Ilm 2 Amal
7 April 2011, London, UK: The At Our Mothers’ Feet campaign today launched a statement on global maternal health backed by Muslim leaders at an event at the London Muslim Centre. The launch coincides with World Health Day.
The event was opened by Saif Ahmad, CEO of MADE in Europe, one of the organisations leading the At Our Mothers’ Feet campaign along with partner Ammalife. Mr Ahmad emphasised that the majority of global maternal deaths could be easily prevented by ensuring that women have access to basic medication and trained birth attendants. Dilowar Khan, Director of London Muslim Centre, also said a few words in support of the campaign.
The statement was presented by Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra from 1st Ethical Charitable Trust. It calls on Muslim communities in the UK to lead the campaign to promote maternal healthcare around the globe by raising awareness in the UK and abroad and by supporting charities and governments to increase their work on maternal healthcare. The statement is endorsed by over 40 Muslim religious scholars and community leaders from across the UK, including Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatullah from Muslim Council of Britain and Shaykha Halima Krausen of the London-based An-Nisa Society.
The statement quotes a saying from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – “Be at your mother’s feet and there is paradise” – to emphasise the importance that Islam places on the status of mothers and their indispensable role in society. It highlights the fact that Muslim communities in the UK have the opportunity to use their links with countries with high maternal mortality rates such as Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to influence attitudes, share life-saving knowledge and help to provide vital healthcare to women around the world.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra said: “I am very pleased to be part of this initiative. It is shocking that so many mothers are still dying when we have the knowledge and experience to be able to save them. Our Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) said that if we see something evil we should change it with our hands, or with our tongue or at least hate it in our hearts. That’s why I believe that as Muslims, we have a duty to make the most of the avenues available to us to combat maternal deaths and make universal maternal healthcare a priority.”
Imam Qasim Ahmad, CEO of Iqra TV and A-Khair Foundation, also attended the event and pledged his support for the campaign. He said “It is very difficult when mothers don’t have access to their basic healthcare needs. We have seen mothers delivering babies on footpaths and on buses. When you save a mother’s life, you save a whole family’.
The At Our Mothers’ Feet campaign is asking Muslims of all ages and backgrounds to support the campaign by pledging to take one of 5 suggested actions, including holding a fundraising event for a charity working on maternal health or using Twitter and Facebook to encourage friends and family to support the campaign. A full list of actions is available at www.atourmothersfeet.org.uk/act/
“Be at your mothers’ feet and there is paradise” – Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
We address this letter to our brothers and sisters in humanity,
Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah – peace be upon you all
There is a crisis occurring in the world today. A crisis which affects almost every community and every country in the world. A crisis which devastates families and leaves young children vulnerable to poverty, illiteracy and death.
1000 mothers are dying every day during pregnancy or childbirth because they cannot access basic care – that’s one every 90 seconds. Over 7 million more women every year are left with disabilities and injuries from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in the developing world, in countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Pakistan.
But 8 out of 10 women could survive if they had better access to basic healthcare – such as a hospital, basic medication, or trained health workers. This is not expensive or difficult to provide: a package of maternal health services costing about £1 per person could make significant improvements in women’s health.
Islam teaches us to honour our mothers for the hardships they endure, and the central role they play in society. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said ‘Be at your mother’s feet and there is Paradise’ (Ibn Majah). The Qur’an repeatedly speaks of the rights of mothers to be cared for during pregnancy and childbirth, commanding “and if they are pregnant, then spend on them until they deliver…” (65:6). Islam gives women the right to education, healthcare, marital choice and financial support – we must ensure that these rights are being respected around the world.
Education and family planning are life-saving. 150,000 women could be saved every year by spacing out births and through effective family planning. Encouraging young girls to stay in education and delay their first pregnancy would also prevent many needless deaths, as girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than girls in their 20s. Educated girls are also more likely to make healthier choices during pregnancy and childbirth, which significantly reduce their risk of dying.
Muslim communities have the power to make a difference. Our communities and charities have strong links with countries where maternal mortality is highest, such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan. This means we’re in a unique position to influence attitudes, share life-saving knowledge, and provide vital healthcare to women around the world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said ‘Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith’ (Muslim).
We call on Muslims in the UK to lead the campaign to promote maternal healthcare across the globe. You can do this by raising awareness within the UK; by sharing your knowledge with friends and family in developing countries; and by supporting charities and governments to increase their work on maternal healthcare. Join the http://www.atourmothersfeet.org.uk/ campaign now to celebrate motherhood; let us do our duty in honouring and supporting mothers around the world and make saving mothers’ lives a priority.
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