Can I Celebrate Mother’s Day?
Man is the creation of Allah. Allah Most High has honored man for his humanity: He molded him with His own hands, breathed into them from His Spirit, ordered the angels prostrate to him, and expelled Satan from His mercy because the latter arrogantly refused to obey his Lord’s command to prostrate to man. Respecting humanity is one of the angelic characteristics that forms foundation of Muslim civilization. Dishonoring, humiliating, and disdaining humans are provocations of Satan that shake the very foundations of civilization.
Allah says “Whoever chooses Satan for a patron instead of Allah is verily a loser and his loss is manifest.” (Qur’an 4:119)
“Will ye choose him [Satan] and his seed for your protecting friends instead of Me [Allah] when they are an enemy unto you? Calamitous is the exchange for evil doers!” (Qur’an, 18:50)
Just as Islam honors individuals from the perspective of their humanity without looking at their sex, race, or color, it has also added another form of respect associated with the various type of roles Allah gave them appropriate to their God-given characteristics. This additional form of respect includes respecting one’s parents whom Allah has made a cause for one’s existence, joining thanking them with thanking Him.
Allah says: “And We enjoined upon man concerning his parents. His mother begot him in weakness upon weakness and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.” (Qur’an, 31:14)
In the Qur’an, Allah coupled His worship with kindness and respect to one’s parents saying:
“Your Lord decreed that you worship none save Him and (that you show) kindness to parents.” (Qur’an, 17:23)
This is because Allah made them the apparent cause for existence. Thus, one’s parents are the greatest worldly manifestation of the characteristic of creation.
The Prophet designated mothers as the ones most worthy of excellent companionship. Indeed, in this he gave them precedent over fathers.
Abu Hurayrah relates that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Which person is the most worthy of my excellent companionship?”
He replied, “Your mother.”
The man asked, “Then who?”
The Prophet said, “Your mother.”
Then the man said, “Then who?”
The Prophet replied, “Your mother.”
Then the man said, “Then who?”
The Prophet said, “Your father.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Mother Child Relationship
Islamic Law affirms that the relationship between a child and its mother is a natural, organic relationship. So his relationship to her is not dependent upon whether she bore him within marriage or out of wedlock—indeed, she is his mother in all circumstances. This is contrary to paternity, which can only be established through legal means.
Respecting one’s Mother Implies and the Ruling?
Respecting one’s mother includes: taking care of her physical well-being, honoring her and treating her well.. Nothing in the Shari’a prohibits an occasion in which children express honoring their mothers. This is merely a matter of organization. There is nothing wrong with it and it bears no connection to the issue of innovation about which so many people murmur. Rejected innovations are new things which are contrary to the Shari’a, since the Prophet said, “Whoever creates something new in this affair of ours which is foreign to it, it is rejected.” (Bukhari and Muslim). The divergent meaning is that whoever innovates something which is not foreign to it, it will be accepted and not rejected.
The Prophet approved when the Arabs celebrated national commemorations and tribal victories in which they would sing of their tribal feats and their victories days. Imam Bukhari and Muslim narrate in a hadith that ‘A’ishah said: “Abu Bakr came to see me. I had two young girls with me who were singing what was sung at the Battle of Bu’ath.” In addition, prophetic narrations note that the Prophet visited the grave of his mother Aminah and that he was never seen to cry more than on that day. (al-Hakim)
The Meaning of Motherhood
In the Arabic language, the word ‘mother’ refers to the source, to a habitat, to the chief, and to the servant of a people who takes care of their food and serves them. This last meaning was related from Imam al-Shafi’I, who was among the experts of Arabic language. Ibn Durayd said, “That to which all other things around it are ascribed to it is called a ‘mother’.” Because of this, Mecca is dubbed ‘Mother of cities’ since it is in the center of the world and the direction to which people face [in prayer], and because it is the most significant city of all.
Since language is the vessel for thought, for Muslims the immediate sense of word is associated with that person whom Allah made the source for an individual human’s formation, who then sheltered him, took care of his nurturing and upbringing; was endowed with love to care for him and to look after his needs. In all of this, it is the mother who is instilled with the affection and mercy to which her children seek comfort.
Just as this meaning is clear in the original linguistic meaning of the word and words derived from its linguistic root, our literature clarifies and evidences this further with the compound-word silat al-rahim [lit. womb-ties] in that this physiological attribute found in mothers has been made a symbol for maintaining family relationships which form the foundational elements for building human society. The most rightful and most deserving for this ascription is none other than the mother, who is the reason life continues and families are formed and is the outward manifestation of mercy.
This matter reaches its fullness and perfection with that magnificent religious sense portrayed by the chosen, beloved Prophet in his saying, “Family ties cling to the Throne, saying ‘Allah unites whoever united me, and severs whoever severed me.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
There is a hadith qudsi wherein Allah Mighty and Majestic says, “I am Allah and I am the Compassionate. I created family ties and I derived My name from the womb. I unite whoever unites them, and I will sever whoever severed them.”
The Prophet said, “In Abdullah bin Jud’an’s house, I witnessed a treaty [so great] not even the most prized camel would be dearer to me, and if I had been called to participate in it in Islam I would had answered.” (Al-Bayhaqi)
So according to this, celebrating Mothers’ Day is religiously permissible; there is nothing that prevents it and there is no harm in it. Rejected innovations are innovations which are in contradiction to the Shari’a. Things whose basis the Shari’a sanctions cannot be rejected and there is no sin upon the person who does them.
And Allah Majestic and Most High knows best.
Mother's Day in most Arab countries is celebrated on 21 March. It was introduced in Egypt by journalist Mustafa Amin in his bookSmiling America (1943). The idea was overlooked at the time, but when Amin heard the story of a widowed mother who devoted her whole life to raise her son until he became a doctor, got married and left without showing her any gratitude, Amin became motivated to promote for "Mother's Day". The idea was first ridiculed by president Gamal Abdel Nasser but he eventually accepted it and Mother's Day was first celebrated on 21 March 1956. The practice has since been copied by the other Arab countries.
When Mustafa Amin was arrested and imprisoned, there were attempts to change the name of the holiday from "Mother's Day" to "Family Day" as the government wished to prevent the occasion from reminding people of its founder. These attempts were unsuccessful and celebrations continued to be held on that day; classic songs celebrating mothers remain famous to this day.