By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Congratulations on becoming a mother. It is indeed one of Allah’s greatest blessings to be given the gift of a healthy, beautiful baby, even though it brings with it a very challenging time of life.
Gaining knowledge and imparting it is an essential part of every Muslim’s life. And just when the care, upbringing, and education of a brand new soul is entrusted to her, the new mother finds herself furthest from the path of learning.
Many moms overlook the fact that taking time out for themselves and their activities is of utmost importance in order to for them to be able to give the best possible care to their baby. Continuing to learn not only roots the new mother to sanity but also benefits the little ones who will see their moms learning and striving in the path of Allah from the very beginning of their lives. Here are some suggestions to help you on your path of knowledge:
Choose your resources
The new mother is not at the same liberty as other students of knowledge in terms of her ability to go out and attend long hours at an institute/college, or the time that she can give per day to her studies. There are, however, many options that she can choose from, keeping in mind her limitations:
- Free audio lectures and video series: A great resource and easily available are various online audio lectures and video series offered by different scholars. Choose the lectures and videos you would like to hear, and either download them or make online playlists to organize yourself.
- Subscription to different courses: There are many online courses available which you can subscribe to and learn at your own pace. Some courses even allow you to submit your assignments whenever you are able to complete them. Go through the various options available online and subscribe to the one that best matches your needs and resources.
- eBooks: There are many free and paid eBooks available that can be downloaded on to your phone or an eBook reader. This reduces the bulk of reading material to be carried around and can be slipped easily into your baby bag so that you can read whenever you get time. (Do avoid downloading illegal, pirated copies of Islamic books though.)
Tap into hidden time slots
- Breastfeeding time: The best time you can utilize is the time that you breastfeed your baby (or bottle feed depending on your choice/need). Settle down with your baby and turn on the audio lecture/video series you have chosen. Not only will this benefit you, but it will also be the sound your new baby associates with the comfort of being close to his/her mother’s breast.
- Cooking, laundry, and other chores: While you are preparing meals for your family, press the play button on your phone, iPod, CD player, etc. to start gaining knowledge as you work. If you have already made your playlists, you will not need to waste any time choosing your lecture. Not just cooking, but all chores give you a great opportunity to tune in to some beneficial knowledge. If your baby is a light sleeper, invest into a pair of headphones so that your baby doesn’t wake up. However, make sure that they do not block out sound so you can hear your baby cry.
- Outings with the baby: Head to the park for some mommy-baby time. You will not only give yourself the much-needed exercise a woman needs to strengthen her body after childbirth by going for a walk with the baby strapped into a stroller but if you take your headphones along, you can listen to your lectures while you and the baby enjoy the fresh air. The outing will tire your baby to sleep, giving you some uninterrupted time for yourself at home as well.
- Reading aloud to the baby: As you find your baby growing and responding to you more and more, use the time to read out aloud to the baby. Read what you are learning; the sound of your voice will entertain the baby and make him/her familiar with language, while you cover your learning goals.
Take baby steps
Since you may not be able to sit and study for hours, do not keep goals that you cannot achieve to avoid disappointment. Brainstorm what is possible and then fit them into the different slots you find during the day. Make small goals, such as reading only one page a day; Insha’Allah you will be able to do more, but even if you can’t, know that every page leads you closer to your goals. Know that the women around the Messenger (sa) also gave birth and yet achieved more than many of the Muslim men, and Insha’Allah you will too one day!
Embrace the special knowledge Allah is sending your way
Knowledge is not gained only from the pages of a book or the classroom of a teacher. One must seek knowledge from every experience and situation one is in. At this new stage of motherhood, you are learning firsthand about the creation of a human being and the mercy of Allah in helping it grow. You are learning to take care of a person, about their needs and wants, and about the love of Allah for His creation. At this juncture in your life, make the intention that every new thing you encounter is for gaining knowledge to help you in your new task of being a mother. Insha’Allah, looking after your baby can be a source of making the way to Jannah easy for you as the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, “Allah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.” (Muslim)
May Allah help you in your endeavour to learn and may He help you to impart your knowledge to your children. Ameen.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).
© IIPH 2015