A beautiful function of the Arabic language is Uslub Al-Taghlib i.e. when two different things are mentioned together frequently and associated with one another, one of the two mentioned entities takes on its dual form to represent both entities.

One of the words literally takes over the other. A linguistic reason is usually the determining factor in deciding which word will dominate. Some popular examples of this occurrence are:

Qamraan: literally means two moons, but is representative of both the sun and moon.

Umraan: literally means two Umars, but is representative of Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them)

Hasnaan: literally means two Hasans, but represents both Hasan and Hussain (may Allah be pleased with them)

Now we come to the two instances of this in the Qur’an, Waalidaan, and Abwaan. Both these words mean parents, however, they’re different in their origins. The word Waalidaan comes from the root word Wulida, which means ‘to give birth’. So this is actually representative of the mother. The father is called Waalid figuratively.

Abwaan is a dual form of the word Abb, which means father. So by extension, both mother and father are referred to as Abwaan.

Both of these words have been used in the Qur’an for parents. The real lesson is where and how?

All the verses that speak about good treatment, kindness, and making dua for the parents mention the word Waalidaan, showing a preference for the mother.

As narrated in the famous Hadith, a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked, “Who is most deserving of my good companionship?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Your mother.”

The man then asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Your mother.”

The man further inquired, “Who is next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) once again said, “Your mother.”

The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Your father.”

So, when mentioning the good treatment of the parents, the Qur’an uses the word for ‘parents’ which is indicative of the mother over the father.

When mentioning the distribution of inheritance, the word Abwaan, which is indicative of the father, is used, due to the father’s share being greater than the mother’s.

This is a small example of the beauty and precision of the Qur’an. May Allah grant us the ability to study and benefit from the Qur’an. It is also a strong reminder of the rights that our mothers have on us.

Our mothers care so much for us, but we tend to forget everything they have – and continue to – done for us. May Allah bless all mothers and guide us to treat them with the kindness, and respect they deserve.