Archive for July, 2008

Say it with a Smile

Picture this:-

It’s past bedtime, you told your 5 year old son to put away his toys and get ready for bed. 30 minutes later you go into your son’s room and he’s still happily playing with his toys. Now, what would your immediate reaction be?

Would it be something like:-

“Didn’t I tell you to put away your toys and get ready for bed!? Why are you still playing with your toys? Put them away, now!”

Now, let’s take a look at how the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu ‘alayhe wa salam dealt with an almost similar situation. Take special note of the words in bold and underlined.
When he was 10 years old, Umm Sulaym, the mother of Anas Ibn Malik, gave her son in the service of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alayhe wa salam.
In his ten years as the Prophet’s servant Anas said “….I served him for ten years, and he never said, “Uff” (an expression of disgust) to me. He never said, ‘Why did you do that?’ for something I had done, nor did he ever say, ‘Why did you not do such and such’ for something I had not done.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Anas also said,
“Allah’s Messenger salla Allahu ‘alayhe wa salam had the best disposition amongst people. He sent me (when I was a child) on an errand one day, and I said: By Allah, I would not go. I had, however, this idea in my mind that I would do as Allah’s Apostle (SAW) had commanded me to do. I went out until I happened to come across children who had been playing in the street. In the meanwhile, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) came there and he caught me by the back of my neck from behind me. As I looked towards him I found him smiling and he said: Unays, did you go where I told you to go? I said: Allah’s Messenger, yes, I am going. (Narrated by Muslim)
Masha-Allah! Notice that even though Anas was a still a child he was at least more than 10 years old when this incident happened? Notice how the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa salam did not get upset, but merely reminded him of the task in a good-natured manner? 
This hadeeth shows that Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa salam understood the psychology of children and even teenagers; ie. they will forget and they will make mistakes (just like us, adults, huh?), so the burden falls upon us to be merciful towards them and overlook their faults.

As a parent I can only say that this is much easier said than done. We may remember it one day and forget the next. But as I recall my own experiences from being a child, a mother, a wife and an adult, I have learnt that in general we, as human beings respond more positively to gentleness than to harshness. It really is true that it’s not what you say but how you say it.

To illustrate this, think of something mean to say to your loved one…and imagine saying it to him/her with a huge smile on your face. Do you think your loved one will get offended? Then think of saying something really nice to your loved one, this time say it in the meanest of tones…you get what I mean?

So, let’s revisit the above scene:-

We open the door to our son’s room and we see that he is still playing with his toys…

We walk calmly towards him, sit ourselves down next to him, put our arm around his shoulders and say in the gentlest of tones; “Are you going to put away your toys and get ready for bed?”, with a big smile on our face…

May Allahu subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us patience in dealing with our children in the best of manners. Ameen.

(I learnt about this hadeeth from an AlMaghrib class I took on Islamic Manners; “The Rules of Engagement” some years ago. And somehow the way the Ustadh conveyed it to us made it stick to my head till this very day, and so I thought it was indeed something worth sharing. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward Shakyh Muhmmad Faqih with the best of rewards. Ameen.)

A Painful Reminder

As we go about our daily tasks as homemakers, from time to time the inevitable accident occurs, and for me, it usually takes place in the kitchen; for eg getting a small cut while slicing those onions, getting slight burns on my arms and hands from hot oil as it shoots out the pan while frying fish… etc, etc, etc.

But these are just tiny accidents Alhamdulillah and I thank Allah and seek His protection from any major accidents. Ameen.

Moreover, feeling a little pain from time to time is actually good for you. (smiles) And what’s my proof? None other than the hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhe wa salam;

‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr reported that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhe wa salam said:

“If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgement.” (Bukhari)

Also having a very active son, who likes to jump or rather pounce on you can send some painful shocks to your body, especially when you are caught offguard. It’s during these times that the above hadeeth comes in handy too and helps to ease some of the pain, alhamdulillah. (smiles)

Imagine that Allah subhana wa ta’ala is going to reward you and remove some of your sins just by being  pricked by a thorn. In the light of that, multiply that pain by a hundred, a thousand times or more and imagine the reward we would get for every single contraction. Masha-Allah!

Now, if only we could remember the hadeeth the moments when we really need it….

I was reminded of the hadeeth while reading an article by Shaykh Salim Al-Hilali; “The Tests for the Believers: Fluctuations of Life”. You can read the whole article  here.

My Reflections on Childbirth Part 1

I’m sure every mother has her own unforgettable memories of childbirth, for some those memories may be too poignant to revisit (alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal) and we ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to replace their loss with what is better for them. Ameen.

Yet for others those memories can even be quite humorous, well, upon reflection, that is (smiles). When I was expecting my 1st child, I took comfort in having “experienced” mothers giving me advice and sharing their own childbirth stories.

I found one particular story quite endearing because it reveals the true nature of us women. While my friend was experiencing the onset of labor and was about to leave with her husband for the hospital, she started getting emotional and asked her husband for forgiveness for all the wrong that she has done; just in case…

However, when she was in the delivery suite and the pains started to get unbearable, it was a different story altogether. Her husband was assisting her in keeping the face mask in place, so she could breathe in ‘laughing gas’ so as to relieve some of the pain bi ithnillah. She got frustrated ‘cos he wasn’t holding it properly and snapped at him. And to think that she had just wiped her slate clean. Oh well…(smiles)

Alhamdulillah, I myself have 3 fond memories of childbirth, each one special and unique in its own way. Did I really use the word “fond”? I guess you can tell I haven’t given birth in long while. (smiles)

Ok, onto the 1st experience…aaahhh…how can I ever forget my first experience?

First I have to tell you little bit about myself. I consider myself a weakling and am terrified of anything that involves pain.

So when we were in the delivery suite, even before I felt any major pains, I was already pleading for an epidural. Yup, that’s me. (blush) But as Allah had planned the only one qualified to give me an epidural would be a male specialist, so I had to rethink my situation. There was a sweet Muslimah trainee doctor who reassured me that I would be fully covered and that only a little part of my back would be exposed to allow the epidural to be administered. Let’s just say that both my husband and I agreed that I needed some time to think about it.

Meanwhile, I remember my friend advising me to use the face mask and requested for it. I had the face mask but wasn’t using it the right way and had started crying, when the serious, no-nonsense midwife kind of chided me (in a good way, to boost my self-confidence). She taught me how to use the face mask correctly and told me to relax and breathe in the laughing gas whenever I feel a contraction coming. ‘Yes, breathe in…relax, imagine you are entering a garden…’ That helped calm me down a bit, alhamdulillah.

When the midwife stepped away, my husband whispered, “Imagine jannah.” Subhan Allah, what an excellent, timely reminder! And I really did imagine I was entering a garden, but the best garden of all; jannah. And for once in my life I felt I was ready if Allah decided to take my life away right there and then. Afterall isn’t there a hadeeth which states that if a woman died in childbirth, she dies a shaheed (a matyr) ?

But Alhamdulillah Allah has decreed that it was not to be my time yet. In the meanwhile I managed to heed the reminders to make dhikr and before I knew it, it was time for little Asmaa to enter this world. (smiles)

My labor lasted about 3 hours and all in all I can safely say it was a bearable experience, Alhamdulillah. When I hear of the excruciating pain some mothers go through I realise that Allah, out of His infinite mercy has spared me from that pain. However, the impact of this realization did not fully hit me until I was pregnant with my 2nd child, 2 years down the road…

(to be continued insha-Allah)