Frasat Ahmad, Missionary, USA
Today, children across the world will shower their mothers with warm embraces of love and gifts of flowers and cards. It is International Mother’s Day.
This day is rightfully theirs. Our mothers truly deserve our gratitude and gifts – not just on International Mother’s Day – but, as Islam says, every day.
Yet, can’t we give our mothers a gift much greater than hugs and kisses? A gift that will rightfully acknowledge the tears, sweat, and blood they spilled in raising us? One that our mothers would prefer far more than flowers or cards?
Yes. We can gift her the knowledge that one less distraught mother in the world has to watch her child die of hunger. We can help besieged mothers struggling to put food in their children’s bellies. We can dry these mothers’ tears and ensure that their children never have to writhe in pangs of hunger again.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought hunger to millions of children globally, and the world has never seen a hunger emergency like this, experts say, 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by year’s end. (Instead of Coronavirus, the Hunger Will Kill Us, A Global Food Crisis Looms., NY Times).
How many mothers must watch their children die from hunger? 3.1 million to be exact. 3.1 million children die each year from hunger. Let that settle into your stomach. (worldhunger.org/world-child-hunger-facts/)
Heartbreaking stories of mothers cooking stones for their children to make them believe they are preparing food for them is becoming too common. (Kenyans moved by widow cooking stones for children, BBC)
Meanwhile, we stuff our mouths with our mothers’ delicious meals in the comfort of our well-stocked homes, and our mothers never have to worry about whimpers and cries of hunger escaping our stomachs.
It may be easy for us to overlook this hunger horror-story, because the whimpers and cries of hungry children only echo in distant corners of the world, parts unknown to us. It’s not like our own neighbours are witnessing their children writhe in hunger, right?
Wrong. Among mothers with young children in America, nearly one-fifth say their children are not getting enough to eat. (The COVID-19 crisis has already left too many children hungry in America, The Brookings Institution).
Hits close to home now, doesn’t it?
From Africa to America, anguished mothers are unable to establish a paradise for their children, so we must help them do so. Our faith, our belief depends upon it. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, declared:
“One who spends the night with a full stomach, while his neighbour is hungry, has not believed in me.”
One can’t imagine the unconditional love a mother has for her child. In fact, it serves as a lesson to us in understanding God’s love. A mother’s love is a microcosm of the astronomic love Allah holds for His children. The Promised Messiahas himself states:
“Allah is more merciful than even a compassionate mother.” (Malfuzat, Vol 1, p. 70)
To unleash Allah’s Mercy today, we must emulate His motherly compassion and imbibe it within our own hearts. And what more of an appropriate way than to help a helpless mother struggling to feed her kids?
So, tell your mother that while you show her love, gratitude and respect, you are also ensuring that mothers like her will no longer have to suffer the agony of watching their children die from hunger.
Tell her you are making sure that these mothers can put actual food in their cooking pots, instead of stones.
Donate to charities like Humanity First, Action Against Hunger, or Feed the Children. Stock up your mosque’s food pantry. Ask your nursing neighbours if they need any help.
Break the inertia. Help these mothers.
Be the angel to their Hajira.