May the 07th 2019, Ramadan 1440, the month everyone is excited to go hungry and thirsty without a care is around the corner. All any Muslim cares are about the blessings, mercy and forgiveness that comes with this beautiful month. Ramadan comes so quickly, leaves as quickly and taking the opportunity for personal and spiritual introspection is like scratching the surface. ﷲ commands one to rush and vie with one another in good deeds. Rasoolullah ﷺ said about a person who fasted and did not attain forgiveness has lost out a great loss. The best person who can afford us with this opportunity comes in the form of none other than our mother. Being a mother is quite challenging, between juggling a husband and children, perhaps a job and family. Whether it’s a stay-at-home mum, a working mum or a single mum or combinations of it. Mothers are an institution from an exalted realm. She is strong, valueable, self sacrificing, central to a child and a husband’s existence. These superwomen assume many roles, she’s a wife, a mother, a life teacher, a cook, a nurse, a support pillar, a therapist and cheerleader. This list goes on. She is seldom celebrated and rarely decorated as a spiritual heroine. Yet she’s always there encouraging one to be ones best and protecting our spiritual core without us realizing it.
It is no wonder the Quran says(which may mean) in ayah 15 of surah Ahqaf,
“We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents, in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth, the carrying of the child, to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months”
This verse acknowledges the parents right to kindness, then the mother is mentioned, specifically the pain of childbirth is alluded to, which is beyond what one can imagine and not one contraction can be repaid. Yet ﷲ only asks the child to return it with kindness, obedience and gentleness.
The arabic word rahm, meaning womb comes from the trilateral root letters ﻡ ﻫ ﺭ , rahma meaning mercy. One of the attributes of ﷲ is Ar Rahmān, Graciousness. The One who bestows mercy. To give without being asked. A concept which is the embodiment of a mother. Mothers physically share their bodies, a space, the womb, with her child for 9 months. The mothers nutrients are extracted from her body to nourish that child when it is not present in the mothers diet. It is also the mother who breastfeeds the baby. So it is not suprising then, whenever one hears the word rahma, that it reminds one also to associate it with that space ﷲ created, the mother’s womb. It brings awareness as to why not to sever the relation of the womb. The nuturing of a good relationship with one’s mother makes up an important part of building a strong cohesive family and society. In the termination of the relationship with the mother is the ruination of a family and society. This can be observed in families where the relationship with the mother is healthy and one where the relationship with the mother is strained.
Rasoolullah ﷺ teaches us about the status of mothers by the respect he ﷺ showed to every woman in hisﷺ life.
A man came to Rasoolullah ﷺ and said, “O Messenger of ﷲ! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” Rasoolullah ﷺ said: “Your mother”. The man said: “Then who?” Rasoolullah ﷺ said: “Then your mother”. The man asked again: “Then who?” “Then your mother. The man asked again: “Then who”. Rasoolullah ﷺ said: “Then your father.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
This hadith illustrates the special regard one should exhibit towards the mother. She is given the highest position by Rasoolullah ﷺ in the above hadith. The mother deserves this honor over the father due to the sacrifices she makes willingly for her child. Duty to one’s mother is not optional it is an obligation from ﷲ. Expressing gratitude, goodness and kindness to the mother with sincerity leads one to ﷲ’s forgiveness and blessings. There are numerous Quranic ayah, many more hadiths where Rasoolullahﷺ advises his ﷺ companions on different occasions and circumstances to treat their mothers well. The one who is disobedient to the mother is bereft of ﷲ’s mercy. It is a grave sin. The unhappiness of the mother towards the child leads towards the unhappiness of ﷲ upon that child. When the mother is pleased with her child then ﷲ too is pleased with that child and forgives that child for any misgivings. Service to the mother and making her happy is greater than one-year long jihad or equal to one hajj. This is the power the mother wields.
Ramadan is a great time to break old habits and start afresh, make a mother’s heart happy and earn ﷲ’s pleasure easily by implementing the following:
- Ask her to pray for you. Children should ask their mothers to pray for them outside of and during Ramadan. The supplication of a mother is a connection to ﷲ’s protection and blessings that otherwise might not reach them.
- Pray for her. In return send a prayer to ﷲ for His aid, mercy and protection upon her life. Also ask ﷲ to forgive her. Nothing is more simple than reciting surah Fatiha for your mother on a busy day.
- Show gratitude to her. Show your appreciation by helping her, taking responsibilty for some of the things she usually does in order to make things easier and also giving her more time to read extra quran or other ibadah she never gets down to due to them. Return kindness by taking over some chores, keeping siblings busy, taking responsibility of the shopping list if she does it, hire someone to assist her during Ramadan if possible etc.
- Be kind to her. Show your consideration for her by enquiring from her, her needs. Respect and speak kindly to her, be affectionate by dealing with her lovingly. To look lovingly at one’s mother and father is devotion.
- Be at her service. Take her where she needs to be when she requests. Visit her and make yourself available to her. Give to her without her asking or the expectation of receiving something in return. Mothers alway gives, they serve their families for the pleasure of ﷲ. If she is a working mum, encourage her to take the last few days off work to engage in extra ibadah. Join her as a motivating partner in her spiritual goals for Ramadan if she’s a single parent. Like reading quran together, taking her to taraweeg etc. It is after all the “month of the Quran.”
- Try not to express annoyance at her. It’s Ramadan and everyone is “hangary” and tired. Let’s show patience and make a concerted effort by speaking respectfully to her. Avoid addressing her rudely.
- Do not ignore her when she requests your help. Everyone is caught up in life’s ‘busy-ness’, Ramadan is the perfect time to reconnect, whether for iftar dates at various siblings homes. If your living away from home technology does not allow one to ignore their parents. When she requests your help you have no excuse to ignore her, you don’t want ﷲ to ignore you.
Ramadan not only teaches one discipline, reconnecting spiritually and remembering those less fortunate. It heightens our state of God conciousness. ﷲ does not need our fasting, one requires the benefits of fasting to attain salvation. Ramadan is the perfect month to remind those who have strayed away due to normal hustle and bustle of everyday life to reconnect with their mothers. To thank her, recognize her input and to express deep gratitude for everything she does. Islam is clear on how it honors mothers and to be obedient to them whether they are Muslim or not. Our beautiful deen does not allow us to neglect the mother. In the Quran obeying your parents is only second to obeying ﷲ. A mother’s love is unmatchable, it is without condition, she bears pain and sacrifices everything without any complaint. She fulfills a divine purpose, a mother is a blessing and gift from ﷲ.
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