Alhamdulillah I have been Muslim for ten years now. I grew up in a household without religion but with a strong sense of spirituality. We were God-conscious but without a religious home. My father became a Muslim when I was eleven years old. I became a Muslim eleven years after him.
As Muslim parents, my husband and I are facing the challenge of establishing an Islamic tradition in our family. Alhamdulillah I see how blessed our son is to be brought up as a Muslim. In a way, insha’Allah, this will make things easier for him.
I have a lot of admiration for Muslim families that have a long Islamic tradition. Children growing up in these environments have their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all following the same religion. Insha’Allah many years from now our great-great grandchildren will be able to say the same thing.
Ramadan always reminds me that my husband and I are building an Islamic foundation for our future generations. We are the beginning. As a parent I want so many things for our son but mostly I pray that he will grow up to be a good Muslim. If he accepts Islam for himself I will feel that I have done all that I could do. I cannot make him a Muslim, but I can raise him in a Muslim household.
I try to do this by including him in salat (prayers) – when he isn’t jumping on my head, of course. I tell him ‘As-salamu alaikum Idris’ and teach him the name of Allah. We also encourage him to say ‘bismillah’ before he eats. Our attempts are usually met with blank stares but we know he is listening so we keep trying. We take him to the masjid as much as possible and insha’Allah this year he will attend his first Eid Al-Fitr prayers. There are no words to describe the joy in my heart when I tell Idris it’s time to pray and he runs to the cabinet to get his prayer rug and raises his little hands to his ears. Alhamdulillah he knows to be quiet (most of the time) during Jumaah prayer and even stands in line. Right now his favorite part of prayer is sajdah (prostration); he waits impatiently for that part and dives for the floor.
I know there will be many challenges along the road as he grows into a man but insha’Allah no matter what we will be able to say our son knows Islam. We teach him what we know and grow in Islam together as a family.
Ambata is a native New Orleanian and mother to a two year old son. She is currently working on a master’s degree in English Literature. She has just started blogging at MORmama.