By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
To be blessed with a baby is one of the most amazing things in the world. Ask any mom: sleepless nights, endless potty cleanings, and all the worries that come with being a parent are worth the little bundle of joy! Indeed, having children is one of the greatest blessings of Allah.
If you are expecting a baby, you have probably already acquired a pregnancy guide that lists all that you have to expect in the coming trimesters. Your obstetrician will also be guiding you on what you need to eat, which multivitamins to take, and so on. However, here are a few things for the Muslim mom-to-be to keep in mind during each trimester to benefit herself and her unborn baby!
Be thankful to Allah for having chosen you for such an amazing gift. The first trimester is hard for some women who suffer from nausea (morning sickness) and weakness; even then, keep thanking Allah and believe that He will never burden you more than you can bear! He is indeed the best of planners and knows what is best for us!
Align your intention
The Prophet (sa) said: “Marry the one who is loving and prolific (could bear many children), for I will be proud of your large numbers.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i; authentic)Your pregnancy and giving birth will add another number to the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Focus on this as your intention as you embark on your first trimester.
Follow the footsteps of the mother of Maryam
What a blessed mother was she who gave birth to Maryam! So why not follow her footsteps and make the same dua (supplication) she did when she was expecting as narrated in the Quran: “[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said: My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Surah Aal Imran: 35)
With this dua, renew your intention every day that this baby would be a pious servant of Allah. Insha’Allah your intentions and prayers will have a positive effect in creating an innate bond between your child and the deen (religion) of Allah!
Make dua for your child’s sustenance and Emaan (faith)
It is narrated in a hadith by the Prophet (sa) that: “Each one of you is constituted in the womb of the mother for forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him…” (Bukhari)
Based on this hadith, jurists have inferred that the soul enters the foetus at around 4 months/120 days after gestation, that is, the second trimester. As you enter your second trimester, make frequent dua to Allah to pre-ordain for your baby a life of unwavering faith and a means of halal and ample sustenance during his or her sojourn in this world.
Recite the Quran for your baby
Around the 20th week, the baby in the womb gains the ability to hear. This is a great time to create a one-on-one, exclusive bond with your unborn baby by reciting the Quran every day. The sound waves of your voice will reach your baby and what better words than the melodious Quran for your baby to hear and get familiar with. Research shows that children who listen to music during their gestation period recognize it after birth. Give your child a head start in creating a relationship and bond with the Quran even before he comes in this world. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child!
Dealing with discomfort and exhaustion
Allah says in the Quran: “…His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness…” (Surah Luqman:14)
“…His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship…” (Surah al-Aĥqaf:15)
Allah acknowledges in these two verses the magnanimity of the task a woman undertakes when she is expecting. Particularly during the third trimester, your discomfort may rise due to acidity, heartburns, and back aches. At this point remind yourself of this hadith:
A man came to the Prophet (sa) and said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (sa) said, “Your mother.” (So) the man said, “And then to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (sa) said, “Your mother.” (Then) the man said, “And then to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (sa) said, “Your mother.” (Then) the man asked, “After that, to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (sa) said, “To your father.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, sound)
Even though it is hard, Allah will recompense you for your hardship by elevating your status beyond any relationship! Remind yourself that every ache and pain is worth it!
Expiate your sins
Allah expiates the sins of a Muslim when he or she suffers through hardship, even if it is something as small as a prick of a thorn! The pains of pregnancy and labour are far greater than that, and one can only imagine what recompense Allah will give to a woman who spends nine difficult months raising a life within her own body! Capitalize on this opportunity and make lots of dua to Allah to forgive any intentional or unintentional misdeeds you may have committed.
Allah is about to entrust you with the care and upbringing of another human being, to not only take care of its physical needs but to also prepare them for fulfilling their purpose in this world: to love and worship Allah and to attain His pleasure! As the time to meet your little one comes close, it is a great idea to spend some time reading and prepping yourself for the task of motherhood. Reading about the methods of raising children on the right path or listening to lectures by scholars on this topic is something the new mother must do before the baby arrives in this world.
THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY
1- Meditation through prayer: Many people will guide you towards yoga and meditation, which are a great way to relax your overworked body. However remember that prayer is the best form of meditation and it will calm you and soothe your baby as well.
2- Keep checking in with Allah: Stay connected with Allah and talk to Him about your fears and difficulties. Make istikharah (guidance prayer) for all decisions, especially when choosing your doctor and your delivery options. Ask Allah to grant you a safe delivery, a righteous child, and an easy transition into motherhood.
3- Avail the maternity leave Allah has given, if needed: The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah has relieved the traveller of half of the prayer and of the duty to fast, and He has relieved pregnant and nursing mothers (of the duty to fast).” (Sunan an-Nasa’i; reliable) If you feel that you are unable to fast due to weakness or any other complication, you can leave your fast without any worry. However do remember to mark it somewhere so that you don’t forget to make it up later.
4- Eat beneficial foods: Add honey, milk, figs, and dates to your diet as all of these have been mentioned in the Quran or the hadith for their benefits.
May Allah make your pregnancy easy, and grant you a pious child who will be sadaqah-e-jariah (continuous charity) for you. 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 Quran (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah). Her latest project is www.qutor.com, a website that helps connect Quran teachers and students.
© IIPH 2015