Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mean and Monstrous Mama Mai!

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Friday was a day of speaking my mind clearly, without "volume," and with perfect frankness. Who to? My daughters. This is something I haven't read about in the mothering books, blogs, and magazines but I think it is worth sharing.

My 7 year old is now praying all the prayers with her 10 year old sister and I, mashaa'Allah. This is a beautiful and blessed thing, wa al hamdu l'Illah. However, as soon as we finish praying she starts to talk to me, ask questions, or just chat about anything that comes to her mind. I, on the other hand, wish to say all my dua', adhkaar, and suwar after my prayer. Several times I have asked, or told, her not to talk to me or distract me until I'm finished, but she seems to forget that on a daily basis. So, last Friday when she proceeded to repeatedly ask me some relatively unimportant question, I stayed silent until I had finished my after prayer routine and then I spoke to her (and the other girls, as they were in the room as well). Here's what Mean and Monstrous Mama Mai said:

"Do you expect me to leave my communication with Allah to answer your non-urgent question or to chat with you? I have told you many times about this, but now I must make things clear. My Rabb and getting to Jennah are the most important things in my life. If this is my last prayer and adhkaar, then I need it to count for me, not against me. This time I spend with my Rabb may be the thing that tips my scales to the right hand side. I will not answer you or give you priority over Allah or my chances for Jennah. You are not more important than those things. If, for example, Allah should command me not to speak to you again, I would obey that command because obedience to Allah, subhaana wa taala,  is first."

Now, that is not verbatim because I don't have that photographic memory, but it is most certainly what I said. Some of you may be thinking by now, "Mai is a really harsh and mean mother!" However, I have realized that everything we do is an example and a lesson for our children. If my children don't see me put Allah first, they will not think it important. If they don't understand that NOTHING is more important than worshiping Allah and pleasing Him, then they will be lost. So, I'm not only taking care of my needs, but I'm walking the walk and talking the talk so they can see priorities in action.

I imagine that many of you nicer and sweeter mothers get the message across in a much more loving and indirect way, but that's what I did and no-one seems the worse for it, wa al hamdu l'Illah! Truly every ounce of good is from Allah, and every good intention is rewarded.


  1. YOU GO-GIRL MAMA-MAI!!!! 6 year old does the same thing.... We are training him to pray with us and as soon as my husband says the 'Salaams' he turns to me and says "I did a great job, right mami?!"... at first, to encourage him, I would reply in the affirmative and give him a hug... but by now it's getting to be a routine and it IS quite annoying... Loved your approach. I think children need to hear things 'like they are' and not so 'watered down' or 'sugar coated' as some seem to believe. I've done the same many times... with regards to other things, and in the end, yes! it's a matter of "walking the walk" and "talking the talk"... Great post Mai!! Thanks for sharing :D

  2. lol... sounds very familiar... kids huh!.. got to love them and train them too...

  3. Everything can be 'ibada. Taking care of your kids and talking to them in the way of Allah can be 'ibada. Don't shut them up so harshly - remember the Prophet's (saawa) sujood and how he would wait until his beloved grandchildren slid off his back to continue prayer.

    Loving your children for the sake of Allah (swt) is also 'ibada. I truly hope you don't believe that prayer, fasting, and du'a are the only ways to God. Islam is about moderation, about balancing it all, not about retreating to a reclusive hermetic life and forgetting about family and social life. Worship of Allah (swt) is exactly that, a completion of all duties in the way of Islam.

    May Allah (swt) guide us all.

  4. @Anonymous - ameen wa jazaak(i) Allahu khayr.

    Did you read this on it's own, without reading any of my other posts about how I raise my children? Perhaps it is only on one post that I specified the type of lifestyle they have. It is one filled with experiences that are enjoyable, interesting, stimulating, and make connections for them about Allah's greatness. They go camping, to planetariums, museums, parks, different countries, cities, and visit different types of people, They play sports, board games, go on a wide range of educational websites, and have a mother that is there for them, Qadr Allah, pretty much all the time.

    Everything is Ibada if done to please Allah and taking care of my children IS ibada. I dedicate my days to raising them and making connections for my children everywhere to show them the Big Picture. Up until now, it is working Qadr Allah.

    To imply that I shut them up harshly and have them imprisoned in our home just praying, fasting, and making dua' is far from any reality. I spoke to them calmly and wasn't in any way harsh, but real. They know that there are lines that should not be crossed. This is essential for children, because if they cannot control themselves and learn respect and obedience, they will never be successful Muslims. Islam is about respect and obedience to Allah, to the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and to rightly guided parents. If I devote my days to them, don't I deserve 5 minutes after prayer to relate to my Creator, to recharge, restore, and refocus so that I can continually grow and benefit them more? My children are 4.5, 7, 10 and 12. They all know how to pray, the importance of silence during the prayer, the benefits of dhikr, etc. I'm not talking about toddlers who don't know, I'm talking about children who remind each other daily to be quiet while the prayer is going on.

    In any case, I appreciate your response. Barak Allahu feek(i) we fee hayaatik(i).