Mother’s Day was celebrated with great zeal on Friday, but the local community was abuzz with discussions on the rationale behind this day. Most Qataris were of the view that Mother’s Day had nothing to do with their culture and they were simply aping Western practices. Clerics and Islamic scholars cautioned people against imitating such celebrations.
They said that Muslims had their own holidays, which are Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, and showing respect to one’s parents and acknowledging their role did not need a specific day. A mother deserves love and respect always, and not just on one day, they said.
Islam highlights the importance of mothers and their role in upbringing children and caring for them, and Muslims are urged to obey and care for their mothers throughout their lives and pray for her and seek forgiveness from her.
Ahmed Abu Alynin, imam of a mosque in Al Wakra, said celebration of Mother’s Day was not allowed in Islam because according to Shariah only the Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha holidays are allowed for Muslims. Showing respect to mothers and keeping them happy are duties that should be performed every day and should not be limited to just one day because mothers and fathers are accorded an important position in Islam.
The concept of Mother’s Day is imported from the West, where children live away from their parents and are not in contact with them for long. The day is an occasion for them to meet their mothers and celebrate the meeting. Alynin said giving presents to one’s mother on a specific day in a year was not acceptable in Islam. The majority of Qatari families do not celebrate Mother’s Day. Most Qataris live with their extended families and mothers have an important place in these families.
The cleric said there were many other imported celebrations, such as Parent’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Instead of discussing their relevance people should reject the alien concepts, which have no place in Qatari culture and society, he said.
Qataris appear to be divided on whether they should celebrate Mother’s Day. Some say there is nothing wrong in having a day to show respect to one’s mother and present her gifts, while others argue that there is no need to celebrate such days and only religious occasions should be celebrated.
Umm Abdul Aziz, a mother, said she was against celebration of Mother’s Day because it had nothing to do with Qatari society and was a Western concept. One should not wait for a specific occasion or a day to make one’s mother happy, but give her care and respect throughout her life, she said.
“We should obey and remember her all the time, giving her what she likes. Unfortunately, due to cultural change and influences, some Qatari citizens have begun to celebrate this day. The family should be responsible for protecting society from such influences and we should teach our children that this is not part of our tradition and it has nothing to with Islam,” she said.
Another mother, Zainab, said Mother’s Day in Qatar was like any other day because it was not celebrated with great enthusiasm here. Qataris believe that mothers must be cared for and respected every day, and not just on one day, she said, adding that celebrating the day could be painful for women who do not have children or those who have lost a child. It could also be painful for children who have lost their mother, she said.
However, Fatima Masud said there was nothing wrong in celebrating the day and giving gifts to one’s mother and making her happy.
“Though it is not part of our culture and religion, it is also not contradictory to our religion,” she said.
She said she preferred to buy jewellery for her mother on this day. She has two daughters studying in elementary school and they bring her flowers or a card, which makes her happy. “I feel that they are giving value to me as a mother,” she said.THE PENINSULA
A profitable day
Mother’s Day, a celebration honouring mothers and their contribution to society, has become commercialised and shops take advantage of the day to sell their products as gifts for mothers.
Qatar is no exception to this as it observed Mother’s Day along with the rest of the Arab world yesterday. From jewellery and perfume shops to electronics and garment stores, special gifts were readily available, tailored for the occasion. Restaurants, coffee shops, beauty centres and hotels also pushed their various offerings and packages for mothers.
A sign conspicuously displayed in a coffee shop asked customers to ‘Please choose a latte for a mother.’
Perfume shops assembled fine collections of perfumes as special gifts for mothers.
The mood of the celebration could be felt everywhere yesterday. Many websites displayed Mother’s Day images in the background to draw people’s attention to the occasion.
Electronics and mobile phone shops recommended smartphones, tablets and electronic devices as the best gifts for mothers. Variety stores also took advantage of the celebration, offering clothes, flowers, chocolates, bags and shoes as gifts for mothers yesterday.
Some jewellery shops were offering creations made for the occasion, with some of the pieces carrying inscriptions such as ‘My mother.’ A necklace could cost between QR1,000 and QR2,000, depending on the design.
Salam, an employee of a mobile phone shop, said they were taking advantage of the occasion to attract customers to buy suitable gifts for mothers.
“It is a good idea to suggest to customers what to buy by making a selection of gift products for Mother’s Day because many of them don’t know what gifts appeal to mothers,” he told Al Arab newspaper.
He said smartphones and tablets were some of the best gifts to give on Mother’s Day because they could be used by people at any age.
“But I noticed my customers buy ordinary mobiles for old mothers, while for younger mothers they buy smartphones and tablets, and most of them prefer certain colours, like gold. So, for this day we prepared the most in-demand colours and various accessories with different colours and designs to meet people’s demands,” he said, adding they were offering free gift wrapping.
Perfume shops attracted customers by placing advertisements for their special perfume collections and bukhoor (incense) in their stores and websites. Gift boxes containing bukhoor and a selection of body care products found many buyers.
In malls, temporary stands for Mother’s Day gifts were set up ahead of the day to sell perfumes, bukhoor and jewellery, among other things. The prices ranged from QR100 to QR2,000.
Some hotels offered special rates and packages to provide mothers a day to relax and feel special. Restaurants also offered Mother’s Day dinners for families.
Beauty salons offered gifts such as beauty and body care products such as creams and lotions of well-known brands.