In the last post, we briefly touched upon the parenting skills of Lady Hajar. She remained a single parent her entire life; Prophet Ibraheem would only visit Makkah occasionally he never stayed there. Yet we read no incident where this Lady of faith made complaints to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for her husband’s abandoning her. She used the lone time to dedicate herself to her son, and therefore we see that Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam grows up to be a forbearing, obedient son who was the coolness of his parents’ eyes.
Today in our culture, we are (almost forcing) our girls to compete with the men in almost every field. When we learn of women fighter pilots or astronauts, one wonders was it necessary? What difference does it make who is flying the plane? Yes, we need women police officers because women are not immune to crime. Likewise, female doctors, teachers and lawyers are a necessity. These are the professions that women can pursue. Plus they are flexible in their nature. Unlike the corporate jobs, there are no late sittings and in many cases you can schedule your work timings.
Competing with the men when girls are made to choose the fields of business, engineering and accountancy, you know two scenarios will occur (a) in the rat race to reach the top women will pursue their careers as men (which means a woman’s main responsibility of raising children is put on the backburner). Many women have been seen either neglecting their children because they are too busy or the marriage is annulled because the career has become more important than the family. (b) She has no plans to pursue a career in the degree that she is earning and the parents’ hard-earned money goes down the drain. It costs more than a hundred thousand per semester, and in most cases it is only the father who is the bread earner.
In choosing our fields of study, we need to see is it women-friendly? Is there a need for women in banks, shops, software houses and airlines? Some professions are humiliating to women, yet we allow our daughters to pursue them. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us, aameen.
DISCLAIMER: By no means are we against women’s education. As stated above women are encouraged to earn a degree in the careers that are women-friendly. An educated mother/wife is a resource both for the children and husband. God forbid, if the family ever goes through financial troubles, the woman can step up and contribute. But to treat her as a money-earning machine while the men take a backseat is insult to the role that she was created for.
With girls we have another issue, our culture tells us that the girls should be married in their early twenties because after that age they are just *too old* to be married. The first baby should arrive by age twenty-five because if you have children after thirty, you are putting yourself at risk. But when you make your daughters pursue professional careers, their studies do not end until they are 23 or 24? Then you ask them to work at least one year before they get married so as not to let parents’ money go to waste. So now she’s almost 26 and the proposals have stopped coming.
If she does get married, you have made her pursue an education that is not going to help her in her marital life. Learning from fiction novels and movies, she believes marriage is all about romanticism and updating your Facebook with lovey-dovey statuses.
Her wedding preparation is limited to buying dresses, shoes, and jewelry; making arrangements for makeover and wedding décor, and sending invites. She has no insight into the responsibilities that await her. The only thing she knows, looking at her friends and other ladies married in her family, is to take her husband and move into a separate home. The other thing that she knows is that her in-laws are her opponents and she must never respect them, listen to them, or give them any regard. She must tell her mother minute details of everything that happens in the husband’s family and must never be patient. This is the new training we are giving to the generation being raised by television and social media.
She has spent 16 years of her life, only studying the secular subjects and has no idea about the life of the righteous women before her. Of course, when you are made to pursue a career and compete with men when can you take a break and study the Qur’an, Ahadeeth and Seerah in depth? You will be left behind in the rat race if you do so.
After the wedding, it is all about dinners and iftar-parties that she must religiously attend. For if you are not *in the circle* then you do not exist. Now that she has to juggle career, husband, in-laws, parents and children, she has lost her focus. Her friends are ascending the career ladder and have made it to the popular crowd. She cannot sit on the fence and be left behind. Leaving the children to maid, baby-sitter and television she leaves for work, dinners and tea parties. Returning home she is exhausted and cranky. The children run to their mother only to be yelled at and pushed aside because mommy needs a break. With broken hearts, children return to their rooms or television set or maid and shut down. The emotional damage being done to children because mother is divided between work, socialization and kitchen is ignored.
Lady Hajar was cut off from the world and hence gave her full attention to her child. Parents claim that they are working for the children, but when it is the little ones that suffer because parents are away or rude then for whom are the parents really working?
Did Lady Hajar just leave everything aside and sit and cry? No! We learn that when their provision ended the mother runs between the mountains of Safa and Marwa in search of water. Back then Safa and Marwa were not tiled with marble or air-conditioned as it is now. They were tall mountains in a hot desert. But for the mother, the heat or exhaustion did not matter. She had to get the water to feed her infant. It was then that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala rescued her from her pain and the Zamzam emerged at the feet of baby Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam. A miracle that people are going to benefit from until the Day of Judgment.
Zamzam water has been called a tasty sustenance for the hungry and a cure for the sick in a hadeeth narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu recorded by al-Bukhari.
Having found water, the birds and animals came and settled near them. Due to its location Makkah was one of the routes that people would take for their travels. One day a tribe (Jurhum) passing by saw birds flying in the air. They knew there was water nearby or else the birds would not be there. Like Lady Hajar, they were well-mannered and cultured people instead of attacking a lone mother and her baby, they asked if she allowed them to take some water. They offered to pay her in return. Lady Hajar agreed and through this incident Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made a way for her livelihood. If you are mindful of Allah, then He will provide for you from under your feet.
Many of us worry about rizq but we forget taqwa is a key ingredient for opening our pathways. Whether it is marriage or monetary rizq, whatever you are anxious about, reflect if you are being mindful of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That is where we need to work because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wrote provision for us long before we were ever born.
So What Should a Mother Do?
Stop complaining about the husband and in-laws
Raise yourself before you raise children. Invest in yourself not by means of grooming classes, jewelry and designer clothing but by learning parenting from the Islamic sources. Learn from the Seerah of the righteous women and how they faced their challenges without anyone except Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
[Book: Now You’re a Mother]
Take out time every day from your schedule to sit with your children and give them your *undivided* attention. No television…no phones…no Internet just you and your children. The best time to do this exercise is when you are putting them to bed. Turn off the lights and get into the bed with them. Narrate to them the stories of the prophets and their wives ‘alayhim salaam, the Companions and their wives radhiAllahu ‘anhum. Read to them the biographies of great scholars of Islam such as Imam Bukhari, Imam Ibn Taimiyyah, Imam Ibn Qayyim and Imam An-Nawawi. Do you know in the lives of many of the renowned scholars it was only the mother who worked on their tarbiyah and made them scholars? The fathers were not there. This is an accomplishment that many women do not even know. Had the mother of Imam Bukhari not worked on him since he was 4 years old, Imam Bukhari would not have become Imam Bukhari.
Motherhood is neither a burden nor something to be ashamed of. Motherhood is what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose for you. Look at the women who are unable to have children. Without rubbing it in, in another’s face *focus* only on your children until at least they are 7. Put the career aside.
If the father does not pay attention it is *not* a big deal. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala trusts you with the upbringing of your children. It indicates that you have the potential to raise your children single-handedly. This, however, does not mean that you do not allow the children to speak with their father or hangout with him. He remains the father whether he contributes to parenting or not.
Do not feel insecure when you see people progressing in the transitory pleasures of this world. Be akhirah--focused and make your children’s righteous upbringing a priority.