This Malaysian University student didn’t just work for 3 years towards his degree, he also spent the whole time working as a part-time cleaner, so he could pay for his parents’ flights to come to his graduation.
From humble beginnings, growing up Mohammad Afiq Ismail’s father worked on a palm oil farm and herded goats. His parents worked hard to fund his private education while caring for his disabled brother.
After achieving outstanding grades he was awarded a scholarship to study in the UK, at the University of Essex. His whole village celebrated his achievement.
But while in the UK he never stopped thinking of all his parents had done to help him and he was determined for them to witness his graduation.
“My mother and father have never been on an airplane. I wanted to pay for their tickets as a gift for everything they’ve done for me, for helping me finish my studies,” he said.
This month Mohammad graduated with a First Class Honours in Accounting and Finance and his parents took the longest trip of their lives to see it happen.
“My whole life, I’ve only wanted to give them the best. Not just a degree, but the valuable experience of watching their kid receiving the degree. I knew I wanted to be with my parents during that time,” Mohammad said.
Treating parents well is something that is strongly and continuously emphasised in the Quran. Allah says in Surah al-Isra:
“Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully.” (17:23)