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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.)
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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)

As I Look at You

As I look at you

 

As I look at you,

I see the love you have for me…

 

And as I look at you,

I stand in awe of the mercy of Ar-Raheem,

 

As I look at you…

I am amazed at your innocence and purity

 

And as I look at you,

I am embraced by a smile so sincere and sweet;

telling me instantly

your complete joy

at seeing me.

 

Masha-Allah!

How you flatter me so,

To think how easily you are pleased,

 

Masha-Allah!

To think of all this love you have for me…

 

(For all my little babies)

 

Umm Hassan 2007

 

(I haven’t written a poem in years, so am kinda rusty. (smiles) Plus I wish that it flowed more smoothly…But anyways, with this poem I wanted to capture that special moment in time all mothers can relate to…When your baby first catches sight of your presence and he/she is just so overjoyed at seeing you that he/she can’t stop shining his/her great big toothless or almost toothless smile!)

A New Home, A New School and A New Beginning…

Alhamdulillah we have safely moved into our new home. The children have adjusted to the move much better than I expected. Most likely it’s because they get to play outdoors almost everyday. Since we  share a common backyard with our neighbours they have more than enough space to play, cycle and use up their bundles of energy and if that’s not enough we can always head for the playgrounds nearby or take nature walks.

And insha-Allah my eldest daughter, soon to turn 6 (although she likes to stress that she’s already 6 according to the Islamic calendar) will be starting 1st grade this fall via a virtual school using the K12 curriculum. After having homeschooled her on a informal basis for the last 3 years or so, I am a bit apprehensive about being answerable to someone else other than myself (smiles). But Alhamdulillah I have made istikharah and if it is good for us then insha-Allah Allah will make it easy for us.

Since school doesn’t start till August 29th, I guess I better enjoy these less stressful times and at the same time prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead.

In a recent phone interview with her placement teacher, I was given an idea of what our daily schedule would be like. The placement teacher casually mentioned that my daughter would be required to clock in a total of 5 hours of school a day. I gulped and thought to myself, surely she can’t be serious!? Honestly I don’t believe she needs 5 hours of school per day but then again that’s just my opinion. It’s funny how in our “informal” homeschool there have been days when we would be working on our lapbooks or some crafts or reading stories of the prophets well nigh into the night, thus easily clocking far beyond 5 hours of “school” but since that was done on “our time” and liking it was OK. But when literally “forced” to do 5 hours and it’s a whole different story, isn’t it?

Insha-Allah I hope “school” doesn’t become a chore for us but for now I have run out of steam to continue making our own lessons, so this will have to do.

Hence, one of the reasons I’ve decided to come up with this blog is to keep a recording of our homeschool trials and tribulations…and insha-Allah achievements and joys. (smiles)

PS. This was written last summer and alhamdulillah we have successfully completed 2 semesters of the online school. We are taking a well deserved summer break now (breathes sigh of relief!) and bi ithnillah I plan to write my thoughts on our homeschooling experience thus far. So keep a lookout for that, insha-Allah.

My Daughter’s Observation

It was nice day out with the family. We had gone to a nearby playground and we were the the only ones there. We were on the swings when A’ishah said, “Mommy if there was a woman here you could talk to her.” “Yes.” I responded. Curious as to why she made the remark , I asked her, “And what if there was a man here?” “Then Daddy can talk to him.”, was her matter-of-fact reply.

I don’t recall specifically having a conversation with her about not talking to men or vice-versa, since she only just turned 4. Maybe she overheard something I mentioned to Asmaa or maybe she used her own deductive reasoning from our gatherings and interaction with men and women. Well, whatever it is…kids…they notice everything, don’t they?!

A Second Childhood

One of joys of motherhood for me is being given the opportunity me to re-live my childhood through my children. Of course in going through a 2nd childhood (as I like to call it *smiles*) albeit with a grown-up’s perspective, there are setbacks and advantages.

The setbacks though are obvious; years of life has taken its toll and I no longer look at things with a purity and innocence that only a true child is blessed with. But Alhamdulillah my children are my reminders. At times their innocence is amazing, sometimes genuinely amusing and at other times truly humbling; for the simplest words they utter could be packed with so much truth and wisdom. Which is a reminder that at these times I should really be taking down notes!

Another setback is that my need to maintain my credibility as a grown-up has at times stopped me short from being totally and abadonedly childish and silly…well, at least when there’s another grown-up within visible or hearing range. (he,he).

But there are advantages to being a child in adult shoes! It’s like being given another chance to correct the things that I’ve always disliked about my own childhood, being able to do the stuff that I’ve always wanted to do as a child but never got a chance to or simply gaining new childhood experiences;

– like being discerning enough to choose good children’s books for our reading pleasure. I must admit that although I loved to read as a child my reading list is something I would not readily pass on to my children. (more on this topic later, insha-Allah)

– learning tricks I wasn’t able to learn as a child. One of them was to “pump” when I was on the swings, hence I would always need someone to push me. We had learnt in theory how to pump from one of my daughter’s books, and my daughter was able to go real high on the swings all by herself. As for me, before we moved I couldn’t fully “pump” due to reasons of modesty, but now there’s a playground with swings near our new home facing an open field and I’m able to swing to my heart’s content. So this is currently my favourite spot. (smiles).

– learning and loving Science all over again. I realise that like myself, all children are born with a natural love and fascination for the world that Allah has created. As a child, I had always been interested in nature and science, but my interest in science as a subject quickly waned due to the methodical and unimaginative approach taught in secular schools, totally devoid of any connections with the Creator. I strongly feel that Science can only be truly appreciated in the light of Qur’anic verses and insha-Allah this is what I am trying to incorporate into our Science lessons and masha-Allah so far it has been very rewarding; mostly for me!

– Appreciating small discoveries. Yes, their discoveries are my discoveries. A few days ago I was observing my 1 year old son playing in our common backyard. He was fascinated by a dead leaf that was on the sidewalk and went up to it for a closer inspection. When the wind blew he would be sure to step aside, so he’d be out of the leaf’s way. I discovered much to my amusement that to him, it must have seemed like the leaf was alive and moving on its own! And you should have seen the way he was inspecting the leaf, it was simply too cute! He would bend down and place his hands on the ground (much like his sujood position, except with knees and head not touching the ground) and the whole time he was inspecting the leaf he never once touched it (for fear that it’d move I guess). Ha, ha it was just so endearing and cute!

Aaahhh, the wonders of motherhood….or should I say childhood? (smiles)

(PS. This was written slightly less than a year ago…)