There are stereotypes culled from the misconstrued treatment of Muslim women that paint Islam in the negative. A bulk of this stems from a lack of understanding. It is important to recognize that each system has its module of belief, and like the plethora of religions that exist, Islam has its system of practice predisposed from the time of its inception till now.
Who is a Mother? A mother is a woman saddled with the responsibility of caring for her child. She is a parent, the bringer of life. Like motherhood, the mother is very crucial in the development of Muslim children. Mothers in Islam are regarded with such outstanding esteem that it is easy to dismiss the brazen stereotypes that are used to portray Islam to a large extent once this regard is understood. In this regard, the treatment of Muslim mothers shows otherwise.
The mother is expected to love her children, sacrifice for, protect, and secure them. They are meant to be the bridge that links the child to the world. The Muslim mother is equated to guidance whilst propagating herself as a role model for the child.
Mothers in Islam are duly respected with lots of honour. And although both parents share in this, and it is a sin to curse one’s parents in Islam, the mother is held to a higher pedestal of esteem in comparison with the father. She is to raise her children as virtuous Muslims. The prophet Muhammed even likened the mothers to soldiers, and her duties as deserving in paradise when he was asked why women were not allowed to partake in jihads.
Islam recognizes the struggle of mothers during pregnancy and the weaning of the child. Because of this, as long as the parents live accordingly when the son turns forty, he must care for them. Chapter 46, verse 15 of the Qur’an charges the man to pray for the longevity and goodwill of his parents. A part of it says: “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for your favour which you have bestowed upon me and my parents.” This effort of prayer is promoted by the actions of the mother during his upbringing.
The hadith of Prophet Muhammed also highlights the greatness of a mother with three instances.
First, a man asks who he should reckon a worthy companion. The prophet says, “your mother” three consecutive times, and “your father” once. This shows that the prophet has prioritized the mother over all probable companions.
Second, the prophet discouraged a man from taking part in a military campaign because his mother was still alive. Here, the importance of caring for the mother is emphasized as opposed to risking his life for jihad. Since the mother is an integral part of Islam, and the entirety of his life caring for her is paralleled to attaining paradise.
In the third, he exhorts Muslims to obey their mothers, for “God has forbidden for you to be undutiful to your mother.” It is grave for one to disobey his mother according to the Prophet, and grave for one to disregard her efforts.
In the Qur’an, Maryam, the mother of the miraculous child, Isa, is seen to have faced all fashions of trepidation when her son was birthed presumably without a father. She is also the only woman to be cited in the Holy Qur’an when she was consoled by Allah and told not to speak for three days to determine if truly her child was the one.
Further, the Qur’an tells the story of Musa’s mother, the only one that could nurse her child when he was picked up from the river by Firwan’s wife. The point made here is that a child cannot grow in the mother’s absence.
The upliftment of mothers in Islam is adequate to dispel some of the stereotypes that lay in existence. Mothers are cherished, valued, and precious beings that are often construed as the bedrock of humanity in Islam. Certainly, they must be cared for at all times.