﴿8﴾ وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْناً وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلاَ تُطِعْهُمَآ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَاُنَبّـِئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
8.“ And We have enjoined on man goodness unto his parents; and if they strive with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, unto Me is your return, and I will inform you of what you were doing.”
The Occasion of Revelation:
There are cited different narrations upon the occasion of revelation of the above verse that the extract of all of them is the same, and its explanation is as follows:
Some persons, who were in Mecca, embraced Islam and when their mothers were informed of the subject they decided not to eat food and not to drink water until their sons would apostatize from Islam, though none of these mothers kept her promise and all of them ate food. Then the abovementioned verse was revealed and showed a clear way to all for the conduct with their parents concerning belief and disbelief.
To do goodness to parents is a humane matter, not a mere creedalsubject, and it has no condition either, irrespective of being racial, age, regional, scientific, social, political, economical, and creedal. Children must do them favour even when they are pagan or polytheist. However, one of the most important trials is the subject of contradiction in the line of faith and piety with the sympathetic and relational links. The
Qur’ān has clearly stated the duty of the Muslims in this regard.
At first, as a general law, which originates from the roots of affections and gratitude, it says:
This subject is a divine religious ordinance, but before it is a religious binding, it has been settled in the nature of all humankind as a law. The application of the word ‘man’, in particular, here attracts the attention, because this law is not only forthe believers, but everyone who is eligible to be called under the title of ‘human’ must be gratitude before his parents, and he does not forget honour, kindness and benevolence to them throughout his lifetime, though he can never pay his debt to them by these acts.
Then, in order that no one imagine that the emotional link with parents can overcome the link of man with Allah and Faith, it makes clear the matter with an explicit exception in this regard. It says:
(others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, then do
not obey them, …”
The application of the Qur’ānic term /jāhadāka/, in the verse, means that they use their most effort and endeavour with persistence.
And, the applications of the phrase ‘of which you have no knowledge’ refers to the fact that polytheism is not a logical thing, since if polytheism were really correct, there would exist an evidence for it. In other words, where man has not knowledge to a thing he must not follow it, let alone that he has knowledge to its falseness.
Following such a thing is following one’s ignorance. If parents make you follow ignorance, you should not obey them. In principle, blindly imitation is wrong, even when it is about Faith, let alone polytheism and paganism.
This very disobedience in regard to parents is also mentioned in Sura Luqmān, with this addition that while you must not accept their invitation to polytheism you ought to help them in worldly affairs and have kindness in social intercourse with them, lest no one imagine that opposition with parents concerning their invitation to polytheism is an evidence unto having ill-treatment toward them; where it says: “… yet bear them company in this life with justice …”. And this proves the utmost emphasis of Islam on respecting the parents.
Thus, a general principle is understood here that nothing can prevail the relation of man with Allah, because this relation is before all things, even the relation of the parents which is the closest emotional relations.
The famous tradition narrated from Ali (a.s.) who said: “There should be no obedience for anyone in disobeying Allah” gives a clear criterion.
And, at the end of the verse, the Holy Qur’ān adds that Allah will give you entirely the reward and retribution of what you used to do:
you were doing.”
This sentence, in fact, is a threat against those who pave the way of polytheism as well as those who invite others to this way, because the verse clearly indicates that Allah keeps
 Sura Luqmān, No. 31, verse 15  Nahj-ul-Balāqah, saying: No. 165
the account of all their deeds and deliver them to them at the appropriate time.
It is not the first time that the Holy Qur’ān points to this important issue of man. Formerly it was referred to in Sura Al-’Asrā’, No. 17, verse 23, and later this important matter will be pointed out in Sura Luqmān, No. 31, verses 14 and 15 and also in Sura Al-Ahqāf, No. 46, verse 15.
In fact, Islam considers the highest respect for these two, father and matter, in a manner that even when they are polytheists and they invite to polytheism, which is the most shunned acts in the view of Islam, yet it enjoins the protection of their respect, with disobedience in regard to their invitation to polytheism.
This is, in fact, one of the great Divine trials which has been referred to at the beginning of this Sura; for parents are sometimes so old that keeping and hearing them are difficult. It is at this time, indeed, that the children must take their own examination in the field of gratitude and obeying the command of Allah, and keep protection from their parents in the best form.
A tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) indicates that once someone came to him and said: “Whom should I do goodness to?” He (p.b.u.h.) answered: “To your mother.” Again the man asked: “Nextto her?” He (p.b.u.h.) said: “To your mother.” For the third time he asked: “Next to her?” Again he (p.b.u.h.) said: “To your mother.” And in the fourth time, he (p.b.u.h.) recommended him to do goodness to his father and then to other relatives according to their nearness to the man.
In another tradition, which has been mentioned in many Islamic books, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “Paradise is under
 Bihār, Vol. 74, P. 49 and Majma'-ul-Bayān following the verse
the feet of the mothers.” And it is only by the way of humility and veneration in front of them that a person can enter Paradise.
Some Other Traditions:
1- The holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “Whoever obeys the command of Allah concerning parents, two doors of Paradise will be opened to him, and if he fulfils the command of Allah unto one of them, then one door will be opened.”
2- The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “The servant who is obedient to his parents and to his Lord: (on the Hereafter Day) he will be in the highest rank (in Paradise).”
3- The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) once said: “He who performs pilgrimage rite for his parents, or pays their debt, on Resurrection Day Allah will rouse him with the righteous.”
4- The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “He who likes to have a long lifetime and his sustenance increases, he should do good to his parents and visit his kim.”
5- Imam Sādiq (a.s.) said: “The best deeds are prayer at its (proper) time, doing kindness to the parents, and struggle on the way of Allah.”
6- The Messenger of Allah said: “Do good to your parents so that your children do good to you; renounce the women of people so that your women be chaste (and others renounce your women).”
 Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, Vol. 166, P. 467  Ibid  Ibid, P. 468  Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, Vol. 16, P. 475  Bihār, Vol. 74, P. 85  Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, Vol. 16, P. 466
7- The Prophet of Allah said: “The affectionate look of the progeny to his parents is worship.”
8- Imam Sādiq (a.s.) said: “What hinders a person among you that he does good to his parents when they are alive or dead by praying for them, giving alms for them, doing pilgrimage rites for them, and observing the fast for them, because if he does such, the parents will be rewarded, and he, too, will be rewarded the same amount. Moreover, Allah (Almighty, and Glorious) gives him much goodness for his goodness and his prayer (Salāt).”
9- The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “Whoever visits the graves of his parents or one of them once every Friday Allah forgives him and writes him among the righteous.”
* * * *
 Bihār, Vol. 74, P. 80  Ibid, P. 46  Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, Vol. 16, P. 468