I was abroad when my father died. I could not look after him like my other siblings. I have this guilty feeling inside me that I did not do as much for my father as I should have. Is there anything I can do to redeem myself?
Brother, a person is judged by the Almighty Allah on the basis of his intentions, circumstances and performance. As you have mentioned that you were not in the country when your father passed away. This is good enough reason that you could not serve your father as much as you would have liked. The guilty feeling inside of you is a sign of a conscientious person. Our advice to you would be to pray for your father in your regular prayers and follow the Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) like in any other religious matter. Our Lord is extremely compassionate and merciful. He will forgo your shortcomings.
The Quran says:
“And treat them (parents) with humility and tenderness and say: “Lord, be merciful to them the way they nursed me in childhood””. (17:24)
Please, have a look at the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which gives one a lot of solace and assurance in this matter:
Abu Hurairah (RA), reported that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), said:
“When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing Sadaqa, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes dua for him.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi)
Prophet (PBUH) said: “A man’s status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, How did I get here? He will be told, By your son’s duas (prayers) for forgiveness for you.” (Ibn Maajah)
Ayesha (RA) reported that a man said to the Prophet (PBUH): “My mother has passed away, and if she could have spoken, she would have given something in charity. Will she receive a reward if I give something on her behalf?” He said, “Yes.” (Bukhari)
Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the mother of Sad ibn Ubadah (RA) died when he was away from her. He said: “O Messenger of Allah, my mother has died, and I was away from her. Will it benefit her anything if I give in charity on her behalf?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Then I ask you to be my witness that I am giving my garden al-Mikhraaf (so called because it bore so many dates) in charity on her behalf.” (Bukhaari)
Ayesha (RA) reported as saying that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), said:
“Indeed, the best that one eats is that which he earns. And his child is from his earning.”
(Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawud)
It is very clear from the above sayings of Prophet (PBUH) that as the child grows into adulthood and does righteous deeds, his parents, in most cases, deserve a merit in that they helped him accomplish this level of piety and hence his good actions are therefore, at least in part, from his parent’s earning.
May Allah shower His blessings on your father and grant him a place in heavens and may He accept your prayers and charities given in the name of your father.
Hope it helps