How well do you know your children? When we think of our children, all of the efforts we put into taking care of them and understanding them, is there ever a point where you are left wringing your hands in despair?
It’s normal as a parent to be left sometimes speechless by our children’s actions or words. Parenting is a work in progress. Should you just sit back and call it quits? Definitely not. But yes, raising children is hard work, and raising them according to Islamic principles in today’s world, is even harder. Recently our family was blessed with another daughter, and while it has been a wonderful adjustment, sometimes I am left wondering how to perfectly handle it all. Our elder daughters were starting a new school, but it seems like my girls are set up to handle anything the universe throws their way. Our son, however, is another story. He turned 5 years old this summer, and all of a sudden the baby of our family grew up and now would be starting full-time school.
Ah, school. A rite of passage. This should be an easy transition. Or so I thought.
The first week consisted of me sitting at the school from drop off to pick up, and watching him go from sitting next to me, to playing a little, to finally going to class. But coming out every once in a while to check on me.
The second week I decided he would be dropped off by either me or his father, but that was it. There were a few tears, silent sobbing, complaints about his “boring” school, but we were dealing with this every day. Every. Single. Morning.
The girls were never like this, I told my husband. Why is it taking him so long to adjust to something so normal?
You know, even after four kids, there is still lots of room for trial and error.
“O God, be kind to me through the survival of my children, setting them right for me, and allowing me to enjoy them!
My God, make long their lives for me, increase their terms, bring up the smallest for me, strengthen the weakest for me, rectify for me their bodies, their religious dedication, and their moral traits, make them well in their souls, their limbs, and everything that concerns me of their affair, and pour out for me and upon my hand their provisions!
Make them pious, fearing, insightful, hearing and obedient toward Thee, loving and well-disposed toward Thy friends, and stubbornly resistant and full of hate toward all Thy enemies!”
-Excerpt from Imam Sajjad’s dua for his children
We realized that our son has a bit of a different nature. He is very strong-willed, yet sensitive. It broke my heart when I watched him hold his brave face, only to give me a hug goodbye and then hear his subdued sobs. Was he purposely acting strong? Was I giving him room to be sad about this new phase in his life?
So we talked to him about how it was OK to be sad to leave Mama. But that he should remember how brave Imam Hussain (as) was on the battlefield, and that he should be brave too, and to remember that after a few hours he would see Mama again at home.
A dear friend of mine reminded me of the power of dua, especially when it comes to our children. Sometimes we think as parents we can handle it all. After all these are our children. We bore them, so we should know it all. But we aren’t omnipotent and all-knowing like Almighty Allah. Our hands are also tied, and we shouldn’t take it as a sign of weakness. Rather it should take us into prostration and make us humble in front of our Lord. What an honorable task He has bestowed on us to take care of these little creations. Please help us raise them in the best way possible! Please help us understand their little quirks and idiosyncrasies, and be able to handle them with patience!
Imam Sajjad’s dua for his children is a beautiful prayer that encompasses all the fears and hopes a parent has for their little ones. “Bring up the smallest for me, strengthen the weakest for me…” We can only do so much for our children. But Allah the Most High is All-Powerful. He can do anything. And He surely can ease our difficulties and help us find peace in raising our children.
Editor’s note: Islamic Insights is honored to host the “Raising Faith” column by esteemed guest contributor and student from Qum, Sister Samira Rizvi. Besides being a former newspaper copy editor, Rizvi is a mother of three, an author who writes for Little Muslim Books, and maintains a personal blog. Her column will focus on her experiences in tarbiyat—the upbringing of children based on Islamic values. For past articles in the column see here.