I recently came across the story of one of the companions of Rasul (s.a.w.), Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman. He was of Makkan origin, but grew up in Madinah. Upon Rasul (s.a.w.)’s arrival to Madinah after the Hijrah (migration), Hudhayfah became closely attached to the Prophet. He participated in numerous battles with the Muslims.
In the Battle of Uhud, during the confusion and disorder that ensued, Hudhayfah’s father was confused as an enemy and accidently killed by the Muslims. Hudhayfah did something amazing and unimaginably difficult – he forgave this unintentional act. This caught Rasul (s.a.w.)’s attention and Hudhayfah’s stature grew in the eyes of the Prophet. In fact, Rasul (s.a.w.) was keen to hone in on three additional qualities that Hudhayfah possessed: 1) his unique intelligence in difficult circumstances 2) his quick wittedness and 3) his ability to keep a secret even under pressure.
The author of this particular text pointed out something at this point that I never realized before: Rasul (s.a.w) had this ability to observe and utilize the unique talents of each and every companion around him. Later in the seerah, we learn that Hudhayfah was entrusted with the names of hypocrites that he never once divulged, not even after Rasul (s.a.w.)’s death. He was the only one ever to have knowledge of this and therefore called, “the Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah.”
Can you imagine, to have one unique title that Rasul (s.a.w.) chose for you? Can you imagine, Rasul (s.a.w.) taking notice of your best talents, appreciating them, and giving you the chance to use them for Allah (swt)’s sake? Rasul (s.a.w.) was the best of teachers, the best molder of souls.
And then something dawned on me – this should be my role as a parent!! This is what I should be doing! I have been entrusted with two souls who have come with unique abilities, behaviors, and temperaments. It is MY job to figure out what these abilities are, bring them to the surface, and nourish them in every way I can. Not to suppress them, not to artificially implant something that is not there. But to realize where my child’s strengths lie and give it life. This is what Rasul (s.a.w.) did – he saw the best in a person and gave it meaning and use.
I think I’ve spent so much of my time trying to mold my eldest to be all the things I’m not – outgoing, gutsy, bold. I thought, here’s a blank slate, a fresh start to this person, and I will get to decide how I want him to turn out. Boy was I dead wrong! He’s his own person. He’s come with qualities that I as his mother need to take notice of and allow to grow and inshaAllah one day use for the sake of Allah.
I only pray and hope that I can always do my children the justice of bringing about their potential and letting them soar with it. Then, perhaps, I would have done something right as their parent inshaAllah.