For the first time in seven years, I honoured “Mother’s Day” yesterday. Three or four years ago I sent my mother flowers in September with a note saying, “Everyday should be Mother’s Day.” It wasn’t because of this belief that thanks should be expressed every day, however, that I ignored the celebration on its official date. Nor was it because of the rampant commercialism now associated with the day. As a child I celebrated Mother’s Day in church amidst bunches of fresh daffodils, so it was considered part of our culture, whilst Father’s Day was derided as the march of consumerism.
The reason I failed to honour the occasion over the years since I embraced Islam was the feeling that it was not from my religion; if it was not from this tradition, I thought, I should shun it. This year I felt compelled to change my view. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently started reading Imam Bukhari’s code for everyday living from the example of the early Muslims, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. The fact that the first thirty-eight chapters related to the importance of maintaining the ties of kinship had a huge impact on me. It forced me to re-evaluate my stance.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, was asked, “To whom should I be dutiful?” He replied: “Your mother.” “Then whom?” asked the man. “Your mother,” came the reply again. “Then whom?” “Your mother,” replied the Messenger. “Then to whom?” asked the man finally. “Your father,” said our noble Prophet. Your mother, your mother, your mother: all I could think about after reading Bukhari’s work. If my mother would be upset with my boycott of a really quite noble occasion, I concluded, it would be me who would be the loser. Breaking the ties of kinship is, after all, a major sin, listed along side murder and polytheism.
Some may find it strange that it has taken me seven years to come to this conclusion, while others will accuse me of innovation. I can only say that the words of the earliest Muslims have suddenly stirred my in a way I could not have imagined. I realised that no gift could express my gratitude for everything my mother has done for me and no words could express my sorrow for my years of remiss. Those words of our blessed Prophet just repeat over and over in my mind: “Your mother, your mother, your mother.”