The title Beneath My Mother's Feet
comes from one of the many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about mothers: "The gates of heaven lie beneath the mother's feet." Elsewhere, another narrator reports that "I asked the Prophet who has the greatest right over a man, and he said, 'His mother.'" Clearly, mothers hold a special place in a Muslim household. Ask students to write a one-page essay about their mothers or another significant female relative. Discussion Topics
1) We learn early on that Nazia likes school and has the respect of her teacher Ms. Haroon. How is her school similar to your school? How is it different? Why is Nazia so devastated when her mother pulls her out of school to work? Discuss the part school plays in Nazia's hopes and dreams.
2) As the book opens, we meet Nazia's neighbors and friends, Maleeha and Saira. As Nazia's circumstances change, she again meets her friends who respond to her in very different ways. When Nazia encounters Saira in the market, how does Saira react and what are her reasons for her behavior? What happens when Nazia asks Maleeha for help? Who is the better friend and why?
3) Soon Nazia must grow up fast to help her family stay together. She longs for her older brother, Bilal, to return home so she can "be a little sister again." What does she lose as she gains more responsibility? What does she find out about herself and the members of her family as each responds to hi