Can we take care of Amma the way she always took care of us?
“Mother’s Day” … isn’t that an American thing?
Yes, it is. In 1914, Anna Jarvis of the United States was successful in setting up the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Since then, this has been the date of Mother’s Day in America -- and beyond; although, different countries celebrate it on different days. Are you sceptical about rejoicing this day? Like many, you may think that we don’t need to celebrate because we, Bangalis, love our mothers and every day is our Mother’s Day. Most of our thoughts revolve around this line, don’t they?
While we believe mothers are not to be formally remembered and celebrated just once a year but every day of our lives, many of us don’t even do it once a year. In fact, most of us, perhaps, wouldn’t be able to remember when we last appreciated our mothers’ contributions. Why? Appreciating mothers’ contributions is becoming increasingly difficult, because there is a sharp rise of living without parents nowadays. Or, perhaps, it’s a cultural thing that we are too shy to acknowledge our mothers’ roles in our lives.
Different contributing factors are pushing parents to distant places when they need us most. Sometimes, people are moving to other cities or countries for better education and job opportunities and there they are, gone forever. Have you ever observed that the more qualified the children, the lonelier the parents get during old age? Look around you; plenty of examples are prevailing among our kith and kin.
It’s a common observation that many are not comfortable living with mothers-in-law. For many, living with old parents is just a social cliché and an extra burden. Others think that the city is too expensive to feed one or two extra mouths. We all have come across cases of such kinds. While there can be many petty reasons, arguably, many of us are abandoning our greatest treasures by choice.
From emotional support to petty issues, we needed mothers for whatnot in our young age. After all, mothers are mothers, caring and loving. They are the glue that holds the family together. The role of women in society is not limited to motherhood only. Against a long list of discrimination, lack of equal opportunities, unequal wages, abuse, violence, and public safety, some of our mothers are full-time homemakers as well as service holders, entrepreneurs, professionals, and activists. Some of them abandon their jobs despite being incredibly successful, because of their children. How many amongst us truly appreciate their role in the family and society?
Being a father myself, I can feel the excitement my children get when I come back home after work. I suppose, I would love to see my grown-up children every day after their day’s commitment when I am old and wrinkled, because these feelings are reciprocal and it never gets old. A mother’s excitement is a few times multiplied for sure. I bet our mothers are equally excited to see their extremely busy grown-up children even in their old days. However, to allow this simple pleasure, living with parents is essential.
Trying to ignore parents is like trying to remove your shadow. Parents are the manifestation of our existence, they will always be there; it is better to care for them for our own benefits in this world and hereafter. Let us put ourselves in their shoes to develop empathy, because it’s just a matter of time when you and I also become like them.
Think about the condition of the parents living alone during this corona pandemic. They need our attention more than ever. The problem of not living with the parents is a reality nowadays; presumably, it will increase in the days to come. Islam eloquently guides us about dealing with parents, especially our mothers, because mothers are held in very high esteem in Islam.
Islam instructs Muslims to be kind, obedient, grateful, respectful, and gentle to both parents, especially to mothers. Many verses in the Holy Qur’an show the importance of mothers in the life of Muslims. For instance, Allah says in the Qur’an: “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say, ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.’” (Quran 17:23-24)
According to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), mother’s status is three times higher than the a father’s status as stated in one hadith in Sahih Bukhari. The importance of serving one’s mother is more than Jihad, as stated in hadith: A man came to Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I want to go out and fight (in Jihad) and I have come to ask your advice.” He (pbuh) said: “Do you have a mother?” He said: “Yes.” Prophet (pbuh) said: “Then stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” (Sunan Nisai)
Mothers never let go of their children. Leaving mothers wouldn’t earn that paradise we all aspire to enter, living with them might.
At the end of her life, Anna Jarvis campaigned to rescind Mother’s Day because of the excessive commercialization surrounding the day she founded. Let us not observe the day because it’s a fashion. Some of our mothers age gracefully, because of children’s affection, and some mothers face concerns as they grow old. Let this Mother’s Day be a reminder of how well we can take care of our own Amma, as they cared for us throughout our lives.
Golam Towhid Al Kibria is a graduate from Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) as well as Army Command College, Nanjing, China. [email protected]