Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

The title of this post is the response of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to a man who expressed a desire to perform jihad in the path of God. It is likely that this man was thinking about a military battle. The Prophet (pbuh) instead asked him, “Is your mother alive?” When the man replied in the affirmative, the Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Go and cling to her feet, because Paradise is there.”

The duty we have to our parents in general, but to our mothers in particular, is enormous in Islam. The Qur’an is full of references to the duty we have to our parents:

For your Lord has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [your] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in your care, never say [even] “Ugh” to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech and spread over them humbly the wings of your tenderness, and say: “O my Lord! Bestow Your grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!” (17:23-24)

Now [among the best of righteous deeds which] We have enjoined upon humanity [is] goodness towards parents…(29:8)

AND WORSHIP God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents…(4:36)

Say: “Come, let me convey unto you what God has [really] forbidden to you: “Do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him; and [do not offend against but, rather,] do good unto your parents…(6:151)

And here, the Qur’an speaks more specifically about mothers:

NOW [among the best of the deeds which] We have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth; and her bearing him and his utter dependence on her took thirty months. And so when he attains to full maturity and reaches forty years, he [that is righteous] prays: “O my Lord! Inspire me so that I may forever be grateful for those blessings of Yours with which You have graced me and my parents…(46:15)

And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [hence, humanity] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end. (31:14)

The Prophetic literature is also full of other traditions stressing the importance of honoring the parents. One of the greatest sins, according to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is disobeying and maltreating one’s parents. Once, a man came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asked, “Who amongst my near ones has the greatest rights over me?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother”. The man then asked, “Who after that?” The Prophet replied again, “Your mother”. The man then asked a third time, “Who after that?” The Prophet said a third time, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Who after that?” At this, the Prophet said, “Your father.”

Once, a young man was dying, and he could not utter the testimony of faith prior to death. They brought this to the attention of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and he asked, “Did this man offer his prayers?”, and they replied in the affirmative. He then asked for his mother to be brought to the dying man’s house. He asked, “Respected lady, is he your son?” She replied in the affirmative. He then asked her, “O respected lady, if we threaten to throw your son in a raging fire, will you recommend him to be forgiven?” She replied that she would definitely do so. The Prophet then said to her, “If so, declare, making God and me your witnesses, that you are now pleased with him!” The old woman readily declared, “O God, You and your Messenger be my witness that I am pleased with this beloved son of mine.” After this, her son was able to utter the testimony of faith.

This man was persistently disobedient to his mother, and this story tells me that my salvation is at stake when I disobey my parents, especially my mother. And you know what, they deserve it. I will never understand what it is like to be a mother. Sure, I love my children, but my love will never reach the love that my wife has for our kids; never reach the love my mother has for me and my siblings.

Truly, truly, it is fitting that Paradise lies at the feet of our mothers. Although every day should be Mother’s Day, at the very least, let us all reach out to our Moms this Sunday, kiss their hands, and tell them “Thank You for all that you have done!” And if our Moms are no longer with us, then let us pray to Our Beloved that He bless them with eternal bliss and Paradise. Amen.

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