Choosing your Battles

There should be a disclaimer when there are bayans/talks/lectures on Islam, that the audience is meant to be for single people. Perhaps that is a bit too far-fetched and not possible. But let me explain what I mean.

As an unmarried person, you are independent and able to work much more on your spirituality than a married person especially when you also have children. Spirituality, as a mother, is a completely different picture from what you would typically hear in lectures.

And if you have friends that also portray and hail that perfect image of a mother – emphasizing perhaps on the most futile of details, IMO – then perhaps you need to find yourself new friends. Because motherhood needs support…

Let’s say your child will not let you wear a ‘dubatta‘ on your head. Mine didn’t. For two years of his life. He just did not… I wish now I had not fretted over it. I certainly will not for my other children in shaa Allah. This notion of the dubatta on your head typically has come across through generations in the subcontinent. You will not find any source for it in any of the Islamic literature. Your head need not be covered at home, amongst your mahrams.

But if you hear a friend say to you “if he is not letting you wear it in front of other women, you should get him used to it even when you are at home.” In other words, your failure to do this at home is why you are not able to do it in front of others, or not able to make your child used to it. First of all, this ‘it’ is not even a farz or a wajib. Perhaps it falls under mustahab (preferred). Do i need to choose this battle with my toddler over a hundred other battles that may even fall under fardh? Do I need to choose it over praying a salah with ihsan despite having my kids around me or while they sleep when a thousand chores and thoughts are running through my mind? Do I need to choose that battle over the battle of not letting my temper go lose? Do I need to choose this battle over the battle of connecting more with the Qur’an? Practicing patience itself is a daily battle once you have kids. Do I honestly need to add to this elaborate list of exhausting to-dos of motherhood?

Especially when you are wishing to draw near to your Lord, you certainly need to draw away from people or even friends who are introducing self-doubt in your life. Who, even though they may be doing it to help you, are subconsciously doing the opposite of what ‘help’ would mean. They will still be getting reward if their intention was to help you, so don’t hold it against them or think lowly of them- but in truth if you are not really being helped, then seek that help elsewhere. You will find it.

You need to do this because it is you who knows what battles you need to choose and which ones you need to avoid.

The first ahadith, in any hadith book that your ever study under a hadith teacher, will begin with the topic of “intention”. It is sad then, that as we grow in our knowledge, we forget the most basic of ahadith in our practical life. As a mother, I remind myself and you of this hadith:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, related from his Lord the Blessed and Exalted, “Verily, Allah has recorded good and bad deeds and he made them clear. Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it, then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6126, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 131

10847912_10154899539865722_4677162262313005984_nMay Allah SWT Grant us Wisdom to cherish each good deed, to cherish friends who encourage us in a variety of good deeds, to change the things that are in our control, and to let go of those that we are unable to change. May we take positive steps in our lives, and put the rest on the side table to be picked up when we have the ability to do so. May we know the more important from the less important, if there is any hierarchy to it; and may we cherish each and every little thing to the dot if there is no such hierarchy – or even if there is- because at the end of the day, the littlest thing will count in our book of deeds.

So, without getting lost in the little things which seem to be out of your control atm, pick up those you can pick up. Pick up those that will help you navigate the murky waters of isolation and struggle that is motherhood… Pick up those that will leave you feeling love for your Lord, who loves you more than 70 times the love you have for your bundle of joy.

Think about the atoms. The tiny things. It is too hard to think of mountains when everyday life is becoming a mountain for you to climb… And remind yourself:

So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it (99:7)

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