Campaign by MADE in Europe
By Shaykha Halima Krausen
Most of us have been blessed to have grown up in the shade of our mothers’ love. Now imagine, for a second, what life would be like if you had never known your mother. If she hadn’t been there to love you, take care of you, support you, guide you from your very first steps and help you become the person you are today. A mother, as we know, is the core of the family, its strength and support.
There is a beautiful narration in the Islamic tradition, in which Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, one of the Prophet’s companions, once saw a man from Yemen carrying his mother on his back while circulating the Ka’aba. Rather than showing any sign of complaint at the burden on his back, the man was happy. He looked at Abdullah and asked him if, by carrying his mother on his back, he had repayed his debt to her for all that she had done for him. Abdullah replied, “No, you have not even paid back one twinge of her labour pain when she gave birth to you!” This is just one example that illustrates the status of mothers in Islam and the appreciation for the sacrifice that they willingly make for their children.
In the Qur’an in Chapter Al-Ahqaf verse 15, God states:
We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth. Bearing and weaning him takes thirty months. At length, when he reaches maturity and attains forty years he says, “My Creator and Sustainer, grant me that I may be grateful for the favour which You have bestowed upon me and my parents…”
Every single day, around the world, 1,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth. That means around 360,000 mothers are lost every year, leaving hundreds of thousands of children in some of the poorest parts of the world motherless.
Yet at least 800 out of every 1,000 deaths could be easily prevented by 3 simple things:
– 1. Educating communities and community leaders and challenging cultural traditions such as FGM (female genital mutilation) and early marriage that put women’s lives and health at risk
– 2. Providing access to free, quality healthcare throughout pregnancy and childbirth
– 3. Empowering women to participate in making the decisions that affect their lives and health – like choosing when to get married and when to have children.
We often feel that issues like maternal health are ‘side-issues’, something that we can deal with after we’ve solved the more pressing problems of poverty and injustice in the world. Yet the fact that mothers continue to die when we have the means to save them is in itself a great injustice. And when mothers die, it is their children, their families, their communities who suffer the most. Without a mother to look after them, these children – especially the girls – are at risk of being married off early or forced by circumstances to work to support their families, meaning that they are denied the chance of an education which would help to bring their families and communities out of poverty. So the cycle continues.
Those of us who have been blessed with a mothers’ love, who are fortunate to live in countries where we have access to education and top-quality healthcare, are in a position to take action and make a difference, to speak out for our mothers across the world who have a right to the same quality of care that we would expect for ourselves and our own wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.
A famous narration of the Prophet Muhammad states: “Be at your mothers’ feet, and there is Paradise!” Let’s all be At Our Mothers’ Feet by taking action to promote better maternal healthcare for all women, regardless of where they might be in the world.
Join the campaign at www.atourmothersfeet.org.uk
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