It was around two weeks after I had my second child. Finally one evening, things seemed calm. The toddler and baby were both asleep and I had some time for myself. I had been reciting the whole Quran from beginning to end to a teacher as part of a telephone revision program. It had halted for a couple of weeks due to the birth of my son. I decided to text my teacher that I was ready to resume that evening.
I started reciting from where I had last stopped, the 28th juzz. Halfway through the juzz we heard the adhan go off for Maghrib and decided to take a break for Salah. Just before my teacher got back on line, I heard the cry of my baby and lifted him and kept him on my lap while continuing my recitation. It was Surah al Munafiqoon, I recited not thinking nor pondering as much, mainly focusing on the flow of memorization and the prolongation of the letters (mudood) which I so often missed and was corrected. I suddenly found myself reciting this ayah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that – then those are the losers.
I almost stopped in awe. This was exactly for me and my situation at that point. SubhanAllah. Here was Allah reminding me that my children are NOT an excuse to keep me away from the dhikr of Allah. Children tend to divert us from the dhikr of Allah and it tends to get so difficult, yet here is Allah warning us not to do so, lest we are of the losers. And I also found it amazing because here I was after so many days finally finding some time for the dhikr of Allah. Really the dhikr of Allah only helps us and blesses our time.
I then moved on to the next Surah, Surah al Taghabun and again without realizing found myself reciting the following ayat:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O you who have believed, indeed, among your spouses and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Here Allah talks about those we interact most with, our spouses and our children. Allah calls them our enemies and ask us to beware of them. This is mind-blowing because they also are the closest of people to us. Yet if we don’t take heed they could take us away from Him. And Allah asks us to pardon them, overlook and forgive them. When I used to read this ayah before motherhood, I would understand the part about pardoning and overlooking spouses mistakes but didn’t really think children would need so much pardoning, overlooking and forgiving too. They are so small after all, how could we be so offended to need to forgive. But Allah Knows us better than we do ourselves. Allah Knows as mothers how much patience we need each day to deal with them. How much forbearance we need to sometimes do even the simplest things. How many mishaps happen with regard to them that we need to overlook and pardon. Simple things; like them refusing to eat, spilling water, breaking the most precious of our worldly ornaments and refusing to be put to sleep. It is so easy to get anger in our hearts towards them but we really need to pardon and overlook so often so that we do not wrong them. We need forgive them and move forward because we need His Forgiveness. Allah then reminds us that He is Forgiving and Merciful.
And the next ayah continues:
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward.
When we (my siblings and I) were younger, I remember my mother saying that children are a test. I remember getting offended at that sometimes. I took it to mean that we were not good children. Later when I learnt the ayat I understood that she was referring to what Allah says about it yet didn’t fully grasp the meaning. It is only after I became a mother do I realize the truth of these words. Children are really a trial for us, and they test us each day and in every way. And this is such an important reminder, so important that I have the ayat pasted in my living room to be reminded of it more often. The end of the ayah brings so much comfort, for all the trial Allah has with Him a great reward.
Allah continues to address us:
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِّأَنفُسِكُمْ
So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah]; it is better for your selves.
Ya Raheem. SubhanAllah, Allah understands us so well. He says so fear Allah as much as you can. Because Allah Knows, He knows that we are not always able to do the ideal. We aren’t able to always do what we know we should be doing. We sometimes find it hard to deal with them. What He wants from us, is to do what we can, to have as much taqwa as possible. Allah is so Merciful to us, far more than we humans are to each other.
This was just so beautiful, ayahs one after the other repeatedly so relevant to me, I moved on to the next Surah. Surah al Talaq (divorce) and many snippets from the Surah I found extremely important as reminders in family life:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا ﴿٢﴾ يَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا ﴿٣﴾
And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.
Allah continues about the importance of Taqwa. If we fear Him, He will make a way out of every difficulty, yes even the mundane tasks of daily life. And He will Provide in ways we do not imagine. Rizq doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary.
And another ayah in the same Surah:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْرًا ﴿٤﴾
And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease.
This wasn’t all. I proceeded to recite the last Surah in the 28th juzz, Surah al Tahrim. And this was subhanAllah the cream of it all. In Arabic it is referred to as “Az Zubda” the butter, the take away point from the whole story. The summary of what we as mothers, as parents need to focus on:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّـهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ ﴿٦﴾
O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.
This was finally a powerful reminder to myself, that THIS is why I am here for. To protect myself and my family from the hellfire. If I succeed in nothing else in this Dunya yet succeed in that, it would be sufficient.
And then a ayah later, I read one of the most beautiful ayat I have always loved. All these were ayahs from consecutive Surahs and oh so beautiful, connected and relevant. I felt almost as if it was a lecture to me from Allah. A beautiful end to the most beautiful Quran moments I had in my life so far.
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّـهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ ۖ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَىٰ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٨﴾
O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.”
May Allah make us those of who make sincere repentance. May He forgive our sins and admit us Jannah where rivers flow and may He not disgrace us. May He make us of those who say:
رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.”
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