Qari Asim: A day when we should appreciate mothers in a new light

Mother and daughter
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Mother and daughter .
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THIS is a time to celebrate mothers and the maternal bond.

Mother’s Day give us an opportunity show our love and appreciation by giving flowers, chocolates, presents and cards to our mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law.

A generic photo of a woman in a yoga class.

A generic photo of a woman in a yoga class.

But it is about more than just giving flowers or giving tickets for yoga or spa sessions; it is a day to remind our mothers of how proud we are of them – proud for just being a great mum, a hero and a rock! It is a day to remind ourselves of the worry, pain and heartache that parents, in particular mothers, went through for so many years because of us.

In Islam, mothers are considered as a precious gift from God, a jewel in the crown of life. Their character, fortitude, maturity, strength of will and unconditional love is something that is celebrated in Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gives mothers the ultimate status by saying “paradise lies under the feet of your mother”, meaning that your attitude towards your mother will lead you to Paradise.

The Koran says that God has “enjoined on man and woman to be good to parents; show gratitude to Me and to your parents”.

Muslims are therefore encouraged to celebrate mothers everyday!

Interestingly, the Koran also informs Muslims how Jesus appreciated and valued his mother when he miraculously spoke at his infancy. He said: “[God] has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live, and (has made me) dutiful towards my mother.”

Virgin Mary is one of the mothers whose life is celebrated in the Koran- in fact the 19th chapter is named specifically after her. The love for Jesus’s mother runs deep in Islam.

Raising a child is hard for all mothers but on Mother’s Day, I especially remember single mothers on low incomes. Some of them can’t afford childcare, can’t take a sick day, can’t take a rest unless their child falls asleep. But, despite all of that, their love for their children is incredibly inspirational.

On this day, I also feel the pain of those mothers who are either currently in an abusive relationship or have suffered domestic abuse. An estimated 1.4 million women and 700,000 men suffered domestic abuse in 2014 according to figures from the Office for National Statistics published last year.

Sometimes women remain in those abusive relationships and make a huge sacrifice because they fear for the future of their children. In cases of such relationships, proper advice must be sought from appropriate agencies.

On this year’s Mother’s Day, it would be a remiss not to pay tribute to those Yorkshire mothers whose young girls suffered the indispicable sexual abuse at the hands of sexual groomers. Despite those mothers approaching the authorities, those in power did not listen to them.

Hopefully, the review conducted last year and the recent court judgments have brought some solace to the years of heartache. In order to prevent teenagers falling prey to sexual perverts or hate-mongers, radicalisers, who want to “groom” these young impressionable individuals into sexual acts or violence, mothers must be empowered so that they can play a critical role in safeguarding their teenage children.

There are many challenges for all women globally, in particular for refugee mothers who are without a home or food, without the protection of their own country and, in many instances, not being welcomed in the country they seek refuge in.

On Mother’s Day, I also remember hundreds of thousands of mothers living in tents on the borders of African nations, in the islands of Indonesia and on the fringes of Europe and in Calais, the Jungle. The majority of the displaced people in the camps tends to be women and children. Many having flown from violence and persecution, experience threats, hunger, cold and fear whilst living in those tents without any medical services or education for their children. As we mark the Mother’s Day, perhaps we can also celebrate the resilience and courage of refugee women, in particular those from Syria and Iraq.

The daily pressures of raising a family are pretty tough. If your mother drives you crazy, on this Mother’s Day, stop for a second to consider the pain and multiple worries a mother has for her children everyday – and then you will appreciate her in a new light.

Qari Asim MBE is a senior imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds.