Thank You, Mothers
By Maheen Nusrat
God created mothers with innate love, compassion and mercy so that the human race could survive. He kept paradise under the feet of a mother and showed the path to success in this world and the world hereafter. When a person comes into this world, the mother is the first person he/she encounters. She is the welcoming, warm, and loving embrace that greets the baby into this world.
Subsequently, the child is exposed to the affectionate shadow of the father, who later the child begins to admire and idolize. The doors are then opened, where the child is brought in with smiling faces of other family members. The first few years of the child are spent protected from the heat of the world. A mother teaches love, care and respect, ultimately making a stronger person, a father raises by preparing and equipping the child with the tact to handle the hardships of the world.
Similarly, God has created other relationships for human beings when they enter this world. The guiding hand of an older brother, the protective yet conscious eyes of an older sister are beautiful relations that Allah has put on earth to make the journey a pleasant one before we make the transition into the hereafter. With the passage of time, the importance of those relationships starts becoming apparent to us. We begin to experience the emotions of other relationships. For example, an older sibling with passage of time may begin to understand the love and care that parents feel for their children. Of course, the emotions felt would only be a glimpse into the love parents feel for kids. As life further moves on human beings start forming relationships by way of marriage, and the cycle of life continues and as the children of yesterday become parents of today, a final realization occurs of the emotions of their parents in full capacity.
All these relationships have in common with each other love, trust, and respect. Love of a parent for the child and that of a child for the parent is something that the Almighty places in the heart naturally. The child is completely dependent on the parent, for simplistic tasks of eating, sleeping, changing clothes, even going to the washroom.
Respect and trust however are two qualities that result out of experience. Parents, for example, don’t trust their children automatically; it is something that develops over the years, whereas a child learns to trust the parent to fulfill his/her needs. The child learns to love and trust the parent because of their unconditional love and actions. Respect, again, takes years to develop. Both, trust and respect are not unconditional, nor are they innate, unlike love.
Different from the relationship of a child and parent, the relationship of husband and wife is one that requires respect and trust as the basic ingredient before developing into love. Traditionally, when choosing a life partner, people consider many things to determine compatibility. Compatibility can be interpreted for many as either friendship or basic common grounds to build a relationship. People see many things to see compatibility: education, financial stability, looks, family background, upbringing etc. Compatibility is important because when one decides to marry, one is making a commitment that is to last in this lifetime and in the hereafter as is evident from the ayah “43:70 Enter paradise, you and your spouses, with happiness blest”.
One marries to start a family and it is important to choose a partner that one is compatible with and can ultimately respect and trust to raise a family with because Allah in the Qur’an describes spouses as "garments" (libas) of each other (2:187), and as mates living and dwelling in tranquility (33:21;see also 7:189). Men and women are directed to complement each other, not to compete with each other. They are the protectors of each other (9:71). The above ayahs clearly indicate that marriage is a relationship of respect and trust.
We are living in a society where the institution of marriage and the nuclear family is slowly and gradually eroding. This can be seen from the constantly rising divorce rate and single parent families. There are many factors that can be attributed to an increased divorce rate in the Western society and now in the Muslim society. Many young people get into relationships or marriage for the wrong reasons. Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet Muhammad said: “Men choose women for four reasons: for their money, for their rank, for their beauty, and for their religion, but marry one who is religious and you will succeed” (Bukhari, Muslim).
There is a failure to understand the commitment that is inherent when one signs the dotted lines on the marriage contract. This is where compatibility plays an important role. Another reason for the increased divorce rate is due to the short temperament and patience of today’s generation. Patience and tolerance is an important virtue taught and emphasized by Islam. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) was a prime example of a man of immense patience. Allah has prescribed specific rules and regulations for every aspect of human life coupled by the exemplary life led by the Prophet (SAW). Marriage is no exception and Allah has set out specific duties and rights in the Holy Book to guide husband and wife, parents and children, and other relationships. For example, Allah says to believing men in the Qur’an: to keep their wives “in good fellowship” [Holy Qur’an, 2:229], and to “Treat them kindly’ [Holy Qur’an, 4:19]. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) emphasized in his Last Sermon: “The most excellent of you is he who is best in the treatment of his wife”. Similarly, the Qur’an explains the relationship of parents and children by commanding the children to “…be kind to parents … in mercy lower to them the wing of humility and say, My Lord, bestow Thy mercy on them, as they cherished me when I was little (17:23-24)”.
Marriage is the foundation of a family and therefore in the Qur’an special weight has been placed on the relationship of a husband and wife. Allah teaches not only to respect, and love each other but also teaches us ways to work through conflict in familial relationships. The emphasis on family values and rights and duties of each individual on the other is due to the fact that the family is the first place a child will learn. Values that are learnt from families last a lifetime. A good upbringing today that teaches a child tolerance, patience, respect, kind treatment and peaceful conflict resolution in a family aids in raising a good citizen of tomorrow. We are living in a world fraught with war, innocent bloodshed and turmoil, which is resultant of intolerance and due to a lack of patience. Following the rules and guidelines of Islam in familial relationships will no doubt raise better citizens for tomorrow.
If we learn to respect those whose love Allah naturally places in our heart, we will learn tolerance towards others. There is a very common advice given to newly married couples to never go to bed angry with each other. If as humans we would extend that advice to other relationships and people in our life, we might find ourselves closer to conflict resolution to historical human conflicts than we ever imagined.
Brides of today will be mothers of tomorrow and a mother’s lap is the first institution of mankind. Regardless of varying human behaviors around the world, every individual has traveled to this world through his mother. Thank you to all the mothers of the world for bringing us into this world. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies of this world.
AFA LA TA TAFAKAROON
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