May 14th. The holiday of roses, jewelry, and Hallmark cards, or otherwise known as Mother’s Day. A day that for many truly is a celebration of the mothers in their life, biological or otherwise, and for others, a very difficult time due to strained relationships and unaddressed trauma.
However this day may unfold for you, this advice compiled by Sr. Sabiha Jaffer are three timeless recommendations for mothers and children. Sr. Sabiha touches on the importance of role modeling the behavior you want to see, acknowledging the back-breaking burdens that mothers carry, and reminding us of the words of the Du’ās from Imām ʿAlī as-Sajjād Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn (ʿa)
The challenges your children face today are very many and of different kinds, try to understand that it is not easy for them, and the challenges they face are very different from what you have experienced…talk to them often and work with them through their difficulties without judging or comparing.
Your mothers’ experiences were very different from what you are going through, but they too were young once and faced their own challenges, some of which we can’t even imagine. Understand that and appreciate their wisdom. Seek their counsel; they can guide you more than you realize.
Inspired by Risālat al-Ḥuqūq – right of the child: Move away from lecturing your children they need you to model for them what you want them to become…so be what you want them to be and they will follow.
Inspired by Risālat al-Ḥuqūq – right of the mother: You can never repay what your mother has done for you regardless of any shortcomings…so be grateful for everything they did and continue to do for you.
Pray for your children – Dua #25 Aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah as-Sajjādiyyah – “Make them pious, fearing, insightful, hearing, and obedient toward You, loving and well-disposed toward Your friends, and stubbornly resistant and full of hate toward all Your enemies!”
Pray for your Mothers – Dua #24 Aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah as-Sajjādiyyah – “Forgive me through my supplication for my parents, and forgive them through their devotion to me with unfailing forgiveness, be well pleased with them and make them reach through Your generosity the abodes of safety.”
This advice, though difficult to put into practice, is invaluable when it comes to preserving or salvaging our relationships – with our children or with our own mothers.
The verse of Sūrah Luqmān in which Allah (swt) addresses the efforts of our parents and our responsibilities towards them is a great reminder to be mindful when we are frustrated and tired and unable to keep our patience;
“And We have enjoined man in respect of his parents– his mother bears him with faintings upon faintings and his weaning takes two years– saying: Be grateful to Me and to both your parents; to Me is the eventual coming. And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly…”(Sūrah Luqmān, 31:14-15)
As difficult as these relationships may sometimes be, we pray that they are a source of growth and a means of attaining nearness to Allah (swt).