Foundation of Life

The Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him alone, and behave beneficently towards parents. If either or both of them should attain old age while you are alive, say not `ugh’ to them, nor chide them, and speak kindly to them. Lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness and pray: Lord have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was little. (Surah Al Isra, Verse 23)

We were well versed with the route to this beach. It had become a holiday routine for us to pack required essentials and take a plunge in its emerald green waters. The sight of the sea provided an immediate relaxing effect and if given a chance we would never emerge from it. These family trips were rejuvenating and we swam for hours at a stretch. Every holiday, we would commute for thirty minutes from the heart of Manama city (capital of Bahrain), passing the Bahrain international circuit and Al Areen wild life park to reach the shiny green waters of Al Jazaer Beach (zallaq beach).

Al Jazaer Beach

The four of us, my father, mother, brother and I, were regular visitors and sometimes we would be accompanied by few friends. Those days were anxiety free for us and if a day was pleasant, it stayed that way. It was during the late 90’s when news still took time to travel from one part of the world to another. As a result, negative news was limited and this kept stress at a distance. Back then, people enjoyed every essence of life to enhance their happiness and not for the sake of a selfie. Life was very simple back then.

Visit to the beach was our family time, an activity our parents had designed to make us feel special, active and blessed. These trips formed a very important part of our growth and developed a grateful feeling towards life. I still remember the bare essentials we would carry along – few swim wears, towels, spare clothes and lots of food. We left home in our swim wear so as to avoid waste of time once we reach. As soon as the car was parked, we would run (my brother and I racing) and would jump into the water. Though we spent hours in it, we were never satisfied. We would swim, dive, float and had the most relaxing experience.

Jazaer beach had small wooden huts with doors back then. It was built to be rented and though completely basic in nature, they felt welcoming. It had no amenities, but still provided a homely vibe. And this was where we had lunch / dinner after a good swim.

Huts at Jazaer beach

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: There are three sins which nullify all other virtues: Ascribing partners with Allah, disobedience to parents and fleeing from Jihad.

This memory is very intense and even though there are many such good ones we had as children, this particular one is always at the top of the list.

Sunset at Al Jazaer Beach

It makes me feel how helpless those parents feel who aren’t able to provide a normal life to their children. Those living in war zones and other poverty stricken parts of this world.

Most parents are constantly working towards giving their children a good life and creating memorable images to recall from their childhood. In return, there is no great expectation. This is undoubtedly a great gift from Allah (swt). One needs to understand the role that parents play in their upbringing and in everything related to one’s life. By default, parents are the foundation on which we build our entire life and this must always be considered.

It also makes me wonder why families don’t make time for each other. They are either too busy or not bothered that this is an essential part of growing up. Not being closely knit as a family brings about many problems and some might even last a lifetime. We need to understand that there are people who don’t have families. So, we need to value the one Allah (swt) has given us.

Once a person came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and sought his advice about taking part in Jihad with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked whether his mother was alive. He answered `yes’. He then told him `Go back home and serve her as Heaven was under her feet’.

As we get older, we tend to forget that our parents are growing old as well, and over time they develop some permanent habits which are undesirable. When the behaviour of one or both of the parents becomes extremely trying and sometimes even offensive, one needs to increase their level of patience and pray for them. Though parents shouldn’t be encouraged if in err, they should be treated with profound respect at all times. This applies to our parents and also the parents of our spouse. A good spouse will understand that the other has a responsibility towards their parents and will support them in this task.

Under any circumstances, old parents should be cared for, loved, respected and given time. Just as they created timeless and priceless memories for us when we were young. It is required that we do the same for them as they are growing old.

رَبَّنَا ٱغْفِرْ لِى وَلِوَٰلِدَىَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ ٱلْحِسَابُ

“Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and all believers on the day when reckoning shall take place.”

Surah Ibrahim, Verse 41