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Hajar, Motherhood, And Children: Reflections on Dhul Hijjah

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Motherhood And Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her)

After the spiritual high of Ramadan has worn off, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Most High, in His Mercy, provides us with the gift of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

Admittedly, in the haze of running after my three small children, I tend to lose track of time. Time? What is time? Truly Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the Lord of Time! I digress. Despite the fact that my three small children prevent me from having hours and hours of uninterrupted prayer and recitation of Qu’ran, they have taught me so much about the sacrifice of Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).

A common perspective about Eid Al-Adha is one about the Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), so I invite you to explore and seek inspiration from Hajar’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) experience.

Ismail’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there any thing (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, ”Has Allah ordered you to do?” He said, “Yes”. She said, ”Then He will not neglect us“, and returned, while Ibrahim proceeded onwards…′ [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

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Imagine being left in the desert with your young son by your beloved husband, with only a few dates and little water. Imagine the water running out, and hearing the heart-clenching cries of your young son. Imagine that all-encompassing fear for the life of your child, and channeling that into running desperately for water. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rewarded Hajar’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) sacrifice by bringing about the gift of Zamzam – a gift we still benefit from today. Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) bore her sacrifice by having patience and trusting in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Talking To Children About Dhul Hijjah

I teach my children about sacrifice by explaining how giving up something they love for the sake of pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is a praiseworthy act. At the tender ages of 7, 4.5 and 3, that could mean sharing a beloved toy or favorite crayon. I hope and pray that these small acts of sacrifice will build a foundation of normalizing sacrifice for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sake.

I encourage my older children to look after their younger siblings – help them get dressed, sit down and eat their meals together. It would be much easier for them to focus on themselves and leave all caretaking to myself and my husband, but this is how we also teach them to put the needs of the more vulnerable before their own. It’s a work in progress for them, definitely, but instilling good character traits is a lifelong journey.

I encourage them to marvel at the different phases of the moon, and teach them how that’s how you can tell what time of the month it is. “The tiny crescent moon is smiling at you!” I tell them. I tell them about how special Dhul Hijjah is because it’s the only time of the year anyone can go to Hajj. I teach them about the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah being an excellent opportunity to increase their acts of worship; even though they’re little, they can practice praying, fasting, giving in charity, and being kind to one another.

Teaching My Children About Umrah And Hajj

I’m not able to take my children for Umrah and Hajj just yet, but would absolutely love to in the near future. I am so grateful that the doors to Umrah and Hajj are reopening post-COVID, and I pray that it stays this way for generations to come. Even though I’m at a stage of my life where I’m not able to take my small kids on Umrah, I can plant the seeds of love and longing for Hajj. I read them books about Hajj, and my husband and I tell them stories about what that was like for us when we went on Umrah and Hajj, all those years ago. Their favorite Hajj story has to be of the dua’ I made when I saw the Ka’bah for the first time: “O Allah, please answer my duas” swiftly followed by “O Allah, please send me the gift of a good husband and children!” That’s the part where they beam at me, living proof of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) generosity.

Additionally, I can make the intention to fast on the Day of ‘Arafah and teach my children about the reward of doing so.

Abu Hafsah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year.” [Muslim]

Another story I tell them is of my Hajj and the orange.

Hajj is a physically and spiritually demanding endeavor, and I encountered many physical obstacles starting from thirst and ending with a bad cold. My brother and I were in our twenties and strong enough to make the walk from Arafah to Muzdalifa. At the time I marveled at the older pilgrims who looked like they were in their sixties and beyond, and who walked too. Despite being young and fit, the walk was so tiring, I desperately wanted to sleep, and was so thirsty. I don’t remember where I got the orange from and I’m amazed I even remembered to share it with my brother. He graciously declined and said I could eat the whole thing. It took exhaustion and thirst for me to truly appreciate the blessing of a single orange.

Parting Thoughts

In the solitude of the night when my three little children are fast asleep, I can sink onto my prayer mat and make dua’ for them. I can pray, read Qu’ran in peace, and enjoy the blessings of these final precious ten days of Dhul Hijjah. I remind myself that my hours, days, and years of looking after my children also count as worship. Just as my mother makes dua’ for me, I make dua’ for my children, and pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will gift us all the blessing of Hajj and Umrah in the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah in the years to come.

 

Related reading:

MuslimKidsMatter | How to Be a Super-Hero During the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

MuslimKidsMatter | How to Be a Super-Hero During the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Optimizing The First 10 Of Dhul Hijjah

Optimizing The First 10 Of Dhul Hijjah

 

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Raidah Shah Idil was born in Singapore, grew up in Sydney, Australia, worked in Amman, Jordan and now lives in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia with her husband, three children and mother-in-law. As a university student, she began her online Islamic studies with Qibla (Sunnipath), alongside her volunteer work as a hospital chaplain for 5 years. After completing her Bachelors of Science (Psychology) and Bachelor of Arts (English) at the University of New South Wales, she completed Qibla’s Shifa Summer program on the ground in Kharabsheh, Amman. She stayed on for almost two years and studied Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Sira, Aqida, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid with various teachers such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykha Noura Shamma, Shaykh Farid Dingle and Shaykh Qays Arthur. Raidah loves ginger tea, noodle soup and dreams of uninterrupted sleep.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fajr Dua

    July 30, 2022 at 2:38 AM

    This story brought tears to my eyes. Allah always helps us in each and every situation.

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