In the time of Prophet Muhammad, a man asked permission to go on a military expedition. The Prophet asked the man if he had a mother, when he replied yes, Prophet Muhammad said, “Stay with her because Paradise lies beneath her feet”. (Ahmad, Al-Nasai)
What wonderful imagery these words invoke: Mothers and children gazing at each other with love and gratitude. Tiny hands closed within larger hands. A touch to the face in times of stress and illness, or the warmth of a loving mother’s voice. Images of mothers nurturing and caring for their children, in health or sickness, in good times, or trying times. Paradise lies at the feet of mothers; but what exactly do these words mean? Simply, the gates of Paradise are open for those who cherish and respect their mothers.
Abdullah ibn Omar, a leading scholar from among Prophet Muhammad’s companions once saw a man carrying his mother on his back and going around the Holy House in Mecca. He did not complain or show any signs of annoyance; rather he kept repeating a line of poetry comparing himself to a camel. He looked at Abdullah ibn Omar and asked him whether by so doing he discharged his debt to his mother. Ibn Omar said, “No. You have not even paid back one twinge of the pain she felt when giving birth to you”.