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Muslim Parenting :The Mother's Role


Considering the high status given to the mother in Islam -- higher than the father's, and second only to Allah in deserving respect -- it is easy to see why Muslim women usually desire children and why they are happy to stay home and care for them.

A woman can do many things that she enjoys at home. Some women have mastered special skills, becoming writers, artists, expert seamstresses or craftspeople, and learning a myriad of other special skills, without leaving their children or their homes to pursue a career. A woman's house can be her palace, her special medium, the place where her soul can be at peace, in which she is the queen.

A woman who leaves her children to spend her time on a career in order to "find herself" or make a reputation as a "modern woman" has probably misunderstood and undervalued the importance of her role in the home and her relationship with her children. Self-glorification and ego gratification are forms of arrogance, excuses for following one's own will and desires instead of Allah's , which cannot be expected to bear good fruit.

We all agree that the highest of rewards is the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala. We also all know the critical importance of the family in Islam, and in society as a whole, with the tremendous emphasis in the Islamic teachings on ensuring its well-being. By looking at the society around us, we can easily see how it is being rapidly warped and destroyed by women not giving the vital role of mother its due, by their not being there for their children because they have unnecessarily gone to work.

The condition of Western society today can be said to prove the correctness of the Islamic teachings concerning the diverse responsibilities of men and women, of the husband/father and the wife/mother, within the family. We see what happens if the foundation of security, and trust in the universe as a safe, nurturing place, is not laid down in early childhood by the efforts of a committed mother, who is supported and assisted in her role by a caring, committed father. When women fulfill their nurturing role and men their protective, maintaining role, society flourishes; when they do not, society falls apart. And a just society recognizes and supports this by making every sort of assistance available to parents in carrying out their vital roles.

A wise woman evaluates her situation seriously, weighing the fulfilment and reward possible from caring for children and home, versus the fulfilment and reward possible from other efforts. Her entire situation should be considered, weighed, and discussed responsibly with her husband, keeping in mind the needs of the individual family members and the total family group.

There are many women who sincerely wish to stay at home with their children, but cannot because of economic necessity. Too often we treat this subject as if women have the choice to stay home. Community leaders need to be more responsive to assisting mothers. Too many women are out in the work force because they and their children would starve otherwise. They will be rewarded for their sacrifices and the communities that ignored them will be answerable before Allah for their hard hearts. 

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