Thursday, 24 November 2011

Not a Natural Nurturer

By Andrea Umm Abdullah | Saudi Life

Photo Credit: Adek
WHEN we think of a mother, we have this image of a nurturing, gentle, loving woman. But being nurturing doesn't come naturally to everyone.  For some mothers, it’s natural to show affection to their babies, but it becomes uncomfortable as the children get older. Others may come from a culture that doesn't show affection.  Maybe the mother didn't have a bonding experience with her new baby, or maybe the mother was emotionally neglected herself, or maybe all of the above. But whatever the reason, it can be worked through insha’Allah.

Subhanallah, by showing our children mercy, Allah will show us mercy.

Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, kissed Hasan ibn 'Ali while al-Aqra' ibn Habis at-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra' observed, 'I have ten children and I have not kissed any of them.' The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, looked at him and said, 'Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.'" (Bukhari)

This man said that he had never kissed his children. While that may seem unbelievable to some natural nurturers, for the one who doesn't find nurturing natural, it can be comforting to know you aren't alone.

The first step in becoming a nurturer is to make dua. Make the intention to be that nurturing mother (or father) that you want to be, and ask that Allah make you nurturing for His sake, and seek reward and help from Him. 
Broaden your definition of 'nurturing'. To some, nurturing may mean being comforting and giving unrestricted affection - hugs, kisses, anything and everything. If this is too much for you, find other ways you can be nurturing.
 The definition of nurturing is to feed and protect (you probably do that already!) and to support and encourage. This can be achieved by simply sitting down to talk to your children every night for a recap of the day. Sometimes it’s also hard for us to speak in a nurturing way, like saying, “I love you”.  If this is difficult, try to start by saying, “Ma sha Allah, good job” or “I knew you could do it!”
Take baby steps.
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "The best loved deeds to Allah are the ones that are continuous, even if they are not very many." (Bukhari)
So start off small. If it is hard for you to kiss your children, then start off with a hi-five or a smile. Don't think it is insignificant. You have to start somewhere The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not think little of any good deed, even if it is just greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance." (Muslim) It also encourages bonding, and with practice, it will become natural and you can move on to those hugs and kisses.
Remember that your children have a right over you. They have a right to be treated with kindness and gentleness. If you are having a hard time building a loving relationship with your children, try a gentle approach. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except it beautifies it, nor is it removed from anything except that it makes it ugly”. (Muslim
 If you find yourself getting annoyed with your children when they need you, it will actually help if you spend more quality time with them.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up over your faults. Give your children their rights and ask Allah for help with the rest. We don’t want our children to inherit our faults. So let’s start breaking the cycle today. With the help of Allah, you can become the nurturing parent you want to be—even if it doesn’t come “naturally” to you.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A Dear Sister’s Disheartening Cry (A short moral story)

“I have four sisters and I am the wealthiest one out of them, however I don’t understand why my relatives visit my sisters frequently. When the appointed time to visit me arrives, very few visit me, whilst they visit my four sisters daily. As for me, I only witness but few. They are extremely neglectful with regards to visiting me. Furthermore, they cut me off for days on end, to the extent that I don’t even see some of them at all. It is as if my name doesn’t exist in their mental dictionaries. Some visit me in a state of laziness and sluggishness attitude. Their excuses are absolutely not acceptable. What should I do?

I am the most generous one out of my sisters towards those who visit me, yet I do not accuse my sisters of having any iota of shortcomings. All of them know that I am the one that gives the most.
Many advise my relatives to visit me due to the abundance of good I hand out and generosity to those who visit. Despite all of this, they distance themselves from me. Despite the cries, there is no reaction, as though they are lifeless.
What is the problem? Why this abandonment? Am I not one of five sisters? Why do they deprive me of their intimacy? Why do they forget about me?
This is the end of my disheartening story. What remains to be known is who am I?
I am known by two names, each name consisting of only three letters when spelt in Arabic.
I am none other than the endeared, rich and neglected prayer of Fajr or Subuh.
My complaint is about the masses of Muslims that have abandoned me. My sisters are the other four daily prayers and my relatives are the Muslims that draw nearer to Allah through me.”
…Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of fixed times.” [Quran, 4: 103]