In Surat Al-Ana’am right after prohibiting shirk (the association of anyone or anything with God) Allah says “and when it comes to both parents: excellence”. Allah gives a directive denoting that the standard with which we must deal with parents is excellence. This is the minimum requirement and anything short of the very best is prohibited. We must beware of trivializing what upsets our parents and show goodness to them in both their presence and absence. This, however, does not mean that Allah has commanded perfection. He asks us to do our best within our unique situation. Some parents are abusive so this aya should not be interpreted as a blanket instruction that is obligatory under any circumstances. Each relationship is different and Allah is only asking us to do our best within our specific limits.

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