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The History and Ruling on Mother's Day
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
category: Islamic Identity
Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that his ummah would follow the previous nations, the Jews, Christians and Persians, but this was undoubtedly not praise for their actions, rather it is by way of condemnation and a warning. It was narrated from Abu Sa'eed (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit, until even if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will do so too." We asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said, "Who else?" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3269; Muslim, 2669).
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The Hour will not begin until my ummah follows in the footsteps of those who came before it, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit." It was asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, like the Persians and Romans?" He said, "Those are the people?"
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6888)
The ignorant among this ummah, and the innovators and heretics have followed the previous nations, the Jews, Christians and Persians, in their beliefs, ways, manners and dress. Our concern here is to point out in these days their following and imitation of them through the innovation of "Mother's Day" or "Family Day", which is a day that the Christians innovated to honour mothers, or so they claim. This then became a day that was venerated, when government departments would be shut and people would get in touch with their mothers or send them gifts and loving messages. But when the day was over, things would go back to the way they were, with people being cut off from their mothers and disobeying them.
What is strange is that the Muslims would feel a need to imitate them in such ways, when Allaah has commanded them to honour their mothers and has forbidden them to disobey them, and has made the reward for that (for obeying them) the highest status.
Definition of the word 'Eid
[as Mother's Day is known in Arabic as "Eid al-umm" or "mothers' festival"; the word Eid is derive from the root 'aada/ya'ood meaning to come back or return]
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
" 'Eid (festival) is a name that is given to an occasion which returns, when people gather in a festive manner, whether that is annual or weekly or monthly and so on."
(Iqtidaa' al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/441).
Ibn 'Aabideen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: " An 'Eid is so called because Allaah repeatedly bestows blessings, i.e., kinds of blessings that come back to His slaves on these days, such as breaking the fast after refraining from eating, sadaqat al-fitr (obligatory charity paid at the end of Ramadaan), completing the Hajj by doing Tawaaf al-Ziyaarah, the sacrificial meats, and so on; and because the tradition on such occasions is to express joy and happiness, and to be energetic and happy."
(Haashiyat Ibn 'Aabideen, 2/165)
How many festivals are there in Islam?
The Muslim may note the large number of festivals that are observed among the Muslims nowadays, such as the Festival of Trees, Workers' Day (May Day), the anniversary of the king's accession to the throne, birthdays, etc… There is a long list of such days, but each of these is the innovation of the Jews, Christians and polytheists; they have no basis in Islam. There are no festivals in Islam apart from Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.
It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: "During the Jaahiliyyah, the people had two days each year when they would play. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah he said, 'You had two days on which you would play, but Allaah has given you something better than them: the day of al-Fitr and the day of al-Adha." (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1134; al-Nasaa'i, 1556; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani).
Honouring one's mother
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Worship Allaah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masaakeen (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allaah does not like such as are proud and boastful"
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour"
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: 'O Messenger of Allaah, who among the people is most deserving of my good company?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Your mother.' He asked, 'Then who?' He said, 'Then your father.'"
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5626; Muslim, 2548)
Al- Haafiz ibn Hajar said:
"Ibn Battaal said: what this means is that the mother should be honoured three times more than the father. He said, that is because of the difficulties of pregnancy, then giving birth, then breastfeeding. These are hardships that are experienced only by the mother, then the father shares with her in raising the child. This is also referred to in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
'And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years'
So the recommendation to be dutiful and good refers to both parents, but the mother's share is greater because of the three things mentioned above. Al-Qurtubi said: what is meant is that the mother deserves a greater share of her child's honour, and her rights take precedence over those of the father in cases where a choice must be made. 'Iyaad said: the majority of scholars were of the view that the mother takes precedence over the father in terms of honouring one's parents. And it was said that both must be honoured equally, and this was narrated by some from Maalik, but the former view is the one which is correct."
(Fath al-Baari, 10/402).
Indeed, even if one's mother is a mushrikah (polytheist), the wise and pure sharee'ah of Islam encourages one to uphold ties of kinship with her:
It was narrated that Asma' bint Abi Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: "My mother came to visit me at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and she was a mushrikah. I consulted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), saying, 'My mother has come to visit me for some purpose, should I uphold ties of kinship with my mother?' He said, 'Yes, uphold ties of kinship with your mother.'"
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2477)
Mothers in kaafir countries
Those who study the situation of families in general and of mothers in particular in the non-Muslim societies will hear and read of strange things. You can hardly find any complete family whose members keep in touch with one another, let alone meeting and conversing or staying together.
As some observers in kaafir countries have said: in the marketplaces or streets you may see a mother and her son or daughter, or a father and his son or daughter, but you will rarely see a whole family going shopping or walking in the streets.
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