Muslim mother’s / father’s day

As- Salaamu-Alaikum, (peace be with you)

I get asked this question from time to time. Especially from new Muslims. Should I celebrate mother/father’s day? They frequently come from a tradition where the day is celebrated by their non-Muslim relatives. I would answer by saying that yes, I do celebrate these days.

My feelings about these celebrations are the same as I posted for birthdays. This day is a cultural practice that is not anti-Islamic in its intent or it’s history. According to a citation I found on Wikipedia, (not the best source I admit), Mother’s day did has a history in just about every culture in the world. Some of it was realted to worship of a particular female “god” but in most cultures it came to represent an appreciation of mothers.

“In this country it was imported (from Britain) by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother’s Day for Peace.

Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mother’s Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women.”

Father’s day started in the U. S. with similar philanthropic reasons. “It is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. This explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers’ Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away. Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent reared his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish Mother’s Day.”

After researching these origins I feel strongly that it was not a religious holiday but an attempt to recognize worthy parents and in the case of Mother’s day a call for peace. A call we as Muslims should emphasize and reiterate in our celebrations.

Prophet Muhammad stated that “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” The love and respect you should have for both of your parents is stressed in Islam. The honest truth is that although most of us make the effort to respect and honor our parents all year round. (Al hamdulilah-Thanks to God) We give our best effort but it is still not enough to recognize the person who the Quran states bore you with “trial or difficulty after difficulty” So I think it is an EXCELLENT idea and tradition that we can share with Muslim and non-Muslim relatives alike to show our appreciation, support and love for the people most deserving of it!

You can make your celebration more Islamic by making a special salat and dua (prayers) for your parents. You can share special Quran reading of the verses regarding parent hood with them and thank them for all that they have done for you over the years. Celebrate with service to your parents above and beyond what you usually do. You can celebrate with service to others by mentoring new parents, helping a needy family, or making donations in your parent’s name. As long as the praise and the thanks go first to Allah (God) and the appreciation is sincere and the efforts continue beyond the actual holiday, I think the day would be accepted for you. InshaAllah!


childproof or not?

As- Salaamu-Alaikum (Peace be with you.)

My sister does not belief in childproofing… I am living in my sister’s home. We will spend the entire summer here, my two year old, four year old and myself. The problem is my sister refuses to childproof. Her children are 22, 20, 18 and 12. She, unfortunately, does not remember the days when her kids got into everything. Under all of her sinks are poisonous cleaners, her doors to outside feature low, easy to open knobs,  she has a house full of china cabinets and collectibles.  And lots and lots of things for a toddler to touch and explore.  Except everything he touches is fragile.

My sister’s theory is that you should not have to pick up behind a child.  She believes FIRMLY that you should teach your child not to touch and to keep their hands to themselves.  Once the child learns this, then there is no need to childproof.  This is a great idea…in theory.  I would love to be able to walk out of a room and know that my two year old will resist all temptations.

However, I know my son.  I picture him literally about to bust, because he cannot resist.  He is the PePe Le Pew of collectibles.  “I must have it!”  He spends so much time in the naughty chair that now he puts himself on punishment when he sees me coming.  (Not a nice feeling by the way.)  If he has an item of particular interest, he will hold on to it with a fierce determination.  To guard his precious discovery he weaves through the house like an NFL running back and when I finally catch him he hurls the item away.  (If he doesn’t play in the NFL, I am going to be sorely disappointed.  The boy is really good.)

I admit he is not really trying very hard to control himself.  In the battle over her collectibles he is winning.  I noticed recently that she did move a few.  What’s a mother to do?  I think that it is developmentally difficult, for a two year old to resist temptation.  In this stage of his development he learns by exploring his world, using his five senses.  He sees, he touches, he smells, he tastes.  Everything.  In my opinion childproofing is best for children’s safety and for parent’s sanity.  If your home is childproofed, your child can explore in safe and healthy ways.  It greatly reduces the need to spank, and produces more positive environment for all concerned.  I met another parent recently who bragged that she never childproofed her home.  She states, I taught my children to leave my things alone.  I asked her how she accomplished this feat and she proudly announced, “Oh, I beat their little butts until they understood, I meant business.”  (She is a professional elementary school teacher)

I can only imagine.  How much “beating” would you have to do to destroy your child’s natural and innate desire to learn?  And what are the consequences for “beating” this out of him/her?

Okay I give up, I spanked him.

As-Salaamu-Alaikum, (Peace be with you)

I admit it. I spanked him!  He is sooo busy.  I have to admit I am starting to lean towards, he is just bad.  We are visiting at my sister’s house.  He has broken her fax machine cover, lost some of her jewelry, broken her remote control and damaged her cordless phone.  But this is not the reason I spanked him.  Yesterday he took her “Tiffany” style lamp and knocked it to the floor scratching the glass.  Immediately he ran and sat in the “naughty chair”.  A chair that he is very familiar with because he is in it so often.

He earned a spanking by scaring me to death!  My sister lives very close to a beach and park.  To get there from her house he only has to walk down a semi-busy street.  Two days ago, I could not find him in the house.  After searching all three floors of this huge house I ran frantically down her long driveway to look for him.  When I didn’t see him, I searched the house a third time.  Still no baby.  I ran back outside and started running down the street to look for him.  No baby.  Frantic, praying desperately, I ran back up the driveway.  Suddenly he opens the handy man’s car door and jumps out.  My sister had a handy man over doing some home repairs.  He jumps out of this man’s car, (A stranger) where he had been sitting and playing with the gentleman’s fast food leftovers.  And in the process dumped a whole container of shrimp sauce over the man’s car seats and steering wheel!

Although I was ecstatic to see him.  Thankful, (Al-Hamdulilah, Praise be to God), that he he had not wandered down the street and gotten killed or kidnapped.  I could not believe that he had opened her door walked out of the house and wandered into a parked car!  I admit partial responsibility.  I should have kept a better eye on him.  But it just is not possible to watch him every second of the day.  So I gave in to the tried and true method.  I spanked him.  I didn’t beat him.  Just a light spanking on his buttocks to let him know when I say don’t touch the door!  (A command I had previously given several times.) I mean DON’T TOUCH THE DOOR!

What would the Super Nanny say?  Any suggestions for dealing with a two year old busy bee would be appreciated.