (Dr.), lets make sure we are giving our esteemed scholars of Islam the same respect (Shiekh)

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