As mothers, we always think of the children first. We know behind the headlines there are children who do not understand, hiding behind thin walls that do not protect them from gunshots and shouting in the streets. Our hearts break for them, and we imagine what their mothers feel. Still, I remind myself that if I am feeling this way, then Allah is infinitely more merciful than me. Even in the most frightening, dangerous places on earth, Allah swt sends His servants to comfort the innocent and soothe their pain.
Today I saw online footage of rows of handcuffed, dead Libyan soldiers, executed because they refused to fire on civilians and on children. I felt an enormous upwelling of pride and gratitude, as if in their death, they saved my own children’s lives. I try to rise beyond—and within—my role as a mother to recognize something beautiful and breathtaking happening in the Middle East. Allah (swt) chooses a group of people to test, so that some may be chosen above all others as martyrs, and so the rest, whether they are marching in the streets or rallying support from afar, can be drawn closer to Him in their respective struggles.
Amidst the flood of emotions, I wonder if I am being left behind. At a time when badges of honor are being handed out, I am living in freedom, safety, and warmth, all thanks to Allah. What can I do here that would equal what they are doing there, given the tremendous blessings I have? You may advise me: just keep doing what I’m doing, work for Islam, and raise my kids to be good Muslims.
But how can I be still, when right this second, Allah is choosing him. And her… And you. And you. And you…
Choose me! Oh Allah, please choose me! Don’t leave me behind. I want to be close to You and close to your Messenger in the next life. I sign online petitions left and right, attend rallies, and call the White House. But everything I do pales in comparison to the sacrifice of others.
Yes, that’s me. Heavy. Heavy with the responsibilities of a home and young children, often tired, limited in my time, easily distracted, unable to go anywhere quickly, and unfocused. Loving what I do, adoring my beautiful blessings in my children, and so grateful for what my Lord has given me, but fearful that it is not enough to win the highest rank in His paradise. I feel far away from the action, far from the thrill of witnessing direct results, the centers of Islamic work, from the Tahrir squares of the world.
Go forth light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your property and your persons; this is better for you, if you know. (The Quran, 9:41)
But, still, I will try to go forth, heavy, for your sake Allah.
If I learned anything from the winter of 2011, it has been that the help of Allah comes after the people have laid down the very last of their sacrifices, when they have given the very last drops of their sweat, their wealth, children, and finally their lives. At that moment, they turn to Allah with tears, pleading, “We have given our children, our lives, and there is nothing left for us to do!” Then, the tide turns and the help of Allah (swt) comes.
I remind myself that the more we have, the more we must give to deserve and receive the help of Allah. Oh how far I have to go to reach that point! Slowly, with much stumbling and struggling, I must try to give everything. My Lord, I will do my best to raise my kids to be Your servants, the same kind of courageous, young men and women who peacefully assemble today on the streets to cry for justice and peace.
And in my spare moments, I will try to do a little more than tend to my home and family, although I am heavy with the attachments of motherhood. So that maybe, somehow in Your mercy, You will choose me too!
Maha is a homeschooling mother of four children (5 1/2, 4, 2, and 6 mos.) and lives in Houston, TX. She is an active MAS worker and loves reading, blogging, being in nature, and working for Islam.