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Mother's Day Reflections

Mother's Day Reflections

by Riwaya

    Mothers in Islam are amongst the highest and most honoured of women. The Quran makes references both indirectly and directly to numerous women who serve as excellent examples of motherhood. You do not need to look beyond than the Prophet (saw) himself – a man who was raised by four extraordinary women. His birth mother Amina and his foster mother Haleema Sadia, Thuwayaba (ra) and Umm Ayman (ra)

    These models of exceptional motherhood are ones which are continuously repeated in Islamic history. All remarkable men were nurtured by exceptional mothers. The noble Prophet of Allah, Musa (as) was raised by the extraordinary women of Jannah, Assiya (ra) one of the first women of paradise. Another exemplar includes Maryam (as) a woman so highly honoured that Allah(swt) devotes a whole chapter of the Quran to her noble characteristics and praiseworthy traits.

    In Islam granting honour to motherhood is one that is ever present throughout its teachings, through scriptures the mother is praised for her endless sacrifices – to the extent that she is to be honoured three or four times more than the father. However, we are finding that modern motherhood is not viewed this way. In the west, we are fast moving from the Christian Judaic heritage to a more secular atheist society with spiritual values now being viewed as archaic and problematic. Whilst we proceed with vast speed from the traditional grand narratives and move to post-modernic norms we find many of these lofty ideals swept in the great tide of thought. Some of these values that we Muslims need to preserve.

    In a capitalist society human being are measured by what they produce and how much they work. The concept of an afterlife is non-existent and so material and spiritual rewards in the afterlife are rendered meaningless. All religions have a concept of service. Hindu’s and Siks traditionally call this ‘seva’ and christian’s consider this ‘service’. Humans who devoted their lives to others were once honoured in the highest way. In the military the highest honours were reserved for those who sacrificed for the greater cause of preserving humanity. The same values translated to traditional parenthood. Individuals who sacrificed for their families were given a higher status than that in the modern ‘me – centric’ world.

    However, when we place these ideals in the modern capitalist framework the sacrifice’s of motherhood is reduced down to what is statistically viewed as ‘valueless labour’. One cannot measure the marginal productivity of parenthood as you can other roles. The akhira where the mother’s rewards are stored are lost of a society that is preoccupied with immediate gratification. However, the true rewards and economic benefits to a society are to be understood as a long-term strategy – ultimately you cannot grow seeds overnight, it is a long nurturing process which can often take a whole generation for the fruits to bear. The process of motherhood is inherently transformative. Attaining the pleasure of Allah through these acts of unselfish acts of devotion or Khidma (the Arabic term for service) provides meaning and purpose to the life of a mother and the society she is a part of. 

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