Shame on us if we think a copycat holiday for our fathers is any way to honor them. Burdened with the responsibility to provide for their immediate and extended families from the moment they reach adulthood (by Islamic standards that's puberty) our young men grow into the leaders of our households through marriage and the passing on of their elders. Ever increasing in their understanding of the monumental duties placed upon by Allah, they strive to the extent of their capacity to be a good example to the children, a helper to the elders, and a partner in parenting and companionship to their wives. Fortunately we have the excellent example of our prophet, Muhammed (pbuh), to guide us all in knowing the role of our fathers. As Abu Masud related, Rasulullah (pbuh) said:
"When a man spends his money for the sake of Allah he will be rewarded, even for a morsel which he puts into the mouth of his wife." (Bukhari, Muslim)
And as Abdullah ibn Amr ibn As related, Rasulullah (pbuh) said:
"It is enough sin for a man that he holds back money that he should be spending for those who depend on him." (Muslim)
With regard to one's wife, Abu Hurairah related that Rasulullah (pbuh) said:
"The one most perfect in his faith is he whose conduct is best and the best amongst you is he who behaves best towards his wife." (Tirmidhi)
Toward one's children, Ayyub ibn Musa related that Rasulullah (pbuh) advised:
"A father can give his son nothing better than a good education." (Tirmidhi)
Also Aisha related that:
"A woman once came to me begging with her two daughters. All I could find was a single date, which I gave her. She divided it between her daughters and kept none for herself. Then she got up and left. When Rasulullah (pbuh) came, I told him what had happened, and he said, 'Anyone who has daughters and is kind to them will find that they become his/her protection from Hell.' (Bukhari, Muslim)"
Whatever they do, whether they succeed or fail in these endeavors each day, the reality is that when they are gone and stand before Allah they will be held accountable for these obligations. Struggling to fulfill this honorable and weighty decree, our fathers labor for the sake of Allah. As such, we too bear a responsibility of gratitude.
How then can one day a year be adequate for our acknowledgment of their efforts for our benefit? Even if their ways are abrupt or seemingly heartless at times, it is for us to show understanding and patience and to appreciate them for all their good intentions and diligent efforts. It is for us to remember that they have more to answer for and to respect their decisions every day. How can a nice meal or a pair of socks suffice in place of the appreciation they deserve everyday for the turmoil they experience in their jobs?
Wake up early. Fight the traffic. Toil and sweat to earn an income that feeds, clothes, provides shelter, and educates one's dependents. After a long, hard day, again fight the traffic that at any moment could result in an accident that could wipe out your physical ability to make a living. This is only a portion of the load they carry.
As such, do they really deserve to have to wait a year to come home and be greeted at the door with a smile? Is it fair that they go through all that stress and anxiety only to be faced with bickering and complaints in the evening? Don't they deserve a safe haven from social strife when they walk through the door and give their greetings of peace and blessings to the household?
Let us not allow a day that only recently began being celebrated replace the wisdom and guidance we received regarding how we should value and honor our fathers over 1,400 years ago through our prophet. Let us stand against the superficial nature of this day that was only implemented after the establishment of Mother's Day to say, "We love you too, Dad." Let us keep to what is true and pure, a sincere daily love, obedience, and respect of our fathers and the fathers of our children for the sake of Allah.