“It is reported that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (ra) said: My mother came to me while she was still a pagan during the time of the Prophet (pbuh). So I asked his advice, saying, ‘My mother has come to see me and she is asking something of me. Shall I give her something?’ He (pbuh) replied, ‘Yes, be kind to your mother.’”
Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
I chose this hadith for November’s hadith of the month as a precursor to another post I have coming up on family relations as a convert. As I know that it is something many of us struggle with, I figured it was about time to devote at least a couple posts to talking about it.
In this hadith, we find out the importance/obligation of good relations with one’s mother, even to the extent of keeping good relations with her even if she is of another religion.
Today that may often mean our mothers are Christians or maybe Jews, who should be respected as people of the book to begin with, but this hadith is referring to the mother of Asma’ who was, at the time, still among the idol-worshippers of Mecca. One of the gravest sins is associating partners with God, and yet even if our mothers are committing this sin it is an obligation to be kind and keep up a good relationship with them.
I like this hadith because it really shows us the principle in action, that it is an obligation to be kind and loving to your mother. This hadith shows us that that doesn’t only apply to a Muslim mother, but a Christian, a Jew, or in this case, even a mother who worships wooden idols as gods.
You should never obey her in matters of religion, but in all else it is your Islamic duty to respect her opinion and try to please her as best you can.
Plus, as a convert, this hadith is very relatable: Asma’ (ra) is essentially a convert trying to navigate her relations with a non-Muslim mother, just like many (if not most) modern day converts to Islam.
For me personally, this is one area where my family has noticed Islam really beginning to improve my character. I often used to argue with my mom, and do what I want no matter what she has to say about it, but even she has noticed that since I converted and began to really practice my religion, I have tried to be much gentler and more considerate of my family in general, but her especially.
I find also that when you are a convert and your mother is a non-Muslim, it becomes even more important to show her the best of Islam, so that maybe you have the chance to turn her heart towards Islam as well.
I hope this short hadith of the month has been a good reminder to all of us, and I hope you all have the chance to talk to your mothers today, whether just in a text, on the phone or in person, and if you can’t do any of these then remember her in your prayers and supplications!
Keep a look out in the coming weeks for another more in-depth post on dealing with non-Muslim family members, especially those that may be a bit hostile to Islam, and a little more about my relationship with my own mom during the time when I was considering converting and after I had actually begun to practice Islam.