By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Ramadan is a difficult month for most; abstaining from food, drink, and sexual desires, as well as controlling one’s temper and language is a tall order; yet it is especially difficult for the Ramadan mom. Even in her state of fasting, she needs to make sure the Suhoor and Iftar meals are prepared on time, the little ones who are not fasting are given their breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, the house is run smoothly, and the kids are kept busy despite her waning energy. Her temper needs to be held in check even when it is severely tested with the children fighting. For the breastfeeding Ramadan mom, it gets even more difficult as she fights the fatigue that sets in with lactating on a fasting body.
If you are a Ramadan mom, you know however that this isn’t the worst of it. The worst of it is that you feel inadequate as a Muslimah because everybody around you is making the most of this month by reciting extra Quran, going for Taraweeh, doing extra acts of Ibadah, and staying up at night making Dhikr and Dua. You feel like you are missing out, since you are unable to do as much as you could before marriage/kids, and your Ramadan goals remain almost untouched.
For some Ramadan moms it is better and for others it is worse. Regardless, all mothers feel that pinch of regret when Ramadan is nearing its end. They feel left out, frustrated, and inadequate. It is at this time that you need to remind yourself of the following:
You are not alone
Remind yourself that you are not alone – you are not the only one who seems to have missed out on saving up for the hereafter. Not only does every Muslim mother know how you feel, Allah – your Lord, your Creator, He Who loves you 70 times more than you love your own children – knows the state of your heart and the thoughts in your mind! He is the Most Just and He would not place you in this situation and not recompense you for your toils and trouble.
Make motherhood your Ramadan Ibadah
Allah mentions in the Quran: “…Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you…” (24:11) Though it may feel that you aren’t doing as much as others since your children and family take up time away for Ibadah, motherhood may actually be your means to salvation and may be better than any Ibadah you could have done! Everything you do for your family and children this Ramadan, do it purely for the sake of Allah. Renew your intention every time you wipe a nose, or clean a spill, and know that Allah will reward you manifold!
Add patience to your Ramadan goals
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say: Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” (2:155-156)
Whenever feelings of inadequacy engulf you, say Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji‘oon. The reward for patience is enormous. Imagine being rewarded seventy times for it this Ramadan when all rewards are multiplied.
Keep your tongue moist with Dhikr
If you cannot manage to do as many Salah and Quran as you wished, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. The Dhikr of Allah will not only bring peace to you, it will also be a means of earning the rewards that you missed out from other acts of worship.
Make realistic and consistent goals
It may not be realistic to expect yourself to recite a Juz (part) of the Qur’an every day. Make goals that are realistic and easy to complete. Even if you intend to recite one page every day, hence reciting only 1.5 Juz in the entire Ramadan, it is better than intending to do more than you can and ending up doing nothing. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” (Ibn Majah; graded sound by al-Albani)
Do not complain to others
Do not complain and cry to others about how much you are missing out. When you do feel frustrated and want to vent, vent to Allah, for He mentions: “If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.” (3:160)
Do not let Shaytan control you from behind bars
In a hadith, it is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “If anything happens to you, do not say: If only I had done such and such, then such and such would have happened. Say instead: Qadr Allah wa ma sha’a fa‘ala (Allah has decreed and He does whatever He wills), for ‘If only’ opens the door to the Shaytan.” (Ibn Majah; graded reliable by al-Albani)
Do not reminisce about the time you could do Ibadah without being disturbed, or fall into the trap of saying ‘if’. Shaytan makes you discontented by leading you to such thoughts. Instead, accept Allah’s decree, thank Him for His blessings in giving you children, and channel your thoughts positively to do the best you can this Ramadan!
Make the most of this time
“Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (94:6)
Motherhood and its demands will be over soon and before you know it you will be of those Muslims who make the most of their Ramadan. But till that time, revel in this hardship and earn rewards that are meant only for you!
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. Her latest project is Qutor.com, a website that helps connect Quran teachers and students.
© IIPH 2016