Jul 9, 2014

Dealing with Motherhood

by Umm Halimah


Let us face it: being a mom is hard. There is a reason why the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasallam mentioned the mother 3 times before mentioning the father in the famous hadith about who deserves our company the most. 

 Narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): “A man came to Allah’s Messenger (saws) and said, 
“O Allah’s Messenger! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (saws) said, “Your mother.” 
 The man said, “Who is next?” T
he Prophet (saws) said, “Your mother.” 
 The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet (saws) said, “Your mother.” 
 The man asked (for the fourth time), “Who is next?” The Prophet (saws) said, “Your father.” (Sahih-al-Bukhari) 

I have to admit that even though I have known about that hadith for a really long time, I never fully appreciated it until I became a mother myself. The fact that my father raised my brother and I by himself for most of our lives, has always made me more inclined to feel that fathers were the ones most under- appreciated. However,now I feel that sometimes mothers are expected to endure the struggles with a smile and pretend all is well and perfect while being highly consumed by their children’s needs and desires. I also feel that there is a lack of appreciation and understanding of the role of motherhood.

If you are like me, you may have been very excited about having children and looked forward to having little people to teach and shape into great human beings inshaAllah. You may have dreamt about teaching them surahs and hadiths and how to be well mannered, smart, and confident members of society. But you also may have skipped over the reality of your life before those dreams can be realized: the sleepless nights, the crying, the poop, the whining, never having your home looking or smelling quite like you would like all the time, etc. I think you get the point. Now, perhaps you dream of undisturbed bathroom breaks and going out by yourself. Of course not everyone feels this way, but I am sure some of you do and find yourselves sometimes clinging to the last flickers of sanity.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I am also here to remind myself and you, of the importance of your job as a mother, and the fact that there is One who acknowledges your struggles and will never forget about them and with whom you can find great reward, if you have the right intention inshaAllah. After all, Allah says, 

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination” (Qur’an 31:14). 

In this day and age,motherhood, especially stay-at-home motherhood is not given its full due. This is true of the greater society and Muslim society alike. Even I had to fight the idea that I was somehow doing something less by staying home with my kids instead of working on my career. I remember some asking me how I can just sit home and do nothing. I fought the urge to shout back “sitting down and doing nothing is hardly part of my current state!” However, when you see and hear messages like that, you may start to doubt yourself and it makes focusing on your job of motherhood a bit difficult. And, if you are the kind of person who really enjoys adult company more than that of children, sometimes you need some reassurance.

Alhamdulillah, I got a dose of that reassurance recently when a dear, older, and wiser friend visited me. She reminded me to reflect on how important the duty of motherhood truly is. So I did. We must remember that children are a blessing and a test from Allah. How we deal with and perform on this test can affect our eternal destination inshaAllah. Allah says in the Qur’an,

“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward” (Qur’an 8:28). 

We are more likely to attain this reward if we understand the importance of our jobs as parents – as mothers. In a famous hadith, the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasallam said 

“Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for his ward. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of the members of his household; and the woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husband’s house and his offspring; and so each of you is a guardian and is responsible for his ward” (Bukhari& Muslim). 

It is important for us to remember this responsibility when we feel like giving up. Our children are one of our primary responsibilities and we will be questioned about how we raised them. We are their guardians in the truest sense of the word and they are the future of our ummah. Therefore, we should not allow the hardships of motherhood to make us feel depressed or belittled. In fact we are honored for this most vital of positions and will be greatly rewarded if we try our best to carry out our duties. After all, there is nothing in this world like the love between a parent and child and we should foster and nurture this love and affection. In fact this may be our way to salvation. In another hadith the Prophet (saws) said, 

“When a person dies, no good deeds will be added on his record except for three: continuous charity (sadaqtul-jaariyah), beneficial knowledge, and a pious child who supplicates for him” (Muslim). 

 May Allah guide us on the straight path and give us the wisdom and fortitude to raise righteous Muslim children who will supplicate for us after we die, ameen.

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