Most of us are aware that the number one major sin in Islam is shirk, but at the same time ignore the warning on the second major sin: mistreatment of parents
In the Qur’an immediately after the duty of worshipping Allah comes the duty of showing dutifulness to one’s parents: “Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents.” (Al-Isra’: 23)
It is well-known that Islam urges every Muslim to be dutiful to his parents, extending to them the kindest treatment possible. Failing to treat one’s parents kindly makes one guilty of disobedience to those parents as well as to Allah, and this may deprive one of a chance of being admitted to Paradise. So it goes without saying that disobedience to parents or mistreating them is the second major sin after shirk.
This point is further clarified by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as follows:
“The first commandment in Islam as revealed to all prophets is to worship Allah and the second is to treat one’s parents kindly. Accordingly, the first major sin is Shirk (association of partners with Allah), and the second major sin is mistreating one’s parents.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said: “Shall I tell you of the three most heinous sins?” He repeated this question three times and then said, “They are: to associate partners with Allah, to mistreat one’s parents, and to bear false testimony.”
In another tradition, the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said, “One who mistreats his parents cannot hope to enter Paradise.”
Also, he said, “The pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of one’s parents and the wrath of Allah is in the wrath of one’s parents.”
Having considered all these, how far have we all consider avoiding this major sin in our daily lives? Are we still considering treating our parents as a virtue, instead of a major obligation as a Muslim? If shirk will lead to unforgiven sin, mistreatment of parents will deny us any right of entering the heavens, no matter how good of a person we have been in every other areas.