Heaven Is Below a Mother’s Feet

Sandra Calligaro classroom

A woman can change her family’s life.

There was a family in Afghanistan who had a terrible life. They were all illiterate, and although they tried very hard to change their lives, they couldn’t.

One day the mother said to her son, “Son, you have to get married.”

But her son had grown up with such negative thoughts about women that he told her, “No, I don’t want to get married.”

His mother said, “I am a woman and I am also your mother. Am I bad? You have to think about your future, and if you don’t get married, how will have a good family?”

So he decided to get married. His wife was a very good, smart woman. She knew that her husband was poor, so she decided to help him.

She had a good job as a teacher. She loved to teach, and her salary was enough to take care of her family. Her husband didn’t have a job, but when he saw how hard his wife was working for his family, he decided to work hard also.

When he worried that he didn’t have a job, she said, “Don’t worry, I am with you and we will help each other. Insha’Allah.”

His life began to change. He decided to study every night, and his wife helped him read and write.

He learned the difference between bad and good and how important women are in life. Now that this man understands that a woman can bring such change, he is happy and he and his wife have four children.

A woman can change the world. Every woman can do this.

The holy Qu’ran says to respect your mother because heaven is below a mother’s feet.

A mother does not eat, but gives food to her children. A mother does not sleep, but she lets her child sleep well.

Without women, the world will never improve. A mother raises good children, and then a child becomes a doctor, teacher, or king—all because of a caring mother.

By Mahbooba

Photo by Sandra Calligaro


  1. Elizabeth Titus says:

    Dear Mahbooba,

    How beautiful and powerful this story is!

    It is true — a woman can change the world.
    Best wishes,

  2. Wiping away the tears as I type this. What a beautiful piece, Mahbooba. Wishing you and the family in your story much happiness, peace, and prosperity. Stacy

  3. This is a beautiful story and gives hope to women. Ah, if only more men were that receptive!

  4. Dear Mahbooba,
    I love this line: “A woman can change the world. Every woman can do this.” It’s a universal message. Thank you for reminding us of it through this wonderfully sweet story.

  5. hi mahbooba,
    thank you for your wisdom. it is true that men think they know everything and have all the answers; but how many times have we all (including me) see fault on trying to be hero, god, gladiator, the best. the line “without women, the world will never improve” is the best because women know the best ways to nurture people, places, family, into directions that make the world better for us all. it would be great to compile more stories like these to encourage people to do better, be better. keep writing.

  6. Dear Mahbooba,
    it is great to read your stories and to get a different perspective to what we are used to read about Afghanistan. You have a very optimistic worldview and that is just great.
    Just keep in mind that this is only one perspective. I think there are women that are less fortunate – in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I think this story would have ended different with a different man. Violence against women is not just about how smart the woman is. I know very smart, strong, good women that got beaten by their husbands for years. It is important to see that women are not just victims and that they have some power to change men and society, but we should be careful that we don’t somehow blame beaten wifes by saying that smart, godd women can change their husbands.
    And from my persepective – that is surely deeply influenced by being raised in Europe – women are not always nurturing and a good women might also tell her husband to stay awake half of the nights so that the children can sleep well.
    I love your optimism and the love towards your family that is reflected in your other stories, I love that they paint a different picture of Afghanistan and that they give hope for a change. Just never forget that there are women that are less fortunate and as smart, good or strong as they might be, if they are unlucky they will not be able to change neither their husbands nor their families nor society. I hope that you can continue to spread the good and influence many people to think your way!

  7. Hello Dear Mahbooba!!
    I like your story about woman spicily this line “A woman can change the world. Every woman can do this” and also this line too “A mother does not eat, but gives food to her children. A mother does not sleep, but she lets her child sleep well”. yes I am also in this believes woman can do everything.

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