Publications & Statements by Imam

08/16/08: Mothers deserve nearly divine devotion

August 16, 2008: Detroit news

Mothers deserve nearly divine devotion

The Prophet Mohammad was asked, "Who deserves my utmost help and compassion?"

"Your mother," the prophet answered.

Who next? Your mother.

Who next? Your mother.

And then whom? Your father.

Mothers receive their special status because they provide the gift of life to a child. Because of the hardship of pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding, God obligates us to be mindful of our mothers, especially as we prepare to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday.

As the Quran says, "And We have enjoined on man to be kind to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and pain upon weakness and pain and his weaning is in two years: Give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination."

Imam Sajjad in the seventh century reminded us of the heavy debt we owe our mother. She carried you in her womb, gave you the fruit of her heart, helped you to rest even if she had to stay up, fed you even if she had to stay hungry, protected you from the heat and cold, cleaned you and talked to you.

You can't appreciate your mother enough.

Love and dutifulness to parents are next to divine devotion. Even smiling at your parents is considered an act of worship, while maltreatment and cutting ties with parents is one of the most serious seven sins in Islam. There is no place in paradise for those who hurt their parents.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

In the Islamic legal system, the father is financially and spiritually responsible for the welfare of the mother and children. The Prophet Mohammed set a wonderful example for husbands by entertaining the children and helping with the chores in addition to providing food, clothing and shelter for his family.

Mother's Day may be best known for eating out, cards, gifts, hugs and kisses. But it should also be a day of building better bridges between mothers and children, of renewing our lifelong commitment to our mothers. We must keep our parents near to us in their old age.

"And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful and kind to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor brush them away, but address them with honor. And lower unto them the wing of humility, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they took care of me when I was young." (Quran 17-23).

Mothers are responsible for raising good children and good citizens. There would be no Ishmael without Hagar, no Jesus without Mary.

Our mother's personality, patience, purity, love, sacrifice, dignity and wisdom give the children the basic understanding of life and truth by which we can ascend to heaven. As the Prophet Mohammad said, " lies at the feet of the mothers."

Our mothers deserve our gratitude, obedience, care and support not only on Mother's Day but every day.

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom