The Ultimate Gift

Growing up, I was a part of a big North Jersey Muslim community. There were Quran classes, sunday school, iftar parties, Ramadan and Eid prayers, and gatherings of all sorts at the masjid. On occasion, I would attended funeral prayers at our mosque. Sometimes it was for an older auntie or uncle I knew, but not too well. Sometimes it was for a stranger. In my carefree, unaffected, and apathetic youth, these funeral prayers were just another gathering. That all changed as I started to grow up.

Three years ago, I became a mother, and now have two little girls. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child- and I pray that Allah never gives me that great of a test. Our children have the right to life, as mentioned in the Quran, Allah tells us not to fear providing for them as He has provided us their sustenance. But we seem to forget that they ultimately belong to Him and He has the ability to take them away- at any given moment.

I have been at the side of friends going through the aftermath of miscarriages. I’ve stood near others as they attended funeral prayers for their baby, who passed away mere moments or hours after birth. Just watching someone going through the pain of losing a child was agonizing. I know knew what that child would have meant to them. He or she would have been the ultimate gift from Allah.

Just last week, I attended prayers for a six-year-old boy who passed away suddenly from a non life threatening disease. A few days prior, this boy was at summer camp with my three-year-old. He walked around, hand in hand, with his own baby sister, protective and guiding at every turn. My own daughter was incredibly drawn to the pair and looked forward to seeing them each day.

Ten days passed. I blinked. And he was gone. And all I could think was “It could have easily been one of my own. “Truly to Allah we belong and truly to Him we shall return.” (Quran 2:156)

What power do I possess over my girls? Could my own infinite, protective love for them keep them from harm? No…. I knew in an instant that I am just like every other mother. We all love our kids, and are equally willing to lay down our lives for them. But Allah is always in control. It was a stark reminder that our young are a tremendous blessing and Amanah (trust) from Allah.

There are many claims we have over our children. However, we must not forget that they also have numerous rights over us, and if they are not fulfilled, we not only have our kids and perhaps society to answer to, but ultimately Allah, who will hold us accountable.

Allah has ordered us to give our children a proper upbringing by giving them necessary and relevant education, as well as moral, ethical and religious training. Such an enormous responsibility comes with an equally marvelous payoff- if Allah wills, Inshallah- a righteous progeny who continues to pray for us after our passing.

Any mother will agree with Allah’s words that, “Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward” (Quran 64:15). Our children are indeed a trial, whether in their presence or their absence. In the trenches of everyday motherhood, we are all quick to share our gripes with any willing ear but these mundane trials I will take any day over what I witnessed recently. The young boy’s story did not end with him. Rather, Allah showed His mercy in the most incredible way- the day of his funeral prayer, his mother gave birth to a baby girl.

“O Our Lord! Grant us Spouses and Children that will be coolness of our eyes and make us the leader of the Muttaqoon (those who have taqwa).” (Quran 25: 74)

Sameera Iqbal

Mother of two rambunctious girls under three. Went from producing network television to wishing there were two minutes in a day to sit down and watch it.


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