All praise is due to Allah, the easer of grief and the dispeller of worries, and may his blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the best of mankind.
My son, This is a letter of injury from your poor mother, who wrote in shyness after much delay and hesitation. Often, she had picked up a pen and was stopped by a tear! And she would stop the tear, only that the heart’s wailing would prevail.
“My son… after all this time, I see you a matured man, of sound mind and balanced emotions. It is my right over you that you should at least read this paper, and then if you wish, you can rip it, as you have ripped at the corners of my heart before. “The hurt grew so severe I lacked strength to cry, and I saw death with my eyes several times. This lasted until you came out into the world, when the tears of your screams mixed with the tears of my bliss, and removed all my torment and injury. Even in my pain, I held you in tenderness and kissed you before they could take you away and wash you with a single drop of water.
“My son… more than twenty years ago, it was a bright and sunny day in my life when the doctor told me I was pregnant. Mothers, my son, know the meaning of this word well! It is a blend of joy and rapture, and the beginning of pain marked by physical and emotional changes. And after those glad tidings, I carried you nine months inside me with jubilant happiness. I rose with difficulty, and I slept with difficulty. I ate with difficulty, and I breathed with difficulty. Only none of this lessened my delight and love for you. Instead, my love grew more with the days and a longing for you flourished within me.
“I carried you, my son, enduring weakness upon weakness, and pain upon pain, delighting at your movement, and rejoicing at your weight’s increase, though it was for me, a heavy burden. It was long suffering, after which came the dawn of a night I did not sleep in or close my eyelids. I acquired of suffering and anguish, and of fear and alarm, what neither a pen can describe nor a tongue utter.
“My son… years have passed of your life as I have carried you in my heart and bathed you with my hands. I made my lap for you a bed and my bosom for you nourishment. I was awake during my nights so you could sleep and laboring during my days so you could be happy. My wish, everyday, was to see your smile, and my pleasure, every moment, that you should ask for something I could make for you. These things were the peak of my ecstasy. “The days pass and I watch for your countenance and wait with a yearning sorrow to hear your voice. Your abandonment has grown long, and the days have spread out. I have stared patiently at the door, hoping you might come, and listened expectantly for the sound of the ringing phone until I thought myself delusional. And here the days have extended and the nights grown dark, and I neither see you nor hear your voice. You have disregarded the person who took care of you with the best of human care.
“The days and nights passed and I was still in that state: an attendant servant who did not neglect and a nurse who did not stop; a worker who did not rest and a supplicant for your good and success who did not slacken. I watched you day after day until your body strengthened and your youthful energy turned righteous, and the signs of manhood began to appear in you. I found myself running left and right, searching for you for the kind of wife you requested.
“The date of your marriage came, and the time of your wedding neared. At this, my heart tore, and my tears ran, out of joy for your new life and sadness at your parting. After that, the hours passed heavily, and the moments slowly, and then I suddenly realized you were not my son that I knew. Your smile had vanished, your voice had disappeared, and your expression grown sullen. You have forsaken me and forgotten my rights!
“My son, I don’t ask but little. Put me in the place of your slightest friend, the farthest from your regard. Make me, my son, one of your monthly stations, so that I see you then if only for a sparing time. “My son, I wish to see you! I don’t want other than that! My heart has broken, and my tears have flowed, and you are alive and receiving sustenance. I hear people still talk about your refined manners and gracious conduct. Let me see, if nothing else, the frown of your face, and the features of your anger.
“My son… my back has arched and my limbs have shriveled. I have been wearied by ailments and visited by sickness. I do not rise except with adversity, nor sit except with hardship, and my heart still throbs with love for you.
“My son, whenever I learn that you are happy in your life, my happiness and joy increase. I am puzzled, when you are the product of my toils. What sin have I reaped that I have become an enemy you cannot stand to see, and whose visit is so burdensome? Did I falter some day in your treatment, or neglect for a moment your attendance? Make me like the rest of your servants whose rights you give to them, and grant me a part of your mercy. Award me with some of my recompense, and be good, for Allah loves the doers of good.
“My son… is it not time for your heart to soften to a frail woman worn out by longing and restrained by mourning; a woman who has made grief her emblem and distress her garment; a women whose weeping you have caused, whose heart you have saddened, and whose kinship you have broken? “My son, I warn you from being of those meant by the Prophet when he said: ‘Let him be humbled, let him be humbled, let him be humbled.’ It was said: ‘Who, oh Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘Whomever finds his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and does not enter Paradise.’ [Muslim]
“My son… here is the door to heaven before you, so pursue it, and knock upon it. Perhaps I will meet you there by my Lord’s mercy as it came in the Hadith: ‘The parent is the best door to paradise. So if you want, you may ignore this door or pay attention to it [narrated by Imam Ahmed].’
My son, I know that since your height has increased and your shoulders broadened, you have been looking for reward and merit. Perhaps today you have forgotten the words of the
Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم : ‘The best of deeds to Allah is prayer at its proper time, then kindness to the parents, then Jihad in the cause of Allah [agreed upon].’ Here then is that reward without the waging of battles or slaying of enemies, so where are you from the best of deeds?
“My son, I will not raise the complaints or disclose the sorrow, for it they rise above the clouds and reach the sky’s door, you will be seized with the evil of ungratefulness. Punishment will come down to you, and your living be overtaken with calamity. No, I will not do that. You are still my son, a piece of me. You are the flower of my heart, and the delight of my life.
“Wake up my son. Old age is overtaking you, and years will pass and you will soon become an aged father. Reward is given according to doing, and you will write letters to your son with tears as I have to you. And with Allah, adversity gathers.”
Son, fear Allah in your mother, and be constant to her, for heaven is at her feet. Brush away her tears, and ease her sadness, and if you still insist, then rip her letter. And know, that whomever does good, it is for himself, and whomever does evil, it is against him.