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The importance and honour of motherhood

One cannot count the many rights mothers have and they cannot be rightly fulfilled. One night of a mother’s life with her child is worth more than a lifetime of a dedicated father’s. The affection and compassion that shine from a mother’s radiant eyes hold a glimmer of the compassion and kindness of the Lord of the worlds. God, the Blessed and Exalted, has imbued the hearts and souls of mothers with the light of his own divine compassion, such that none can describe and no one, save the mothers, can understand.

And it is this everlasting compassion that has given mothers a heavenly-like tolerance in the face of suffering and hardship from the time of conception, throughout pregnancy, during childbirth and throughout the years of the child’s life from infancy up to the end. She endures hardship and suffering in a way that the father cannot endure even for one night. The tradition which says “Heaven is under the mother’s feet”1 is absolutely true.

It has been explained in such a subtle fashion because of the significance of the matter and to show children to search for happiness and the gardens of heaven under the blessed feet of their mothers, to respect them as they would Almighty God and to seek the approval and satisfaction of God the Most Holy in their approval and satisfaction.

Jilveha-yi Rahmani, p. 47.

Islam came to fashion true human beings. The divine book of Islam, which is the Most Noble Qur’an, is designed to train man in all his dimensions, in spiritual and physical dimensions, political, social, cultural, and military, in all human dimensions.

Islam came to show us the way to do this. We, in turn, must educate our youth along Islamic lines, our women must be trained Islamically, passing this training on to their children in their care so that when their children mature, they become servants for Islam and humanity. (198)

11 April 1979 (22 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

You who are educators, who wish to educate your children or society, must pay attention to this verse from the Holy Qur’an: “Read, in the name of thy Lord,” (Qur’an 96:1). When you want to teach or learn something remember to read, in the name of thy Lord, do so with God in mind, with divine teachings. If a person receives both a formal education and is instructed in divine teachings, he will be useful for his country.

A country is never harmed by one who has been given both a proper education and proper training. Harm is usually done to a country by thinkers who lack proper training, who have received a formal education but one that lacked spiritual training. They have acquired knowledge but have no piety; they have had no training of the inner self. It is for this reason that they become foreign agents that they themselves draw up the plans for the country’s destruction. (199)

13 April 1979 (24 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

May God grant you ladies, who are in effect centres for the training of small children, success to the end in teaching and training these children properly. Yes, their training begins in your laps, and it is in your care that children are trained well. It is possible that a child whom you have trained well will save a nation. Take care to hand over good children to society, and let your teaching be accompanied by training. (200)

13 April 1979 (24 Farvardin 1358 AHS)

You ladies are valuable in the eyes of God, God willing. Raise your children to be good, upright individuals, give them an Islamic upbringing. (201)

10 May 1979 (20 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)

You bear the great responsibility for the training of your children from when they are very young and easily influenced, when they quickly pick up things they are taught, good or bad. Since in the beginning these children are raised in your care, you are the ones responsible for their actions.

If you raise a good child, that child alone may secure the well-being of a nation, just as, God forbid, if you raise a bad child, he may be the cause of corruption in society. Do not think of your child as merely a child, one day, when he enters society, he may become a leader of the society and, if not brought up well, he could lead it into corruption. (202)

13 May 1979 (23 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)

In your role as mothers you must morally purify your children, in your role as teachers you should train them well and hand over to society sound, upright individuals, and in so doing create a sound society. If, God forbid, the opposite is the case, you too will suffer as a result, just as in the same way you will benefit from any good deed they do, for you are the source of that good deed. There is a reckoning, either a penalty or a reward. If, God forbid, you hand over corrupt individuals to society and they perform corrupt deeds, you will suffer as a result. (203)

13 May 1979 (23 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)

You ladies have the honour of being mothers, which puts you ahead of the men. You have the responsibility for training children in your laps. The mother’s lap is the first school a child has. A good mother brings up a good child, but, God forbid, if the mother is misguided, the child brought up in her lap will also be misguided. For children have a particular affection for their mothers, which they have for no one else, and when in their laps, all they wish for they find in their mothers, she is their everything.

What she says, how she acts, her nature, all have an effect on a child. When the child is in his mother’s lap, which is his first class, if he is taught virtuousness, morality, goodness, he will grow up with a good nature, with that purity of spirit and goodness of deed that has been nurtured in him. While in her lap, the child will begin to imitate his mother, so that if he sees she is good-natured, her words and actions kind and good, he too will behave likewise. For his mother is the one he patterns himself on, and what she instils into him will prove his most effective training. (204)

13 May 1979 (23 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)

A long-term programme for you young people, you ladies, indeed for everyone, is self-reform and moral purification to advance the aims of Islam. If you ladies bring up your children to be morally upright, Islamic individuals, you have protected both your religion and your country. If, God forbid, immoral, un-Islamic children spring from your laps, if under the tutelage of you young people un-Islamic, unprincipled children emerge, and in the schools and universities our children attend they are not taught goodness of character and Islamic virtues, then both Islam and our country will be cast to the wind. (205)

24 May 1979 (3 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

The mother in whose lap a child is reared bears the gravest of responsibilities and has the noblest of professions: that of bringing up children. The noblest profession in the world is rearing a child and handing over to society a true human being. This is why, throughout history, God the Blessed and Exalted sent prophets. Throughout history, from Adam to the Seal of the Prophets, prophets came to train true human beings. (206)

24 May 1979 (3 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

When a mother wants to save her child from distress, her kindness is more effective than any medication. The child needs spiritual pacification, and this can be provided by the mother and father. (207)

26 May 1979 (5 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

You can train children to uphold the aims of the prophets. You yourselves must be both guardians and the trainers of guardians, for your children are the next custodians. Train them well. Your homes must be places where children are given both religious instruction and formal learning, where they are taught moral edification. The future of these children is the responsibility of the mothers and fathers. (208)

26 May 1979 (5 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

Respected ladies! Purify your characters and those of your children. Bring your children up to be Islamic, for Islam has everything. Put yourself in the shelter of Islam and endow yourselves with Islamic morals, for Islam has everything.

Respected gentlemen! Respected ladies! Obey the call of Islam. Islam did not come to provide fodder; it came to secure spirituality. One should not cry out only for material things, for this is not following the path of Islam. If spirituality is realised, then the material will become spiritual and will follow. Islam approves of material progress when it follows spiritual progress, not when it occurs alone. The basis is spiritual; a country with spiritual progress is a true country. (209)

29 May 1979 (8 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

While your children are in your laps give them an Islamic upbringing, teach them to be upright human beings so that when you send them to primary school you send sound, morally upright and well-behaved children. (210)

11 June 1979 (21 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

You must be mindful of giving these children in your care a religious upbringing, a moral upbringing. If you hand over one committed, virtuous child to society you may see that one day he is the one who reforms society, for it is possible for one individual to reform society.

Likewise if, God forbid, this child leaves your laps an unscrupulous individual, if he leaves the care of you who are teachers an immoral person, then it is possible that he will corrupt society, and you will be the ones responsible. If you train your children properly, it will bring with it honour such that likens to that the prophets enjoyed. If, on the other hand, you bring your children up to be immoral, God forbid, they could possibly corrupt a whole society. (211)

11 June 1979 (21 Khurdad 1358 AHS)

You ladies who took part in this movement, and may God keep you, must continue to participate from now on and advance this movement. The most important thing for you to do is train your children well. The former regime wanted to separate the children from their mothers. They lured the ladies into offices, not with the aim of improving these offices, rather with the intention, for one thing, of making them corrupt places and for another of taking the children out of their mothers’ care.

Children, who from the beginning are not raised in their mothers’ laps, develop complexes from which much corruption emanates. Look after your children well, train them well for it is these children who can save a country. While in your care give them an Islamic upbringing, raise them to have virtues, to have faith, so that they can be of service in this country. May God grant you all happiness and make you a useful person for your country. (212)

2 July 1979 (11 Tir 1358 AHS)

It is possible that a child whom you have trained well will save a nation. Take care to hand over good children to society, and let your teaching be accompanied by training. (213)

14 July 1979 (23 Tir 1358 AHS)

The prophets came to make true human beings. They were given the mission to transform those men who are no different from animals into true human beings, to purify them. This was their profession and it should be the profession of mothers with regard to the children in their care. They too, through their deeds, must purify their children; children are trained better in the laps of their mothers than they are by their teachers.

The love a child has for his mother he feels for no one else, what he hears from his mother becomes engraved on his heart and stays with him till the end. Mothers must be mindful of training their children properly, of bringing them up to be morally upright individuals. Their laps should be both a school of learning and of religious instruction, this is a very important matter and it is something, which only mothers can achieve. Children hear more from their mothers than they do their fathers. No one can influence a young child or endow the infant with his/her own character and morals the way the child’s mother can. (214)

17 July 1979 (26 Tir 1358 AHS)

It is possible that a child whom a mother has trained well may one day save a nation. It is also possible that a child whom a mother has trained badly may destroy a nation. (215)

17 July 1979 (26 Tir 1358 AHS)

If good training begins in the mother’s lap and continues through primary school, high school and university or other institutes of higher education, then there may come a time when you see that all the young people are good, upright individuals and they draw a country towards goodness. (216)

17 July 1979 (26 Tir 1358 AHS)

A good, upright individual may train a world, whereas someone unscrupulous and immoral may lead the world to corruption. Both immorality and godliness originate from your laps, from your teachings and from the schools in which you teach. (217)

17 August 1979 (26 Murdad 1358 AHS)

The correct training of these small children begins at this stage of their lives. If, God forbid, the mother is a wrongdoer, these little ones will receive an unsound training from the start. The responsibility for their upbringing lies in your hands. (218)

6 October 1979 (14 Mehr 1358 AHS)

The role of the women in society is more important than that of the men, for in addition to being active members of society themselves in all fields, the ladies also raise active members. A mother’s service to the community is greater than that of a teacher, indeed of anyone else. And this is what the prophets wanted, they wanted women to be people who train society and bestow upon the community lion-hearted men and women. (219)

16 March 1981 (25 Isfand 1359 AHS)

Be good mothers for your children, good advisers to society and hard workers for the needy, as, praise God, you already are. (220)

16 March 1981 (25 Isfand 1359 AHS)

A mother’s service to the community is much greater than that of a teacher, indeed of anyone else. And this is what the prophets wanted . . . (221)

16 March 1981 (25 Isfand 1359 AHS)

The ladies of Iran have played a greater role in this movement and this revolution than the men, and today as they pursue their activities behind the front lines, their role is greater still. Through their educational pursuits, whether in the form of educating their own children or teaching in classrooms and other places, they still play a great role in this revolution. (222)

23 May 1981 (2 Khurdad 1360 AHS)

The respected ladies of Iran have proved that they did not fall victim to these machinations and will not do so. They have proved that they are firmly entrenched in the bastion of virtuousness and modesty and will present this country with strong, integrated young men and virtuous, committed young women, and never will they go down those roads which the superpowers have laid at their feet with the intention of destroying this country. (223)

23 May 1981 (2 Khurdad 1360 AHS)

What can one say? What can be laid at the noble feet of the exalted mothers who raised such children in their pure laps? (224)

27 August 1984 (5 Shahrivar 1363 AHS)

The Iranian ladies have brought Islam to the stage it is now at by sacrificing their lives, their youth and their time, and I hope that from now on it will be advanced even further. You can be sure that as long as you remain active and committed to Islam, as long as you are ready to give your young ones for the cause and are willing to train them properly, then Islam will progress . . . (225)

12 March 1985 (21 Isfand 1363 AHS)

Adapted from: "The Position of Women from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini (r.a.)"