Mothers & Fathers Day – Restricting Good Treatment Of Parents
Mother’s Day is observed in the United States on the second Sunday of May, while many other countries observe it on the 21st of March.
In the West, the family break-down and the neglect of parents’ rights have led the non-Muslims to devise such a day to honour the mother annually. During it, people get together for a meal with their mother, and they honour her with gifts and other pleasant things.
As is the case with other festivals and occasions, many Muslims rush to imitate the non-Muslims, making Mother’s Day one of their cherished ‘eeds. They seem to forget that a true Muslim is required to honour his mother every day of her life, and with much more than mere food and gifts. A true Muslim would always speak to his parents with great respect and avoid saying the slightest word that may displease them. Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:-
“Your Lord has decreed that you may not worship except Him, and that you should treat (your) parents well. If one or both of them reach old age in your care, never say “Uff (expressing dislike)” to them or scold them. Rather, speak to them with respectful words.” [Al-Israa’ (17):23]
Furthermore, Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) commands Muslims to show gratitude to their parents together with showing gratitude to Him (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). He says:
“We have commanded the human being to be good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning happened after two years. Therefore, be grateful toward Me and toward your parents – unto Me is the final destination.” [Luqmaan (31):14]
Even in situations where the parents cause a Muslim much harm and chagrin – such as opposing his Islamic belief, he is still required to treat them with kindness. Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:
“Yet, should they strive to make you join with Me in worship partners of whom you never knew, do not obey them. But (even then) accompany them in this life with kindness.” [Luqmaan (31):15]
A Muslim’s mother has more right on him than any other friend or relative – even his father. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) reported that a man asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). “O Allaah’s Messenger, who deserves my kindness the most?” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) responded:
“Your mother (deserves it the most), then your mother, then your mother, then your father.” [Agreed Upon]
Commenting on this, Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) said:
“Ibn Battal said, “This indicates that the mother deserves kindness (from her children) three times as much as the father – because of the hardships of pregnancy, delivery, and nursing. The mother suffers alone in these three situations, and she further shares with the father in raising the children.” There is reference to this meaning in Allaah’s saying (Luqman 31:14, cited above) where He (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) requires showing kindness equally to both parents but distinguishes the mother because of the same three situations. Al-Qurtubi said, “This means that the mother deserves the greatest amount of kindness, and she should be given preference over the father in disputable situations.” [Fathul-Baaree 10:493]
Similar to Mother’s Day, the United States observes the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Many other countries follow this lead, and some Muslims do the same. The above discussion about Mother’s Day applies similarly to the case of Father’s Day.
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.
When the father or mother grows old, the best among their children hastens to put them in elderly homes. Some Muslims went to some of these homes and asked a dozen of seniors what their greatest wish was. All of them said, “Death!” That is only because each of them is living in misery, grief and regret for the way they have ended up and the way their children have deserted them at the time when they need them most.
Timing of Mother’s Day in different countries:
The date of Mother’s Day, and the way in which it is celebrated, differs from one country to another. In Norway it is celebrated on the second Sunday in February. In Argentina it is celebrated on the second Sunday in October. In Lebanon it is on the first day of spring. In South Africa it is celebrated on the first Sunday in May. In France it is celebrated more as a family festival, on the last Sunday in May, when family members get together for dinner, then they give a cake to the mother.
Sweden also has a holiday for Family Day on the last Sunday of May. A few days before that the Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic roses for people to give to their mothers who will spend the holiday taking care of their children. In Japan this day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, as in North America, where exhibitions are held of pictures drawn by children aged 6-14; these exhibitions
are called “My Mother.” This exhibition is moved every four years and has appeared in a number of countries.
Mother’s Day – An Historical Overview:
Some researchers have said:
Some historians have suggested that Mother’s Day started with the ancient Greeks’ celebrations of spring festivals. These festivals were devoted to the mother goddess Rhea, the wife of Cronos, the father god. In ancient Rome there was a similar celebration devoted to the worship or veneration of Sybil, another mother of the gods. This began approximately 250 years before the birth of the Messiah (alayhis-salaam). These religious celebrations of the Romans were called “Hilaria” and lasted for three days from March 15 to March 18.
Sunday In England:
This was a day similar to the modern Mother’s Day celebration, but it was called “Mothering Sunday” or (the Sunday half-way through Lent), because it occurred during their major fasting period (Lent). Some say that the celebrations that were held to worship and honour the Roman goddess Sybil were changed by the church to celebrations meant to honour and venerate Mary (alayhas-salaam). This custom began with some people encouraging people to visit the central church in their locality, bringing offerings. In 1600 young men and women of simple professions and servants started to visit their mothers on “Mothering Sunday”, bringing gifts and food. This is what happened in England. In the USA it was a different story.
The United States:
Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948):
She had the idea of making Mother’s Day an official holiday in the United States. She never married and she had a very strong relationship with her mother. She was the daughter of a minister and she taught in the Sunday School of Andrew Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Two years after her mother died, she launched a campaign addressed to bosses, ministers and congressmen, to declare Mother’s Day an official holiday in the country. She felt that children did not appreciate what their mothers had done for them during their lives, and she hoped that this day would strengthen the feelings of children for their mothers and fathers, and strengthen family ties.
The church honoured Miss Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, and in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania on May 10, 1908. This was the beginning of Mother’s Day in the United States.
Carnations were one of her mother’s favourite flowers, especially white ones, because they were supposed to represent goodness, purity and patience, which are characteristic of a mother’s love. As time went by, red carnations became a symbol that the mother was still alive, and white carnations became a symbol that the mother had passed away.
The first official declaration of Mother’s Day in the United States was in West Virginia and Oklahoma in 1910. In 1911 the entire U.S. celebrated this day. By then these celebrations had also spread to Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, Latin America and Africa. Then the U.S. Congress officially agreed to announce celebrations of Mother’s Day, on May 10, 1913, and the first Sunday in May was
chosen as Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day In The Arab World
The idea of celebrating Mother’s Day in the Arab world began in Egypt, and was started by the two brothers Mustafa and ‘Ali Ameen, the founders of the Akhbaar al-Yawm newspaper. ‘Ali Ameen himself had received a letter from a mother complaining of her children’s meanness and bad treatment towards her, and suffering because of their failure to appreciate her. It so happened that another mother visited Mustafa Ameen in his office and told him her story; briefly, she had been widowed when her children were small, and she had not remarried. She had devoted her life to her children, playing the role of both father and mother, spending all her energy in taking care of her children, until they left to go to university and get married. Each of them was living an independent life, and they only visited her on rare occasions. Mustafa Ameen and ‘Ali Ameen wrote in their famous column Fikrah (“Idea”) suggesting that a day should be set aside for mothers, to remember their virtues. They pointed out that the west did that, and that Islam enjoined taking care of one’s mother. Many letters were sent to the newspaper, supporting this idea. Some suggested that a whole week should be devoted to mothers, not just one day, and others rejected the idea, saying that every day of the year should be for one’s mother, not just one day. But most
readers agreed with the idea of setting aside one day, and they voted to choose March 21, which is also the first day of spring, to be Mother’s Day and a symbol of open-heartedness, purity and beautiful feelings.
Egypt celebrated Mother’s Day for the first time on March 21, 1956. From Egypt this idea spread to other Arab countries. At some point some people suggested that Mother’s Day should be called Family Day, so as to honour fathers as well, but this idea was not widely accepted, as people thought that this detracted from the rights of mothers, or they accused the proponents of the Family Day idea of thinking that it was too much to allocate a day just for mothers. Even now the Arab countries still celebrate this day through the various kinds of media and honour the ideal mothers who have gone through immense struggles for their children’s sake at every level.
After knowing that, it comes as no surprise that most of those who celebrate Mother’s Day are the Jews and Christians and those who imitate them, and that they say that this is because of their concern for women and mothers, and that Mother’s Day is celebrated by some of the Masonic clubs in the Arab world such as the Rotary Club and Lions Club.
We may also note that Mother’s Day, which is March 21 (in the Arab world) is also the New Year of the Coptic Christians, and the Nawroz festival of the Kurds.
The Shar’i Viewpoint Concerning Mother’s Day:
Islam has no need of things that are innovated by others, be it Mother’s Day of anything else. Its teachings on the honouring of mothers mean that it has no need for an innovated Mother’s Day.
Fataawa Of The Scholars
1. The Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/59, 61:
Praise be to Allaah Alone and blessings and peace be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.
Firstly: ‘Eed is a name given to a recurring occasion on which people come together, whether it is annual or monthly or weekly and so on. ‘Eed combines a number of things: a day which recurs, such as ‘Eed al-Fitr and Friday (Jumu’ah); gathering on that day; acts or worship and customs which are done on that day.
Secondly: whatever is done on that day as a ritual, act of worship or act of veneration that is done in order to seek reward, or that involves imitating the people of the Jaahiliyyah or similar kaafir groups is a forbidden act of innovation (bid’ah) and is included in the general meaning of the hadeeth in which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.” [Agreed Upon]
Examples of that include celebrating the Mawlid (Prophet’s birthday), Mother’s Day, and national days, because in the first case (Prophet’s birthday) that means worshipping in a manner that Allaah has not prescribed, and because it involves imitating the Christians and other kaafirs, and in the second and third cases (Mother’s Day and national holidays) it means imitating the kaafirs. As for occasions which are intended to organize work, for example, in the best interests of the ummah, such as traffic week or training sessions for employees and so on, which are not intended as acts of worship or veneration at all, these are customary innovations which are not included in the words of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected,” so there is nothing wrong with such things, rather they are prescribed in Islam.
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
2. They also said Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/86:
It is not permissible to celebrate the so-called Mother’s Day and similar innovated festivals because the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.”
He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not celebrate Mother’s Day and neither did any of his companions (radiyallaahu anhum) or the salaf (earliest generations) of this ummah. Rather it is an innovation (bid’ah) and imitation of the kuffaar.
3. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) said (Majmoo’ Fataawa al- Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 5/189):
I read the article published in the al-Nadwah newspaper on 30/11/1384 AH, entitled Takreem al-Umm… wa Takreem al-Usrah (Honouring mothers… and honouring families), and I found that the writer approved of some of the what the West has done by singling out one day in the year to celebrate mothers. He pointed out something that is ignored by those who want to introduce this holiday, which is the pain and grief which those children who have lost their mothers suffer when they see their peers celebrating and honouring their mothers. He suggested that this celebration should honour the entire family and explained that Islam did not prescribe this festival, because the Islamic sharee’ah enjoins honouring one’s mother.
The writer did well by explaining why it is not prescribed in Islam and in pointing out the downside of this festival, of which many were unaware, but he did not point out the innovations involved which go against the clear texts that were narrated from the Messenger of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or the harm that this causes, or the fact that it involves imitating the mushrikeen and kuffaar.
So in these few words I wanted to point out to the writer and others the innovation in religion that is involved in this bid’ah and others that have been introduced by the enemies of Islam and those who are ignorant of it in order to damage its reputation and put people off Islam, and the confusion and division that have resulted from that, the extent of whose damage and corruption no one knows except Allaah.
It is proven in the saheeh ahaadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) warned against innovations in religion and against imitating the enemies of Allaah, the Jews, Christians and other mushrikeen. For example, he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.”
According to a version narrated by Muslim:
“Whoever does something that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”
What this means is that it will be rejected and thrown back on the one who innovated it. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) used to say in his Jumu’ah (Friday) khutbah:
“The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). The worst of matters are those which are newly-innovated and every innovation is a going astray.”
This was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. Undoubtedly singling out one day in the year to celebrate and honour mothers or families is one of the newlyinnovated matters that were not done by the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or by his blessed companions, so we must not do that and we must warn the people against it, and be content with that which Allaah and His Messenger have prescribed.
We have noted above that the writer stated that the Islamic sharee’ah enjoins respecting one’s mother and commands Muslims to honour their mothers all the time. He is correct on this point. The Muslims have to be content with that which Allaah has enjoined upon them of honouring and venerating their mothers, and treating them kindly, and obeying them when they tell them to do good all the time, and of avoiding innovated matters of which Allaah has warned them and which lead to imitation of the enemies of Allaah and following their paths and approving of the innovations of which they approve. That does not apply only to mothers, rather Allaah has commanded the Muslims to honour and respect both parents and to treat them kindly, to uphold ties of kinship with all relatives. And Allaah has warned them against disobeying parents and severing the ties of kinship, but He has singled out the mother for more care and honour, because
she takes more care of the child and because the hardships she faces in bearing, nursing and raising the child are greater. Allaah says:
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents” [al-Isra’ (17):23]
“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 give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” [Luqmaan 31:14]
“Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allaah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight” [Muhammad 47:22-23]
It was narrated in a saheeh hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Shall I not tell you of the greatest of major sins?” They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Associating others in worship with Allaah, and disobeying one’s parents.” He was reclining, but he sat up and said, “And false speech and false witness.” A man asked him (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying, “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, “Then your mother.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “Then your mother.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “Then your father, then the next closest and the next closest.”
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.”
And it was reported in a saheeh hadeeth that he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever would like his provision to be increased and his life to be made long, let him uphold the ties of kinship.”
There are many well-known aayahs and ahaadeeth which speak of honouring one’s parents and upholding the ties of kinship, and which affirm the rights of mothers. Those which we have quoted above are sufficient. They will prove to the one who ponders their meanings that it is obligatory to honour and respect both parents, and to treat them and all other relatives kindly at all times. They teach us that disobeying parents and severing the ties of kinship are among the worst characteristics and major sins which deserve the punishment of Hell and the wrath of Allaah. We ask Allaah to keep us safe from that.
This is better and more eloquent than the western innovation of singling out just one day in the year for honouring one’s mother, then neglecting her for the rest of the year, whilst also ignoring the rights of fathers and other relatives. The great mischief that results from this will be obvious to anyone who has insight, along with the fact that it is contrary to the laws of the Wisest of rulers and is
bound to cause that which His trustworthy Messenger warned us against.
Similar to this are the innovations which many people follow, such as celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, or the anniversary of the country’s independence, or the accession of the king, and so on. All of these are innovations in which the Muslims are imitating others, namely the enemies of Allaah. They ignore the warning which Islam brought against that and the prohibition of such things. This confirms the saheeh hadeeth in which the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, step by step, 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?”
According to another version:
My ummah will follow in the footsteps of those who came before it, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit.” It was asked, “O Messenger of Allaah, the Persians and Romans?” He said, “Who else?”
What the most truthful one (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said has indeed come to pass, as this ummah – except for those whom Allaah wills – have followed those who came before them, the Jews, Christians, Magians and other kaafirs, in many of their characteristics and actions, until Islam has become like a stranger and the teachings, morals and actions of the kuffaar have become better in the minds of many people than the ways of Islam, and good has become evil and evil has become good, Sunnah has become an innovation and bid’ah has become the way of many people, because of ignorance and turning away from the noble morals and righteous deeds taught by Islam.
“Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return”
[al-Baqarah (2):156] (words uttered at times of calamity)
We ask Allaah to enable the Muslims to understand their religion, and to improve their situation, and to guide their leaders, and to help our scholars and writers to spread word of the beauties of our faith and to warn against the bid’ahs and innovations which tarnish its reputation and put people off, for He is able to do all things. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon His slave and Messenger
Muhammad and upon his family and companions, and those who follow his path and adhere to his Sunnah until the Day of Judgement.
4. Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in a khutbah entitled al-Hathth ‘ala Mukhaalifat al-Kuffaar (Urging the Muslims to be different to the kaafirs):
Matters which involve imitation of the kuffaar include imitating them in matters of worship, such as matters of shirk like erecting structures and shrines over graves and exaggerating concerning them. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“May the curse of Allaah be upon the Jews and the Christians, for they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.”
And he said that if a righteous man among them died, they would build a place of worship over his grave and put images in it, and they are the most evil of mankind. There occur many actions which are tantamount to major shirk because of exaggeration concerning graves, because of that imitation of the Jews and Christians.
That also includes imitating them in mushrik and innovated festivals, such as the Mawlid celebrations on the birthday of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or the birthdays of presidents and kings. Some of these innovated or mushrik festivals may be known as “days” or “weeks”, such as the National Day or Mother’s Day or Cleanliness Week and so on. All of these occasions have been imported to the Muslims from the kuffaar, because in Islam there are only two festivals: ‘Eed al-Fitr and ‘Eed al-Adha. Everything else is an innovation (bid’ah) and imitation of the kuffaar. The Muslims must beware of that and not be influenced by the large numbers of so-called Muslims who do that and are ignorant of the true teachings of Islam, and who do such things because of ignorance, or who are not ignorant of the true teachings of Islam but do these things deliberately, in which case the matter is more serious.
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allaah and the
Last Day, and remembers Allaah much.” [al-Ahzaab 33:21]
5. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) was asked about the ruling on celebrating so-called Mother’s Day (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 1/124; Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/301, 302). He replied:
All festivals that go against the festivals that are prescribed in Islam are bid’ahs and innovations that were not known at the time of the righteous salaf, and they may have come from the non-Muslims, in which case as well as being innovations they also entail imitating the enemies of Allaah. The Islamic festivals are well known to the Muslims, namely ‘Eed al-Fitr and ‘Eed al-Adha, and the weekly festival (Jumu’ah or Friday). There are no other festivals in Islam apart from these three.
All festivals which have been introduced apart from these are to be rejected and are false according to the law of Allaah, because the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected,”
i.e., it will be thrown back at him and will not be accepted by Allaah. According to another version:
“Whoever does something that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”
Once this is clear, it is not permissible to celebrate the holiday mentioned in the question, which is known as Mother’s Day, and it is not permissible to introduce any of the symbols of that holiday such as expressing joy and happiness, giving gifts and so on. The Muslim must be proud of his religion and adhere to the limits set by Allaah for His slaves, without adding anything or taking anything away.
Moreover, the Muslim should not be weak and spineless, following anyone who makes noise, rather he should mould his character according to the sharee’ah of Allaah so that he will be followed, not following, and so that he will be an example, not one who follows the example of others, because the sharee’ah of Allaah – praise be to Allaah – is perfect in all ways, as Allaah says:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Mothers deserve more than to be honoured on just one day of the year, rather mothers have rights over their children, who should look after them, take care of them and obey them, so long as that does not involve disobeying Allaah, at all times and in all places.
6. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (rahimahullaah) said (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/324-326), commenting on a similar topic:
From this the perfection of Islamic sharee’ah should be clear to you, and you should be able to understand some of the wisdom behind the commands of Allaah to His Messenger to be distinct from the kuffaar and to differ from them in all ways, so that being different will become a protection against falling into evil and into the same things as other people did.
If a Muslim’s wife or children ask him to do any of these things, he should remind them of the festivals that are prescribed in Islam and be generous to them on those occasions so that they will no longer look for other occasions. If they do not accept that, then there is no power and no strength except with Allaah.
Whoever upsets his family for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will make him pleased and will make them pleased.