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Rufai Oladimeji
, Nigeria.
Question

When I was two years old, my father died.
Thereafter, my mother got married to my
stepfather and left me with my grandmother
and aunt. She refused to look after me. Since
then, I was raised and looked after by my
grandmother and aunt. And I look up to
them as my parents, and I love them very
much. Throughout the years, my mother
never showed up nor did she care.
Consequently, I don't have any love for my
mother, but I don't hate her either. My
grandmother was kind and gave me
everything I need. In other words, my
mother is more like a stranger for me. I
never miss her, as she left me when I was so
small. I'm now 22 years old, studying at
college. Recently, my mother starting paying
visits to my place, and she tries to be with
me, but I don't have any interest in talking
to her, if don't feel like she's my real
mother. But my friends tell me I should not
treat her like a stranger. I should try to love
her. I tell them why should I, so far, I have
lived without her love, besides she has
neglected me in the first place. Can you
pleases tell me how to deal with this
situation. Am I on the wrong side? How
should I treat my mother? And how am I
going to love her the way I should love a real
mother?

Fatwa:
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the
Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of
worship except Allah, and that Muhammad
is His Slave and Messenger.

In Islamic legislation, the position and status
of the mother is very great as she has a
great right on her children. She carried her
children in her womb and breastfed them
and nurtured them while they were very
young. Allah Says (which means): { And We
have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and
good) to his parents. His mother bore him in
weakness and hardship upon weakness and
hardship, and his weaning is in two years,
give thanks to Me and to your parents. }
[Quran 31:14]
Indeed the Prophet was asked: " Who
deserves my good company more?", and he
replied: "Your mother, then your mother,
then your mother, then your father ." [Al-
Bukhari and Muslim]
So you have to be kind to your mother. The
fact that she was negligent towards you
should not be a reason for cutting relations
with her. Indeed you did well by not hating
her or harming her.

However, it is not permissible for you to
neglect her or do anything that might make
her feel that you are not interested in her,
otherwise you are wrong. Besides, you have
to endeavour to treat her well.
Among the things that would help you to
love her is to remember the status and the
position that the Islamic legislation has
allocated to her, and remember that pleasing
her is a means of living in eternal happiness
in Paradise. The Prophet said: "A parent
is the middle gate of paradise (i.e. the best),
so if you wish you may lose it and if you
wish you may preserve it (the mother's rank
is highest of both. " [Ahmad, At-Tirmithi and
Ibn Maajah]
Finally, it should be noted that if the mother
remarries she loses the right to foster her
children, so this right is transferred to
whoever is more appropriate of her female
relatives, like the grandmother and the like.

A woman came to the Prophet
complaining: "O Prophet of Allah! I carried
my son in my womb, I nestled him, hugged
him and protected him within my arms, and
I breastfed him, and his father who divorced
me wants to take him away from me. Does
he have the right to do so? The Prophet
replied: "You have more right in fostering
your child than your husband as long as you
do not remarry ." [Abu Daawood] It appears
that it is for this reason that when your
mother remarried she left your fostering to
your grandmother and aunt.

Allah Knows best.

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