The history of Mother’s Day is centuries old and goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods. The early Christians celebrated the Mother’s festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour Mary, the mother of Christ. Interestingly, later on a religious order stretched the holiday to include all mothers, and named it as the Mothering Sunday.
People working out of their homes were expected to return to the “mother” church (the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm). It also became an occasion for family reunions. Besides attending church services in honour of the Virgin Mary, children (particularly those working as domestic servants, or as trainees, being given the day off to visit their mother and family) used to come back home with gifts, flowers, and unique Mothering Day cakes and spend the day with their mothers. Today, the Mother’s Day is a day when children give presents, flowers, and home made cards to their mothers to express their love. The English colonists settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday because of lack of time.
In 1907, Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother’s Day in honour of her mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. She solicited the help of hundreds of legislators and prominent businessmen to create a special day to honour mothers. The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service honouring Anna’s mother. Anna handed out her mother’s favourite flowers, the white incarnations, on the occasion as they represent sweetness, purity, and patience.
Slowly and gradually the Mother’s day became very popular and gift giving activity increased. All this commercialization of the Mother’s day infuriated Anna as she believed that the day’s sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit.
Ironically, Jarvis was never a mother herself. After caring for her sick mother and her blind sister, she never married. She also became disenchanted with the commercialism of the holiday. In her later years, she lost all her property, her eyesight, and her health. Friends collectively paid for her fees to a sanatorium where she died a pauper. The holiday was quickly adopted by other states and countries and in 1914; a resolution was passed in congress establishing the second Sunday in May to be officially recognized as Mother’s Day.
This is another day on the calendar that causes Muslims, especially Muslims living in Western countries a major problem. Every year in the month of May we are forced to answer the question: why don’t you celebrate Mother’s Day, don’t you love your mother? Many times the kuffaar have asked this question to the Muslims. In addition, Muslims have adopted this practice of celebrating Mother’s Day in their own homes. The reason that it is said in the Hadith: ‘Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.‘ Therefore, these Muslims reason: Is it not good and advisable for us to give our mothers a treat on a special day like Mother’s Day?
We may answer both our Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters by saying, undoubtedly, ‘Mother’s Day’ is a special day. But it is a special day of kufr and shirk. Its roots are seeped in shirk, kufr and paganism. And it is among the major acts of haraam to emulate the evil and shirk of the kuffaar. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever emulates a nation becomes of them.” The fulfilment of the rights of a mother and our expression of love and devotion for her do not require emulation of a kuffaar and pagan custom. It is Waajib on a Muslim to express his love, devotion and service to his mother every day of his life as long as she is alive. The special day set aside serves to a small degree to soothe the conscience of kuffaar who generally abandon their mothers. They neglect their aged parents and assign them to old-age and pension homes where these parents have to languish in grief and loneliness until death claims them. Old-age homes are indeed a terrible reflection of the corruption of a society. When a people have no feelings for their own parents and cast them away to languish in cold old-age homes, it is adequate commentary on their callousness. Perhaps ‘mother’s day’ is advisable for such callous people who possess no conception of love and service for parents. Just look and see what was the end result of the woman that started the modern day celebration of mothers day, she died alone with no one to look after her. This situation never happens in a good Muslim home. In a good Muslim home mother’s day is every day of the year. We the Muslims are in no need of one- day-a-year celebrations that are beret of love and affection but are actually days of pomp and show. People vie with each other in showing how much they can spent on their mother for this one day and then the very next day if the mother is in need of their children’s help for some emergency, the children are no where to be found. May Allah the most high strengthen our hearts with the love of our parents, mothers and fathers and all of our relatives and the rest of the ummat as well. May He give us the ability to fulfil our wajib rights which we owe to our parents every day of the year, not just one day in the month of May. Ameen.