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Absent mothers on Mother’s Day

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Islamic“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning (period is thirty months…” (Q46-15)

Of all earthly gifts the Almighty could extend to man, that of having a loving and caring mother is the best. I thought this is true. I thought this is a reality. It is true because every mother, and indeed every woman is a bearer of the womb. The womb in Arab-Islamic culture is known as ‘al-Rahm’- the locale of love, the genome of compassion, the epicentre of warmth and care. Al-Rahm is derived from one of the attributes of the Almighty- al-Rahman: the Compassionate. The Almighty is the Compassionate simply because His love for His creatures is un-requitable. The love the bearers of the womb from which we derive our essence has for us is equally beyond imagination. Mother’s love is like the love of the soul for the soul.

One day a companion went to the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (s.a.w) and told him he wanted to recompense his mother for the love the latter showered on him while he was young. But the Prophet quickly responded saying there is no way a man can recompense his mother for what he did for him while he was young. He said: “she used to love and care for you because she genuinely wanted you to live and survive; but the care you shower on your aged mother is tempered by the iniquitous feeling in your heart that sooner or later she will surely bid you and the world bye”!!!

But unlike the above mothers, there are mothers today and there are mothers. Some mothers they are: those who bring forth their children to the world in order that they may be dumped in the waste bins. Some daughters do have them: mothers who demand that their daughters use what they have to get what they want in reference to material acquisitions of this world. Some boys do have them: mothers who are never there when their children need them most. They are busy travelling the world looking for gold, pursuing wealth, building mansions which would be put on sale tomorrow after their death. Some children do have them: mothers who are extremely permissive and would always acquiesce to the demands of their children no matter how ribald and extremely asinine they may be.

Brethren, I chanced upon a movie the other day. I watched in admiration how an elderly woman went about teaching her grand-daughter the chemistry of woman-hood in her culture. She taught the extremely precocious young girl how to tie her wrapper, how to maintain the right carriage in front of the opposite gender and what direction she should put her head-tie. I shook my head when I remembered the erosion that such salient and subtle aspects of our culture has suffered in the age of modernity. Mothers of today are different from mothers of yesterday. Unlike our mothers, some mothers of today are ‘yahoo-yahoo’ mothers who have in-turn birthed ‘Whatsapp”, “Instagram” and “Twitter” Children!

My brother let me side-step the above in order to ask you that same question I posed years ago: where is your mother now? If you were to ask me where is mine, I would tell you ‘she is fine’. When last did you visit her, ask after her welfare and seek her blessings? Do you constantly keep in view your duties to the bosom that suckled you while you were in the cradle? Do you remember that it would be difficult for you to achieve your earthly ambitions while your mother bewails the day she brought you to the world because of your waywardness and lack of care for her. Brethren, is it possible for the child to attain eternal redemption while his earthly ‘god’ –his mother- is angry with him?

For you to enjoy terrestrial and celestial bliss, you need to constitute your mother and father as icons. Whenever they order you to do something, unless it is that which the Almighty has forbidden, you must do it. You must be at their service as much as possible. You must be kind and gentle to them. You must not raise you voice in front of them. (Q23: 17-18). Remember, unlike other faiths, the death of your parent does not signify the end of your duties to them. Rather, you must continue to pray for them by saying: Rabbir ham ummah kama rabbayyani saghiran –O! my Lord! Bestow your mercies on them the same way they were merciful unto me while I was in the cradle”. As for mothers who are not there for their children, such should ask themselves this question: Have you ever heard of a farmer who harvested that which he did not sow?
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