Mother and Child
The image of motherly tenderness, of a mother nursing her child, was the image which the Prophet (Pbuh)chose to illustrate to his Companions the generosity of Allah’s Mercifulness towards his servants, asking them, “Do you think that this woman would ever throw her child in the fire?”
They replied, “No, by Allah, so far as it lies in her power not to do so.”
The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “Verily, Allah is more merciful to His servants than this woman is to her child.”1
Motherhood with its love, warmth, and protection was holy in the eyes of Prophet . Although used to long night prayers alone until his feet would crack, this great Imam , when leading people in congregational prayer, was heard saying,
“I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child I shorten my prayer because of the intense sadness I know his crying causes his mother.”2
In his eyes, in sympathy with the mother’s solicitude and her child’s continuous need of her, the short moments of praying were too long to separate the two. Anas bin Malik said,
“I never prayed behind any Imam a prayer lighter and more perfect than that behind the Prophet . He (Pbuh)used to cut short the prayer whenever he heard the cries of a child, lest he should put the child’s mother to trial.”3
This irreplaceable motherly love and care was enough to entitle the mother, in the case of divorce, to the custody of her child as the Prophet (Pbuh)judged for the mother who complained to him, saying,
“O Messenger of Allah, this son of mine, my womb for him was a vessel, my breasts for him a water skin, and my lap for him a haven, yet his father has divorced me and wants to take him away from me.” The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said to her, “You are more deserving of him as long as you do not remarry.”4
The same fear of tearing away a mother from her child was shown by the Prophet (Pbuh) towards other creatures. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud t narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)settled at a place (during a journey), when a person went to a thicket and took out of it some eggs of a bird, which came fluttering its wings over the head of the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)and his Companions. He (Pbuh)asked, ‘Who aggrieved this?’ A man among the people said, ‘I got some of its eggs.’ The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said, ‘Return them out of mercy for it.’”5
- ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, Sahih Muslim, Book of At-Tawbah (Repentance), Hadith no. 4947.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adhan (Call to Prayer), Hadith no. 668.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adhan, Hadith no. 667.
- ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of At-Talaq (Divorce), Hadith no. 1938.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin, Hadith no. 3643.