Status of mothers in Islam

Last week, many countries in the world including Brunei Darussalam marked the Mother’s Day to honour the role of mothers in society. Children deserve kudos for remembering their mothers by way of gifts and cards on that day. However, according to Islamic teachings, this respect and reverence must not be limited to only one day.

Islam puts a great emphasis on the need for appreciating the role and contribution of parents. The respect and rights of mothers and fathers are emphasised so strongly in Islam that a true Muslim has to practically observe them every single day of his or her life as a parents’ day.

The recognition and respect of parents is mentioned in Al-Quran eleven times. Allah (SWT) says: “Your Lord has decreed: Do not worship any but Him; (ii) Be good to your parents; and should both or any one of them attain old age with you, do not say to them even “fie” neither chide them, but speak to them with respect. And be humble and tender to them and say: “Lord, show mercy to them as they nurtured me when I was small.” “QS Al-Israa/17: 23-24)”

These words of Al-Quran clearly explain how a person should treat his parents. They have been awarded such a great status that children are not allowed to raise their voice in front of them. One has to deal with them with total humility and absolute respect. Muslim children are required to respect parents even if the parents are non-Muslims. Only if parents coerce their children against Islam, then the children have the right not to obey their parents, but they are still directed to be good to them.

Allah (SWT) says in Al-Quran: “We enjoined upon man to be dutiful to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning lasted two years. (We, therefore, enjoined upon him): “Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is your ultimate return. But if they press you to associate others with Me in My Divinity, (to associate) those regarding whom you have no knowledge (that they are My associates), do not obey them. And yet treat them well in this world, and follow the way of him who turns to Me in devotion. Eventually it is to Me that all of you shall return, and I shall then tell you all that you did.” (QS Luqman/31:14,15)

So Allah (SWT) acknowledges the sacrifice rendered by mothers for their children and thus orders human beings to be thankful to their parents. Although Islam asks followers to respect both parents but there is an extra stress on the need for respecting and honouring mothers.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasised this point on a number of occasions. Once a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: 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. (Bukhari, Muslim).

On another occasion, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.” (Ahmad, Nasai).

Abdullah ibn Amr (RA) related that the Messenger of Allah said: “The major sins are to believe that Allah has partners, to disobey one’s parents, to commit murder, and to bear false witness.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

Those of us who have parents alive are blessed, as they have the opportunity to serve their mother and father and ensure the ultimate success in this life and hereafter. But even if the parents pass away, we can still earn reward by praying for them, giving charity on their behalf and treating their friends well.

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