1) Validation from Allah of all the hardships as a mother
“And We have enjoined upon man for his parents. His mother carried him, in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the destination.”
Allah calls initial years of motherhood “WAHNAN ALA WAHN ” (hardship upon hardship) – basically the era of pregnancy and breastfeeding…
The word wahn comes from the root word Wow-haa-Nun which means to be weak and feeble, lax in the joints, broken in energy, sap the strength, to lose vigour or courage, to discourage, dishearten, wear down, etc.
And Allah doesn’t call this time period just “wahn”, rather “wahnan ala wahn” – weakness UPON weakness…
All the above things are layered in double. These kinds of wordings are also used for Allah Himself in the Quran (24:35) – “Noorun ala noor” (light upon light)…
So next time, if someone brushes your hardships under the rug by saying: “but all women do it”
“well, that’s why a mother has 3 times better rank”
“you chose this” etc.
Know in your heart that the Lord of the worlds accepts that IT’S HARD! Not just hard, but REALLY hard – so much so that its hardship layered upon another hardship! After which, we don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval, do we!
My Rabb knows. My Rabb accepts. My Rabb rewards. And I will complain of my hardships to none but My Rabb, because only He understands. Like how Ya’qub (as) said in hardship:
انما أشكو بثي وحزني إلي الله
So I will sit here and imagine about Jannah when this hardship upon hardship will be replaced with ease upon ease! Where we will bear fruits in a wink and there will be no wait or pain.
Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A man from among the people of Paradise will request Allah to allow him to cultivate the land. Allah will say to him, ‘Haven’t you got whatever you desire?’ He will reply, ‘Yes, but I like to cultivate the land (Allah will permit him and) he will sow the seeds, and within seconds the plants will grow and ripen and (the yield) will be harvested and piled in heaps like mountains” & kids will be the same too.
P.S. If you’re in this wahnan ala wahn stage of life, then know that you’re not alone and not a single tear and sweat is lost 💜 May we always go through it all for the sake of Allah because no one else can reward us the way He can. And no one can understand the way He does!
2) Not taking kids’ behaviour personally
“…no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another…”
The story of Nuh and Yaqub السلام عليهم scares me as a parent.
Yaqub السلام عليه’s sons tried to kill their own brother. Not just 1 or 2 but TEN children went astray. No wonder he lost his eyesight because of all the tears and years of grief. And no wonder he needed sabrun jameel (beautiful patience) to survive this brutal reality that he was the father of children with murderous traits and deep-rooted envy. He was a loving father (which one can tell from the fact that his son came to share his dream with him and how he lovingly responded despite its implications). But alhamdulillah his story has a happy ending. His children repented and came back to the right path. Even though it took a LOT of years.
Nuh السلام عليه didn’t even get that. He had to painfully watch his disobedient children drown with other evil people. He tried his best. He made dua. He role-modeled. But eventually, he had to witness the harsh reality of not being able to save his loved ones despite his utmost efforts. All of the Islamic parenting tips are super helpful and should be followed indeed because we will be questioned about our flocks as shepherds. We will be questioned about the amaanah Allah gave us. So our efforts matter regardless of the results. And it’s the mercy of Allah that He rewards our efforts even if we get zero results in the end. But we should also understand that our book of deeds is separate from our children’s book of deeds. This means that sometimes amazing parents can have horrible kids or horrible parents can have amazing kids. We see examples of each scenario in history. (The story of how Ibrahim السلام عليه’s father threw him in the fire simply because of his belief in Allah and yet Ibrahim السلام عليه had so much khair in his heart for his father).
Alhamdulillah that we will not be burdened with anyone else’s deeds if we were not directly (or indirectly) involved in it – even if it were our children’s deeds. May Allah guide us and our children on the straight path. Aameen.
3) Knowing that we are not alone as parents (even when it feels like that)
“Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.”
I remember the time when my 6yr old passed by while I was in the corner of the kitchen crying. I didn’t realise she saw me as I was trying to bury my red face in the cabinets, but when I unexpectedly received a card from her that read “Ama, don’t be sad”, it reminded me of this aayah:
لاَ تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَنَا
What Muhammad ﷺ said to his companion Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه when they were in the cave hiding from their own people who wanted to kill them.
How often do we forget that even when there’s no support around, Allah is still with us…He always was. He always will be. So when everything comes crashing down and you drown in worries and hardships, remember, Allah is with us.
Tahzan comes from the root letters ح ز ن – which means to grieve, be sad/unhappy, express pain/sorrow, to be rough or rugged and hard – (we often say in English too – I’m having a rough day), also to be rough in pace or not easy to ride upon (how we may say in English: life is a rough ride)…etc…
So, O grieving soul, laa tahzan! InnAllaaha ma’ana 🌸
4) Knowing that we have someOne to go to when it all gets too overwhelming
“So flee to Allah…”
The words “Fafirru ilAllaah” in the Quran are often translated as:
Run towards Allah;
Flee to Allah;
Hasten towards Allah;
Fly to Allah…
If you go into the depth of Arabic, you will find that fafirru comes from the root letters Fa-Ra-Ra which shares the same roots with mafarr; meaning refuge – when you run away from something dangerous to find refuge in Him. When you run away all scared into a safe place. A sanctuary.
So when the weight of this world crushes your shoulders,
When the noise of the world consumes your brain,
When the mountains of stress have accumulated and you feel like they will collapse on you,
When your heart feels so heavy that it pins your body down to the ground,
When your soul feels empty and nothing fills the void,
Because He is our Only Place of Refuge in a world full of chaos. In a world full of betrayal. In a world where we are nothing but a speck, His Majesty is enough to cover us whole.
So here I am my Lord, here I am with a soul so bare…I hastened. I ran. I flew without wings.
Just to find a refuge I find nowhere but in You…
5) Knowing that your sweat and tears are not unseen
“Not a leaf falls but He knows it.”
The legacy of Hajar (may Allah have mercy on her) is followed by billions of men and women around the world every minute of each day.
If you’ve been to Hajj/Umrah – you may have wondered standing at Safa – are these men running because Hajar once did?
Did Allah make such an important ritual of Islam after the struggle of a woman? A mother? Did Allah form one of the most prestigious and desired forms of worship upon the legacy of a struggling mother? Did Allah turn her sacrifices into a form of worship?
When you feel completely alone amidst all your motherly tasks – like you have no help around and no one acknowledges or appreciates all the things you do day in and day out – know that the One Who made a legacy out of a mother’s struggle knows your sacrifices as well.
Not a tear falls but He knows it…
The Lord of the world appreciates you enough to give you Jannah beneath your feet. To give you 3 ranks above a father. To give you the power to bring a new life into this world. And to give you examples like these. So your hope and will to go on can stay as strong as Safa and Marwa – embed around your daily life struggles.
And don’t forget to make dua for yourself when you are left in awe with the story of Hajar and her legacy. May Allah invite you to His house so you can see it yourself! 😍
6) Gratitude brings joy to the mundane
And when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you…”
yr old: Ama! Is it possible that Allah takes away all of our food one day?
Me: Yes, that’s possible. Sometimes Allah can test the strength of our faith like that.
5yr old: Is it possible that He takes our home away just like that?
Me: Ummm Yes *scared where this conversation is going*, that’s possible too (people who go through natural disasters experience that often).
5yr old: *while crying* so is it possible that Allah takes you away one day too?
Me: hmmm yes. *not wanting to sugarcoat things because they’ve already seen the death of their brother and this conversation comes up often since that incident* But there’s someONE who will NEVER go away. He will be there even if no one will stay. Even if you will have nothing. And He is someone who loves way more than I can ever love you. Everything and everyone else (except for Him) can be replaced. But there’s also one way you CAN keep your blessings and even increase them in this dunya. .
5yr old: *excitedly asks* HOW?
Me: Through the power of Alhamdulillah ❤
5yr old: But I can’t do that.
Me: *a little offended* Why not?
5yr old: Because then I’ll always be saying alhamdulillah – there are soooooo many blessings Allah gave us.
Me: *smug face* #AlhamdulillahForSeries gratitude journal worked alhamdulillah!
All of us filled the shukr journal when my son passed away – it helped us all heal. Maybe one day, I will share the cute little book my 5yr old made for her baby brother Muhammad, so she can give it to him in Jannah 💖 Alhamdulillah that I have one child in Jannah (in shaa Allah) – it makes me want to be a better Muslim because I want to meet him there one day!
7) Comparison is the thief of that joy
“Competition in increase diverts you. Until you visit the graveyards.” [102:1-2]
One day, my husband said to me: I don’t get any time with the kids amidst all this workload. And it hit me, dad-guilt is real too.
I’ve been saying this to my husband for the past 6 years I think – “Your value is not in the sum of money you make. Your value is in the person that you are” (I repeat this often to my own mother as well actually – your value is not in all the services you provide for us (because she constantly feels bad for not doing enough even after she is bone-tired from all the work), your value is in YOU as a person – so give us more of that instead.”
And I often remind my husband – whenever he wants to upgrade his career for a more comfortable life – “We’re better off with less money and more of your time. If it translates into you having a less stressed life and you getting to spend more time with us, with kids, we’re all for this change! We’ll be happy to live in a smaller home even.”
(Because in most cases, more money usually means more work too (especially if you’re earning halal and the money doesn’t come to you ancestrally)).
I know in this age, where mothers are expected to work too to provide a better life for their families, it may sound ridiculous for a man to opt for a less-stressful and more flexible job that pays less so he could spend more time with his family. More time with Allah…
And not everyone may have the luxury to choose this of course. But even when we do, we may not opt for it. Because we want more and more. It’s human nature.
8) Balance is possible if we prioritise the right things without israaf
“…And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.”
ISRAAF (excess) – the reason for IMBALANCE.
Israaf is to go beyond what is necessary. Filling your plate with more than you can handle. Taking more than you need.
Islam taught us balance in every single thing. Allah gave us a heart, mind, body, and soul. All of them have their rights. We lose that balance when we focus on one of them way too much while ignoring the rest.
We are asked to not spend excessively, talk, eat, and make promises in sales excessively and not do ibaadah excessively either (if that means ignoring all other obligations Allah has given us).
Think of balance as a pyramid. With Allah on top, you and relationships in the middle and dunya at the bottom. Turn it around and try to balance it now! It will take so many crutches to find the equilibrium with the prism standing upside down (on its pointy edge). It’s one of the reasons why one day, we may fall on one side and another day, on the other side…There’s barakah in balance!
Prophet ﷺ used to supplicate: “O Allah! Forgive my errors, ignorance and EXCESS in my affairs. You’re better aware of my faults than myself. O Allah! Forgive my faults which I committed in seriousness or in fun deliberately or inadvertently. O Allah! Grant me pardon for those sins which I committed in the past and I may commit in future, which I committed in privacy or in public and all those sins of which You are better aware than me…” .
May Allah not make us one of the musrifeen (someone who goes overboard) because we’re human beings and it’s so easy to fall into excess in everything. Serving our kids/business/house day and night while ignoring ourselves are few of examples.
9) It will not be harder than what you can bear
“Allah does not charge a soul except its capacity…” [Quran 2:286]
As I lay down my exhausted body in the bed beside the kids, reciting the night duas before sleeping, I can’t help but repeat these 2 verses over and over…
لا يكلف الله نفسا الا وسعها
Allah does not charge a soul except its capacity…
لا يكلف الله نفسا الا وسعها
Allah does not burden me beyond my capacity.
لا يكلف الله نفسا الا وسعها
Allah will NEVER burden me beyond my capacity.
I’m stretching thin. I’m bending backward. I’m hardly holding on…but this IS my capacity. This is the most of me. This is the best of me!
Allah knows my capacity and He wants me to reach my full potential. I’m stronger than I think I am. For I’m carrying the weight of love. It feels like it will break my back but it’s also the support that’s helping me stand straight, stand tall!
ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به
Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear.
ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به
Ya Allah! Don’t burden me with what I don’t have the power for…
ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به
Ya Allah! Don’t burden me with what my shoulders can’t bear to carry!
I’m sure by this time the kids think this is how the verses are repeated so many times in the Qur’an as well… If only they knew these are the verses I hold as crutches. Crutches that help me keep going when my body gives up. These crutches help me keep walking when I can no longer rely on the strength of my spine and the firmness of my feet.
And as I wipe my tears when I finish reciting the verses, I find them fast asleep…I kiss them goodnight knowing that the cycle runs again tomorrow and I am brave enough to face the tides all over again!
What do you hold onto as a crutch when motherhood softens your bones?
10) Good parenting is not about your child. It’s about you!
“That Day a man will flee from his brother, And from his mother and his father, for And from his wife and his children. Every man, that Day, will have enough to make him careless of others.” [Quran 80:34-37]
Good parenting is not about who your kids become, it’s about who YOU become in the process.
If good parenting was just about how good of a Muslim your child turns out to be, I’m not sure what we would think of Nuh عليه السلام whose son refused to even believe! After he spent around 1000 years calling people to Tawheed. It’s truly a lesson in tawakkal Allah. He guides whom He wills. He tried his best based on what Allah commanded, so he was a great parent – regardless of whether his children believed or not. If good parenting was about children who never committed any crimes or made any mistakes, I’m not sure what we would think of Yaqub عليه السلام whose sons (not just one, but NINE OF THEM) blatantly lied to their father, deceived him because of jealousy and animosity towards their brother, ended up potentially destroying almost all of their brother’s youth, caused their father to lose his sight (after crying so much out of grief and suppressing his emotions because his sons didn’t want to hear it anymore). Yaqub عليه السلام was an amazing father. The way his son (Yusuf عليه السلام) comes up to him and shares his intricate dreams tells me how present a father he was! It doesn’t matter who his children became. It mattered who he was!
If good parenting revolved around kids, I’m not sure what we would think of Adam عليه السلام whose son was the first murderer in this dunya! And for every murder that happens in this dunya, he gets part of its burden. Adam عليه السلام – in front of whom Angels prostrated, ended up with a son who murdered his own brother. HOW?! Qadr Allah!
Good parenting is not about your child. It’s about you! And the moment we realise that, we become more intentional parents – where we do things because Allah has commanded so, not out of fear of “what will the people say” etc. Our worth as parents is not determined by our children – it is determined by OUR efforts for the sake of Allah.
That mindset is transformational!