A man came to Allah’s Messenger (SAW) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (SAW) who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The prophet (SAW) said, “Your mother.” The man said, “Who is next?”
The prophet (SAW) said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The prophet (SAW) said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The prophet (SAW) said, “Your father.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5971.)
The above hadith narrated by Abu Huraira portrays the position of a mother in Islam. In light of it when treating our parents with kindness a mother takes precedence over the father.
Rabbaitul Bait means the queen of the house. In every sense of the word a mother is indeed just that. Sacrifice and a mother goes hand in hand.
The eyes which never slept before you did, the eyes which shed tears upon your sadness, the eyes which twinkled with your every joy, the heart which somersaulted when you did something unbecoming, the mind which could not relax when you were out too long, the heart filled with love for you at your best and even at your worst, the mouth which spoke words of encouragement, made dua for your well-being every waking moment, and scolded when needed, the teacher who taught you valuable lessons, the hands which took care of your every need even before you knew it, the hands which wiped away your frown and the whole of her which embraced you with warmth and accepted you as you; that is a mother.
A mother, her value is beyond priceless. A question if you will. Do you treat your mother how she should be treated? If you are being truthful the answer in most cases will be a resonating “No.” This dilemma is happening not only in our community but across the globe as well.
I recall a visit to an old folk’s home abroad. I met so many lovely people. Each of them had a story to tell. One that sticks to mind is the story of the lady with snowy white hair. She was a ball-room dancer at her prime. Her husband had passed away but since she was 97 years old, no one had the heart to tell her. Another lady sported a short spiky hairdo. Her family members went abroad leaving her behind, she waited but no one came back for her. She likes to sleep a lot. I believe she used that as her coping mechanism.
There were many more stories but what they all had in common was loneliness and pure longing to see their children and loved ones. If anyone saw their eyes glisten with unshed tears as they spoke about their children and loved ones and of their longing to meet them, I am sure it would have a lasting impact upon you.
Once grown up, everything she has done; conveniently forgotten. She is no longer needed nor necessary. Any advice given, thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. She is seen as an interference. Her value is diminished. One has to wonder did she change along the way. No, it is her child who changed. She is still the same mother who doted on her child and held a tiny finger and walked all the way to adulthood. How sad it is for the child who forgets what the mother has done and will continue to do in service for their child.
A very common situation we find in our community is that we can speak with the epitome of kindness to our friends, yet, when it comes to our mothers we hesitate not even for a millisecond in raising our voices. Our words are harsh and cruel like an arrow ready to hurt those in its path. How can we forget about the choice she made with regards to making us, her children her top priority?
Another instance is should a mother repeat a question once or twice it angers us with such intensity and we end up responding in a manner not at all acceptable. How can we forget about the million questions we as children asked day in and day out, at times the same question more than twelve times within an hour itself even, yet our mothers fail to get ill-tempered with us and respond with love? Such is the love of a mother, endless.
A mother goes through unparalleled pain throughout her pregnancy and in delivering of a baby into this world. It was narrated from Mu'awiyah bin Jahimah As-Sulami that Jahimah came to the Prophet (SAW) and said: "O Messenger of Allah! I want to go out and fight (in Jihad) and I have come to ask your advice." He said: "Do you have a mother?" He said: "Yes."
He said: "Then stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” (Sunan an-Nasa'i 3104).
From this hadith it can be derived that we can attain paradise by honoring and being dutiful to our mother. Let her not shed a single tear because of us. Be the essence of kindness towards her and shower her with abundant love and care whilst she is alive and it should continue even after her demise by making dua for her to be forgiven incessantly, completing what she has started, and being kind to her companions among others.
I cannot stress the importance of being kind to our mothers, for we can spend all our life trying to repay her for the love and care she has bestowed upon us yet we cannot ever do so. Value and cherish your mother while you still can.