The Status of Mothers in Islam
Mom. Mama. Mummy.
How beautiful these words are!
The word mother is not only a word. It’s a blessing and gift from Almighty Allah. It is the first word a baby utters, loves and calls out loud no matter it is a happy or sad moment of its life. The mother-child relationship is the most important one and it’s reciprocal. A mother loves her baby without any condition, bears pain with smile and sacrifices everything without any complaint. When the babies grow up, it’s their duty and responsibility to be kind and at service of their parents, especially their mother.
One of the most amazing things about Islam is Islam gives mothers (as well as any woman) the highest position and commands children to be grateful, respectful, kind and obedience to their mothers.
Islam Gives Mothers the Highest Position
Islam gives mothers a status greater than that can be found in any other religion or ideology in the world. Amongst the examples of how Islam honors women is verse 23-24 of Surah Al-Isra. Allah says:
وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا – وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.””
SubhanAllah! Lo, how beautiful these verses are! Allah commands to treat parents the best way just after He talks about worshiping Him. It proves how important to be obedient to parents and serve them well are.
Sometimes Obeying Parent is More Important than Obeying God
You will be amazed to hear that sometimes being service of parents is more emphasized than worshiping Almighty Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Being humble and kind towards parents is an essential part of Islam. Particularly mothers get the utmost respect, gratitude, and devotion as per Allah Himself tells of the hardships involved in motherhood and commands children to show appropriate kindness to them. Allah discussed it in several verses of the Quran. He says:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ – وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا ۖ وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
“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. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.”
-Surah Luqman; Verse 15-16
To make it more clear let’s have a look at what the prophet Muhammad SAWS said. Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr:
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَاسْتَأْذَنَهُ فِي الْجِهَادِ فَقَالَ ” أَحَىٌّ وَالِدَاكَ . قَالَ نَعَمْ. قَالَ ” فَفِيهِمَا فَجَاهِدْ ””
“A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) asking his permission to take part in Jihad. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked him, “Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service.””
-Sahih al-Bukhari; Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 248
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah said: “A person is obliged to obey his parents with regard to that which is not sinful, even if they are immoral evildoers… This has to do with that which is beneficial for them and not harmful to him.”
-Al-Ikhtiyarat al-fiqhiyah; page: 114
I think it is now clear to you how much Islam honored parents, especially mothers, and strongly commanded children to be in their service even if they are not Muslim or kind to you. Obedience to parents is obligatory until it does not cause any harm. This is the beauty of Islam.
Mother in Hadith: What the Prophet Says about Status of Mothers
The prophet showed respect to every woman in his life. There is no misbehave has been reported in history. His mother Amina died when he was only six years old. He was always humble and kind to his foster mother Halima Sadia radiallahu anha.
Let’s see what Hadith says. We are going to gather 5 Hadith about mothers in Arabic with English translation. Please read the following Hadiths carefully and try to realize how much the Prophet emphasized his companions to treat their mothers well. Alas, we are far away from being an ideal follower of him! How can we call ourselves Muslims if we are not following his guidance?!
First Hadith: It is narrated by Abu Huraira radiallahu anhu that
“عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ أَحَقُّ بِحُسْنِ صَحَابَتِي قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” ثُمَّ أَبُوكَ ”. وَقَالَ ابْنُ شُبْرُمَةَ وَيَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو زُرْعَةَ مِثْلَهُ.”
“A man came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Your father. “”
-Sahih al-Bukhari; Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 2
Second Hadith: The hadith is narrated by Anas bin Malik radiallahu anhu:
“عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ” أَكْبَرُ الْكَبَائِرِ الإِشْرَاكُ بِاللَّهِ وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ، وَعُقُوقُ الْوَالِدَيْنِ، وَقَوْلُ الزُّورِ ”. أَوْ قَالَ ” وَشَهَادَةُ الزُّورِ. ”
“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The biggest of Al-Ka`ba’ir (the great sins) are (1) to join others as partners in worship with Allah, (2) to murder a human being, (3) to be undutiful to one’s parents (4) and to make a false statement,” or said, “to give a false witness.””
-Sahih al-Bukhari; Vol. 9, Book 83, Hadith 10
Third Hadith: Abu Huraira radiallahu anhu reported that a person said:
“عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ أَحَقُّ بِحُسْنِ الصُّحْبَةِ قَالَ “ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أَبُوكَ ثُمَّ أَدْنَاكَ أَدْنَاكَ .”
“Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).”
-Sahih Muslim; Book 32, Hadith 6181
Fourth Hadith: Abu Hurayra radiallahu anhu said:
“عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قِيلَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، مَنْ أَبَرُّ؟ قَالَ: أُمَّكَ، قَالَ: ثُمَّ مَنْ؟ قَالَ: أُمَّكَ، قَالَ: ثُمَّ مَنْ؟ قَالَ: أُمَّكَ، قَالَ: ثُمَّ مَنْ؟ قَالَ: أَبَاكَ.”
“The Prophet was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, to whom should I be dutiful?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. He was asked, ‘Then whom?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. He was asked, ‘Then whom?’ ‘Your mother,’ he replied. He was asked, ‘Then whom?’ He replied, ‘Your father.'”
-Al-Adab Al-Mufrad; Book 1, Hadith 5
Fifth Hadith: Narrated by Ibn Salamah As-Sulami radiallahu anhu that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“عَنِ ابْنِ سَلاَمَةَ السُّلَمِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ أُوصِي امْرَأً بِأُمِّهِ أُوصِي امْرَأً بِأُمِّهِ أُوصِي امْرَأً بِأُمِّهِ – ثَلاَثًا – أُوصِي امْرَأً بِأَبِيهِ أُوصِي امْرَءًا بِمَوْلاَهُ الَّذِي يَلِيهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْهُ أَذًى يُؤْذِيهِ .”
“I enjoin each one to honor his mother, I enjoin each one to honor his mother, I enjoin each one to honor his mother(three times), I enjoin each one to honor his guardian who is taking care of him, even if he is causing him some annoyance.”
-Sunan Ibn Majah; Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3657
There are hundreds of Hadiths about mother and her status in Hadith books. I think these five Hadiths about mothers will be an eyeopener for you. You may go ahead and study further on the topic the status of mother in Islam or just ask use for more information in the comment section below this article.
Paradise Lies at the Feet of Your Mother
This is the most narrated Hadith whenever this topic is being discussed because of its strong message. But the following Hadith, from Musnad al-Shihab and al-Jame, is weak. It does not mean this Hadith is not acceptable or cannot be quoted. To know whether weak Ahadith can be used as proof or not and what is scholars’ opinion on Daeef Hadith, check it out. I have discussed it in in detail there.
“عن أنس بن مالك – رضى الله عنه – قال: قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه و سلم – الجنة تحت أقدام الأمهات”
“The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Paradise is at the feet of the mothers.””
-Musnad al-Shihab 119; al-Jame Vol. 2 Page 231
Some Muslim brothers might not agree to take this as a proof because of its weakness. Well, we have another Hadith same meaning and strong Sanad. It was narrated from Mu’awiyah bin Jahimah As-Sulami, that Jahimah came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said:
“عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ جَاهِمَةَ السُّلَمِيِّ، أَنَّ جَاهِمَةَ، جَاءَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَغْزُوَ وَقَدْ جِئْتُ أَسْتَشِيرُكَ . فَقَالَ ” هَلْ لَكَ مِنْ أُمٍّ ” . قَالَ نَعَمْ . قَالَ ” فَالْزَمْهَا فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ رِجْلَيْهَا ” .”
“O Messenger of Allah! I want to go out and fight (in Jihad) and I have come to ask your advice.” He said: “Do you have a mother?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Then stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.”
-Sunan an-Nasai; Vol. 1, Book 25, Hadith 3106
So brothers and sisters, be grateful, respectful, kind and obedience to you mothers and claim you position in Jannah. Subhanallah.
Mother in Islam Quotes
Here are some beautiful Islamic quotes on mother with images. You can share them on social media with the hashtag #MothersInIslam to show the world that mothers hold in highest esteem in the religion of Islam.
How to Behave with Your Mother – Islamic Teachings
- Always show gratitude towards your mother.
- Always be kind to your mother.
- Be at the service of your mother whenever she needs you.
- Never express annoyance even if she is doing something annoying.
- Always obey her if it is not against Deen.
- Do not repel her and speak softly.
- Pray for her. The best prayer is the one Allah teaches us in the Quran.
The prayer Allah Himself taught us is:
“رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا”
“My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.”
Wrapping It Up
We have just seen how much Islam respects mothers and how strongly it instructed Muslims to be kind, grateful, respectful, and obedience to mothers. When Allah says to treat parents good just after he decreed to worship Him, we should understand how important it is. May Allah give us the ability to understand and obey his command.
It is never too late to become a better child of your mother and make Allah pleased on you.
O Allah, have mercy upon my mother and keep her happy in the world as well as in the hereafter. Ameen.
Mother of two here and disagree with the very premise of this. First off, a woman’s body is designed to have babies. There are discomforts of course but I found pregnancy empowering. I was amazed at what my body could do! So if during pregnancy she goes “from weakness to weakness” there is something very wrong! Malnutrition? A deprived life?
Secondly, this whole unconditional love thing … no. Any Internet forum is full of posts from women who struggle with motherhood. Post natal depression is real. Suicide among mums is a real issue. And children benefit from being raised by “a village” not just one female.
But above all, did you notice how all of these verses speak to people who do not respect their mothers? Which implies a tendency to disrespect them. It’s like they are being asked to do something unnatural, which does not come easily. Maybe that’s why “the mother” gets emphasised over and over. Because they respect their dad much more anyway.
May Allah forgive you for claiming He is not correct in what is revealed in the Qur’an. Be thankful you had easy pregnancies but realize that weakness upon weakness doesn’t necessarily mean you become weak and cannot function. To me, it means in order for the child to grow inside you, it took more and more energy from you, consumed more of the nutrition you provided him/her, and thus in turn makes you yourself a bit weaker because it is a demand from your body (not necessarily making you sicker). Please sister do not claim to be smarter than He who is the Creator and to Him we shall all return. Jazak Allah Khairun
Oh and it is really unusual for “mama” to be a baby’s first word. Why call for someone who is always around anyway? My sons first word was banana.
I am really grateful to you for this post. Please keep posting this kind of great articles for us, people need to know more about Islam.
Jazakallahu Khairan. We are happy to know that you liked our post. InshaAallah, we will keep our work going for the sake of Muslim Ummah.
It really helped me with my test. May Allah bless you.
Aameen. May Allah grant your prayer.
I am glad to know that this post was helpful to you.
Thank you, Waleed.
Excellent article, but obeying parents is not more important than obeying God.
Obeying your parents is as much important as obeying Allah as long as they do not ask you to do something that is prohibited by Him.