Musings of a Mother | To My First Loss

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

I pray that this letter reaches the hearts of all those mothers (and fathers) who have hoped, loved and lost. InshaAllah I pray that in some small way it somehow comforts you and that it helps to start much needed conversations.

Please take a moment to read, reflect and remind ourselves that where there is Allah swt there is always hope.

To my first loss… my beloved baby

I am writing you an apology because that’s what us mothers do, we feel responsible, we feel guilty and we apologise especially when it comes to our children. Even when we know it was not our fault, we feel like our body let us down and now here I am years later still apologising.

I know its normal because that’s what grief is… it fades away and suddenly appears when you least expect it.

I am so sorry that I did not understand what was happening and that I was confused and angry. I know that you were not meant to be with us in this temporary life and that your stay was brief but so very sweet.

In the short time you were with me, I had already dreamt up a whole life and envisioned how things would be. I had imagined how you would play with your big sister and how you would grow up together so close in age.

But that was not meant to be. You returned to Allah swt and I was left with an empty void.

I was so confused and angry. I am so sorry that no reason was given for losing you. I know it was Allah swt’s will but anything would have been better than being told “its just one of those things”.

You were not just one of those things…not to me and not to your abbu. You were our baby.

Your father, your abbu. MashaAllah he was so strong when we lost you… well he seemed strong. All throughout he was so patient and calm. I was too numb to really see what he was going through. I am so sorry I didn’t see his pain.

It started with a slight backache, slowly creeping and developing into a messy devastation too raw to write in to words. I was shocked.

Your abbu was so patient, so caring. He took care of me and your sister for the days that followed. So many days I don’t even know how many. Days that just blurred into each other one after another…I lost count.

I am so sorry that I was in shock because I really do not remember much except that somehow I managed to get through it all…now I realise it was only because of the strength that Allah swt gave otherwise how can any human being survive a loss like that.

I am so sorry that I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with pain that I never really thought about how your abbu was feeling or what he must have been going through.

The few people who knew about you said things like “at least you have your daughter” and “it was Allah’s will, don’t cry”.

How could they say that? Of course I had your big sister and I was so so grateful for that but your sister wasn’t you…I knew it was Allah swt’s will but that did not mean I couldn’t cry or mourn your loss or grieve the life I had imagined for you.

Do not worry dear baby, I understand they were only trying to be helpful and deep down they didn’t really know what else to say. I just wish that someone had told me it was okay to cry and let my heart grieve freely for you. I needed to know that I was still a good Muslim even though I wanted to grieve the loss of my baby. I needed to know that Allah swt wouldn’t be angry with me for weeping and longing for you so much. But no one told me and I struggled.

The void you left in me was so deep that all I could feel was empty. I don’t think I ever stopped feeling that way…even now though it has been so many years I still feel it there. That void belongs to you, it is your haq, your right my sweet baby. Now that time has passed it is unnoticeable but some days when I least expect it…it opens up gaping at me – perhaps to serve as a reminder of your brief existence in this world. Perhaps to remind me of Allah swts power and His swt plan for me.

Do not worry beloved baby, I fully accept Allah swt’s will and decree without question, I am not complaining.

I am just relieved to know now that it is okay to miss you and that grief is normal. It is a part of who we are as human beings and how we are created. We were designed by Allah swt to feel loss and emotion and grieve. Maybe that’s why even after so many years I am writing this.

I find peace in knowing that we will meet again one day inshaAllah and that day will be forever. You will be in our arms and we will never ever have to let you go.

Love you always, Mummy x

For information please visit the Muslim Bereavement Support Service: http://www.mbss.org.uk

For support for bereaved women please contact: info@mbss.org.uk

Musings of a Muslimah | Dua for my Daughter

Officially a teenager.

Dearest daughter

As you blossom year by year,
may your heart be filled with hope and feel no fear. If there is a time your eyes shed tears, always always remember – Allah swt’s help is near.

May He swt bless you with the best of everything in this life,
and may you never need to experience any pain or any strife.

But if you do then always stay strong,
inshaAllah it wont be there for too long.

Our duas are with you always,
as you live life in your own fearless way. May you always remember your Creator in everything you do and say.

May He swt bless you with confidence and wisdom,
may you always choose whats right. May you always have love and freedom,
imaan in your heart and light in your life.

May you be blessed with all that is good in this life and the next, may you flourish and continue to blossom, may you and your heart always be content.

Aameen.

Love always Mummy & Abbu 💖

Musings of a Mother | My beloved “her”.

Today I sat in her room and took a moment to remember her as a baby…as a toddler…as a small child. SubhanAllah! How the time has flown by!

I was having a super busy day trying to get up to date with the chores and had popped into her room to do something.

It was a rare opportunity I found to be able to just sit on her bed, stop and ponder. Alhamdulillah.

I looked around at her shelves, the notices she had clumsily stuck on her wardrobe (must buy her a cork board!) and her bits and pieces lying around.

Where once she had shelves filled with fairytales and stories about animals were now replaced with authors such as Snicket, Morpurgo and Horowitz. Books of mysteries and adventure.

Her toys had been exchanged for jewellery and stationary and complex pieces made with lego (yes, shes an absolute fan!). And there was not a “my little pony” in sight!

Where once had been her dolls house now lay a prayer mat and cushions she used as a little reading nook.

I felt sad. SubhanAllah.

In a blink of an eye her entire childhood had passed me by and now she was steadily (often moodily) transitioning into her teen years. MashaAllah.

I felt a mixture of sadness, anxiety and excitement. I guess that is parenting in a nutshell, sometimes remembering how they used to be, worrying constantly about anything and everything to do with them at present and on rare occasions feeling excited at the person they are becoming.

Our lives are so busy we sometimes forget that everything is changing including our own families.

As Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī once said, “this moment is all there is“.

A reminder to myself and then to others, dont forget to take these moments in and make them moments you and your loved ones will remember. Nothing lasts forever, this is the way of this life. Everything moves forward, one day our children will grow up and have their own lives inshaAllah, just as we grew into ours. Alhamdulillah.

To my beloved her, I miss those moments that have gone and I worry all the time about you and the challenges you face but I am so excited about the person you are growing into! Alhamdulillah.

May Allah swt always protect, guide and bless our children with success. May they always be happy, healthy and blessed with true imaan. Aameen.

Musings of a daughter.

بِسْمِاللَّهِالرَّحْمَنِالرَّحِيم “… Rabbi irhamhuma kama rabbayanee sagheeran”

“My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” [Quran; Surah Al-Isra, Verse 24]

The Baobab Tree, also known as the “Tree of Life”. Photo taken by myself in Fuengirola zoo , Malaga, Spain 2017

Just over two years ago my dear father suffered a major heart attack, it was one of the scariest days of our lives. Alhamdulillah, praise is to Allah swt that blessed my father with a full recovery.

My beloved mother suffered a fall last year in which she fractured her hip and had to have a hip replacement operation, alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah swt, her recovery has been steady and slow but she has managed to remain independent.

Yesterday, we had another scare and my dear father was taken to hospital. Alhamdulillah it wasn’t as serious as we thought it might be and he was sent home today.

My blessed parents are in their 70’s and every day I am grateful that they are with us. May Allah swt bless them with true imaan, good health, wealth and much happiness. May Allah swt protect them from all evil and hardship. Aameen.

For many, parents are the glue that hold a family together. Like the roots of a strong tree that bares beautiful fruits and flowers. The “blessing” that parents are, make any special occasion or family event incomplete without them.

But sometimes in our own day to day life we become so busy that we forget to tend to that “blessing” and we unknowingly start to neglect the roots of the tree from which our own life has grown from. Even when we don’t mean to.

Its important to remind ourselves that time will not stop for anyone.

Our life is limited on this Earth and sometimes it feels like the days are dizzily disappearing into weeks that are fizzling fast out into months. Its no excuse but with a stressful job that requires a lot more energy and time that it really doesn’t pay enough for, and a young family that has never-ending needs. Time is something I feel I just don’t have, MOST of the time.

But, observing my dear mother this morning, slowly and purposefully making chicken soup with her arthritic riddled, rickety hands for my dear father to have on his return from the hospital. I realised I have to make the time.

We all do. To collect as many blessings as we can, we have to “unbusy” ourselves to save our souls from future regret. We have to tend to the roots of the tree, water it and look after it.

As children we have the best of intentions, and we do try our best and we can only do our best. So lets make sure we are doing just that inshaAllah. If that means other things have to take a back seat then so be it.

Time is limited, just pick and prioritise. Call your parents more often, visit them regularly, buy them gifts especially flowers and always pray for them. Look after that tree!

“Rabbana ighfir lee waliwalidayya walilmumineena yawma yaqoomu alhisabu”
“Our L
forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.” [Quran: Surah Ibrahim, Verse 41]

May Alla
ect our parents from all harm and evil, bless them with the best of everything in this world and the Hereafter and reward them for all they did for us. Aameen ❤️

Musings on “me” time.

I am a mother of three young children, I have a stressful job as a teacher, I have various other family responsibilities on a weekly basis and I have hardly any time to myself.

If I do find some time during the week after the children have gone to bed and the chores are done for the day (well most of them)… I find that I am usually torn between some type of screen time or sleep.

The latter ALWAYS takes over and wins because like a lot of busy working mothers I am absolutely shattered. The word “exhausted” sometimes seems like understatement of the year!

However, today I was treated to a lie in (subhanAllah I cannot remember the last time I actually had one). I woke up to a quiet home, I was able to shower without anyone interrupting me or asking “how long I was going to be?”, I was able to perform my afternoon prayers in peace without a little one climbing over me or trying to get my attention. I ate breakfast without anyone wanting me to share with them and I am now sitting with my feet up writing this blog post.

What I have just described, many take for granted. Once upon a time, before marriage, I also took these simple things for granted. After marriage, in my early motherhood years when I did get some “me” time I would be consumed with guilt. It felt as if every single minute of my life was reserved for my family or work.

But after 13 years I have learned that if I don’t look after myself I wont be able to look after those I am responsible for effectively either.

Whilst some people might think “me” time has to be a luxurious bubble bath, a day at some spa or some pre-planned extravagant treat, for me it is the above and I relish every moment of it.

“Me” time is different for everyone and in order to achieve it sometimes the help of family or friends is needed. I am grateful alhamdulillah, that I have a husband who “fathers up” and does his thing so that I can do mine, mashaAllah.

This is the true beauty of Islam, it teaches us that EVERYONE has an important role to play and if both husband and wife understand this and work towards it then it will help the whole family to thrive in the long-run inshaAllah.

May Allah swt reward all husbands who understand and follow the way of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Aameen.

In Islam we are taught that our bodies are a trust from Allah swt and they also have a right over us which means we have to look after our physical, mental and emotional state in order to live a quality of life that is enjoyable and effective as servants of our Creator Allah swt.

We all work hard and we deserve rest and in fact if we think about it, it is actually an Islamic right that we are fulfilling so lets not feel guilty about it inshaAllah.

Alhamdulillah for all our blessings, in every changing phase of our lives we shouldn’t take anything for granted including “me” time, so enjoy it- whatever it is inshaAllah!

Birthdays

To celebrate or not? 

I have found fragments of evidence that suggest my parents did celebrate our birthdays with small family gatherings and home made cakes.

However, as we grew older and my parents became more interested in Islam, the notion that birthdays were not a celebration from Islam were embedded into us and we were deprived of further celebratory gatherings and more importantly cake!

Not that we minded much, but at times it did pinch a little especially in my teen years when friends would talk about gifts received or birthday treat outings.

However, as I got older and became more interested in Islam I began to appreciate that birthdays were far from celebratory events. If anything, for me personally, they became and still are dates of regret, where I ponder and question myself, another year past, another 365 days gone, what have I achieved? How often did I please my Creator in those 8760 hours? 

And the day passing usually becomes a reminder of my death date approaching nearer and my life getting shorter.

I know… so depressing, right? But so morbidly truthful.

People who do celebrate and go all out may argue that its quite the opposite, a day of reflection on how much has been achieved. 

Nope. Not convinced at all.

However, since my children have become a little older and understand the concept of birthdays, I didnt want to deprive them completely.

We still do not celebrate but we always make a point of making a really BIG deal on the two Eid celebrations of Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Fitr. 

Another idea I had about a year ago was the idea of marking their birthday dates with a fundraising project. 

Seeing as none of us could get away with being reminded its our birthday via family, friends and society, I thought why deny it? Why pretend it doesn’t exist? 

“Ok so yes your birthday is coming up…so lets do something special for someone else…”. 

After all, as muslim, we should appreciate and be grateful for all Allah swt had blessed us with and given us, why not give something back? As we know, for muslims, charity is a huge part of our faith.

“Believe in Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allaah’s way), theirs will be a great reward”
[al-Hadeed 57:7] 

I also think I was being a little selfish when I thought up this idea, I hope that inshaAllah my children will use these times of the year to do something (big or small) for charity as a habit which inshaAllah will become a sadaqah jariyah, a continued charity for us, their parents even after we have left this life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I mean I wouldn’t stop my children from partaking in other peoples birthday gatherings (that would be just cruel) and I have nothing personal against anyone who does celebrate but I really believe that by explaining our beliefs to our children and then finding a more meaningful alternative will really enrich their lives inshaAllah. And that they will attain Allah swt’s pleasure and reward for themselves and inshaAllah for us their parents!

If you are interested in doing a charity project with your children (either as an alternative to birthdays or just because…) then here are some ideas to get you started inshaAllah:

1. Bake some goodies together and gift them to your neighbours (muslim and non-muslim). Not only is this a charity in terms of kindness but it will increase love and understanding within the community. Or have a mini bake sale and donate money to charity.

2. Get the children to ask family and friends to donate money for a local charity or food shelter, then take the children shopping and get them to donate that food. When children experience hands on the collection, buying and donating of food and groceries, they will appreciate the cost of things and also come to understand that poverty is not restricted to “other poorer countries”. SubhanAllah so many people are living below the poverty line in our own cities, we should do what we can to help them too.

3. Create a online charity fundraising page via one of the many online charity pages such as btmydonate, justgiving or crowdfunding. And get the children to collect funds or encourage people to donate directly online.

4. Go litter picking with the children and encourage family and friends to help too(wearing appropriate and protective clothing ofcourse). Not only is this a charitable act but its also great for the environment and also a great form of dawah too!

5. Discuss and agree an activity with your child/children that they would like to do, it could be educational such as memorise a dua, surah or prayer, or a challenge such as a 24 hour silence or even something fun such as dress up as something and do a mile walk. Then encourage family and friends to sponsor them and then donate.

6. Get your children to ask friends and family to donate money and buy toys and gifts, make home made get well cards or cards with comforting messages and get them to gift them to a local hospital, hospice or care home.

7. Make a “sadaqah/charity” box and encourage your children to save money the whole year round, and donate to a particular charity or buy needed items for someone in need and gift it to them.

 It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son(people) of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5073; Muslim, 993. 

I hope these ideas help and if you look online you are bound to find many more! Just remember no effort is too small, you will be teaching your children the invaluable lesson of being generous and selfless, your bond with your children will strengthen by doing something as a family project and they will learn life lessons that will continue to benefit them, you and future generations inshaAllah.  

May Allah swt enable us to love, nurture and teach our children in a way that is best for them and us and in a way that benefits us all in this life and the Hereafter. 
Aameen.