There is something profoundly poignant about the Somali word for mother: Hooyo. Its touching utterance has a way that can tug the heartstrings of the most heart-hardened men and women.
Indeed, and not surprisingly, etymologically, the word carries the sympathy that a mother has for her child. It’s derived from the Somali root word hoy/hooy (shelter). She is like a safe haven that gives shade against the blazing sun and acts as an impermeable natural barrier against the harrowing rain and wind. The word immediately triggers an emotional trip to your memory lane, instantly reminding you of her self-sacrifices – from the second you occupied her bodily vessel (womb) to the responsible adult that you see in the mirror. When Hooyo uses the word Hooyo, the physical and emotional response proves the natural fitrah (natural inclination) that Allaah instilled in humankind. It’s as if your worries and anxiety take a temporary backseat whilst you patiently cater to her requests. Strangely enough, the word Hooyo stirs the same level of reaction when an unrelated elderly woman calls you Hooyo. What a powerful and rightfully fitting word to describe a multi-faceted creature – ample proof of the richness of the Somali language.
And then I am reminded of the hadeeth where Prophet Muhammad (SCW) narrates the story of the deep compassionate bond between a child and mother. A little mercy from the bounty of the 1 part of Mercy (out of 100) that Allaah sent down for it to be shared between humankind, jinns and animals – and ends it with that Allaah is more compassionate towards His creation than a mother is towards her child (Muslim).