Have we ever thought about the difference between love and respect? When we say we love someone, what does that mean? When we say we respect someone, how is different from loving that person?
To this question, Imam Safi Khan of Dar-us-Salaam said,
“Love is the ability to give something, while respect is the ability to take something.”
Think about it; when you love someone, you want to give them something that will make them happy. When you respect somebody, you are willing to listen and take from what they say. For humans, it’s part of our nature that it’s easier for us to give advice than to take advice. It’s easier for us to reprimand someone than to get reprimanded ourselves. So using the same analogy, we can safely say that it’s easier to love someone than to show them respect. If we truly do respect someone, then that means that if they share their thoughts with us or gives us advice, we take the advice and try to act upon it instead of saying “It’s my way or the highway” or just listening with one ear and letting it come out of the other ear. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salaam) said,
“He is not one of us who does not show tenderness to the young and who does not show respect to the elder.” (Tirmidhi).
Love and Respect Towards Parents
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said, “The Prophet said: ‘If my Ummah bears fifteen traits, tribulation will befall it.’ Someone asked, ‘What are they, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘When any gain is shared out only among the rich, with no benefit to the poor; when a trust becomes a means of making a profit; when paying Zakat becomes a burden; when a man obeys his wife and disobeys his mother; and treats his friend kindly whilst shunning his father; when voices are raised in the mosques; when the leader of a people is the worst of them; when people treat a man with respect because they fear some evil he may do; when much wine is drunk; when men wear silk; when female singers and musical instruments become popular; when the last ones of this Ummah curse the first ones – then let them expect a red wind, or the earth to swallow them, or to be transformed into animals.’ ” [at-Tirmidhi]
From this Hadith, we can see that one of the great tribulations that will befall us is that people will start to treat their friends better than their parents. It also says that people will respect someone for wrong reasons: instead of respecting them because of their moral conduct, they will respect them out of fear of retribution. Sadly, these trials have already begun on our Ummah as we see both happening in the modern world. We, as Muslim youth, should try our best not to fall in these trials ourselves by increasing our time with our parents, so that when they see us, they feel happy and make Du’a for us. The Prophet (salallahu alahyhi wa sallam) said, “Three Duas are such in which there is no doubt of their acceptance: 1) Father’s Dua 2) Traveler’s Dua 3) Dua of the oppressed” (Tirmidhi).
I conclude with this story – there was once a boy who was especially known because of his love for his mother. One day, a group of people asked the boy, “We see that you do everything for your mother. However, we never see you eat from the same plate as your mother even though you do so many other things. Why is this so?” The boy replied, “I fear that if I eat with my mother and I take a piece that she wanted, she may get hurt as a result.” Subhanallah – stories like these should make us reflect on our relationship with our parents and we should really ask ourself if our love and respect is at a level that we are satisified with.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala help us to show love to the young and to show respect to our elders. Ameen…