They say Sunday, June 16, was Father’s Day.
And I don’t doubt or question that it was. Nor do I doubt or question that it was a most important day for all of us human beings.
For, what can be a better or more important day in the life a civilized human being than Father’s Day?
Unless, of course, it is Mother’s Day, which at least in Islam is three times more important than Father’s Day.
I am – we all are – grateful to American culture, commerce and industry for sensitizing us, no doubt proceeding from a desire to serve its own commercial purposes, to the importance of Father’s Day.
And to Mother’s Day a month or so earlier.
Allah serves and promotes his own purposes in all kinds of ways -- and using instrumentalities we cannot even imagine.
But here is my question:
“What use is a commercially designated Father’s Day to us – children of our parents, as all of us are – if every day is not Father’s Day in our life?
And Mother’s Day as well at the same time?
And more so?”
A man once came to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and asked: “Whom should I serve?”
Meaning my father or my mother, for, the man evidently had both his parents living.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said: “Your mother.”
The man then asked the same question a second time: “Whom should I serve?”
To which Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, repeated the same answer as before: “Your mother.”
But the man insisted. He asked for a third time: “Whom should I serve?”
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, again, for the third time, said: “Your mother.”
But the man was not giving up. Evidently, he was not satisfied.
Whether it was the pagan misogynist Arab culture or a sign of the times the world over, the man repeated the same question for the fourth time and said: “Whom should I serve?”
This time, that is the fourth time around, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said:
“Thereafter, serve your father!”
“Thumma Abaaka!” he said, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Upon hearing this answer, the man left.
This, then, is Islam’s lesson to the whole world:
- For a civilized human being, every day is a father’s day and a mother’s day.
- And a mother’s status in a civilized society is three times as important as that of the father.
For America, and to the rest of the world that looks to American culture and commerce for leadership, this message from the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is worth taking note of:
“Then, your father!”
On this Father’s Day – and every Father’s Day thereafter.
And every Mother’s Day as well.