There is nothing as tenacious as a mother’s love for her children. It is all-powerful, unconditional and unending. It is due to a mother’s deep faith, caring spirit and purposeful attitude that a child’s personality forms. It is a mother’s discipline and reassurance that sets a child’s boundaries. It is her unwavering dedication that transforms their unattainable goals into something that is well within their reach.
But great mothers go beyond even that; they translate their love into a vision for their children “to be unique in the sight of Allah.” Their sincere supplications echo in the middle of the night while their children are sleeping.
In the words of the wife of Imran (Mary’s Mother PBUH) “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”
إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ – 3:35
Great mothers are determined to elevate their children to great heights, the likes of which no one has dared to reach. They are extraordinarily committed to achieving any goal with fearlessness.
One outstanding example of this selfless love is Imam Shafi’s mother. Young, poor and widowed, she devoted herself to her child. Her love is inspirational, transformative and defined by courage. According to one account, Imam Shafi went to his mother and asked her to buy him some paper and stationery for his studies. She could not afford to buy him what he needed but instead offered an alternative solution. She encouraged him to use his mind like paper and, because of her actions, he learnt to develop a unique photographic memory that served him throughout his entire life.
In a different account, the young Imam Shafi complained to his mother that he was not taken seriously by his teacher as a non-paying student. His mother encouraged him to show exceptional morals and help other students who were struggling with their studies. His teacher was so impressed by Imam Shafi’s abilities that he took him on as a formal student.
Imam Shafi’s mother looked upon poverty and any other limitations, not as barriers, but as opportunities to empower and enrich her son. Her love inspired and elevated him, and transformed him into a symbol of Islam.
It is for actions such as these that Allah has elevated the duties towards mothers like no one else.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
A person came to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and asked, “Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (ﷺ) said, “Your mother.” He again asked, ”Who next?” “Your mother”, the Prophet (ﷺ) replied again. He asked, “Who next?” He (the Prophet (ﷺ)) said again, “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who?” Thereupon he (ﷺ) said,” Then your father.”
In another narration:
“O Messenger of Allah! Who is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (ﷺ) said, “Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
وعنه رضي الله عنه قال: جاء رجل إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله من أحق الناس بحسن صحابتي؟ قال: ” أمك” قال: ثم من؟ قال: ” أمك” قال: ثم من؟ قال: ”أمك” قال: ثم من؟ قال: ” أبوك” ((متفق عليه)).
وفي رواية: يارسول الله من أحق بحسن الصحبة؟ قال: ” أمك، ثم أمك، ثم أمك، ثم أباك، ثم أدناك أدناك”.