When a parent passes away remember that you have begun a new phase of birr (dutifulness) to that parent.

Birr after death is a trust and it is of the sincerest forms of birr because birr during their lifetime could be tainted with showing-off, being polite (as opposed to being sincere) and expecting praise from the parents or others. As for after their death, then only Allah‎ﷻ Hears and Sees you.

A deceased parent is in greater need of his/her children – even more than when they the parent was alive. What children do for the parents during the parent’s lifetime is generally for their temporary worldly needs. But after death only Allah‎ﷻ Knows what good and bad is in store for the deceased in the grave.

Du’a – i.e., supplication to Allah‎ﷻ – for Rahmah (Mercy), asking Allah‎ﷻ to shower the deceased with His mercy is invaluable for the deceased. Through the child’s Du’a, Allah‎ﷻ – with His ‎ﷻ Grace and Mercy – enlightens the grave by removing the darkness and expands the grave thus removing any suffering and Allah‎ﷻ Makes the grave a garden from the gardens of Paradise for the deceased. Therefore, always remember your deceased parent/s, and always ask Allah‎ﷻ to shower them with His ‎ﷻ Mercy, enlighten their grave and expand it.

For example, as you are about have a meal, think about the many wonderful meals your mother had prepared for you and how she looked after you all your life. Your heart will surely soften and at that point, let it drive you to offer a similar meal to an orphan, widow, divorced or needy person on behalf of your deceased parent, begging of Allah to reward them for it. Give charity on their behalf, recalling the many favours they did for you. Never forget parents. No matter how harsh they may have been with you, only Allah knows the love they had in their hearts for you.

Remember them in your Du’a during sujood – the prostration – between the adhaan and the iqamah, and in every act of worship and at all times. Give charity on their behalf privately, wipe away the tears of orphans, widows and divorced (through charity) on behalf of your parents, quench the thirst of the thirsty on their behalf (by having a well dug, for example).

Go out of your way to be the best child to your parents for they have sacrificed much to raise you.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:

When a man dies, his action discontinues from him except three things, namely, perpetual sadaqah (charity), or the knowledge by which benefit is acquired, or a pious child who prays for him. (Abu Dawood)

From this hadeeth it is clear that amongst the qualities of “birr” (piety) is to pray for one’s parents.

This is the Du’a for parents:

رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

Rabb-ir-ham-huma kama rabbayaani sagheera {Quran surah 17, verse 24}

‘My Lord . Bestow thy mercy on my parents as they cherished and raised me in my childhood’

Lastly let us teach our children about this Du’a for one day we all shall be in need of it.