- It is a well known saying of the Prophet (saw) that heaven lies at the feet of mothers.
- There is also the Hadith where the Prophet (saw) is asked who we should love and honor above others and he responds three times “your mother” before he mentions the next person: your father.
Salaam Alaykum sister. Thank you so much for your questions. Myself, I have spent time as a stay-at-home mom as well as having a job outside the home. Both paths have their rewards and challenges. Please be assured that you made the best decision for your family.
Rewards of Being a Mother
It is a well known saying of the Prophet (saw) that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. There is also the Hadith where the Prophet (saw) is asked who we should love and honor above others and he responds three times “your mother” before he mentions the next person: your father.
Did you also know that many times throughout the Quran the importance of respecting the wishes of one’s parents is mentioned? Moreover, parents are mentioned in juxtaposition to Allah!
In Surah al Isra Allah says:
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents.” (Quran 17:23)
The worshiping of Allah is the linchpin of Islam. It is what makes us Muslim. And directly besides mentioning this, Allah mentions the importance of parents!
Mothers of Islamic History
There are many examples of women throughout Islamic history who are known for the simple and important role of motherhood.
One wonderful example of a Muslim mother was the mother of Imam Shafii, who is the founder of the Shafii madhhab. She raised Imam Shafii on her own, as her husband died. She was a poor widow but she wanted her son to accomplish great things and become a learned man.
When he was older, Imam Shafii related a story about his youth. He asked his mother to buy him paper for his studies, but she was unable to afford it. She encouraged him to use his mind like paper and do his best to “take notes” in his head. By doing this, he was able to develop a very sharp memory for which he was known in his adulthood.
Another example we would be remiss in neglecting to mention is the mother of Jesus (as), Mary (ra). Not much is known about the childhood of the Prophet Jesus (as), but we know Mary to be strong of character and devoted.
How do we know this? While single motherhood is quite common these days, it was much more rare in the time and place Mary (ra) lived. She had to endure the stigma of being an unmarried mother, and she had the responsibility of raising someone who she knew would be a prophet of God.
Now, Mary is loved and respected by Christians and Muslims alike. She is the only woman in the Quran mentioned by name and even had a chapter named after her: Surah Maryam. And what is she known for? Being a mother.
Is Being a Mother Required?
Being a mother is doubtlessly praiseworthy. It is rewarding in this life and insha’Allah the next. But is it the only path? Or even the best one?
I don’t know how old your daughter is, but there are a few possibilities. She may be too young to have decided definitively about being a mother. In this case, don’t bother talking to her about it, as it is inconsequential.
If your daughter is approaching the age of marriage, maybe she is more certain. First and foremost, if she is thinking about getting married, she and you need to be forthright with any potential spouse about her lack of desire to have children. Honesty about this is important. It might be the instinct of some people to conceal this in fear of scaring off suitors. But honesty is important. There ARE men out there who don’t want children, too.
Secondly, please know that being a mom isn’t for everyone and it is in no way incumbent upon Muslim women. If a person does not want children and is pressured into having them anyway, she is unlikely to be a very good mother. She may end up resenting her spouse, or her children. Being a parent is wonderful — IF it is what you want!
Make sure you’re daughter knows the rewards of motherhood, but also make sure she knows that there are many paths for her to take. She is loved and valued by Allah whether or not she chooses to have children.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
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