With Islam reaching around 2 billion people in the world, this means that there are around 1 billion Muslim women and potential mothers on Earth. With that in mind, does paradise really lie under the feet of mothers? This is what the Prophet Muhammad (Praise be upon him) said, so what did he mean?
This article will go into the meaning of this phrase, as well as how you can exemplify it in your own life. Continue to read to learn how to follow this teaching of Muhammad (Praise be upon him) in your daily life.
Islam and Mothers
Just who are the “Mothers” described here anyway? How do we define who these people are? It is a simple process to determine this by only looking at what the Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) said, or more accurately what he did not say.
The Prophet does not clarify by saying “Your mother”, “Mothers with small children”, “Mothers of your friends”, or even “Mothers of the Islamic faith”. He only says that paradise lies at the feet of “Mothers”.
You should give these people the respect they deserve. They are the ones who raise the next generation of people. They teach some of the earliest lessons a person has in life and give of their own body for that child.
“His mother bears him with faintings upon faintings and his weaning takes two years” – The Quran, 31:14-15
It is not common for a man to give as much as a mother and go on to want to do so again in the future, as many mothers do.
This is further exemplified when Islam prioritizes the peace of staying at home with a mother over engaging in a holy war. The Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) speaks about this in Al-Kafi, Vol.2. P. 130, where he said that:
“The spiritual reward which you receive for serving her even one night and making her happy with your presence, is greater than a one-year long holy war.”
Finally, you may wonder whether this relates to mothers who are not of the faith of Islam. It does, as there are examples of the Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) showing respect to non-Islamic mothers.
Asma bint Abu Bakr narrates a story of her non-Islamic mother visiting her. Muhammad (Praise be upon him) then told her “Be good to your mother”, without even mentioning her faith. This shows that Muhammad (Praise be upon him) intended this respect for mothers to cross faith lines.
Who are the Mothers?
It would be easy to say that these comments relate only to our own mothers. This, however, is difficult to reconcile with the original quote that paradise lies at the feet of “Mothers”. The Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) does not specify that he considers only one’s own mother to be worthy of respect.
Instead, he talks of all mothers. These demands are not only laid here, but they repeat throughout the Qu’ran. In 17:23, for example, we read that we must give parents “good treatment” and be kind to them.
Again, this does not specify any particular parents but ensures you understand that you should hold all people up as worthy of love.
What About Those Who Cannot Be Mothers?
Some people are indeed unable to bear children. This can be upsetting to all who hear it, especially those people it affects themselves. As Allah tells us to bear children, this can make us feel disheartened.
We know that mothers are not only people who physically bear children, however. Those who adopt, care for their community’s children, and raise them well are also mothers and fathers in the eyes of Allah.
The Prophet Muhammad (Praise be upon him) himself adopted others into his family. He brought into his circle a slave called Zayd and over time his relationship with Zayd became one of father and son rather than slave and master.
Zayd himself entered into the Muslim faith due to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Praise be upon him). He considered himself so much a part of Muhammad’s (Praise be upon him) family that when Zayd’s father came to find Zayd with him, Zayd refused to leave. After Zayd’s father declared that Zayd was no longer his son in his eyes, Muhammad (Praise be upon him) adopted the child, who became Zayd bin Muhammad.
From this, we can understand that adoption is normal. In taking in another’s child, we become their mothers and fathers. This allows everyone we know to be a potential parent and worthy of the respect that brings.
Any woman can be a mother regardless of their body’s ability to bear children itself, this is a significant factor in how we should treat these people. We must remember the actions of the Noble Prophet, that he became a father through adoption, and so paradise potentially lies at the feet of all women.
How Does This Compare to Men or Fathers?
While women must have your respect, many would suggest that men deserve it even more. So, the question is one of gender and whether men or women deserve better treatment. In answering this, as always, we should look to the words of the Noble Prophet.
The Prophet Muhammad (Praise be upon him) said that:
“If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them” (an-Nisa, 4/124)
The Prophet does not state there is one set of rules for men and one for women. Access to Heaven is the same for both men and women. But the most interesting aspect of this is that it states that “not the least injustice will be done to them”.
This is a very explicit statement, one that does not leave any room for interpretation. It states that absolutely nothing bad will happen to them, no matter who they are. It also does not state that this will solely occur in Heaven.
If Allah will not perform unjust acts to any of His people, be they men or women, why would you go against that? You should seek to emulate the kind of justice that Allah exemplifies while you are alive. That includes treating both men and women with the same respect.
All are welcome into heaven in Allah’s eyes if they follow these two rules. Neither men nor women are superior to the other, even if they follow different roles throughout their life. So, support Muslims, no matter who they are.
Why Should I Show Women Respect?
During the Prophet Muhammad’s (Praise be upon him) teachings, he gave us the tools to answer this question. He spread this answer through what later became several hadiths.
During the Prophet Muhammad’s (Praise be upon him) Last Sermon, he explicitly stated that you should “Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women, and treat them well.”. It cannot get more explicit than that. The Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) wishes for us to consider women, for whom paradise is under their feet, with great respect.
Similarly, in Sunan Abi Dawud 2143, he tells us not to revile women. We should treat them as we treat ourselves. Specifically, for men approaching women, you should:
“give her food when you take food, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.”
From this, we can assume that one should not leave a woman with less than a man at any time due to the fact she is a woman. She should have the same food and clothing as the man, as she is deserving of them.
The Noble Prophet (Praise be upon him) was also quoted as saying, “Women are the twin halves of men”. Twins are separate beings, but they are equal in all ways to their paired sibling.
It is obvious that there are physical differences we can recognize, but if one is a twin they are generally treated the same as its sibling. To do otherwise would be to be unjust.
Therefore, ensure that you show mothers and all women respect, treat them as you would regard a man. Show them the same courtesy and justice, and do not withhold that which they deserve from them.
Where Should I Go for More Teaching?
There are several Qur’an quotes about mothers in many places on the Internet. You can find a multitude of Prophet Muhammad (Praise be upon him) quotes in your own Qur’an. Also, you should speak to your own spiritual leader about how to incorporate his words into your life.
We are a firm believer in the idea that we as devotees to Islam should help one another. For a better idea of what we mean by this and how Crescent Wealth can help you invest ethically while following the Qu’ran, contact us today. Our experts should be able to give you a better idea of what we can provide you moving forward.
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