Monday, November 21, 2016

The Importance of Motherhood


At least during his initial stages, a child sees his parents as role models and examples to be followed. Hence, he imitates their words, movements and attitude. Furthermore, the child acquires his language from his parents first, then from those around him. Hence, it is the parents’ responsibility, especially the mother’s, to bring up the child and do so according to the wise Islamic methodology; what a weighty responsibility this is indeed!

1- Religious Importance

There are priorities that should be instilled in the child. The first of these is the Islamic creed as represented in the pillars of Eemaan (faith), then the pillars of Islam for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for the people under his guardianship." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The importance of parental upbringing and its impact on the child’s creed is indicated by the Hadeeth where the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Every human being is born with a sound innate inclination to the truth, but it is his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Magi.” [Al-Bukhaari]

This is depicted in the Quran in the story of righteous parents who called their son to faith, but did so when it was too late and after he had already grown up: Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {But one who says to his parents, “Uff to you; do you promise me that I will be brought forth [from the earth] when generations before me have already passed on [into oblivion]?” while they call to Allah for help [and to their son], “Woe to you! Believe! Indeed, the Promise of Allah is truth.” But he says, “This is not but legends of the former people.”} [Quran 46:17]

The second priority to be considered after the creed is the Sharee‘ah directives. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, urged parents to observe this and considered them responsible for doing so. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Command your children to pray when they are seven years old, and beat them for it [prayer] when they are ten years old; and separate them in their beds.” [Abu Daawood]

The third priority is morals and is achieved by getting the child accustomed to good morals like truthfulness and honesty and warning against bad morals like stealing, lying, treachery, insulting and swearing. The mother should not order her child to do something which she herself does not do because this will be reflected in the child's attitude.

2- Social Importance

It is known that the social environment has a great effect on one's character. The people of Maryam (Mary), may Allah exalt her mention, were aware of this when they said what is mentioned in the verse (which means): {“O sister of Haaroon (Aaron), your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.”} [Quran 19:28]

The moral, social and psychological aspects overlap. Altruism, for example, is a moral that has an inseparable social and psychological nature, and forgiveness is the same.

The point that we want to highlight in the social aspect is the extroversion in the child's attitude where the mother plays the major role. She has to bring up her child to mix with others and not to be an introvert in order to have an efficient and effective role in society in the future. Hence, Islam enacted legislation that creates familiarity among individuals, which are the social manners like those of greeting, asking for permission, speaking, congratulating, consoling, and visiting patients.

The mother is the first to form the starting point of human relations in her child. Hence, the child must go beyond his mother to the external world. There is no doubt that the relationship between the parents will be reflected on the attitude and psychology of their child, meaning, if it is good it will have a positive impact on him and vice versa.

3- Psychological Importance

One of the norms set by Allah, The Exalted, in the souls is that He placed love and tranquility in the mother for her child and vice versa. This is the sound and regular norm. Hence, Allah, the Almighty, emphasizes that mothers breastfeed their children, according to the verse (which means): {Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period].} [Quran 2:233]

Breastfeeding develops an intimate relationship between the mother and her child as it makes the child cling to his mother, and this has been confirmed by scientific research. In his book about motherhood, Dr. Faayiz Qintaar says that the baby should experience his mother’s touch directly after he is born because these moments are important for the future relation between the child and his mother and between the child and his society.

Dr. Faayiz adds that such an attitude makes the child feel his mother’s warmth and affection from the first moment of his life, and this has a great impact on the child's social formation. Hence, the mother who is close to her child and alert to his attitude and needs, enhances his confidence in adults and does not make him feel afraid or terrified when seeing them. On the other hand, the mother who is less sensitive to her child has an opposite effect on her child, and this is the thing that makes him distrust adults and become anxious.

If the child feels secure in his relationship with his mother, he is more able to socialize with his peers and those who are strangers to him. Hence, the atmosphere that surrounds the child has the greatest impact on his life.

By virtue of this, kindergartens and wet nurses are a curse on the child because they do not provide him with the abovementioned necessities.

Erich Fromm, an expert in this field, says that the mother’s love for her child is a definite guarantee for the continuity of his life and the fulfillment of his needs. Its being a guarantee for the continuity of his life has two manifestations: The first is that looking after the child and being responsible for him are absolute necessities for preserving his life and maintaining his development. The second manifestation goes beyond mere care. It instills in the child the belief that there is something that he should live for and that life is something useful and beautiful – as mentioned by Maha ‘Abdullaah Al-Abrash in her book about motherhood and its status in Islam.

The mother is the window through which the child looks at the world. Hence, she has to bring him up on loving goodness for others and courage so that he can be aware of his entity and his ability to interact with society. If the child is brought up on shyness, fear and feelings of inferiority, this will create inside him envy, anger, hatred of society and he will, thus, be aggressive.

4- Moral Importance

We have already mentioned that the social, psychological, moral and religious aspects overlap in a way that makes it difficult to delimit them.

The moral deviation of parents will inevitably lead to the moral collapse of the family because the parents are the child’s role model, especially during his first years. In these years, the child is only good at imitation until he starts to have other sources for learning later on, like teachers and friends.

Allah, The Almighty, gave us an example of a righteous mother – the mother of Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention – by the testimony of her people. Allah, The Almighty, Says that they said (what means): {…nor was your mother unchaste.} [Quran 19:28] Hence, she gave her daughter Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention, a righteous upbringing. Allah, The Almighty, Says that she said (what means): {I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the Mercy of Allah].} [Quran 3:36]

Another testimony of a righteous father is mentioned in the verse (which means): {O sister of Haaroon [Aaron], your father was not a man of evil.} [Quran 19:28]

A righteous environment produced the righteous individual, Maryam, may Allah exalt her mention. Hence, the environment plays a major role in moral upbringing. The phenomena of insults and swearing, thus, reflects the improper moral upbringing of a child.



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