Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Qur’aan : “And your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents. If either one or both of them reach old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor rebuke them, and speak to them with words of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “my Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy, as they did bring me up when I was small.” (Ch 17 : v 23-24)
When we compare verses of the Holy Qur’aan dealing with social, economic and political systems of Islam, we find out that most of the Qur’aanic verses deal with the social system, followed by the economic system and the least number of verses deal with the political system.
The reason is clear. While there is room for political evolution as the awareness of people increases with the progression of time, the social system does not undergo noticeable changes with the passage of time. The nature of relationships of parents to their children or husband and wife relationships or sibling ties or our obligations towards our relatives is not different from what it had been thousands of years ago .
A special emphasis
In the Holy Qur’aan the commandment for being kind and dutiful to our parents is repeated many times (no less than ten). It is interesting to note that, in the Holy Qur’aan, more emphasis is laid on the need to love our parents than to love our children or our wives.
The reason is that it is generally in our nature to love our children and wives, but as people grow older having their own families, their love for their old parents diminishes most of the times. Therefore, the Qur’aan tells us to cultivate the love of our parents in our hearts.
Biological basis of our relationship to our mothers
In the Holy Qur’aan, Allah says, “and we have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother had bore him in difficulty and hardship (during pregnancy) and weaning him off breastfeeding is in two years – (so you should) give thanks to Me and your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” (Ch 31 : v 14)
In these verses of the Holy Qur’aan, the pregnancy period and the period of breastfeeding are specifically mentioned along with the commandment by Allah for us to be dutiful and thankful to our parents. It is well-known that the first connection between the soul and body of a person occurs while the person is in the womb of the mother and that has profound implications in later life.
Recently, interesting scientific research has been done regarding the relationship between the pregnant mother and the unborn child in her womb. We know that the heart of the unborn child develops and starts pumping long before the brain is formed. Even though the actual factor that triggers the heart beat is unknown, it is very likely that the heart beat of the mother triggers the heart beat of the unborn child who is in her womb.
At the time when the unborn child is four and half months old in the womb, of the mother its sense of hearing is complete and according to the Hadeeth (Prophetic sayings of Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him), that is about the time when the ‘rooh’ (soul) is blown into the unborn child. At that point, the unborn child can hear the sounds produced in the body of the mother.
Of all the sounds that the child hears in the womb of the mother, the most predominant and common one is the continuous rhythmic sound of its mothers heartbeat as long as the mothers heartbeat is normal and regular, the unborn child feels safe. In 1940’s scientists discovered that the mother’s heart beat affects the heartbeat of the unborn child in the womb in many ways.
The unconscious memory of the mother’s heart beat, while the child was in the womb, remains in the child even after birth and for the rest of his or her life.
Several scientific researches support this view. It was shown that when the heart beat sound was played on a tape-recorder in a hospital nursery, it reduced the infant crying in the nursery. Some researchers have mentioned that it is due to unconscious memory of the mother’s heartbeat, after the birth, a child feels comforted when it is held to somebody’s chest.
The mothers’ further sacrifice
The sacrifices of the mother for her child not only include the long and painful pregnancy period but the moment of delivery (giving birth to the child), which is equally painful. Allah says, “We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents, in pain did his mother bear him (during pregnancy), and in pain did she give birth to him.” (Ch 46 : v 15)
Research shows that as compared to all the animals, the human beings are large brained and large skulled. For this reason giving birth is an intensely painful experience for the human female. Again, this is a sacrifice the mother makes to bring her child in to this world.
Research of the sociologists
Sociologists and other social scientists have explained that the body contact of the child to its mother is extremely important in the mental development of the child. One of the ways is mother child body contact can be accomplished is when the mother is breast feeding the child. Hence, we can see how important breast feeding is. That is why the reference to breast feeding the child for two years is mentioned in the Qur’aan its self (Ch 31 : v 14).
About 50 years ago, in the wave of modernism, many mothers in Europe and America started to bottle feed their children because they thought it backwards to breast feed.
They are still paying the price for that in the form of many afflictions. Research has shown that breastfed infants are more intelligent than bottle fed infants. There are myriads of other benefits of breast feeding over bottle feeding.
According to sociologists, 75 percent of the child’s personality is shaped in the first three years of its life. Upon birth, the human brain is only 23 percent formed. That means that three quarters of the skull growth takes place after birth. The normal development of the human brain cannot be accomplished without the help of parents.
That must be the reason Carl Jung, the famous American psychologist, had in mind when he said, “the human infant lives in the shadow of his parents.” And that is why the Qur’aan precisely commands us to be dutiful, kind and thankful to our parents, (especially mothers) to a status second only to the worship of Allah.
(To be continued)
For further information on Islam please contact:
Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars
P. O. Box W 93, Waterfalls, Harare
Tel: 0242-614078 / 614004,
Fax : 0242-614003
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