Chapter 58: She Is My Mother

“Well, if it’s Zul, he wouldn’t eat any cheap fish ever since he was young. He just couldn’t tolerate the taste. If it’s expensive fish, he loves to eat them. He has a sophisticated palate…” He could still hear the mellow voice of his late mother Hajah Ramlah who passed away on 23rd November 2010.

Hajah Ramlah or as called by her children Che’ loved to cook. Zulkifli has never tasted a more delicious Nasi Kebuli or Papaya Tart in his life other than his mom’s cooking.

Zulkifli stared at the scad fish served on the table. He pinched some of it and feed it to his youngest child Istisyhad who is still slowly learning to walk. When he was just a small kid himself, Zulkifli and his siblings were also fed by their mother Che’, each will wait for their turn.

The news of the passing of Che’ was like a jolt of lightning in Zulkifli’s life. He could hardly breathe for a while and time seemed as though it has stopped for him. “Zul, Che’ has just passed away…” followed by a faint salam from the other end of the telephone. Zulkifli who was busy writing his newest book immediately hung up and rushed back to his hometown in Terengganu leaving the special room he prepared for himself which also served as his home office, library and reading area.

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Islam is a religion that emphasizes doing good and being an obedient child to one’s parents. Furthermore, birr al-walidayn (doing good to both our parents) is one of the greatest worships after worshipping Allah SWT. This is based on the statement of Allah SWT:

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good,” [1]

Hence, when we consider the context of the above verse, Allah SWT placed the encouragement and commandment of doing good to both our parents right after the commandment for Muslims to worship him and avoid shirk towards Allah SWT with anything.

Although we are commanded to do good to both our parents, however, there is a narration that prioritizes the position of a mother compared to one’s father in the issue of doing good towards them. This could be seen in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where a man came to ask Rasullullah PBUH: “O Rasullullah, who is the person most rightful for me to do good towards?” Rasullullah PBUH replied:

أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أَبُوكَ

“Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father,” [2]

The lesson we can take from this hadith is that a person should prioritize his mother in the process of doing good for a child towards both his parents thrice before his father. Moreover, it is also stated by scholars as stated by Imam al-Haris al-Muhasibi in prioritizing doing good towards one’s mother over the father according to the point iterated in the above hadith.

Whilst the phrase حُسْنِ الصُّحْبَةِ in the above hadith means doing good, being gentle, polite, humble loving, respectful and obedient towards then in makruf matters. This is proven in several statements of Allah SWT, among them is:

وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ

“And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy,” [3]

There are numerous advantages for doing good towards one’s mother. Among them is that a person’s character become gentler and he’ll be happier. This is as stated in the statement of Allah SWT:

وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَتِي وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا

“And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.” [4]

It can be understood from the above verse that Allah SWT didn’t make Prophet Jesus alaihissalam as a person who is hard (arrogant or haughty) nor is he made into a person who suffers, consequently, he is a person with great character and is happy because he is obedient towards his mother, Mary.

Furthermore, the supplication of an individual who is obedient towards his mother will be granted. In a long hadith, from Umar bin al-Khattab radhiyallahu ‘anhu, he said, Rasullullah PBUH said:

فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرَ لَكَ فَافْعَلْ

“And if it is possible for you, then do ask him (Uwais al-Qarani) to beg forgiveness for you (from your Lord).”

This is the advice of Rasullullah PBUH, which is to ask Uwais al-Qarani who is a tabiin to beg forgiveness from Allah for Umar. Although Umar is a person whose position is far greater than Umar and is prioritized over Uwais. And the reason for this is because of the great practice of Uwais al-Qarani as stated by the Prophet PBUH:

لَهُ وَالِدَةٌ هُوَ بِهَا بَرٌّ

“His treatment with his mother would have been excellent.”

Thus, from the hadith, we can conclude that giving great care towards one’s mother will make it so that his supplications are granted.

Imam al-Nawawi said, “The reason that a mother is prioritized (in terms of doing good towards her) is for the numerous sacrifices and burdens a mother bears for her child. Such is for the enormous love she has for her child, continuous difficulties she endures throughout the process of her pregnancy, then giving birth, then nursing her child, as well as educating and caring for her child and all the pain she went through throughout all the processes.” [5]

Whereas Syeikh Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari in his commentary on the hadith said: “The reason a mother is prioritized thrice is also signalled through the statement of Allah SWT:

حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا

“His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] are thirty months.” [6]

Hence, a mother is prioritized thrice due to the three special matters she endures pain during her pregnancy, difficulties of giving birth as well as nursing and feeding her baby. [7]

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The memories with Che’ were truly beautiful. Her actions, words, advice are all still fresh in his mind. As far as Zulkifli remembers, not a single night passes without Che’ getting up to perform the tahajjud prayer. When her children were all deep asleep, Che’ was already up, busy preparing breakfast at the break of dawn. When the sun starts to rise, she is already on her praying mat, prepared to perform the sunnah Dhuha prayer.

In the evening or at night, her schedule is full with the recitation of the Quran and al-Qur’an classes which was held on Fridays at a small hut she built. Moreover, al-Qur’an is her loyal companion whenever she is free. Once, she even had up to 70 students who were studying and learning the Quran with her at one time. What’s heart-warming is that she taught the Quran to all the villagers for free.

“Che’ always supplicated for all my children in front of the Kaaba. For my ten children, Che’ will supplicate for each of them after every 2 rakaat of sunnah prayer. After 2 rakaat, Che’ prayed for Mi. Che’ will get up again and prayed another 2 rakaat. After the 2 rakaat, Che’ supplicate for Yah. Until Wallie, I completed 20 rakaat, 10 salams. Che’ supplicate so that no matter whatever my children decided to pursue, they will succeed in both this world and the hereafter.” Such are the words of Hajah Ramlah when her children greeted her and Ustaz Mad at the airport every time they return from umrah.

Alhamdulillah, with the blessing of the supplication of a mother, all of her children succeeded. Every single one of them has great religious knowledge. Some studied in Jordan, al-Azhar and medina. Some are successful in business. Simply put, each of them is serving back to the community, religion and country. Maybe it is because of this that Che’ was awarded the Glorious Exemplary Mother Award in conjunction with Mother’s Day at the Dun Mempelam level in the year 2008.

When she was nearing her last breath, Hajah Ramlah told her husband of her last wish that is she wanted to die at home. Maybe because she’ll feel closer to her children. Or maybe she wanted her grandchildren to remember her every time they went back to their hometown in the future. Once, Che’ said to Khairul, “Ayub, Che’ wished that Che’ could die in Mecca. O Allah, I was so happy there…” That was her dream, however, Allah SWT’s plans are surely far better in His wisdom.

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As if in a trance the journey from Nilai to Kampung Kubang Kekura passed by quickly. Throughout his journey, nothing escaped his lips except the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah and dhikr that he gifted for his beloved mother.

The front yard of Ustaz Mad’s house was filled with people. Friends and family members from far and near came to visit Hajah Ramlah for one last time. Each of her children perform one role in bathing her body supervised by their father, Khairul couldn’t participate for he was overseas at the time.

As they were shrouding the body of their mother, Zulkifli arrived and rushed inside their house. He kissed her face for the last time. He turned towards his eldest brother, signalling for him to lead the janazah prayer as the imam. Mis smiled sadly and refused as he pushed Zulkifli to the front. Ustaz Mad nodded his head agreeing. After they prayed, Zulkifli delivered a brief tazkirah to all the people who attended. It was a sad and wistful time for them all. Alhamdulillah, the funeral was completed smoothly, led by the eldest brother, Brother Mi who was also the Imam for UniSZA Mosque.

Citing the words of my brother, Ayub,

My Mother who was blessed,

To Allah you always worshipped,

Towards your husband you’re dutiful and obedient,

For your children, you gave your love and care,

With your friends, you were patient and kind,

Towards your neighbours, you are caring and helpful,

May Allah bless you and grant you maghfirah. Amin.

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[1] Surah Al-Nisa’: 36

[2] Riwayat Muslim, no. 2548

[3] Surah al-Isra’, no. 24

[4] Surah Maryam, no. 32

[5] Al-Minhaj Syarah Sahih Muslim, 6/79.

[6] Surah Al-Ahqaf, no. 15

[7] Mirqat al-Mafatih, 7/3079.

 

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