Others Have Eyes

Oh Eye! Others have eyes and Allah is the All-Seer and All- Knower of hearts and Conditioner of them.

I often think of things to write about but when I saw the “When I See a Mother”…forum entry (posted from the Holistic Mama blog on the GrowMama forum), this was an opportunity timely and close to my heart. Women are delicate beings who at times judge others harshly but wish not to be judged harshly. We can be self-centered and arrogant as the Holistic Mama alludes to in the classifications of “good” and “bad”. As Muslimahs we should make dua for our struggling sisters and not judge them. As Muslimahs, we should extend a smile and not a smug stare. As Muslimahs, we should perhaps maybe take it a step further and offer a kind word of encouragement whether the actions you witnessed could be classified as “bad” or “good”.

Over the years, I admit I have struggled to raise my children. And I admit even as a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, two- year-breast-feeding, home cooking, home schooling mama with no extended family or other support, I have grabbed my child, shouted during their tantrums and used modern technology so that I could take a nap. But I have never lost sight of my goals for my family or given up on the dream of creating a support network amongst my children in the absence of extended family or friends to support us. During long periods of my husband’s absence for business travel, I still co-slept, avoided ordering pizza, etc. Allah does not give us more than we can bear. I think of the advice that the Prophet SAW gave his daughter Fatima who asked for domestic help: Make dhikr. And I do.

I have reached out for help from my community in the form of “sisters’” groups or attending an Islamic school or two. Only to be mocked, shunned and pushed out. Alhamdulillah! This made me more determined to achieve my goal. I will make my children strong practicing Muslims. They will not be discouraged by “incidents” at the Islamic centers and within the community. They will use these as examples of how Muslims should not behave with each other. They will use these to strengthen bonds amongst themselves, their children and their children’s children, for generations to come Insha’Allah!

When we see others “successful” at parenting or “struggling”, we should smile and think but for the mercy of Allah that could be me. Want good in your heart for others, always go to sleep at night with the satisfaction of knowing you hold no ranker in your heart or arrogance amongst another daughter of Adam (AS). In humility your trust in Allah will flourish and with it your strength.

Cordelia Gaffar

Cordelia Gaffar is a mom for peace, justice and honor amongst humanity. She is blessed with two boys and two girls and lives outside Shenandoah Valley in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

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  • http://www.hakimamidwifery.blogspot.com Shannon

    good reminders masha’allah!! thank you..

  • dim sum

    ” . . . Want good in your heart for others . . .” ma’sha Allah.

    JAK for sharing.

  • zainab

    I think this is so true, we sometimes look at what is wrong in our sisters rather than what is right.

    We should always praise our sisters and encourage them to keep keeping on and work through the hardships.

    We should remind ourselves and our sisters that whatever hardships we are having is a test. Not just a test but a “favor from our Lord (Allah) that we should not deny” ( paraphrased from Suratul Rahman several ayats). And if we pass the tests and accept it as “favor from Allah” to make us stronger as we grow, we will become stronger Muslimahs and work to bring the ummah closer together and not further apart.

    Jazakum’Allah khairs sisters for bringing these issues to the forefront, may Allah guide us all and accept our deeds (cleaning, our tears of joy, and tears of sadness and friends, our hopes and wishes, our sleepless nights, our cooking, care, concerns, advice etc.)as a deed for his sake. Ameen.

    May Allah reward and bless all the sisters that have been there for the sisters in need of advice, support, and friendship. Ameen.

  • Maha

    JAK Cordelia for your thoughts and sharing your feelings.

    The judgment and lack of support in our communities and beyond are so demoralizing and crippling. So many extremely talented, vivacious, well-meaning people have been beaten down and discouraged because of a strong culture of judgmentalism among Muslims (and everywhere else–I see it everywhere I go, whether Muslim or not).

    I don’t know how we can move beyond it, but talking about it is definitely a great place to start!!

  • http://habibimuslimah.blogspot.com thanaya asgher

    asa sister! you are so right in what youve written MA! may Allah swt continue to shower His blessings on you and reward you for your courage and faith, Ameen! there are two ahadeeth-i-mubarakah that i dont remember word by word, but the refer to your opinion here about ignoring the faults in other and double checking your own eimaan and deeds and intentions! the hadeeth somewhat goes that we make sure to notice the dirt in another person’s eye but ignore the huge bit of dirt in our own! similarly, theres another one about studying the neighbor’s faults instead of checking our own weaknesses and drawbacks! i wish we all , as an ummah, would practice that! we shd make prayer for each other in this regard!

  • ummossama

    AA, JAK for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Judging others is rampant in our communities..talking about it is as Maha mentoned is a good place to start and the other place to start is for each of us to practice some self-reflection…even if we think that we are basically kind / caring /accepting of others..some thoughtful introspection might reveal something we are not aware of…and even surprise us!!!!!

  • Cordelia

    As salaamu alaikum sisters,

    Jazakallah for all of your thoughtful comments and duaa. Alhamdullilah I do see my experiences as a favor from Allah and am very thankful for the constant introspection and reflection it allows me. InshaAllah my children will benefit from my example of reflection and introspection.

    Maha I believe the first in healing this judgmentalism is introspection and self-reflection. With every “incident” I have spent time in solitude first reflecting on my mistakes. Every new set of experiences I meet with new eyes and heart.

    My hope in writing about my thoughts on the poem “When I see a mother..” was to encourage others to introspect who they are in that poem. Are the one judging or the one empathizing? Are you the one making dua or are you the one giving a smile? Are you the one giving a kind word or extending your hand?

    I am sometimes the one struggling and sometimes the one seen as successful. I am the one sometimes only giving a smile and sometimes the one looking away in shame seeing myself. When I can, I am the one that extends a hand but when I am unable I am the one making dua.