Motherhood comes with a huge set of challenges. Muslim mothers are not immune from committing such heartbreaking and regrettable acts as killing their children due to enormous stress and lack of knowledge as to how they can properly discipline their children. Muslim moms suffer from some of the same uncertainties, inadequacies and stresses that the general population experiences. Some work outside of the home, others head single parent households, and then there are those who suffer from inadequate finances or emotionally challenging marriages. Add to this the raising of children with exceptional needs who place more than the average demands on the mother and you have a situation conducive to child abuse, maltreatment and or neglect.
Here are two wonderful stories of the past that mothers can refer to which exemplify true patience:
The prophet of patience
Prophet Ayoub’s story is an inspirational one with lessons for all of us to reflect upon. Allah provided Prophet Ayoub with great wealth and a huge family. He lived in contentment and comfort for many years. His legacy of impeccable endurance has been carried down from generation to generation. His story is renowned in all three of the monotheistic religions–Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
According to Ibn Khathir, Prophet Ayoub was known as one of the best of Allah’s creation on earth during his time period. He displayed noble character, exhibited exceptional patience and remembered his Lord often. He was generous with his family and gave often in charity to those in need around him. Although he was wealthy and had a large family, he never displayed arrogance to those he encountered. Allah says:
“Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance to Us.” (Surah Sad, 38:44)
So by Allah’s decree, Shaitan began afflicting Ayoub with calamity upon calamity. First, his livestock was killed. Then his crops were destroyed. After that, he was placed in distress by one of the worst calamities that can fall upon a person—all of his children were killed when his house collapsed upon them. But throughout all of this misfortune and suffering, Ayoub remained patient and steadfast in his worship of Allah . He continued to obey his Lord and to be thankful. In Quran 21:83, Ayoub says: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all who show mercy.”
But Ayoub’s difficulties were not to end with the loss of his children—suddenly, a skin disease began to spread over his skin. The disease disfigured him to the extent that his friends and family detested being near him, and soon they avoided coming around. Lonely and disheartened Ayoub called out to his Lord:
“The Evil One has afflicted me with distress and suffering.”(Surah Sad, 38:41)
“So we listened to him: We removed the distress that was on him, and we restored his people to him, and doubled their number as a Grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration, for all who serve Us.” (Al Anbiya, 21:84)
This is a remarkable story that shows extraordinary patience from a human being who experienced sadness, pain, and distress, just as we all do. Prophet Ayoub represents a model of patience that we all can strive towards.
The woman promised paradise
Our second story of patience is mentioned in hadith. It’s the story of a lady promised paradise. This virtuous woman truly exhibits a model of exemplary moral fiber for us to emulate.
This beautiful hadith is narrated by Ata bin Abi Rabah. It was told to him by Ibn Abaas Radiyallahu anhu:
“Do you want me to show you a woman from the people of paradise?” Ibn Abas asked Ata.
“Yes,” replied Ata.
Ibn Abas began his story. “Once there was a black lady who came to the Prophet. She said, ‘I get epileptic seizures and my body becomes uncovered. Please pray to Allah to help me.’
“The Prophet said to her, ‘If you remain patient, you will have Paradise; but if you want, I will ask Allah to cure you.’
The woman replied, ‘I will remain patient.’ Then she said, ‘but I become uncovered, so please ask Allah to help me so I won’t become uncovered.’
So the Prophet asked Allah to help her.”
This inspiring story told by Atta bin Abi Rabah is full of wisdom and encouragement for Muslim mothers struggling to excel in being patient.
Here is a woman living with a disability that causes her unfathomable embarrassment and enormous distress, a handicap that often causes kids to point and stare and makes adults react with contempt or pity.
This lady finally has an opportunity to be relieved of her misery, but she’s then told to pause a moment. She can choose to either be relieved of her suffering in this world or be patient and win Allah’s eternal happiness in the hereafter. She chooses the everlasting bliss of paradise.
Even after she has opted to sacrifice her relief in this world, this righteous woman remains committed to pleasing Allah. She is now concerned about her body becoming uncovered during her fits. The story of this extraordinary woman is an example of true patience and perseverance.
We should use examples such as this righteous woman’s character as a reminder that whatever difficulty we have with our children—be it a strong-willed child with a demanding temperament, or a child with special needs who has extraordinary challenges—our patience with them will be rewarded, insha’Allah.
There are numerous prophets and people of Islam who exemplified admirable examples of patience that we can emulate. Among them are Prophet Yaqoub, Maryam Umm Isa, and Asiya, wife of Pharoah. Let these noble characters and others encourage us to aim high in our own efforts of trying to persevere and be tolerant of our children’s shortcomings.
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