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Mother’s Day: The Islamic Perspective

The date of Mother's Day, and the way in which it is celebrated, differs from one country to another. In Norway it is celebrated on the second Sunday in February. In Argentina it is celebrated on the second Sunday in October. In Lebanon it is on the first day of spring.

In South Africa it is celebrated on the first Sunday in May. In France it is celebrated more as a family festival, on the last Sunday in May, when family members get together for dinner, and then they give a cake to the mother. In Japan this day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, as in North America, where exhibitions are held of pictures drawn by children aged 6-14; these exhibitions are called "My Mother" This exhibition is moved every four years and has appeared in a number of countries.

How did it start in England?

In England the modern Mother's Day celebration, began as "Mothering Sunday" or (the Sunday half-way through Lent), because it occurred during their major fasting period (Lent). Some say that the celebrations that were held to worship and honour the Roman false goddess Sybil were changed by the church to celebrations meant to honour and venerate Mary (peace be upon her).

This custom began with some people encouraging people to visit the central church in their locality, bringing offerings. In the year 1600, young men and women of simple professions and servants started to visit their mothers on "Mothering Sunday", bringing gifts and food. Nowadays it is celebrated by non muslims on the last Sunday of March each year

The Islamic Perspective - Honouring the Mother

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "Worship Allaah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masaakeen (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allaah does not like such as are proud and boastful" [al-Nisa' 4:36] And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.

And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour" [al-Isra' 17:23] It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: 'O Messenger of Allaah, who among the people is most deserving of my good company?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Then your father.'" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5626; Muslim, 2548) Al- Haafiz ibn Hajar said: "Ibn Battaal said: what this means is that the mother should be honoured three times more than the father. He said, that is because of the difficulties of pregnancy, then giving birth, then breastfeeding.

These are hardships that are experienced only by the mother, then the father shares with her in raising the child. This is also referred to in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 'And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years' [Luqmaan 31:14] So the recommendation to be dutiful and good refers to both parents, but the mother's share is greater because of the three things mentioned above. Al-Qurtubi said: what is meant is that the mother deserves a greater share of her child's honour, and her rights take precedence over those of the father in cases where a choice must be made. 'Iyaad said: the majority of scholars were of the view that the mother takes precedence over the father in terms of honouring one's parents.

And it was said that both must be honoured equally, and this was narrated by some from Maalik, but the former view is the one which is correct." (Fath al-Baari, 10/402). Indeed, even if one's mother is a mushrikah (polytheist), the wise and pure sharee'ah of Islam encourages one to uphold ties of kinship with her: It was narrated that Asma' bint Abi Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: "My mother came to visit me at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and she was a mushrikah. I consulted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), saying, 'My mother has come to visit me for some purpose, should I uphold ties of kinship with my mother?' He said, 'Yes, uphold ties of kinship with your mother.'" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2477) It is extremely unfortunate that Muslims throughout the world have begun to adopt and practice western ideas and understanding when it comes to the quality of relationship between the mother and child.

For Muslims to begin to selfishly adopt a single day out of the whole year to express gratitude and show a materialistic form of affection. Islam has no need of things that are innovated by others, be it Mother's Day of anything else. Its teachings on the honouring of mothers mean that it has no need for an innovated Mother's Day. Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas issued a statement: It is not permissible to celebrate the so-called Mother's Day and similar innovated festivals because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected." He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate Mother's Day and neither did any of his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) or the salaf (earliest generations) of this ummah. Rather it is an innovation (bid'ah) and imitation of the non Muslims.

"This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" [al-Maa'idah 5:2] Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 3/86 In light of this, Muslims should be aware that honouring and showing sincere affection and gratitude to the mother is a full time duty that should be practiced each and everyday of ones life, to merely set aside a single day and feel you have fulfilled their rights is a gross misconduct to the parents and the teachings of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). "And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination" [Luqmaan 31:14] And Allaah knows best.

www.islamictimes.co.uk

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