Celebrating Mother's Day
Fatwa No: 81835

  • Fatwa Date:21-3-2001 - Thul-Hijjah 26, 1421
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Question

In western countries many Muslims celebrate the Mother's day. What is the rule of Shariah concerning this celebration?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

What is known among many people as Mother's Day which is claimed to be the 21st of March is nothing but an innovation and a non-Islamic ritual which has entered the Muslim's homes because of their inadvertence and ignorance of the Islamic values and rites. In fact, this so called "Mother's Day" is an imitation of non-Muslims, namely the western people and their followers.

It is proven that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever introduces into this matter of ours (Islam) that which is not a part of it; it will be rejected.” [Al-Bukhari]

There is no innovation except that it causes a Sunnah to be neglected or even rejected. This is clear and evident. You can, for instance, find a man who disobeys his mother and causes her much harm and does not visit her except on rare occasions, and when this "Day" comes, he brings her a gift or a flower and thinks that by this act, he has fulfilled his duties towards her.

The People who innovated this practice did so firstly as compensation to their society's nonfeasance as far as the rights of mothers are concerned and, secondly, due to the break in kinship ties and lack of sincere affection that should exist between parents and their children. For the above reasons, these people innovated this Day to return to the mothers "Some of their rights" and to make families celebrate it and "honor" the mothers.

By doing so, they are like the one who kept silent for a long time and the first word he uttered was nonsense. What is the importance of "honoring" a person one day in a whole year and leaving that person the rest of the year in a "home for the elderly" or alone with her dog or cat? Are these animals more faithful to this woman than her own children whom she has breast-fed and raised as best as she could? In this respect, we say that the mother herself played a part in initiating this disobedience as she herself disobeyed her mother as a young girl. She used to practise the same with her mother and now she receives the same fate as a mother. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ''No people have innovated something that is not from the religion but a Sunnah of the same extent is eliminated. So sticking to a Sunnah is better than inventing an innovation." [Ahmad]

The scholars agreed that it is forbidden to appoint a feast day for Muslims other than the two feasts: ‘Eed Al-Fitr and ‘Eed Al-Adhha because feasts are part of what Allah has ordained on us.

Allah Says (what means): {For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform.} [Quran 22: 67].

Moreover, celebrating this Day does not give the mother the smallest fraction of what Allah has prescribed for her. Allah has ordained on us to obey our mothers and do all the good to them as long as they are alive and after they die. No other religion has given the mother the rights that Islam prescribed to her.

Allah commanded us in many verses of the Quran to obey the parents and do good to them. He even linked their obedience to His worship. He linked thanking Him to thanking them. Allah mentioned the mother alone in some places to show us that her rights are greater than those of the father.

Allah Says (what means): {Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him and to parents do good…} [Quran 4:36]

Allah also Says (what means): {And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents.} [Quran 17:23]

Ibn Abbas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “The obedience of the parents increases by being kind and gentle to them. One should reply gently to everything that they tell him. One should not look at them in their eyes. One should not shout at them. Rather, when one is with his parents, he should be like the slave before his master ”.

Ibn Al-Mussayib  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said when interpreting the verse: {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.}; “this is like what a sinful slave says to a harsh master”.

On the other hand, obedience to parents is an obligation on the children even if the parents are non-Muslims or are Muslims who are known to be dissolute.

Allaah Says (what means): {But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness.} [Quran 31:15]

Allaah ordered that they be given good company even if they are atheists.

Asma’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: "My mother came to me, hoping (for my favor) during the life time of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). So, I asked the Prophet, "May I treat her kindly?" He replied, "Yes". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Besides, ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported: “I asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): "Which deed is most beloved to Allaah?'' The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: "The prayer at its prescribed time.'' I asked: “What next?'' He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): replied, “Kindness to parents.'' I asked: “What next?'' He replied: “Jihad in the way of Allaah.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Moreover, Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “A person came to the Messenger of Allaah and asked, "Who among the people is most deserving of my good treatment?'' He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Your mother". He again asked: “Who next?'' "Your mother", the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied again. He again asked, "Who next?'' He (the Prophet) said again, "Your mother.'' He again asked, "Then who?'' Thereupon he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )   said,''Then your father.''

Al-Mugheerah Ibn Shu’bah   may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ''Allaah has forbidden you: to be unkind and undutiful to your mothers, to withhold (what you should give), to demand (what you do not deserve), and to bury your daughters alive. And Allaah dislikes idle talk, to ask too many questions (of no benefit to person in this life and in the Hereafter), and to waste your wealth". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

So the right of the mothers is greater than that of the father. It is three times the right of the father.

Al-Bukhari   may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad that Ibn ‘Abbas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “I do not know any good act that brings a person closer to Allah than obedience of one’s mother”.

Moreover, obedience to parents is not restricted to their lifetime; rather, it continues after their death.

Abu Daawood  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that a man once came to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and said: "Is there any form of obedience that I could do to my parents after their death?" The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Yes, ask blessings for them, ask Allah to forgive them, carry out their testimony, treat kindly anybody with whom they have blood relationships and treat their friends kindly ".

Indeed, this is the recognition that parents deserve, and above all, the mother. So, anybody who obeys Allah as ordered by the Sharee’ah should not celebrate this day because it is an innovation and because Islam gave the mother complete and comprehensive rights all the time. So, anyone who does not give due respect to his mother all the time, can not make it up to her just by celebrating this day. In fact, by doing so, he will be both disobedient to Allah and an innovator.

Likewise, the practice in the West of setting aside certain days for expressing good deeds, such as Thanksgiving Day (proclaiming gratitude to God) or Christmas (doing charitable acts), should not be observed by Muslims for the reasons already given. Thanking and praising Allah and doing acts of charity are forms of worship that should be a way of life for the Muslim.

Allah knows best.

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