Motherhood for the Muslimah: A Letter to my Children

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By Pure Matrimony -

Author: Shohana Khan


You are what will walk the earth of me, when I have returned to dust. So I sincerely make dua, after all my actions as a mother have been sealed and done, that is not just my love I leave you with as my legacy, but love and closeness to the Deen of Allah as well.

The task of describing what motherhood means to me, I knew would bring upon a sure spell of writer’s block. Words appear empty, when seeking to verbalise what a mother wishes to. But I realised that words are a way to shed light upon what one wants another to understand. Our majestic creator Allah azza wa jal Himself, chooses words as a means to communicate with His lowly slaves. So I will attempt to describe what motherhood has meant to me and in a letter to those at the centre of it – My children.

So here goes:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu to the three of you.

May you be in the best of health, in the highest of iman.

I begin perhaps with what is easiest to begin with. With the one undeniable fact that is simple to conclude, that remains unchanging with time, tests, difficulties. It is the fact that I love you. Perhaps this was the one thing that should have been left to the climax of the letter – But all know a mother’s love can never wait.

Know however, this love does not come from me. This love was bestowed upon us by the Creator of you and me, Allah SWT. It is incomparable to any worldly thing, definitely deeper than words can go. And the magnitude of this love works wonders you know, because being a mother is by no means easy. This love alongside the strong sense of responsibility of motherhood laid out in our Deen (faith), has kept me going.

Ibn ‘Umar said, I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace say:

“All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. An Imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in respect of his family and is responsible for those in his care. The woman is a shepherd in respect of her husband’s house and is responsible for those in her care… All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.”

Indeed this hadith has been fuel for me in those times when it felt like I was the wrong person for the job. For those times when I couldn’t calm down one of your explosive tantrums, or wasn’t able to get one of you to tidy up your mess. For those times when you all collectively needed food, conflict mediation and the changing of a leaked nappy at the same time, I was and am reminded you are the lofty amanah (trust) sent to me by Allah that I will be accountable for. So I keep going as best I can.

Yes the hadanah (physical care) can be tough, but this never was what kept me up at night. Ask any Muslim mother, what her foremost worry is and I’m sure I can read her lips. For her, the worry of tending her flock by tending to what grants eternal success, or eternal damnation for them, is surely the greatest weight on her back. And I have been no different.

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones,” Surah Tahreem 6

I crave Jannah for you and fear punishment of the Fire, just as I fear for your wellbeing in this dunya. However this ayah is my daily reminder that unless I can best ensure I have held you back from Hellfire, as a mother, as a Muslim mother, there is little or no success for me.

And today, in the world we live in, this task is so hard.

We live in a society where the very idea your whole life should be based around submission to a God, is banished to the small four walls of our homes. Secularism, we call it. And even in those four walls it is not safe. The culture created from secular liberal societies intoxicates its youth, luring them with all senses, maximised. Enjoying every possible sensual pleasure, seeking to own everything under the sun, living as though it is only you answer to in this world. It’s the epic billboard glorification of illicit relationships, to the nuances of attitudes of a “me, myself and I” culture, all wrapped up enticingly – So how do I compete?

Well, I’m not going to compete. Because I know and believe, there is something higher to seek in life, than all of this – And I seek for you to know this too.

The understanding of the certainty of a Creator, the love of a Messenger so pure and true, the grasp of a Deen solving every problem you stumble upon in life, and the bond of an Ummah you are from. I pledge to wholeheartedly struggle and strive to build this in you bit by bit, talk you through it all at every opportunity, make you feel it whenever possible – if Allah SWT allows me to. I can only make the utmost dua then, that my efforts spark the growth of your minds and hearts, so that they become unwaveringly shaped by this beauty – Al Islam.

There will be moments no doubt, when you think these words of mine don’t compete with the Technicolor, kaleidoscopic indulgence that you will be given the option to dip into – But I will make sure you know these words are not mine.

They come from the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all that is within it who has claim to your every breath, your every movement and every blessing in your life. His words I promise will unlock for you treasures in your life that you wouldn’t even have known existed.  A life of iman (faith in Allah SWT), a life in the pursuit of taqwa (God-consciousness) will bring you pleasures unimaginable in the Hereafter, and real contentment in this life. I promise you, nothing in this temporary world is remotely comparable.

“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” Surah Hadid: 20

Indeed being a mother has been a challenging mountain to climb – But I put my hands up to admit that this task has been a rockier road for me, than I could have ever envisaged.  It has shown me, and you – throughout the years – how much patience, perseverance and reliance on Allah, I really have. And that most often, is the hardest realisation – Through you, the realisation of what I really am. But this journey of motherhood is a moving one, and as you develop it provides me with an opportunity to develop too – Proving to me how much your success and my success with Allah are really intertwined, in more ways than one.

You are what will walk the earth of me, when I have returned to dust. So I sincerely make dua, after all my actions as a mother have been sealed and done, that is not just my love I leave you with as my legacy, but love and closeness to the Deen of Allah as well.

May Allah aid me, and all the mothers who serve Allah by serving their children, in this continuing task, Ameen.

Walaikum as Salam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu,


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Article from-Aaila- The Muslim Family Magazine – brought to you by Pure Matrimony- – The World’s Largest Matrimonial Service For Practising Muslims.

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