Mothers: The Gateway to Paradise on Earth

The Importance of Maternal and Elderly Care in Islam

In Islam, the significance of mothers cannot be overstated. They hold a unique position in society and in the lives of their children. The Arabic word for womb is “ra-him,” and it is interesting to note that one of Allah’s names is Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. Through the womb, we get a glimpse of the Almighty’s qualities and attributes as it nurtures, feeds, and shelters us in the early stages of life.

Indeed, the womb can be seen as one expression of divinity in the world. It is through the mother that we connect with the Divine, and thus, standing by her feet is seen as a way of gaining access to Paradise. As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.” 3104 (Sunan al-Nasa’i)

In another famous hadith, a man asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Who should I honor most after you?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother” three times before saying, “Your father.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 5626; Sahih Muslim, 2548) This means that 75% of a person’s honor should be directed towards their mother, while the remaining 25% goes to the father. In other words, a mother has earned all the medals – gold, silver, and bronze – while the father gets honorable mentions.

Allah also emphasises the importance of kindness to parents in the Quran. “We have commanded man to be kind to his parents; for in pain his mother conceived him, and in pain she brought him into the world.” (Quran 46:15) This verse highlights the tremendous sacrifice and hardship that a mother endures in bringing a child into the world. The pain of childbirth is immense, and it is something that only a mother can truly understand. After delivery, a mother must continue to work tirelessly, without a vacation or sick days, to care for her child. She sacrifices her own comfort and rest for the sake of her child’s well-being.

It is worth noting that this sacrifice and selflessness are not limited to biological mothers. Adoptive mothers, stepmothers, and other maternal figures who take on the role of nurturing and caring for children are also deserving of the same respect and honor.

In one hadith, a person complained to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that his mother was ill-tempered. The Messenger replied, “She was not ill-tempered when she kept you in her womb for nine months, and she was not ill-tempered when she used to stay up all night to feed and care for you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 5971) The man responded by saying that he had repaid his mother’s kindness by taking her on the Hajj pilgrimage. However, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminded him that no amount of material gifts could ever fully repay a mother for the pain and hardship she endured during childbirth.

A touching video that circulates online shows a man who is paralyzed and cannot care for himself. He speaks to a group of healthy men and asks them, “When was the last time you hugged your mother? I want to do my mother justice, but due to my situation, I am unable.” This video underscores the importance of recognizing the sacrifices that mothers make for their children and the crucial role that they play in our lives.

In Islam, serving and honoring one’s parents is seen as a means of getting closer to Allah. One famous story involves a man who killed a woman because she rejected his marriage proposal. He sought advice from the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (PBH) , who told him that no amount of good deeds could make up for the sin he had committed by killing an innocent person. However, the cousin advised the man to serve his mother and treat her with kindness, as this would be a way of making amends for his terrible act.

This emphasis on serving parents is not limited to just biological parents. Islam also stresses the importance of respecting and serving one’s elders in general, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. The Prophet Muhammad himself often spoke about the blessings and rewards that come with treating elders with kindness and respect.

The following is taken from a hadith that Abu Huraira narrated: “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honour the elderly.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

In addition to treating elders with respect, Islam also emphasizes the importance of caring for the young and vulnerable members of society. The Prophet Muhammad taught his followers to be kind and merciful towards children, and to take care of orphans and other disadvantaged individuals.

One hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik states: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Whoever helps an orphan in need, he will be in Jannah (Paradise) with me like this,’ and he held his two fingers together to illustrate.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Quran also stresses the importance of caring for the young and vulnerable. In Surah Al-Isra, Allah commands Muslims to Allah instructs Muslims to “be just in all your dealings, weigh with equity, and do not diminish the measure of people’s goods” in Surah Al-Isra. And after the country has been brought into order, do not propagate corruption across it. If you truly believe what you say, this is ideal for you. And until the orphan reaches adulthood, only approach his property in the manner that is best. and provide justice its due weight and measure.” (Quran 17:35-36)

Overall, Islam teaches its followers to be kind, compassionate, and respectful towards all members of society, regardless of their age, gender, or social status. Serving and honoring one’s parents and elders is just one aspect of this broader ethic of care and compassion, which extends to all human beings, animals, and the natural world.

In conclusion, Islam places a great emphasis on serving and honoring parents and elders. This is rooted in the belief that such acts of kindness and respect are not only good for individuals and families, but also for society as a whole. By following the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims can cultivate a spirit of love, compassion, and care towards all members of society, and thereby build a more just, peaceful, and harmonious world.

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