Question: Dear scholars, as-Salamu `alaykum. What is the Islamic stance on celebrating Mother’s Day; is there anything wrong in it according to Shari`ah?
consultant: Faysal Mawlawi
consultant: Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
consultant: `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
First of all, it goes without saying that every committed Muslim is supposed to pay his parents, especially his mother, due respect. One should try to show dutifulness to one’s parents, even if they happened to be non-Muslims, let alone being Muslims. What Islam goes against is to imitate non-Muslims by marking a special occasion such as celebrating the Mother’s Day in a way that shows that mothers do not deserve due respect and care save on this very day. If we are going to make the whole year a Mother’s Day, then Islam welcomes celebrating the occasion with open arms.
Indeed, Muslim scholars have maintained various opinions regarding the issue. Here below we will attempt to furnish you with Juristic views as regard this issue:
First of all, Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, deputy chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states:
Dutifulness to parents, especially the mother, and treating them kindly is an act of worship enjoined in both the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Being dutiful to parents is not confined to a specific time. It is an obligation that should be observed every time, as all people commonly know.
Yet, the Mother’s Day, as it’s known nowadays is a Western habit. The Westerners specified a day and called it the Mother’s Day. On that day sons and daughters show gratefulness to their mothers and offer them presents. It has become part of important feasts in the West, whereas we Muslims have no other festivals except the Lesser and the Greater Bairams. Any other celebrations are deemed mere occasions or anniversaries; and this is applied to the Mother’s Day.
The Mother’s Day implies paying more attention and exerting more effort in expressing gratitude to mothers. So there is nothing wrong in that.
However, there are two reservations worth mentioning; first, considering the Mother’s Day a feast; second, confining the task of showing dutifulness to mothers to that specific day, giving implication that throughout the whole year, just only one day is for showing love to parents. If such two anomalous points are addressed, then there is nothing wrong in considering the Mother’s Day a chance to give more care to mothers.
Thus, we may take the Mother’s Day as a chance to lay more emphasis on our duty towards our mothers, as Islam enjoins us, because dutifulness to parents is a genuine Islamic teaching. But Muslims, in doing that, should never deviate from the Islamic teachings, they should do things in Islamic manners, not in Western manners. Hence, they would not be imitating the non-Islamic habits of the West.
Hence, viewed in juristic perspective, we can say that celebrating the Mother’s day is controversial among the contemporary scholars. While a group of them consider it haram (unlawful) as a kind of blind imitation of the Western non-Islamic habits, which have no benefit for Muslims, another group see it halal(lawful) on condition that showing gratitude and dutifulness to parents should not be confined to that day only.
Moreover, the well known erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi states:
The Arab tend to blindly follow the Western in their celebration of the Mother’s Day, without trying to understand the wisdom behind inventing such an occasion.
When the European found that children do not deal properly towards their parents nor give them their due right, they resorted to specifying an annual occasion for children to remedy the situation. But in Islam, mothers are to be given due respect and love every time, not only one day a year. For example, when one goes out, he kisses one’s mother’s hand seeking her pleasure and blessing.
A Muslim must not allow any gap between him and his mother, he must offer her presents every time. This indicates that Muslims can dispense with such an occasion, the Mother’s Day. Unlike the case in the West, where it’s a vogue for some children to show indifference to their mothers’ feelings, and, what’s more, it is so common to see some parents being dragged to infirmaries (as their kids have no time for them), dutifulness to parents in Islam, alongside with worshipping Allah, is a sacred duty.
In this concern, Almighty Allah says: (And We have commended unto man kindness toward parents. His mother beareth him with reluctance, and bringeth him forth with reluctance, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till, when he attaineth full strength and reacheth forty years, he saith: My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favor wherewith Thou hast favored me and my parents, and that I may do right acceptable unto Thee. And be gracious unto me In the matter of my seed. Lo! I have turned unto Thee repentant, and lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Thee).) (Al-Ahqaf 46: 15)
Reflecting on the aforementioned Qur’anic verse, we find it stressing both parents’ right, but reviewing the following verses we find them paying special care to the mother and tackling the hardships she suffers in pregnancy, fosterage and rearing children.
In this verse, Almighty Allah informs man of the debt he owes his mother since he was a fetus, passing by the process of childbirth, infancy, childhood until he comes of age. A child normally forgets the hardship which his mother underwent during pregnancy. Hence Almighty Allah draws his attention to such hardships, laying emphasis on her great status in Islam.
Finally, Dr. `Abdul Fattah `Ashoor, professor of Qur’an Exegisis at Al-Azhar University, concludes:
Holding celebrations in honoring others and commemorating anniversaries are neither feasts nor Islamic. But one may seize any chance to express gratitude to those who deserve it. This is how we should consider the Mother’s Day. The mother has a special place in the Islamic culture, and all other civilized cultures. So it is something good to do anything to please her and show gratefulness to her.
So dedicating a day to showing good feelings towards parents, especially the mother, is by no means blameworthy as it does not contradict the Islamic teachings, nor can it be merely considered a form of joining the Western vogue of making celebrations. Conversely, it is a kind of devotion to Allah’s orders that we should be dutiful to our parents.
Allah Almighty knows best.