The Holy Prophet Muhammad once told an anecdote to his companions about three individuals who were travelling together when it started to rain heavily. Shortly after they took refuge in a cave, a big boulder came hurtling down and blocked the entrance to the cave.
With little hope of escape, and despair on their faces, one of the travellers told the rest not to lose hope and to pray to Almighty God by describing their most virtuous deed to help enable them to get out of the cave.
The first traveller, addressing Almighty God, said that he has old parents and young children. He would give milk to his old parents first, then his children every night after taking the goats to graze.
Once, when he came home quite late, his parents were asleep. Rather than disturb their sleep, he stood by his parents all night with the cup of milk in case they woke up and needed it.
He prayed to God to enable them to come out of the cave if this act is worthy of reward before God. God was pleased with the act of this man and the stone moved a little.
Similarly, after the other two related their tales, the stone was fully moved and they were able to come out of the cave.
What this anecdote is clearly saying is that looking after one’s parents pleases God and such acts are not left unrewarded. The story is very relevant considering that Mother’s Day is being celebrated tomorrow around the world.
The story also draws our attention to ponder over what Mother’s Day actually means to us.
Is dedicating one day of the year enough, considering the greatness and unconditional love of a mother? Is a day sufficient to show our thanks and gratitude to the unconditional love, care, upbringing and compassion of a mother?
Even if we remain obedient, thankful and serve our parents throughout our lives, it still cannot do justice to the benevolence and kindness we cherish from our parents, let alone a day.
In today’s modernised and technological world, many parents are often neglected and not given due care and attention. Many feel marginalised, abandoned, isolated and maltreated by their children to whom they have given everything and anything they had – their time, wealth, the best possible upbringing, care, genuine compassion and unconditional love.
Taking care of our loved ones in their vulnerable years also sets a good precedent for our future generations.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers – the symbols of true and flawless sympathy, love and compassion- Laiq Ahmed Atif
This reminds me of a story a child once recounted to me, with much pain and unease, namely the ill treatment of his grandfather at the hands of his father.
He was gradually transferred from a well-provided and comfortable main bedroom to smaller and less convenient accommodation until it was finally decided to remove the grandfather to the servants’ quarters.
During an exceptionally severe winter, the grandfather complained of his room being too chilly and his quilt being too thin to make him feel warm and comfortable. The father started looking for an extra blanket from a stock of old, useless rags. Observing this, the child turned to his father and told him: “Please, do not give all the rags to grandpa. Keep some for me so that I may be able to give them to you when you grow old.”
How true is the saying that ‘you reap what you sow’!
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to take good care of our parents.
Guiding us to this very important duty, God says in the Holy Quran: “Behave beneficently towards parents. If either or both of them should attain old age while you are alive, say not ‘ugh’ to them, nor chide them, and speak kindly to them. Lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness and pray: Lord have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was a little child” (17:24-25).
These verses are very relevant to this subject. After seeking unity with God, human beings should, through their attitude of love, affection and kindness, give priority over all other things to their parents when they have reached an old and difficult age.
Furthermore, the verses speak of situations when the behaviour of one or both of our parents becomes extremely trying and sometimes offensive.
In response to this, not even a mild expression of disgust or disapproval should pass through our lips. On the contrary, they should be treated with profound love, respect, compassion and care.
May this Mother’s Day bring much happiness, health and prosperity to all mothers and parents.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers – the symbols of true and flawless sympathy, love and compassion.
Laiq Ahmed Atif is president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta.