A Sound Customary Practice
It is our considered opinion that Islam does not forbid the setting apart of special days like Mother’s Day, since such days are not regarded as religious celebrations, such as `Id-al-Fitr and `Id-al-Adha.
Moreover, the idea of showing appreciation and gratitude for the contributions of our Mothers resonates well with the Islamic value system, which advocates the radical idea of serving and attending to one’s Mother as one of the ways to achieving success (falah) in this world and salvation in the life hereafter (al-akhira).
In fact Islam requires of a wholesome society not merely to show appreciation and pay tribute to our Mother’s for only one day of the year but rather for each and every day of the year. Consequently, the title of my khutbah today is:
Kullu Yawmin Huwa Yawmul Umm
‘Everyday is Mothers Day’
In this khutbah, I advise myself first and ask you to join me in reflecting on the state of our relationships with our Mothers.
As has already been alluded to, the concept of honouring our Mothers for their unselfish contributions reverberates well with the Islamic value system and as such should be viewed as al-`urf al-sahih (a sound cultural practice).
Islam’s Radical Teachings on Honouring Our Mothers
The Islamic ethic of benevolence toward Mothers is repeated several times in the Glorious Qur’an and in the traditions and pronouncements of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Concerning the rationale for the Islamic ethic of kindness to parents in general and mothers in particular, technically known as birr-ul-walidayn, Allah, the Sublime, declares in Surah al-Ahqaf, Chapter 46, aya (verse) 15:
“We have enjoined upon humankind kindness to parents: In difficulty did his mother carry him during pregnancy, and in pain did his mother give birth to him. The period of pregnancy and weaning is thirty months. When he reaches the age of maturity and attains forty years, he supplicates: “O My Lord and Sustainer! Grant that I may be grateful and thankful for Your divine blessings and favours which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and grant me the ability to act righteously so that You may be pleased with me; and be gracious to me and my children, for truly I have turned to You in repentance and I bow and submit my will to You.”
A similar verse can be found in Surah Luqman, Chapter 31 aya (verse) 14.
Both of these Qur’anic verses emphasize the great difficulty and willing sacrifice that the mother endures and undergoes in order to give birth to and wean the child. To emphasize and underscore this point the Qur’anic words used to describe this in both of these chapters are dramatic and rythmic viz: kurhan `ala kurhan and wahnan `ala wahnin, respectively.
It is precisely because of the unparalleled sacrifice of the mother for the child, that Islam has given the mother such an incomparable status.
This teaching is most profoundly captured in a prophetic tradition recorded in two of the most authentic compendiums of hadith of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. It is reported that a man came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and inquired:
‘O Messenger of God! Who among all human beings is the most worthy of my closest relationship and good companionship? The Prophet replied: Your mother. The man asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet replied: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father.’
From this prophetic tradition (hadith) we may conclude that from the perspective of children there exists no gender equity in Islam between fathers and mothers. Our mothers deserve to be honoured and treated kindly three times greater than our fathers.
Moreover, from the perspective of Islam a mother can never be repaid for her sacrifice no matter how hard the child may strive to honour and treat her kindly.
But we also need to acknowledge that we are not angels but frail human beings, and thus sometimes showing impeccable kindness to our Mothers can be difficult and trying. Under such circumstances we would do well to remember this instructive story from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is usefully captured in the following prophetic tradition (hadith) related by al-Bazzar.
It is related that a son came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) complaining about his mother’s strong temper. “Did she have a strong temper when she bore you?” the Prophet (pbuh) asked. “Did she have a strong temper when she spent numerous nights sleepless, suckling and guarding you when you were ill, going out of her way to feed you?”
This story re-iterates the elevated status that Islam bestows upon the Mother in the family.
Let us this Mother’s Day and every other day honour and display impeccable kindness to our Mothers.
Kullu Yawmin Huwa Yawmul Umm
‘Everyday is Mothers Day’
This is the message that we have to inculcate into our lives and the lives of our children on Mother’s Day. We should not merely be buying a Mother’s Day gift or taking our Mothers out for a meal (though off course I am sure our Mother’s would appreciate and gladly accept these as well), but the best gift we can give our Mothers is to be kind and respectful to them on this Mother’s Day and every other day of the year.
For those of us whose mothers have passed into the hereafter I offer the following prophet tradition from the hadith compendiums of Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah as solace and advice.
The companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by the name of Malik ibn Rabi’ah al-Sa’idi reports the following: We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) when a man came and asked, “O Messenger of Allah is there anything left from my honouring and kindness to my parents that I should present to them after their death?”
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied,
“Yes, four things:
1) Pray and ask Allah’s forgiveness for them.
2) Fulfill their pledges.
3) Be kind to their friends.
4) And maintain the ties of kinship that come from them (familial relations).
That is what is left from your kindness (birr) to them after their death.”
In conclusion, there can be no doubt that the idea of honouring, expressing love and showing appreciation for the contributions of our Mothers through celebrating Mother’s Day resonates well with the Islamic value system.
In fact Islam requires of a healthy and balanced society not merely to show appreciation and pay to tribute to our Mother’s for only one day of the year but rather for each and every day of the year.
I advise myself first and ask you to join me in reflecting on the state of our relationships with our Mothers. Let us ask Allah to forgive us our trespasses against our Mothers and assist to heal and impair broken relationships and to help us to do better in honouring our Mothers, this Mothers Day and every other day of the year, insha-Allah.
Let us conclude with this special prayer (du`a) from our hearts, in honour of Mothers everywhere:
O Allah, we thank you for our Mothers.
O Most Merciful of those who show Mercy!
Bless all Mothers on this Mothers Day and every other day of the year.
Bless our Mothers with good health and prosperity.
O Allah! Most Forgiving of this who show forgiveness forgive us our trespasses against our mothers.
Enable us to be ever thankful towards them and reward them with the finest reward for their unselfish sacrifices and unconditional love towards us.
O Allah Bless all “spiritual mothers”, those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others.
O Allah! Elevate the status of our Mothers in this life and the hereafter; and make that which befalls them expiation for their sins.