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Post-Partum Advice for the New Muslim Mother: Managing Spirituality and Sanity

muslim-mother-and-child-drawing

Asalamo’alaykum warahmatullah,

Alhamdolilah I am overjoyed to announce the ginormous gift I have been blessed with! Alhamdolilah thumma alhamdolilah, Allah swt has blessed me with a happy, beautiful and lovely baby boy (my 1st child) almost three months ago and a lot has happened since then. Let’s just say a few tests gave me the courage to walk a thousand miles as a person and I have changed completely through motherhood. Quite literally in every way and form. In most ways, for the better. In a few ways, for the worse. I have become much weaker than before for my heart trembles at my son’s slightest discomfort. I lose my sense of calm and I become like a grizzly mama-bear if anyone steps on my baby’s rights or comfort. Also,  dunia swamps you with its desires because you start dreaming for attaining all those wonderful worldly things for your little one not realizing that, that was the very road you wanted to avoid when you decided to become more practising.

Anyway, as Allah swt has changed me quickly from a young woman to a wife then to a mother within a span of a year and a half, He swt has made one thing remain constant. And that is my love for learning.

I never knew how hard it is going to be to keep learning after becoming a wife. And it hit me like a ton of bricks that it is not going to get any easier with time as kids come into the picture. SubhanAllah. If you are single, hurry, hurry, hurry! Doesn’t matter how amazingly practising your spouse is going to be. Responsibilities and worries associated with those responsibilities are going to be your daily concerns after marriage and unless you already are mature enough skill-wise to deal with them, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time learning those skills. Whether you have time left for acquiring Islamic knowledge will depend on how much motivation you had to begin with. More about this very important topic soon inshaa’Allah.

Motherhood is a gift, an honor, a responsibility and an institution. I so love it that I could raise the children of the rest of the world. That’s the proportion of love my heart contains after becoming a mother. You don’t need to ‘learn’ how to become one. All you need to do is see your infant, toddler, teenager and/or adult child with the lens called, ‘unconditional love’. Sabr will follow.

My mother gave me the best and the most concise advice when I got married and that was to add love to whatever task that became difficult. A lot of times for the ambitious lot like myself, we tend to invite restlessness in our lives by our ambitiousness. Motherhood (and wifehood) teaches you to pause your life every single time for your beloveds and serve them in a manner which demands love from the beginning to the end. For some women it may be tough since they may see some challenges as barriers to what they want to achieve in life but that chain of thoughts you don’t want to entertain even for a single second. You keep loving and you keep working inshaa’Allah. Love, love, and more love.

You must develop a healthy attitude towards life before you can continue on your path to seeking knowledge as a mother inshaa’Allah. Here’s a few realizations and a bit of advice for the mama who wants to continue learning but doesn’t know how.

mother on

1. ALL this is normal. Realize that the sleepless nights, the not-being-able-to-go-to-the-bathroom dilemma, the feeding/calming baby problems and all the anxiety that throws your ‘normalness’ out of whack is actually quite normal. I empathize with you because I am going through it and sometimes it seems like I am the only one who’s life is full of daily struggles. On top of that, if your husband’s out of the picture, then you need toughening up even more. In my situation, due to certain reasons, we had to be apart for my entire pregnancy up until now so without the extra pair of hands to calm a frantic baby, nights can be mentally draining. However, all this is doable inshaa’Allah.

As much you love being a mother, there will be days you’d wish your life would be back to normal when you could enjoy a cup of tea without being disturbed. Or enjoy food without it being cold. Or enjoy a conversation with your husband without the crying of your baby. Yet, understand that this is your normal now.

Embrace it, love it, cherish it. In other words, be thankful to Allah swt for it!

But please, I beg you, do not compare it. All those ladies who said they had ‘easy’ pregnancies and ‘easy’ babies are exaggerating or have terrible memories. Or perhaps they had better attitudes towards motherhood and that’s something you can change about yourself. Our challenges become easier when we accept that life is going to demand more effort now that we are dedicated to raising another slave of Allah swt. Dear mum, you’re raising a leader for the Muslim Ummah. Surely, a mum who’s raising a leader, doesn’t have an easy life and is not going to have an easy life. Remind yourself of this being an opportunity for sadaqah jaariyah (on-going charity or supply of good deeds).Can the one who knows about Akhirah be like the one who does not? Never! So try to be flexible as much as possible and quit resenting it. The earlier you develop that approach, the more you’ll experience joy in this new role and inshaa’Allah make you resistant to Post-partum depression.

2. Love the mundaneness, in fact ace it with Ihsaan and do not belittle it. The society we live in and the feminist movement, both, have led us women to believe that there is no reward or ajr in mundane activities. That you have to have this rocking project to help the Ummah, in order to help the Ummah. Or that you have to leave everything what feminine roles require of you and are by the way Islamic obligations, in order to actualize that which is not even an obligation. What you end up doing is going against your fitrah (natural innate instinct), sabotaging your sense of peace and disrupting the natural order of your wonderful womanly self.

Please don’t get me wrong -nobody is stopping you from all the beautiful dreams you have for your Akhirah but please realize that you do get ajr as you wade through the sea of your daily mundane activities.

An example is that while you feed your baby, you have the intention that you give them wholesome nutrition so that ten years down the road she is a healthy individual who is able to forward the learning and teaching of Islam. That is more ‘within your league’ both dunia and Akhirah-wise versus forgetting Allah swt as you aim to become the first Muslimah newscaster(!) on some TV channel. Also, as you fold your laundry, you could make the intention that I am doing this so that my household is more organized and thus has more harmony which in turn will make my husband happy and a woman with whom her husband’s happy is more eligible for Jannah inshaa’Allah. In other words, keeping up with mundaneness makes households harmonious. Be on your guard for this is something that Shaytan does not want. He doesn’t want sakeenah (tranquillity) in your household. This is the exact reason why you would notice a chaos in managing of households. Some husbands are lazy and tire out their wives by not contributing in helping out at home at all because Shaytan makes them believe that maintaining a harmonious house is only the woman’s job. Likewise wives become frustrated doing tasks every day since Shaytan makes them forget that these are some of the easy ways of getting reward which eventually will have a domino-effect on their eeman.

Abu Dharr RA reported: Allah’s Messenger salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam said to me: ‘Don’t consider anything insignificant out of good things even if it is that you meet your brother with a cheerful countenance.’ [Sahih al Muslim; Book #032, Hadith #6359]

If you don’t believe me that doing mundane activities is worthy of much reward, then think about Fatima RA and study her life analytically. Why do scholars say that she is one of the best of women? Please don’t throw that feminist nonsense at me. You’re going to wish with deep regret on the day of Judgement that you had stopped dismissing what Allah swt deemed more rewarding for a woman. We claim we are doing it for Allah swt at times when we are only chasing another hawaa such as prestige.

3. Do what works keeping Allah swt’s rules in mind. IGNORE what people say or think of you even if that includes health professionals after you have exhausted all means to do what’s best. If nothing except formula feeding works for you and your baby, go for it. You don’t get a medal for exclusively nursing and being a zombie in your Salah, neglectful of Dhikr or crabby with your family members. (Please, again, I ask you not to misunderstand me because I am pro-nursing yet I know it becomes a hawaa when it prevents you from optimistic attitude towards life and more importantly, Allah swt.) If it’s co-sleeping or not, go for it. You are unable to cloth diaper because you do not have the energy to despite knowing its benefits, it’s alright. If you feel like loving your baby in a certain way which you feel is the right thing for her at the moment then do not let people tell you that you’re spoiling her. Good habits must be formed but take it one step at a time.

Your sanity is important for your ‘Ibadah.

You are a slave of Allah swt before you’re a mother.

Breast-feeding, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping, formula-feeding etc. do not determine your level of Taqwa. So do not go crazy over it nor should you judge anyone.

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqûn. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

[Surat'l Hujraat, 49:part of ayah # 13]

You need to maintain your mental health to get that spiritual lift from ‘Ibadah. And a happy, eemanful Muslimah is an excellent mother and a lovely wife. Nobody is going to do a standing ovation of what you did at the expense of your spirituality. You are your own support so you better maintain your eeman, do what you can within your means and not beat yourself over it.

4. Ask for help, delegate if you have to, thank when being helped and make a mental note to go the extra mile to show your gratefulness to that person. You do not become a ‘bad’ mother if you get some help from family, friends, neighbours and nurses. Do not feel inadequate. Allah swt made you a mother because He swt knows you can handle it. You are new to all this and it is okay to allow people to help you with even the most easiest of tasks. However, when you do get help, there will be times when the help you receive is not very helpful for you. Instead of getting annoyed, be thankful!

5. Take care of your physical as much as possible.

  • Minimize sophisticated cooking and go all-natural. Of course, if you have the time and energy to cook in a sophisticated way, by all means go for it. However, it may be a little difficult so instead of making a fruit salad, have the fruit. There are many wonderful websites which offer easy and healthier recipes.
  • Please keep taking your multivitamins and ask a dietician (and confirm with a lactation consultant if it is okay) as to how to increase your energy levels through natural means.
  • Do not worry too much about the physical ‘souvenirs’ of child-birth. You can work-out as soon as your baby develops a routine. For now, if possible, go for a mini stroll with your baby and get some fresh air which most new mothers need. Walking will help post-partum healing in a way that is almost miraculous.
  • Book appointments with a female massage therapist for your post-partum healing before you give birth! Also, keep information about centers which offer pelvic physiotherapy handy.
  • Salt baths, heat pads, nursing pillows for your lower back and consistent pain meds will be your best friends.
  • As easy it is to be over anxious about your baby’s littlest of discomforts, recognize that inshaa’Allah Allah swt will take care of your munchkin come what may in the manner He swt has decided. Initial low birth weight, choking on milk and/or in sleep, gas pains, constipation, nasal congestion that won’t go away, occasional spitting up of milk, first few tense days after your son’s circumcision are all a normal part of your toughening up as a mum. Have faith in Allah swt that things will settle down and if you need advice regarding any of the above, please do let me know. I had my baby in NICU for six days and five nights. My world had been torn apart. With my husband unable to be with me, it was a thousand times worse since besides the lack of emotional support, I had to limp with all the swelling and aches to my son’s ward to get all the paperwork done. I can never forget how I thought I was going to go blind from crying over my son’s health condition and subhanAllah I truly understood what Yaqub AS might have felt for Yusuf AS. Allah swt will take care of it all. He swt will give you, the mother, strength in ways you have never imagined. There will be countless nights you’d wish you weren’t the adult responsible for the helpless fragile little create for all the emotional upheaval and uncertainty of it but you will get the hang of it. Just pray to Him, beg Him, cry to Him! Please do not kill yourself over it like I almost did with no eating and drinking. It sort of brought on a lot of problems later on and made it difficult for me to take care of my son since I wasn’t as full of energy as I needed to be. I kind of triggered a vicious cycle. Get your loved ones and your family doctor on board. If you have to take your baby to the doctor for a health concern everyone says is normal yet your heart is restless, GO to the doctor. But please try to be kind to your body and mind.

6. Mothering is lonely work but you’re not alone. Try to have a good support group around you but if it isn’t possible just realize that this just a phase. You will be able to have a healthy social life soon inshaa’Allah. Connect with sisters online if you cannot in real-life although I do recommend the occasional meeting with other mommy-sisters in your community. Also, there are many events organized by local libraries for mums and babies which can be amazing for you as long as there is no music/songs involved. Finally, have heart that Umm Moosa, Aasiya, Hajar, Umm Maryam, Maryam, Umm Salama AS, Umm Ahmad ibn Hanbal and many more successful mothers felt lonely at some point or the other in their struggles.  It did not prevent them from being outstanding. To Allah swt always mattered a believing woman’s loneliness and He swt honored each woman’s struggle in history. A whole ritual of Hajj is made mandatory to commemorate the struggle of Hajar AS, a worried mother of her infant son Ismaeel AS. In addition, two brief examples below illustrate how Allah swt does not dismiss the mothers’ fear, loneliness and sadness. He swt acknowledges them to the point that He swt records their feelings in the Quraan. He swt will cool your eyes and strengthen your heart. Just keep trusting Him!

Eaxample of Umm Moosa

فَرَجَعْنَاكَ إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ

‘…So We restored you to your mother that she might be content and not grieve…’

[Surat TaHa, part of ayah # 40]

~

وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ ۖ فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ وَلَا تَخَافِي وَلَا تَحْزَنِي ۖ إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ إِلَيْكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ

And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.” (7)

وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَارِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِي بِهِ لَوْلَا أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

 And the heart of Moses’ mother became empty [of all else]. She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers.(10)

فَرَدَدْنَاهُ إِلَىٰ أُمِّهِ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ وَلِتَعْلَمَ أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

So We restored him to his mother that she might be content and not grieve and that she would know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of the people do not know. (13)

[Surat'l Qasas, ayahs # 7, 10 and 13]

Example of Maryam AS

فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا

 And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said: “Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!”

فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا

 Then [the babe 'Īsā (Jesus) or Jibril (Gabriel)] cried unto her from below her, saying: “Grieve not! Your Lord has provided a water stream under you;

وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا

 “And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe-dates upon you.”

فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ

 “So eat and drink and be glad…”

[Surat Maryam, 19:23-part of 25]

He is As-Samee’, who listens to your pleas no matter how silent they are, Al-Khabeer who knows all that nobody acknowledge before you tell Him and is As-Shaakir, who will be appreciative of all that you do befitting His Generosity in this world and the next inshaa’Allah. Keep renewing your intentions. Seek Allah swt through your efforts and He swt will make your efforts productive and add barakah to them.

It is reported that the son of Al-Fudayl b. ‘Ayyâd – Allâh have mercy on him – said to his father: Father! How sweet (beautiful) the speech of the Companions is! [Al-Fudayl] said, “Son, do you know why it was so sweet?” He replied, “No father, I do not.” He said, “Because they sought Allâh the Exalted when they spoke.” [Al-Bayhaqî, Shu’ab Al-îmân 2:299]

7. Strive to be kind to your husband. Most often husbands might feel ‘left-out’ as the new mum ventures on bravely from one motherly task to another until the day ends. As it is all new for you, the mum, it is new for them to be suddenly displaced by a new individual who has taken all your attention. So be gentle. While men should be understanding, a Muslimah will always try her best to continue to show kindness and affection to her husband via healthy communication. Yes you’re at the peak of exhaustion. Yes you’re not fully the same for now. Yes you have a million reasons to lose it with your husband but you have a million more to show love to him for the sake of Allah swt. Remember how Umm Sulaym RA behaved with composure with her husband, Abu Talhah RA, after the death of her baby boy? She was understanding of his needs despite the great calamity that had struck her. It’s not easy but that’s who we’re looking at as a role model inshaa’Allah as a Muslimah.

Also, please keep in mind that if the parents aim to be happy with each other, the children will feel secure and happy. You want to set that as a status quo in your house from the day the first child arrives because building a nest takes two committed individuals who sacrifice every day for His Sake. You want to make your house a sacred place and for that you have to recognize your marital relationship as sacred. And when something is sacred, you protect it from Shaytan in every way by fearing Allah swt in every situation. Consider it like a war against Iblis.

Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension) ; the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: I did so and so. And he says: You have done nothing. Then one amongst them comes and says: I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife. The Satan goes near him and says: ‘You have done well. A’mash said: He then embraces him. [Sahih al Muslim; Book #039, Hadith #6755]

Even if it’s just you, the weary wife, who appreciates the bond’s sacredness for now. Kindness is infectious and inshaa’Allah your husband will catch up with you if he hasn’t already. You’ll be surprised in a few years time how he would’ve changed for the better. But today the light of love should radiate from you, at least. Why? Because you want to get that extra reward and also since women have this extraordinary strength to continue loving come what may. Use your God-given powers to come closer to God and be grateful for whatever effort your husband puts into being kind to you. Create the reinforcement loop by magnifying the goodness and praising him. Really, he has more goodness in him than otherwise. Ungratefulness is the backbone of marital discord as well as inviting trouble in Akhirah.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said: “I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked, “Do they disbelieve in Allah?” (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, “They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.” [Sahih al Bukhari; Book #2, Hadith #28]

8. Pause and build memories. Record your baby’s firsts from the first bath, first head shave to the sweet coos and the heart-melting smiles. Involve family and friends. Inshaa’Allah it will relax you and you would have so many beautiful memories saved for future. It will also put you in a state of thankfulness and Allah swt likes a slave enjoying His Blessings.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah will be pleased with a slave who eats some food then praises Allaah for it, and drinks some drink then praises Allaah for it.” [Reported by Muslim, 2734, from the hadeeth of Anas]

9. Aim within your current resources. Make use of what you have and stop waiting for what you do not have in order to do what you want. Improvise, for taufeeq (divine assistance) for bigger ‘Ibadah or knowledge-seeking opportunities open up when you are grateful for the little opportunities. And how do you become grateful? By utilizing those smaller opportunities.

  • I have so much to learn when it comes to Islam and for the past year and a half, I had fallen into despair. I didn’t look at what I had in terms of time and energy and wished for what I did not have. What it led to is more loss of valuable time and more despair and resentment. What could have prevented my spiritual downfall is utilizing what I already have and just simply stop expecting what I couldn’t have. Resentment comes from broken expectations and that’s what Shaytan wants. Nowadays, as my little one finishes off the eating/burping/activity cycle and finally falls asleep, I use my iPhone to watch or listen to lectures which I have decided to finish for my organized learning. My son doesn’t sleep long enough for me to complete the lecture but I make a mental note and start from there without feeling annoyed at not being able to complete in one go. I no longer get the opportunity to attend halaqahs, classes or even online classes but I make use of the opportunities I have in hand. I no longer have the luxury to make notes while I listen but subhanAllah, guess what? I memorize what I learn as I learn and require very less effort in retention because I train my mind to be active and learn as the learning is going on versus becoming lazy and relying on notes all the time. When my days are fully occupied with taking care of my precious son then I use the night time when he’s asleep to get something done. [A side note: please do not expect that your baby will sleep long hours from day 1. This attitude will prevent you from overlooking and appreciating whatever little increase there is in his sleeping hours. I remember an interesting conversation with a sister whose baby is a week older than my son. She was upset that her baby slept only four hours at night. That was when her baby was around 5 weeks! I forced an understanding smile although my son barely slept 2 hours at night without waking up for milk! The point here is that do not expect babies to suddenly have excellent sleep schedules because babies are still adjusting to the outside world where they have to keep demanding for food. Earlier, Allah swt was providing them with everything 24/7 without demanding anything. SubhanAllah. So it is a big change for our young ones and we must be understanding as well as realistic.]
  • Also, make use of the time you spend putting the baby to sleep. Recite some Adhkaar in a peaceful tone, do Istighfaar or review some Quraan you know.

10. Give yourself very easy goals for learning/reading/teaching. Goals which you know are simply too easy. Sense of achievement is addictive and it pushes you to do more and more.

Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, and influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves.”Small wins are a steady appplication of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favour another small win.” Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraing tiny advantages into patternst that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach. [The Power of Habit, pp. 112]

An example of a simple task could be reciting some Quraan while the baby is awake. For some mothers, it is impossible to do that but you could try. This will give you the confidence that you can do something while the baby is awake and that too, for yourself for a change because often times mothers run from fulfilling baby’s needs to all other chores, forgetting their own spiritual goals for seeking knowledge. It doesn’t matter even if you listen to five minutes of a lesson or accomplish only 1% of the lesson you had assigned yourself for the day. What matters is that you continue doing it and remaining steadfast upon it. In order to be steadfast upon this when the energy/time/enthusiasm are running low, the only thing which will keep one going is remembering the virtues of learning and teaching Islam.

Hadith # 1

Narrated Ibn Mas’ud RA: I heard the Prophet salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam saying, “There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” [Sahih al Bukhari; Book #24, Hadith #490]

Hadith # 2

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever calls people to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in the slightest, and whoever calls people to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.” [Narrated by Muslim, # 2674]

Tafseer of the ayah # 11 of Surat’l Mujadilah:

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu At-Tufayl `Amir bin Wathilah said that Nafi` bin `Abdul–Harith met `Umar bin Al-Khattab in the area of `Usfan. `Umar appointed Abu At-Tufayl to be the governor of Makkah. `Umar asked him, “Whom did you appoint as your deputy for the valley people (that is, Makkah).” `Amir said, “I appointed Ibn Abza, one of our freed slaves, as my deputy.” `Umar said, “You made a freed slave their governor in your absence” He said, “O Leader of the faithful! He has memorized Allah’s Book and has knowledge of regulations of inheritance, along with being a proficient judge.” `Umar said, “Surely, your Prophet has said,

«إِنَّ اللهَ يَرْفَعُ بِهذَا الْكِتَابِ قَوْمًا وَيَضَعُ بِهِ آخَرِين»

(Verily, Allah elevates some people and degrades others, on account of this Book.)” Muslim collected this Hadith.

[Tafseer ibn Katheer]

More Beloved than giving the entire world’s worth of Charity in His Cause

It is reported that Imām Al-Hasan Al-Basrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said: ‘To learn a single topic of knowledge and teach it to a Muslim is more beloved to me than having the whole world and giving it in the cause of Allāh.’ [Al-Khatīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Faqīh wa Al-Mutafaqqih article 53.]

Pre-requisite to become a Muttaqi

It is reported that Abû Al-Dardâ – Allâh be pleased with him – said:’You will never be pious (a person of taqwâ) until you become knowledgeable, and you will never be beautiful with your knowledge until you act [by it].’ [Ibn Ábd Al-Barr, Jâmi’ Bayân Al-’Ilm wa Fadlihî article 1239.]

It’s worth it!

It is reported from ‘Abdullâh b. ‘Abbâs – Allâh be pleased with them – that he said: After Allâh’s Messenger – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him – passed away, I said to a man from the Ansâr, “Come, let us ask [and learn from] the Prophet’s Companions, Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him, for they are many in number today.” He replied, “I am surprised at you Ibn ‘Abbâs – do you really think people need you when there are so many Companions of the Prophet – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him?” So he did not involve himself in this endeavor, but I busied myself asking [the Companions about issues]. If I heard of a hadîth being reported by a man, I would come to him and if he was taking his midday nap I would lay down my garment and lie outside waiting for him, with the wind blowing dust in my face. The man would come out [for Dhuhr] and see me in that state, and he would exclaim, “O nephew of Allâh’s Messenger! What has brought you here? You should have sent for me and I would have come to you!” I would say, “Rather I should come to you [to seek knowledge].” I would then ask him about the hadîth I heard. The man [who I originally invited to seek knowledge with me] remained as he was, and when he saw how people would gather around me [to seek knowledge] he said, “For sure, this young man was more intelligent than me.” [Al-Dârimî, Al-Sunan Vol. 2 p129.]

11. Forgiveness.  

  • Forgive others for your sake. Like a friend once said, ‘Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.’ So spot on!
  • Seek forgiveness from Allah swt and people by increasing in good because motherhood is a challenging time when emotions run wild. And when emotions run wild, mistakes are definitely made.

It is reported that Harim b. Hayyān – Allāh have mercy on him – said: ‘Never does the servant turn wholeheartedly to Allāh except that Allāh turns the hearts of the believers to him, providing him their love.’ [Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:49.]

Narrated Ibn Mas’ud: A man kissed a woman (unlawfully) and then went to the Prophet and informed him. Allah revealed: ‘And offer prayers perfectly At the two ends of the day And in some hours of the night (i.e. the five compulsory prayers). Verily! good deeds remove (annul) the evil deeds (small sins) (11.114). The man asked Allah’s Apostle, “Is it for me?” He said, “It is for all my followers.” [Sahih al Bukhari; Book #10, Hadith #504]

12. Give sadaqah.

  • Fascinating info about what sadaqah can do can be found here.

13. If you’re set with Him, everything else settles in you life. You can do this by:

  • Creating a wall of peace around your soul. Everything will turn out fine inshaa’Allah. He swt will take care of everything. Lay down your burdens at His Threshold. Accept your share of this dunia and harbor good thoughts of Him such that you are certain in your heart that everything that is becoming difficult for you has an underlying benefit for you. He swt has a plan for you and His Wisdom will eventually open up to you if you are patient. Have your eyes focused on the Akhirah.

It was narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is mainly concerned about the Hereafter, Allaah will make him feel independent of others and will make him focused and content, and his worldly affairs will fall into place. But whoever is mainly concerned with this world, Allaah will make him feel in constant need of others and will make him distracted and unfocused, and he will get nothing of this world except what is decreed for him.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2389; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6510].

~

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “When a person spends his entire day with no other concern but Allaah alone, Allaah, may He be glorified, will take care of all his needs and take care of all that is worrying him; He will empty his heart so that it will be filled only with love for Him, free his tongue so that it will speak only in remembrance of Him (dhikr) and cause all his faculties to work only in obedience to Him. But if a person spends his entire day with no other concern but this world, Allaah will make him bear its distress, anxiety and pain; He will leave him to sort himself out, and cause his heart to be distracted from the love of Allaah towards the love of some created being, cause his tongue to speak only in remembering people instead of remembering Allaah, and cause him to use his talents and energy in obeying and serving them. So he will strive hard, labouring like some work-animal, to serve something other than Allaah… Everyone who turns away from being a true slave of Allaah and obeying Him and loving Him will be burdened with servitude, love and obedience to some created being. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allaah), We appoint for him a shaytaan (devil) to be a qareen (intimate companion) to him.’ [al-Zukhruf 43:36].” [Al-Fawaa’id, p. 159]

  • Turning to Him completely with every fiber of your being

Ibn al-Qayyim (R)has said: “Rushing towards Allāh and depending on Him, being pleased with Him, filling the heart with love of Him, constantly remembering Him, feeling happiness and joy with knowing Him – all of these are instantaneous rewards, a paradise of this world, and a life that the lives of kings cannot even compare to.” [Manners of Seeking Knowledge, pp.27]

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

And be not like those who forgot Allah , so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.

 [Surat'l Hashr, 59:19]

“Reflect upon this verse and you will find that it contains a great and noble meaning, and this is that whoever forgets his Lord will end up forgetting himself, and will not know the reality of himself or his interests. He will be made to forget what leads to his health and success in life, and will end up becoming incapacitated and lost, just like a wild animal. In fact, the animals might even be more aware of what is in their interests than him due to the fact that they remain firm upon the bit of guidance that was provided to them by their Creator. He, on the other hand, rebelled against the fitrah that he was formed on and forgot his Lord, and was thus made to forget himself, his soul, its haracteristics, what completes it, what purifies it, and what satisfies it during its life.” [Manners of Seeking Knowledge, pp.49-50]

13. You’re not a failure! Yes that’s despite your house looking a tornado-ridden zone or your baby’s continuous blood-curling cries without you knowing what to do. No you have not failed. It is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to have a relationship blunder once in a while (just hasten to tawbah as mentioned in # 11). It is okay to feel rotten at times and break down in front of strangers. When bathroom trips, sleep, brushing hair and wearing decent clothing become a luxury, it is okay to not like the way you look in the mirror. It is okay to not be able to keep up with your study schedule. Just use this time of helplessness and weakness to connect with Allah swt more in any way possible! And finally remember:

 Rasulalah salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam has said: “No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allaah will expiate for some of his sins because of that.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5642) and Muslim (2573)]

~

I pray this is helpful to all the sisters in this world. We can get through this because we are certain that the rewards are going to be great.

And keep this quote in your mind. I read it in a book on the biography of Imam Ahmad(R) but do not remember the reference. In some places it says that he was asked by his son. Allahu ‘alam but here it is:

jannah

 Imam Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] was asked: “When will the servant [of Allah] find rest?”

He said: “With the first step he takes into Paradise.”

The Akhirah is the resting place for us believing women.

Until then, we continue to struggle inshaa’Allah.

For His Sake alone. No matter who deserts us we will remain pillars of strength for our families and more importantly our children inshaa’Allah.

We will continue to learn about Islam and become better Muslimahs for our learning is a way of telling Allah swt that we love to know about Him and so we hope that we are worthy to be praised about in the Heavens amongst His Creations inshaa’Allah.

And Allah swt knows best.

May Allah swt wipe the tears of every mother in this world. May Allah swt console the hearts of all mothers. May Allah swt place contentment in their hearts and cool their eyes through their children in this world and the next. May Allah swt make us knowledgeable, God-fearing mothers who raise generations like the Sahaba and Sahabiyaat. May we be able to do our part with Ihsaan such that Allah swt honors us with the best of honorific rewards in Jannatul Firdaus al ‘Ala.

Ameen!

Lots of du’aas,

- Umm Sulaym

P.S. There’s lots more that could be said but to prevent the post from being lengthy and finally getting myself to publish it after several days of revision, I had to stop right here. Plus I was anxious that my baby would be up before I have the energy to re-read it again and publish it. Alhamdolilah, it’s done!

8 comments on “Post-Partum Advice for the New Muslim Mother: Managing Spirituality and Sanity

  1. Alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu my dear sis.

    Mubarak on the arrival of your baby boy. May Aallah make him the coolness of your eyes and bless him with a life of obedience to Allah ameen.

    I have been regularly checking the blog for an update and your post put a warm smile on my face. Insha’Allah Look forward to more eman boosting posts. Is the womens only blog up and running?

    • Walaykumusalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Dearest Sister <3

      Ameeeeen!

      SubhanAllah, jazakiAllahu khayran for always being warm towards me. May Allah swt grant you happy, pious and beautiful children. Ameen.
      I meant to send you an email but I have a lot going on as you can guess. Walhamdolilah. How is your married life going? May Allah swt sweeten it with an everlasting sweetness. Ameen.

      Re: Women's Blog
      Ah! I wish. I know I want to but I hardly have time. Also, currently priority is lifting off ignorance from myself before my little munchkin is ready to learn from me. If I can manage to post there, I will inshaa'Allah and add sisters I haven't had the chance to add. I am also working on a lot of things for my son which in time I will be able to share soon on the blog inshaa'Allah for parents. Wa ma taufeeqi illah billah and I am in need of it badly.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. May we get our eeman boosts from the Quraan and are able to relay it to the Ummah. Ameen!

      Will be moving back to England soon inshaa'Allah so would love for us to get in touch in person!

      Lots of love,
      Umm Sulaym

  2. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatu

    Aww ameen to your kind Duas sis. May Allah grant you much more than what you supplicate for me ameen.

    How is your baby? I read he was unwell, May Allah grant him shifa ameen. If you don’t mind me asking what is he named?

    I can imagine sis you will have your hands full at the moment. May Allah place Barakah in your time and in all your endeavours ameen.

    Alhamdullilah nearly a year of marriage for me….Subhaan’Allah How time has flown!

    Insha’Allah please do contact me once your back in the UK. It would be lovely to meet in person Insha’Allah.

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

    • He’s going through a phase. Inshaa’Allah things better soon for him.

      I’ve given him a name and a title. His name is the name of our (me & my husb’s) most favourite human being Ibraheem AS :)

      SubhanAllah really? Mashaa’Allah congratulations; that’s amazing. Wow time does fly!
      Inshaa’Allah will do. Can’t wait to be back.
      Love for you and many duaas,
      Umm S.

  3. Masha Allah.May he be the coolness of your eyes and may he grow with firm iman and taqwa.

    • Ameen sister. JazakiAllahu khayran for a very kind du’aa. May Allah swt bless you and your family with best of both worlds. Ameen!
      Take care.
      Wasalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah,
      Umm S.

  4. Dear Um Sulaym,

    Mabrouk on the arrival of your precious little one and thank you for this amazing blog post.

    I wonder if you know the origin of the title image as I would like to use it with credit. Kindly be in touch with me by the e-mail I have registered here.

    All the best,

    ~ Maya

    • Thank you for stopping by Maya and thank you so much for your kind comment.
      I actually don’t know its’ origin. I’m sorry. It is hard to trace people and give them credit for their work on the internet. Very noble of you so may Allah swt reward you! Ameen :)
      Take care,
      Umm S.

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