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Heaven Found under the Feet of Mothers

Happy Mothers Day!

As we return to some sort of normalcy, Mothers Day is a welcome comfort. A time to tastefully pick flowers, enjoy mother-daughter spa sessions, personalized cakes, special menus at the restaurants, and high tea in a beautiful setting. 

The pandemic has hit aging parents really hard. So many of us have lost their parents and several of us are waiting to meet them in person. Additionally, aging mothers have felt most lonely and isolated than anytime in recent memory. While buying them a gift or arranging a delicious brunch is nice, a Muslim has a crucial year-round responsibility to his or her mother. In Islam, the place of a mother is second to none.

There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran which command the believers to be kind to their parents (17:25). Muslims pray for forgiveness from Allah for their parents five times a day, every day of the year. This is what the Quran has taught them (14:42) and this is what Muhammad (sa) practiced. It is reported that once a person came to Muhammad (sa) and sought his advice about taking part in battle with him. Muhammad (sa) asked him whether his mother was alive? He answered `yes’. Muhammad (sa) then told him `Go back home and serve her as Heaven was under her feet’. 

There are countless sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) about the status of mother. A companion of Muhammad (sa) relates that once a person came to the Holy Prophet (saw) and asked, `O Holy Messenger of Allah, who is the most deserving person to get nice treatment from me?’ He replied, `Your mother.’ He asked, `Who next?’ To this, he got the same reply and again the same reply when the disciple asked a third time. When the disciple finally repeated this question for the fourth time, he was told by the Holy Prophet (saw), `Your father.’ Such is the rank of mothers in Islam.

On another occasion, a person came to Muhammad (sa) and complained that his mother was ill-tempered. Muhammad (sa) said, `She was not ill-tempered when she kept you in her womb for nine months.’ The person insisted, `Sir, I am telling you the truth that she is ill-tempered.’ Muhammad (sa) said, `She was not ill-tempered when she used to keep awake the whole night for your sake and fed you.’ The man replied, `I have recompensed all the favors of my mother.’ The Holy Prophet (saw) then asked: `How have you recompensed her?’ He replied, `I have helped her perform Hajj (holy pilgrimage) by putting her on my shoulders.’ After hearing this, the Holy Prophet (saw) put a question to the complainant, `Can you recompense the painful pangs your mother bore at the time of your birth?’ According to the Holy Quran, one must not even say “ugh” to his or her elderly parents. (17:25)

In the Islamic culture there is no concept of elderly parents living on their own. Even in America, Muslim families like to have their elderly parents living with them. This gives them the satisfaction of spending quality time with their parents, which otherwise would not have been possible. Children are prepared for the responsibility they will have of their parents. Above all, it brings them countless blessings of Allah and promises them a place in heaven.

May this pandemic be a wake up call for us to take care of our parents, especially mothers. They deserve much more than a single Mothers Day celebration. Let's give them the pleasure of being close to us, even if it is a meaningful FaceTime call. Let's listen to the tales of their childhood and youth without being annoyed. Lets make each day of the year, Mothers day, for heaven is under their feet.

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