Mothers: Is Heaven under their feet?

Q396 :Islam stresses the position of the parents and that they must always be treated with respect. Is it true that heaven is under the feet of mothers and that if a mother is alive she can protect us from punishment by God with her day and night supplication for our protection? It is said that when one's mother dies, this protective umbrella is no longer available. Please comment.

A396 : The statement that heaven is under the feet of our mothers is figurative rather than literal. What it means is that a dutiful son is more likely to earn God's pleasure by virtue of his mother's continued supplication for him to be guided by God in everything that is of benefit to him and to his community. Moreover, exerting oneself in trying to please one's mother makes a son or a daughter a better person. They put their mother's happiness above their own pleasure. That is the least a mother deserves after spending many years looking after her children. It is not right to say that a mother protects her children from God's punishment because of her supplication. If her children are disobedient to God, then nothing can protect them. It is their good deeds that, with God's grace, can save them from punishment for past sins. There is no doubt that dutifulness to parents is a good deed which is richly rewarded by God, but this is how far it goes. People normally exaggerate matters, and their exaggeration can give them false ideas [when they take the figurative expression to mean a factual event]. To speak of an umbrella of protection from God which lasts as long as the mother is alive is one such false idea. [It is understandable, though, that supplication by the mother of a dutiful son or daughter is more likely to be answered by Allah and in that way it will provide him/her with protection against evils. This should never be construed to mean that one can go around indulging in sins and hope that mother's supplication will keep Allah's punishment away.]

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )