Whimper, whimper. I look up from the onions sautéing on the stove to see Ibrahim, my fourteen-month-old baby, holding a sandwich bag in one hand and a large T-fal frying pan in the other. With intense concentration, he attempts to force the pan into the small bag—an impossible task. Once, twice, three times. He keeps trying. Finally, he turns to me with pleading brown eyes that ask me to help him.
Stifling back laughter, a thought strikes me: Ibrahim thinks I can do anything. Whenever he finds himself stuck, he turns to me. While I love being the one he relies on, my thoughts take me further: I must instill in him the ultimate reliance on Al-Wakil, The Dependable or The Trustee. I look forward to telling him bedtime stories of Prophet Musa’s mother who placed her son in the Nile River and her trust in Allah, of Prophet Yunus, who held firmly to his reliance on Allah even when deep in the belly of a whale and of Prophet Nuh, who built an ark and knew that Allah would carry him to safety.
But do I have true tawwakul? Can I give Ibrahim what I don’t always have? I find myself with a knot in my stomach on most mornings. Like every mother, I worry incessantly: what will Ibrahim’s mood be like today? Will he eat properly? Will he throw a tantrum at Food Basics again? What about tomorrow? What school will we send him to? Will we have saved up enough for a private school and eventually university? My heartbeat quickens as my worries spiral.I remember my greatest lesson in tawwakul fourteen months ago when Ibrahim was very sick at birth. After a long night of tears and the deep anxiety that only mothers can experience, my mother sent me a text message saying, “Your grandfather reminds you that Allah gave you Ibrahim and He will protect him. You are merely the caretaker.” When I struggle with my tawakkul, I look back at this text message and remind myself that Allah (swt) says in the Quran “…And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion. (Qur’an 65:3)” What strikes me here is that the first step in the verse is to place our trust in Allah and there, in the sweetness of that tawakkul, we will find the comfort we seek.
Only Allah has an answer for every need and if I can instill that tawakkul in my son then I will have given him the greatest source of strength. But for now, I look down into his big eyes, exchange the large pan for a tiny one, and watch him grin as I fit it perfectly into the sandwich bag in his hand.
Bushra is from Toronto, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in business and has now put her Phd in Organizational Behaviour on hold to stay at home with her toddler, Ibrahim. She loves to write because, unlike toddlers, writing makes sense.