Mother’s Day
Imam Abu Hanifah’s Respect for His Mother
By Mohammad Yacoob
Hawthorne, California

The tradition of honoring mothers has been in effect in the United States for the last several decades and might continue forever. Mother's Day is observed every year on the second Sunday in the month of May. This year the Mother's Day was be celebrated on May 13, 2007.
Islamic teachings and traditions too emphasize the prime importance of honoring parents, especially mothers. Many verses in the Holy Qur’an say that believers should worship only God and should not associate any partners with him. Along with this, God says in the Qur’an, "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents". A famous saying of Prophet Muhammad is: "Paradise lies under the feet of mothers."
One of the examples of displaying utmost respect and kindness to one's mother was shown by Imam Abu Hanifah, a great Faqih (jurisprudent) of Islamic law. Imam Abu Hanifah and his mother lived in the city of Kufah (a city near Najaf in Iraq). His father died when he was a young boy, and his mother lived until she was in her eighties. The Imam took care of her with immense affection and regard. The Imam's mother had a great reverence for some of the religious preachers of that time, and one of them was Amr bin Dharr, a well-known preacher of Kufah.
Her inquisitive and unduly curious mind had many religious questions. Even though her son was a great Islamic scholar, she would command Imam Abu Hanifah to go to Amr bin Dharr, to get an answer for her. That would always embarrass Amr bin Dharr. "How dare I open my mouth before you", Amr would say. The imam would comfort him by saying, "Such is my mother's command." Then, the imam would get Amr bin Dharr's answer and return to his mother.
Once it so happened that Amr bin Dharr did not know the answer to a question. He asked the Imam to repeat the question. Instead of providing an answer after hearing the question, Amr bin Dharr posed a question to the imam by asking, "Would you mind, if I ask you a question?" The imam said that he had no objection to Amr asking him a question. Then, Amr bin Dharr repeated Abu Hanifah's mother's question and said, "If I ask you this question, what would your answer be?" The imam looked at Amr bin Dharr with a smile, thought for a moment ,and gave him the answer.
Amr bin Dharr turned around and repeated the answer given by the imam moments ago and said, "Please tell your mother that this is Amr bin Dharr's answer." The Imam returned home and delivered the answer. His mother was happy and satisfied with the answer.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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