Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
The Mindset of a Muslim Mother
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will brasier around the mod to the sunset in the game and I will pray she
will pray Smilla hamdu lillah wa salatu salam ala
de assist sisters As salam o aleikum, wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
I was asked to speak on the topic of the mind of a mother. And it really made me think back 17 years to that moment, just after my son, my first child was born, my son Yusuf. And I remember the night after the long labor, right.
My husband was in a chair next to me, and he was asleep.
And I was in this bed in this hospital bed, we, he had got me a little private room in the hospital.
I remember I was sitting, I was sitting in the bed, and suddenly the baby woke up.
And for the first time, it was just me and the baby, while my husband was there, but he was asleep.
And I remember that feeling of
you know, the overwhelming feeling that Subhan Allah, this baby relies on me.
And I was 20 years old, 21 years old. So I think before that I had never really dawned on me what it really meant to be a mother,
I have thought that I would just carry on as normal, right? I'm sure a lot of you can empathize with this. I thought everything I had planned all the little projects, whatever I wanted to do, you know, I'm gonna just take my baby with me. And so I'm going to tag along, he's going to tag along and everything will be fine. But added in that moment, when I was sitting in that hospital bed with a baby, I really didn't know what to do with, in terms of, you know, being a new mother.
I looked into that baby's eyes. And Subhan Allah, Allah subhana, Allah gave me a real clarity for the first time about what this baby in my arms meant.
And I realized that this wasn't a burden that had been given to me. This wasn't an inconvenience that had been handed to me that, you know, I can just push off to somebody else. Actually, this was the greatest opportunity of my life.
Because this baby represented for me, a nation. And I was a nation builder.
This baby represented for me, my opportunity to do something for the amount of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that would last beyond my life.
And this baby represented, possibly my ticket to Jenna.
So he was my legacy. He was my ticket to Jana. And he would now I knew, give me a life that was full of purpose,
purpose that I didn't have before. SubhanAllah. And that's the key message of my talk today, that if there's one mindset, mindset shift, that we want to all make as mothers, it is this, stop belittling motherhood
and see yourself as a nation builder.
When you look at the intention of the mother of Mary, but murmur of the mother of Maria Alayhis Salam, when she said, I dedicate what is in my womb to you yet Allah, that intention that she had, beyond her own life, that vision that she had impacted the world.
The vision of Imam Buhari his mother, when she made the offer to Allah that her son would have his sight. And when she put all that effort on, even though she was a single mother, to raise him as a knowledgeable person to take him to the scholars to sit and revise with him, all the efforts that she did,
impacted the world in a way that Subhanallah every single one of us has been impacted by that mother.
The influence of the female Muslim slaves that were enslaved by the Mongols. The Mongols were a non Muslim nation and they fought against them.
slums. And they took a lot of Muslim women as slaves Subhan Allah terrible situation for those women.
But little did they know that those Muslim women taken as slaves, who were rocking the cradles of the princes of the Mongols would raise those premises upon Islam.
And most of us here today, I would say are probably from the from the Indian subcontinent, right?
We have most of us are from the Indian subcontinent. How did Islam spread in the Indian subcontinent?
It was through the Mughals, right? The Mughal kings, and that were there. In fact, many of us are probably descendants of the Mughals.
And those very Mughals became Muslim because of the actions of, of women of those slave women generations before. Who had raised the princess of the Mongols, upon Islam.
Do you see how the the vision the effort of these mothers or mother figures has impacted the world, it's impacted us here, sitting here in London
1000s of years later, or hundreds of years later.
So I want you to really internalize this, I want you to internalize this mindset that motherhood goes way beyond you.
We're only here for a short amount of time sisters. And you know, if any of you have experienced death, in your family, you didn't know that it's, it's it really hits you hard, especially when it's somebody who you love. Because you really start thinking Subhanallah
I'm only here for a short amount of time. The time is ticking.
You get mortality motivation from that, right. And mortality. Motivation is very powerful. And we're supposed to take on with mortality, motivation, because Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam told us remember, often the destroyer of pleasures, which is death, remember it because if you remember it, it will help you to let go of the petty problems, it will help you to let go of the little squabbles, and it will make you think big, it will make you think beyond yourself.
Realize that even the enemies of Islam, you know, the Islamophobes I like watching videos of Islamophobes, you know, and listen to their talks online, the so called alt right?
And even their books, right. One of the things you realize when you study them, and you really listen to their talks is even they know the power of Muslim mothers.
Because the key messages in all of their, like, efforts against Islam, or
that Muslims are increasing in population. Right? Muslims, you know, they seem to be getting more and more religious, not less religious, we thought they'll come to the west. And in a generation or two, they'll, you know, they'll become like us, right? But they seem to be holding on more to the religion than the parents were.
And all of these kinds of things are the things that are worrying them.
And they want to empower Muslim women or so called Muslim women or most women from a Muslim background, or ex Muslim, they want to empower those women who are trying to take us away from our families who are trying to tell us you know, no family isn't that important.
Your children aren't that important. A career is more important. Leave your children, anyone can look after children. The children are a side project. Why is it that the Islamophobes and the, you know, certain governments who who are trying to influence the Muslim community? Why is it that they focus so much on women?
In the RAND report? You know, one of the key it was like an anti terror report, like how can we help Muslim communities fight terrorism, or that's what the idea behind it was? One of the key groups that they identified as the people who they need to empower is women. Now, what does that empowerment of women usually mean? It usually means let's encourage them to have fewer children. Right? It usually means let's encourage them to get out there and leave the family not focus so much on the family not not see family as their focus. Why?
Because my sisters, it is us it is the mothers of the OMA who are responsible for raising children of Eman,
right for raising children who don't just see
Islam as you know, oh, it's just it depends on your interpretation doesn't really matter. Let's water it all down. It's us. It's the mothers of the Ummah that instill a love of Allah, love of the Sunnah in children, and if the mothers of the OMA can be divorced from the children of the Ummah,
and the children of the ummah will be owned by the state.
Getting so political now, I always do this.
But it's true. It's true. We need to like wake up to this stuff, you know, it sounds like conspiracy theories. But when you look into it, or you listen to the Islamophobes, and what they're saying, this is exactly what they're saying. You know, these Muslims keep having so many children and they seem to be getting stronger and more religious and SubhanAllah. They can't stop plan of Allah. Allah said that,
you know, this, the index will spread to everywhere, when he told the prophets Allah when he was salam, this then will spread to every home on this earth. And we are part of that plan. Do you see we are we are key components of that plan, if we choose to take that opportunity.
So they encourage us to leave our children from a young age. They encourage us to not have that close relationship. Even though psychologists are writing books, people like Steve Biddulph wrote years ago, a book raising babies. So Gert Hart, she wrote the book why love matters. And in those books, they they're clearly saying that children, especially young children, under the age of three, they need their mothers, they need somebody who loves them to spend most of their time with them. It's not good enough for them to be with somebody for long periods of time. It doesn't love them, who gets paid a minimum wage? So Kamala, how can somebody who gets paid a minimum wage to look after
a child be the same as a mother? How can that be? And yet that's the message we're given. Right? It's more important to get out there do something else.
So be aware of this be aware of this messaging?
Why do you need to know this? Why do I want you to know this? It's because many of us, unfortunately, growing up in the west or Hamdulillah, we've we've we've picked up a lot of good things as well from growing up here. However, we've often been programmed to dislike motherhood.
Right? I remember there was a project in my girls school. I went to girls school in Barnet. There was a project I think it was because like Britain was like the country with the most teenage pregnancies, right?
So obviously, that that's not something that really, I'm not saying it doesn't affect Muslims. But for Muslims. If there's a teenage pregnancy, it's within a marriage usually, right? So this was a wider problem in society. But in order to put us bills off motherhood, this is what they did. I remember for one week, they gave us each an egg to carry in our rucksacks.
They said you can do whatever you like to protect this egg. But you have to keep it intact by till the end of the week, and you have to carry it wherever you go.
And you can imagine how hard that was right? So people were like, wrapping it in cotton wool. And, you know, you have to be as creative as possible. But definitely, by the end of that week, most of us had been put off motherhood, right? Because the analogy was that, you know, a baby is not deaf is not it's not an easy thing, right? That was the whole kind of idea that we're trying to put us off the idea that having a baby is an easy thing. So I have been programmed to think of motherhood as a burden. I'm sure that many of us through the messaging and the media through the messaging that we're constantly hearing, right, sometimes feel that motherhood is a burden
We need to know this messaging. Why? Because I mean, we need to be aware of our mindset because we as Muslim mothers must mother with purpose, we must mother with purpose. Because if we don't, we won't be ready for the challenges that lie ahead in our children's lives and in our own lives.
So what do you need to do? This is the key. What do I want you to do? And what what are the things that I think the mindset changes that we need? And this I want you to write this stuff down, right? So I've got 10 ideas. I hope I've got time for 10 ideas, so I'm gonna go through them quickly.
What do you need to do now you know this. So I was thinking about what are the key mindset shifts that took place in my mind that I feel I like the strengths in my family.
By the way that my son use of who I mentioned that the
Beginning you know, Hamdulillah he grew up to be a half of a Quran in a time when it was really hard for me to find a teacher, you know. And Marcia is in sixth form and he's, he's, I would say he's a pleasure to be with, you know, and I'm so happy about that. But I don't think my children all of my children
all of my children and the reason I feel that Alhamdulillah they weren't challenges, there's challenges in everyone's life. The reason why I feel we got there, to this stage in a positive way is because I believe there were certain practices that we did as a family that I want to share with you.
So number one,
I want you to sisters treat motherhood as a fine and worthy project. Right?
Who's Who's run a project before here anyone been involved in a project or run a project? So, what are some of the elements of a successful project?
Just shout out planning planning is an element of a successful project, what else?
managing people. So, you have you know, you have different personalities that you have to manage.
having passion Yeah. So, the people especially who are running or working on the project, need to have passion, what else
having aims and objectives in mind, right?
All of these things and you can think of more and more things right?
Or elements of a project reading, right? You have to read books in order to run a project in order to run a project well, you need to know you know, what are the how do you be a leader? How do you influence people? How do you create a good culture?
Those are things people do for projects in the dunya right? So what about the greatest project, our finest project, our families, and the reason why I call it our finest project is because families are the unit that then goes on to make the system the community and the society and the Ummah right we have to change its Alma revive this OMA one family at a time.
Number two, dedicate say to Allah, that I dedicate my family to you, your Allah,
I dedicate my family to you, and I need your help.
Without Allah's help, you cannot succeed. You cannot weather the storms that lie ahead.
But by saying that to Allah, you know, you're gonna get Allah's help. This is exactly what the mother of of Medea Malaya Salam did, right. she dedicates her child to Allah. Number three, stop seeing motherhood as a sacrifice.
You see, when you see something as a sacrifice, it kind of breeds resentment.
Resentment is a horrible emotion.
You want to eliminate resentment, resentment, motherhood is not a sacrifice, it is an investment.
Never say I sacrificed x y Zed for my children. No, you didn't. You invested in your children.
Because that investment is actually going to pay back dividends later, right?
Sacrifice is something you do and you don't get anything in return.
Our children a lot of sacrifice. Number four, so these are mindset shifts, right? Number four, nurture your marriage.
Probably the best gift you can give to your child
is to stay together as a couple.
And, you know, I'm I'm not saying that it's not possible to raise a child. You know, as a single parent, I'm not saying that. But I'm saying for those of you who are married, nurture that relationship, because sending them to the biggest private school and paying for their clubs and holidays, all of that stuff, right. None of that is as important as them having a loving couple as parents.
And what that means is you have to put effort into a marriage. You know, when you see somebody who has a good marriage, don't think is because they were lucky.
Yeah, Alhamdulillah you know, they may they may have been blessed with a good early spouse to begin with. However, every single marriage goes through its ups and downs. If you're married to somebody for 2030 years or longer, right, and lifelong marriage, of course, there are going to be ups and downs. Lots of things change.
Change, personalities change, circumstances change, finance, finances change, your body changes.
Right? Your aims and objectives change? How are you going to? How are you going to get through that without, without falling apart?
You do that by nurturing the marriage, doing what it takes taking time away as a couple regularly. And putting that in your diary at the beginning of the year, right? We're going to, we're going to have four times a year, definitely minimum, that we are just going to do something as a couple to keep that passion alive. Right? Because that's the greatest gift you could give to your family.
Number five, write a mission statement for your family. My husband said when some brothers heard about this, I think I wrote about it once on Facebook, they were like, making fun of it. And me because they could imagine my husband sitting there and me saying, right, let's write a mission statement. And I know that to some people, it sounds like, oh my god, what is this like a corporation, you know, saying writing a mission statement. Okay, you can think of it like that. You could, you know, try and Fluke it and, you know, just
be successful, maybe, in your family. But for me, I would rather try and do it in a more deliberate way. Because the chances are that if you just have an airy fairy image in your mind of what you want your family to be like, the chances are, you can easily go go off course, right. And you know that famous saying a failure to plan is a plan to fail, right?
When you're not clear on your objectives, when you're clear on what family should feel like and what your family represents, then it's really easy to go off course and not realize. So I have a mission statement builder tool that I used, and then I obviously tweak it and make it better. If you'd like access to it, you can come to the table and just give me your email address. And I will send that to you, each and every one of you. But I just use a tool to make to sit with my husband. And if you've got older children sit with them as well get them involved and write a mission statement for your family. What values does your family represent?
Number six, have annual reviews and planning.
I know it sounds like a business. I know it sounds like a project. Well, that's what I'm saying tree family like the project
one year when I had this annual meeting with my sons, and it's not easy to get everyone to sit down. And so what I do is I just get everyone to sit down and have some biscuits. And then I grabbed my diary. And this is the time when we're when I'm gonna get them to commit to three goals each every year.
Three goals they have to tell me right? Yes. First of all, I asked them what did you achieve last year? Because I want them to feel good. So you need to integrate the successes that you have. Yeah. So they need to tell me three amazing things or three things they achieved, okay, you You did your GCSE as you got into a good sixth form you finished your this or that, you know, whatever it is get them to feel good about something, some things they achieved last year. Now tell me three things you're gonna achieve this year. Right? They could be anything things to do with their, you know, the future things to do with their personality, things that they're going to change about themselves,
you know, and I do this annually. Okay, each one of us and I even tell them what my ones are? Because I want them to see like, we're all in this together.
In the annual meeting, sometimes things come up that you that troubled you, right? So one year, I remember my son said to me, I said, I asked the family
what is not right about our family. That's a really tough thing to say, right? But you see, I don't want us to grow, I want them. I don't want them to grow up. And then in 10 years time, them telling me what's wrong with my family, right? Stuff that I'd missed. I want to get it now. We're going to deal with it now. So I asked my children, what is wrong with our family culture? What do we need to change? Come on, we're going to make new intentions every year. So one year one of my sons told me, you and about argue, in front of us.
And then I was thinking, Oh,
that was a bit difficult. That was a difficult one. But you know, I didn't shut him down. I said, Okay. And I realized that, you know, myself and my husband were extroverts, right?
Every time we do any of these personality tests, we are extroverts. We love talking, we debate about Islam together, right. And sometimes we do that in front of the kids. And sometimes we disagree about things but you know, usually I end up following what he says anyway. He's always right. But, you know, I've got to I can't just give him that easily. Right. So the thing is, the problem is sometimes when you do that in front of kids, they misinterpret that you know,
and they see that as Oh, that looks looking a bit, you know, aggressive, they're looking a bit angry with each other. And you don't realize that effect is happening on the right. So I was really happy that he said that to me, because it was like an alarm bell for me, you know, okay, maybe some of our discussions are getting a bit out of hand, you know, maybe we need to have some discussions in private, we need to, you know, change this need to change that.
So, that annual review is is pivotal, you know, because it helps you to stop problems in their tracks before they
go out of control. So, number seven, constantly assess and reassess your family life for the for balance.
Sometimes when you look back at the thing, what was not good about this year, you think, you know what I was on social media too much this year.
You know, I didn't give my daughter this opportunity. I wasn't able to spend as much time on that. It's only by reassessing and sitting down and getting very clear on it, that you will come up with those things. And I realized that, for example, my sons didn't seem to be inviting friends round, and developing friendships, more than like superficial friendships. So I said, Okay, this year, one of my goals is they have to invite friends around, and I'm going to make it a really great, you know, a boys party thing, right?
So, in order to get to that, you have to reassess and see where is there maybe some imbalance in your life.
Number eight, strengthen your character sisters for tough times ahead. You know, in his book, Jordan Peterson in his professor Jordan Peterson's book, 12 rules for life. He has a point similar to this, he says, strengthen yourself to the point that
to the extent that you should be the most dependable person at your own father's funeral.
And I love that, I love that because for us mothers, I would say strengthen yourself such that when a disaster strikes, or when a difficult situation comes and it's chaos, and people are losing their heads, that you're the one who is firm and strong. You're the one who is dependable.
Because that was the key characteristic of Khadija, if you think about it.
The key thing that you see about for Dejah is that she was willing to be that firm, dependable person, right? For everyone in the family, when the family was being, you know, oppressed when the family was being thrown out their homes, when her husband was being vilified when her family was being made fun of the key characteristic of Khadija. And when Rasul Allah, Allah Salam came down from the mountain, shivering and shaking, she was the one who was the dependable one.
and challenge yourself, you know, every time there's a stressful situation, challenge yourself, if you know what, I'm not going to lose my head, and all of us lose our heads sometimes, right? But then for the next time, challenge yourself, to be that dependable one who says to your children, look, it's going to be okay, we're going to do do something, we're going to deal with this, we're going to fix this.
Number nine, and number 10. Number nine, Do not allow your baggage to define your children's lives. You know, many of us may have grown up with all sorts of baggage, right? Maybe we had a bad experience at school. Don't let that bad experience at school now make you think right, my children never going to school, for example, right.
Don't allow some negative relationship you had to now affect your children, they have different lives, they're having a different experience of life, they don't need to carry your baggage with them. Right?
It's really important. Bring them up for their times. I'll just give you one little example of this. Sometimes, you know, when I'm having a discussion with sisters, and they're talking about their children, and what kinds of lines of work they think their sons in particular, but even the adults might go into,
I find that we really restrict the things that we will ever allow them to do, right? We say no, you can't go into art, art, see going to do with odd, right? Or we say, you know, humanities, especially the social sciences, for example. We kind of think we kind of look down on the social sciences. And we say no, no, he's got to study, you know, he's got to be a doctor, engineers. He's got to be doing physics, maths and all the sciences. And that's fine, you know, if that's what that child is into, but if it's something that you're imposing on them, when you can see that they've got a propensity for other things. You know, why are you doing that? Why are we restricting our children? Doesn't our
human need social scientist, the
I will need people who are going to philosophize and things for the future of the OMA.
That's not going to come from the natural sciences, if you think about it, right? I'm not against the natural sciences at all, whenever I love all the subjects, actually, but I'm just trying to make us think, you know, why is it that we sometimes we restrict our children is it because of baggage that we have in our minds that, you know, we're limiting them because of assumptions we've made? No, the future is a blank canvas for them.
Right. And we should help them to feel that whichever way they go, they can find a place as Muslims in that in that field.
And lastly, number 10.
See yourself and this is actually the I would say, the most important
see yourself as the the nurturer
of the their relationship with Allah.
Often we present Islam to our children as a list of do's and don'ts. Have you prayed, I've done this, I've done that. Have you read Quran?
But what does prayer mean? What does it mean to pray? Why, why? Why am I praying? What, what is the Quran? What is this book after read every single day?
Why? Right? We don't tell them the why.
And one of the most important things for us to do is the why, you know, there's a, there's a famous book called start with y, which I would recommend all of us read, because anytime you want to influence somebody, the most important thing that you need to tell them is why. And that goes for our children as well.
And so when I say nurturer of their relationship with Allah, I mean, help them make the connections, right? Teach them how to think. So for example, something great happens.
Link it, this is your opportunity to say, look, look how you were patient, and Allah gave you this. You see, so you're building up their connections now. So now in the future, they'll know that if I'm patient, I, Allah may give me this thing. Remember that good deeds you did that day? Maybe this is Allah rewarding you.
Yeah, help them make those connections.
When things go wrong, you know, maybe if we have sub, or maybe Allah is trying to is telling us something, if we're doing something wrong, we need to do more is still far, we need to give some sadaqa. Right, help them to think and connect with Allah because my sister is one of the greatest challenges that we have
is the Imam of our children, which is under constant attack in the society, right. And we are the ones who can nurture that the best, if only we are mindful of it.
And so my sisters, we need to do these things. These are 10 mindset shifts that I would say probably the most powerful in my life that I wanted to share with you. If we don't make these shifts, if we don't become mindful nation builders, then we will raise a generation who are disconnected from us.
You know, your children are so connected to you when they're little, that doesn't last forever.
It could not last forever, you know, if you choose to journey, stop them from being close to you. Close to you emotionally as well, no. And in their mind and in their thinking. If we don't do this, they could become disconnected from this Alma.
If we don't do this, they could be disconnected from the purpose of life. They will not be resilient to face the challenges that lie ahead. There are challenges they're gonna face when we're not here. We're not going to be there for them. So we've got to give them the tools now.
So my message to you sisters is treat family as your finest project, the project that deserves everything on your calendar to be cleared in order for it to succeed. Treat family, as a nation builder would treat family and in sha Allah with that I will leave you Subhanak Allahumma will be hamburger shadow Allah Illa Illa and stone Fuuka. What to surf?
I was born to praise I was born to praise