Celebrating Mother's day

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Celebrating Mother's day


t no. 708 for the year 2004 which includes a question concerning the ruling for celebrating Mother's Day and whether it is an innovation.




Man is the creation of Allah. He, the Most High, has honored man for his humanity, molded him with His own hands, breathed into him from His Spirit and commanded His angels to prostrate to him. Allah expelled Satan from His mercy because he arrogantly refused to obey His Lord's command to prostrate to man.
Respecting humanity is one of the angelic characteristics which form the foundation of Muslim civilization while dishonoring, humiliating and disdaining humans are satanic proclivities that shake the very foundation of civilizations. Allah says,
So the roof fell upon them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive. [An-Nahl: 26]
And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss. [An-Nisaa`: 119]
Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.[Al-Kahf: 50]
Islam honors man for his humanity regardless of gender, race or color. It has likewise added another form of respect associated with the various functions Allah has given him and which agree with his God-given characteristics. This additional form of respect includes respecting one's parents whom Allah has made a cause for one's existence. Allah has associated showing gratitude to them with showing gratitude to Him. He the Almighty says,
And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. [Luqman: 14]
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment.[Bani Isra`il: 23]
This is because Allah has made parents the apparent cause for one's existence so the two of them are the greatest worldly manifestation for the characteristic of creation. If this is so, then what honor has Allah heaped upon them!  
A mother's status
The Prophetestablished that mothers are the most worthy among the people of one's good companionship, giving them precedence over fathers. Abu Huraira [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated that a man approached the Prophetand said,
 "O Messenger of Allah! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?”
 The Prophet replied, "Your mother".
The man asked, “Then who?”
 The Prophet replied, "Your mother."
 The man further asked, “Then who?”
 The Prophet replied, "Your mother."
 The man asked again, “Then who?”
 The Prophet replied, "Then your father." [Bukhari and Muslim] 
Maternity vs. paternity
Islamic law affirms that the relationship between a child and its mother is a biological and organic relationship. His relationship with her is not dependent on whether she bore him within or outside of wedlock—indeed she is its mother in all circumstances. This is contrary to paternity which is only established through legal means.
Celebrating Mother's Day and the stance of Islamic law
Among the outward expressions of respecting one's mother is celebrating this day in her honor and being kind and dutiful towards her. There is nothing in Islamic law to prohibit an occasion in which children can celebrate their mothers. This is an organizational matter; there is nothing wrong with it and it bears no connection to the issue about which so many people murmur; the rejected innovations are those newly introduced matters that contravene Islamic law. The Prophetsaid, "Whoever introduces into this affair of ours [the religion of Islam] that which is foreign to it, it will be rejected" [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim from a hadith narrated by 'A`isha, (may Allah be pleased with her)]. The hadith means that any newly introduced matter that does not contravene Islamic law will be accepted.
The Prophet approved when the Arabs celebrated national commemorations and tribal victories in which they would sing of their tribal feats and victories. 'A`isha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet once entered upon her when she was accompanied by two bondmaids who were singing the songs sung at the battle of Bu'ath [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim].
It is mentioned in the sunnah that the Prophet visited the grave of his mother, Amna, in Alfay Muqanna' and was never seen to cry more than on that day [recorded by Muslim and by Al-Hakim who declared it authentic].
Lexical meaning of the word 'mother'
The meaning of motherhood has assumed lofty denotations in the linguistic heritage of the Arabs. In the Arabic language, the word 'mother' refers to a source, habitat, a person in authority and the servant of a people who takes care of their food and serves them. This last meaning was related from Imam Al-Shafi`i (may Allah be pleased with him) who was among the experts of the Arabic language. Ibn Duraid said, "In Arabic, anything to which other things around it are ascribed, is called 'mother'." Because of this, Mecca is dubbed the 'mother of cities' since it at the center of the world, the direction to which people turn to pray and is the most important city.
Since language is the vessel of thought, for Muslims the immediate sense of the word 'mother' is associated with the person whom Allah has endowed with boundless generosity and who is the source of an individual's formation. She is the person who shelters him and takes care of his nurturing and upbringing and is endowed with love to care for him and look after his needs. In this sense, a mother is the source of affection and mercy for her children.
Just as this meaning is clear in the original linguistic meaning of the word and the derivations from its root, our cultural heritage only clarifies and evidences this further with the compound word 'silat ar-raham' [literally: womb-ties]. This organic attribute symbolizes the continuity of family relations which forms the foundational elements for building human society. No one is more deserving of this ascription than the mother who is the reason life continues and families are formed and who is the manifestation of mercy. This matter reaches its fullness and perfection with the magnificent religious meanings portrayed by the Prophet who said, "Family ties cling to the Throne, saying 'Allah will maintain ties with whoever maintains me and sever ties with whoever severs me" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim from a narration by 'A`isha (may Allah be pleased with her)]. In a hadith Qudsi, Allah Almighty says, "I am God and I am the Compassionate. I created ties of kinship and derived a name for it from My own. So, whoever maintains it, I will maintain ties with him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him" [recorded by Abu Dawud and by at-Tirmidhi who declared it authentic from a report by 'Abdul Rahman Ibn 'Awf (may Allah be pleased with him)].
The lofty meanings attached to motherhood in our community, the linguistic and cultural denotations and its religious status highlight the extent of the gap between us and other societies where the value of family ties has broken and dissolved. This is the reason why people in these societies yearn for such celebrations, soliciting their lost meanings. These events have come closer to what can be described as parents' pleas for affectionfrom children who, amidst their hungry pursuit of life in a society charging forward without as much as a backward glance at the important things in life, need to be reminded to acknowledge mothers with symbolic gifts.
Despite the difference between us and other cultures which have produced these events, there is no legal deterrent to celebrating Mother's Day. Rather, these celebrations may serve to propagate the value of parental dutifulness in an age when undutifulness has become a phenomenon causing much grief and sorrow.
Good manners—a virtue and a cause for entering Paradise
The Prophet provides the best example in this respect for he liked good manners and praised it even from non-Muslims. When the captives of Tayi` were brought before the Prophet , Hatim al-Tayi`'s daughter who was one of them, said,
"O Mohammed! Set me free and do not dishonor me before the Arab tribes. I am the daughter of the master of my tribe. My father was the caretaker of my tribe. He protected it, freed the captives, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, was hospitable to his guests, greeted people and never turned away anyone in need. I am the daughter of Hatem at-Tayi`!"
The Prophet said, “O young woman! These are truly the attributes of believers. Had your father been a believer, we would have prayed to Allah to have mercy on him. Release her for her father loved good manners and Allah Almighty loves noble manners."
 At this, Ibn Burda Ibn Niyar (may Allah be pleased with him) stood up and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Does Allah love noble manners?"
 The Prophet said, "By He in Whose Hands is my soul, no one shall enter Paradise except one with good morals." [recorded by al-Baihaqi from the narration of Ali Ibn Abu Talib (may Allah honor him)].
Worthy causes sanctioned in Islamic law
The Prophet said, "I was present in Abdullah Ibn Jud`an's house and witnessed a pact [so great] that I would not prize a pack of red camels above it. And if I were invited to take part in it in Islam, I would have responded" [recorded by al-Baihaqi through Talha Ibn Abdullah Ibn `Awf].
The ruling
Based on the above, it is permissible to celebrate mother's day; there is nothing to prevent it and no objection to it. Rejected innovations are those which contradict Islamic law. But those things which have their origins in Islamic law are not rejected and there is no sin upon the person who does them.   
Allah Almighty knows best
The Prophet [pbuh] replied: "By He in whose hands is my soul, none shall enter Paradise except those with good manners" [Al-Baihaqi].       
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