My mother reacted like me

In a previous post I discussed a section of a podcast I heard. In this post I am going to discuss another section. Nouman Ali Khan spoke about the slander faced about Aisha (RA may Allah be pleased with her.) I shall briefly (as brief as I can) write it here for those who are not familiar. During the time of the Prophet (SAW) it was customary for one the wives to accompany him on an expedition or battle. On one such occasion it just so happened that it was the turn of Aisha (RA.)  At this time the women would be carried by men in carriage with two poles either side. This would be covered so no one could see inside. Aisha (RA) was very light in weight so when the expedition had ended her carriage was lifted and taken without her being inside it. She was left stranded. A companion came across her, he turned away and allowed his camel to kneel down so she could be lead to army.

After this, there were some people who spread rumours about Aisha (RA) and the companion. She was unaware of this until one of the other female sahahabi’s informed her. Her world came crumbling down she cried for three consecutive days and resided with her parents. The Prophet (SAW) was not coming near her either and eventually when he did he said that ‘if you are innocent seek forgiveness and if she is guilty then she should seek forgiveness.’ Upon hearing this, she turned to her parents and asked them to speak on behalf of her, they could not respond. After seeing everyone’s reaction Aisha (RA) says that her tears ‘dried up.’ It her reaction that I want to draw attention to-she said to her parents and the Prophet (SAW) that God would declare her inoncence and and turned away from them likening them to the Islraelites who did not believe Musa. She was angry and she responded. Now I have heard about this incident several times but I was not aware of how she had reacted.

When I was listening to Nouman Ali Khan he described her reaction and then related it to the Qur’an. We are told if you raise your voice to the Prophet (SAW) then the consequence is that all your good deeds are wiped away. We are also told (which is used against us much of the time) not to raise our voices to our parents. I struggle with the latter a lot. Now I am not an angry person but if a situation requires I can become egregious and indignant. As and when this has happened I have thought myself to be ‘wrong’ spiritually in some way. Hearing Aisha (RA) also reacted in the same manner as me, made me feel hopeful and less ‘wrong.’ (I am no way near the level of Aisha (RA.)

Now I am not saying that we should all go around and disrespect our parents, or the Messengers. I would not condone something like that. What I am saying is that we should be less harsh on ourselves and understand more about hadith’s, Quranic ayah before we advise someone else.

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Echoes of my thoughts

I listened to one and a half podcast’s today whilst ironing (as you do.) The speaker echoed some things that I believe are invaluable. He began by providing a history of his relationship with the Qur’an (the Muslim holy scripture.) I was astonished to find that his journey was similar to mine and he also began understanding the Qur’an dismissing some teaching and practices he had encountered whilst growing up. The reason as to why I was astonished was because he too found that the Qur’an and Islam had much to contribute and was not restricted. This was contrary to how it was portrayed to me as a child and a young women growing up in a western country. I always find it refreshing when I listen to speakers and they are able to relate to contemporary issues faced by Muslims and the community as a whole but take examples from the Qur’an.

The podcast was entitled Sabr through action not emotion. He began by talking about Musa (AS) and the time when he lead the Israelites to the desert to escape Firaun (Pharoah.) The Israelites faced many hardships and the hardship that really struck a chord in my heart was that of having their children murdered in front of them. No parent can withstand their child going through the smallest of pains and these parents had to physically see this and then live with it day in day out. At this point I thought of what was happening around the world. Parents are being tested differently with their children. A community I thought of was that of the Syrians and Palestians. We all see across social media the devastation that is occuring. We may only feel the pain whilst scrolling through our feeds and become indignant and outraged at that time and then continue with our daily tasks but we should try our best to remember them in our supplications (that’s the least we can do.) This then made me think about a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy about war. I remember her writing something about ‘reading about the catastrophes and the turning over to the next section’ (this is not a direct quote I am just taking from what I remember.)

Going back to Musa (AS) and the Israelites in the desert, there are a few important lessons we can take. Not only did they see their children being murdered and undergo torture, they now were on a desert not knowing what the future had in store for them. However, Musa (AS) had escaped tyranny before and gone to the desert. As I was listening to the speaker I was thinking what would be Musa (AS) advise? I was pleasantly surprised that it was an echo of my own thought. Musa (AS) advised them to be grateful and Allah will increase. Often times when faced with calamity and we ask for nasihah (advise) we are told to be patient. I do not know about anyone else but when I am not able to exhibit this I do feel spiritually deficient too. The speaker (Nouman Ali Khan) pointed out that to feel these emotions and be sad is a part of being patient. The precursor of this is gratitude-because this shows you what you do have and what Allah has done for you and where he has brought you. In saying this Nouman Ali Khan highlighted the importance of a persons mental and psychological state which I feel is at times overlooked.

I guess I wanted to share this with everyone and illustrate that our religion has answers and caters for all individuals we just have to search.

Cohesion

I was speaking to my youngest sister in law recently about a lecture she attended about language learning. She informed that the lecturer had said that sleep is a crucial part of retaining information. Research conducted has shown this. In an experiment that took place two groups were given the same information and asked to later recall this after some time. The difference was that one group was asked after they had slept where as the other had been asked after they had gone about performing their daily tasks.

The results showed that the group that had slept had demonstrated better results. The speaker then said that this may be related to bed time stories we read to children. I then related this to something else I had heard many years ago in a lecture I went to with my husband.

The speaker said that the day is for doing the ‘duniya’ (worldly) things and the night is for ‘Ibadan’ (worship.) It just reminded me of the pearls that are embedded within my (our) religion.

Response to Dear Muslim Mother

I recently came across a new blog written by the author ‘Education Enriched.’ It attained my attention because of it’s title ‘Dear Muslim Mother.’ It really was a reassuring and encouraging post that I think ALL mothers would benefit from irrespective of beliefs. The reason why it made an impression on me was because it integrated those aspects that are not often discussed or addressed in mother toddler groups or amongst Muslim Mothers. Before you have a child nobody really tells you of the ups and downs of parenting or how you can feel alone even if your surrounded.

It is almost as if those emotions are locked away. My experience with my eldest daughter was initially of guilt. It upsets me when I say it but it is true. I felt guilty if she cried at night, I felt guilty she was not active, I felt guilty that she was cautious, I felt guilty when I took her for a nap, I felt guilty I could not help with the housework. I felt guilty if we had guests and I could not be of assistance. I felt guilty I was not doing more with her. I felt guilty that I was not feeling guilty enough. My self esteem was really low. I blamed myself.  This was not how I was feeling constantly and I overcame it finding solace in spirituality and physical activity. But I would go back and forth between the ‘guilt.’

When I was expecting my second child the emotions amplified. As is normal. You are tired and having another child (or maybe more) can mean that your resting. Some women maybe at work, some maybe in ill health anyway (both physically and mentally.) I wanted to enjoy things but I could not. Believe me Allah (God) has blessed me with resilience but it was difficult-especially as we were moving home. Writing it now it brings tears to my eyes. At this time my father-in law had passed away and I was grieving because he was an amazing, benevolent person. I actually did not know who to speak to and dismissed things thinking it was unimportant feeling like I had to. It is strange the coping mechanisms we build to protect those things we care about.

It has taken me time to regain confidence and I am still getting there. It was actually going through this transition of emotional upheaval that put me on the path to seek that which is important. It is only in the recent months I have felt the voices in my head subside. It is in the last year that I no longer feel the guilt (as much as I used to.) It was not just associated with parenting. It had permeated into my other relationships. Now I savour those moments with my children. One thing to remember is that everybody has opinions (including myself.) Everybody can give advice. You and Allah know what is happening in YOUR life.

Reading the post ‘Dear Muslim Mother,’ gave me reassurance that there are other women who also feel like this and it is ok. Especially when I read the following which I have directly quoted;

“When you feel guilty about missing fajr prayer because you finally fell asleep at 5am and woke up when the sun was rising.

When you feel relief at having completed ‘ishaa prayer just so that you can sit down and rest your aching body for a few minutes (or even an hour, if you’re lucky).

When you feel angry at your husband for just asking if there is anything he can have for dinner.

When you feel like a terrible mother for losing it with your children, over and over again.

When you feel like just running away from it all (just so that you can sleep).

When you feel like your imaan has all but disappeared.

You are not alone.” 

I just wanted to commend and respond to the mother (I Know it is a mother) for aptly putting feelings into words.

 

 

Toddler immersion

IMG_3471 If anybody has read one of my previous posts you will know that I wrote about immersion.Parenting I think is quite arbitrary. I remember in year eight when my PSE teacher asked us to ask our parents what they learnt before becoming a parenting.  When the teacher asked us again one of the students responses was that her parents said “nothing it was like a walk in the park.” It is just that. You learn as you go along and you find directions that suit you. A theme that echoes within my posts is that I wanted my beliefs to be central. I wanted everything to emanate from this. Alhhumdulillah (praise be to Allah) there is an abundance of resources available around us that we can utilise. This brings me to the bath book. I think these are absolutely amazing. There are many available in story book versions from supermarkets and retailers but I was taken by this one produced by Shade7. It is a simple way in introducing kids to wudhu (ablution required to perform prayers by Muslims.) It also changes colour to signify which parts you need to wash. I came across the organisation on Instagram and it would be great if others could also show their support.

Its great for bath time. I was happy to see that the organisation had taken the concept and used to retail an aspect of the religion that is so integral. It makes immersive parenting that little bit easier. Not only this it has much more to offer. As it is written in English it helps them to read and me being a linguistics geek can go and on.

Blurry Backpack

This was a quick photo of Amanah when she was running away from me. It’s blurry that’s why it was ideal for my post. It is the backpack that this post is centered around. Back in November 2016 my sister and niece came to visit. My sister was on a training course and my niece wondered around and picked up a few gifts.  This included this backpack for my child. When I was a child we actually did not have that many accessories. We had to suffice with hand-me-downs, imaginative play and building our own items. I know think this was great. This is because when we did have things we appreciated them. Now, I am not going to rant and say children should be restricted but what I am finding is that it is quite hard getting my children to value things so to speak. I know it is because we do give them toys and lavish them with clothes, outings, digital devices, holidays and whatever else BUT I really do not want to raise children who do not know how to earn things.

Are there any other parents who feel like this? I would like to know and hear from you. One thing that I do with my daughters is show excitement (I actually do get excited) when they receive gifts. So when Amanah was given this (she is still very young) I made sure that it was not just played with or thrown on the floor. I also change what toys they play with to encourage appreciation. I have found these techniques to work somewhat.
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To my daughters

IMG_3462  Dear Safiya and Amanah,

I write this whilst one of sleeps and the other plays. At times its great at times its difficult. At times your wonderful at times your a handful. At times your a bundle of joy that I do not want to let go. At times you make me angry for reasons you do not know. You both are small now but growing everyday. To have you both I did pray. I prayed at night, in the morning and the time when everybody was asleep. Thats why I wonder sometimes why I weep.You see I become overwhelmed and cannot express- the thoughts in my head so I get into a mess. But I do love you and do care. I care about your wellbeing. I care about your spirituality. Thats why I want to strive hard to make the akhirah a reality. Its not as easy as I pondered in my youth-sometimes I feel the torment of ‘mummy guilt.’ Then I realise that Allah’s mercy is like a comfortable quilt. So I keep trying, perserving taking  one step at a time-knowing that through this I am being watched by Al-Latif the most Sublime.