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Raising Believers #02 – The Role of A Mother in A Household

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Fatima Barkatulla

Channel: Fatima Barkatulla

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Assalamu alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and welcome to episode two of raising believers. I'm your host system Sabre and today I am joined with SHA Fatima Baraka, Tula and palha. In this series, we are discussing some of the ways in which we can raise strong and firm believers. In the last episode, we discussed the importance of being a righteous person yourself, and the importance of having a vision and making dua for your children. Okay, so let's go straight into one of the next ways in which we can hope for righteous and firm believers. How important is the role of a mother and the love that she instills in the home Subhanallah you know, we're living in a time, especially

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because of the second wave of feminism, which was during the 60s and 70s, that the message has been ingrained in society that our mother is interchangeable. You know, you can pay somebody the minimum wage, right to look after your child. And that's supposed to be in some way better or as good as the love and the nurturing of a mother. And that's completely false. It devalues motherhood. So I think the message here is ALLAH SubhanA, Allah blessed us as mothers, to have a very unique position have a very unique effect on our children. There's a Subhanallah, there's a psychologist Steve Biddulph, he's written a book called raising babies. And in his book, he says, he talks about the importance

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of breastfeeding. And we know that in our time, that's become quite widely known, you know, breast milk is not just food, right? It's literally passing on the immunity of the mother to the child. But also the very act of holding the baby close to your chest, to your chest, actually makes the baby's brain grow. And so the psychologist, the bit of interesting thing that he said, is that, if for whatever reason, like you're not able to breastfeed, that it's so important, the mother is so important to the child, that he actually tells mothers to bear their chest while they're bottle feeding, and put the child child's cheek against her, her chest SubhanAllah. Why, because, again,

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it's not just about food, you know, people think like formula is the same as breast milk. No, it's not just about food, it's the actual act of being close being held. We know that even carrying a child every time a child cries, if you if you lift up that child, that child grows very secure, you know, so the baby's brain, especially in the first year of life is growing at such an amazing rate, that the bond between the mother and child is literally a catalyst for the growth and the stability of the of the child's brain. It's really interesting, because a hadith comes to mind when the process is at the best of women or those who are widowed. And we allude to qualities you mentioned,

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those who are fertile, and those who who are affectionate and SubhanAllah. Children, they need certain things from their parents, mother and father. And the thing that they really need from the mother is that nurturing quality, that love and that affection, what it does, it creates attachment. And we find psychologists they have done so much research, that attachment really helps the child to you know, thrive in their growth, you know, and as Fatima mentioned about the child's brain growing and the pace in which they grow is remarkable. Zero to Three years of age. And these are the years where Mother is usually more closer in connection because of breastfeeding or nursing or whatever.

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And I think when when mothers actually see this role as a role, that is a privilege for her to engage with her child, what she's really doing is giving the child the best start in life because the child is growing up, secure attachment with the primary carer which is the mother, but consider that, you know, situation change because of pressure of being out or doing other things where you detach from the child, the child is not going to be able to have that secure attachment, which will have an impact on the child later on. That's what the psychologists they say, but Islam really recognizes that so therefore, it enables that connection and facilitates and promotes that as well

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because we know that the right of the child

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Are these that the baby is breastfed?

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Now Subhanallah when the mother is taking joy in breastfeeding, and using that moment, while she's breastfeeding, listen to the Quran going back to the heftiness theme, then imagine she's not just breastfeeding the child milk, but she's actually nurturing the child with iman at the same time, or even reciting. Exactly, exactly. So that time, there's so much happening, this connection, there's that that you know, listening of the Quran and this attachment, this positive attachment taking place? Do you think that's going to have an impact on the child as the child is growing up? Of course, it will. But when we look at this early stage as something that can be outsourced by another

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nanny, you just lost that opportunity. And actually, this kind of highlights why it's important to for husbands to buy into this as well, you know, why is it that in Islam, you know, the response, the responsibility for financial provision, is 100%, placed, you know, squarely on the shoulders of men, I believe one of the reasons for that is that Allah subhanaw taala is recognizing that being a mother, you know, going through pregnancy, you know, going through the breastfeeding period, going through labor, all of the things that we go through as mothers, the act of nursing the child, exactly, all of these things are such a huge task, that Allah subhanaw taala doesn't want to add

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extra pressure on the mother to then also be the financial provider. Right? Instead, he gives us a financial, I agree with what you guys are saying and you know, of course, recognize the importance. But what about because, you know, we are talking about raising believers in the West? And in our context, what about mothers that have to perhaps work? Or, you know, husbands who can't, you know, fully provide?

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What, what would you say to them? And how can they still have a positive impact on their children's lives? You know, this is a very, you know, important question, because it comes up, every time we discuss topics like this, we have to go back to the order of priority in our life, when the child is quite young, yeah, new non Muslim, women Muslim, and they all recognizing the importance of a child having primary care close to them at an early stage, and you have to work out as a family, going back to that whole thing of seeing your family as a project, there has to be a level of commitment, okay, you know what, this period, I have to take a bit more time so that I can be more present in my

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child's early years, you know, period. And you as a family, you have to prioritize, what are the needs, and needs are changing all the time? And you have to look at it? Is this the best I can do for my child? Or can I do I think, I think a big problem we have in today's society, and you know, as you mentioned, with feminism, as well, is that motherhood is very underrated. And so a lot of women feel unsuccessful, or, you know, belittled as a mother and so they, you know, seek other means of success, may that be work or whatever projects, whatever it might be.

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But I think, like, as you're saying, like, all of us have to make decisions right about priorities in our lives. I would first of all, ask a sister who comes to me and says to me, you know, that I have to leave my child, you know, especially very young baby, I would ask,

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is it really absolutely essential? You know, because a lot of the time, especially here in the West, it's because we want the extra holidays, you know, it's because we want certain luxury things that we think are important, okay, that we feel that we need more money and coming into the family. I know, that's not the case for everybody, you know, so obviously, extreme situations, you know, there might be some difficult decisions that need to be made. But what we're talking about is what do we want to encourage the majority of people to do, and I think the concept of Kenna outcomes here, can I is where you feel satisfied, and you try to make do with the means that you have. And I think what

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you mentioned, so important, you know, this period of life when your child is a little baby, and when that your child is young, is going to go like the blink of an eye very quickly. And yet, it has more impact on the rest of their life than any other period of their life. You know, subhanAllah No, my kids are teenagers. I'm so glad that I invested those years. When I could have made other decisions. You know, there were times that things were tough. It's not like you know, everything is plain sailing. We had to make some tough decisions. We maybe had to not go on holiday or not do certain things that other families were doing. But Subhanallah there's no regrets. Why because I'm

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reaping the benefit.

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fits of that investment, because that's what it is an investment. Now, now that they're older, going back to the mother, you know, I think we need to allow the mother, especially the Muslim mother, to have the permission to be staying at home, because that's what she wants to do and not feel pressured to go out or do this or do that. Because at the end of the day, who are you trying to please? Are you trying to please your Creator, or the society that you live in, because you have to remember, when Allah blesses you with a child, that's a privilege, not everyone is blessed with a child. So therefore, that privilege you have to take as an amine as a trust. And we know that when

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Allah blesses a woman with a child, then that child is entrusted to her temporarily and she has to fulfill that trust. Because every, you know, trust will be questioned about and we know that Allah says that, you know, every, every, every Amana that we are placed, you know, we have it on our shoulder, we are going to be accountable for it. And that's something that we need to think about it is really important, like you said, I think as women to change our mindset, I look at our children as a trust as not just, I mean, they are a responsibility, but not just a chore really invest ourselves as mothers into them and enjoy the process. And I think that what she said about the

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family, supporting the mother to be able to do that is really important. I just want to add that, look, if a very difficult decision has to be made and very young children need to be looked after by somebody else. I would encourage sisters to choose people who have a natural love for that child, you know, so somebody liked the grandmother, grandfather, grandparents, people who have a natural sense of love for the child, they will still be able to provide, you know, a very natural form of love that I don't think other people can provide. I'm gonna have to cut you there and go to a break in sha Allah Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. And welcome back from the break, we left

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off discussing the importance of a mother's role. Let's move on to the next two means showing your children how to have a relationship with Allah, and the importance of giving them good role models on palha.

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I think it's really important to show them in reality, how to have the relationship with Allah azza wa jal. So when you are praying, don't just hide away and pray show that you're praying and in fact, try to join them in your prayers. Well, when you're making dua, and you're really into your da, don't feel like you have to hide away and you know, make die in the corner of your room. It's okay for them to witness that. Because when they are seeing you like this, they're actually registering something in their mind. And that will be repeated later on. And I think it's important also to expose them to other people who are engaging in ABA and worship. So having experiences where they

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are in the massage with other people going to trips like Umrah and Hajj, all of these experiences is actually helping them in building the IMA and within themselves. So use every opportunity because I think Subhanallah everyone has something to contribute in the child that we are, like, you know, the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and I think, especially in the West, where we feel okay, everything is upon the shoulders of parents, you know, there's so much we can do. You know what you don't have to think like this. You have relatives, you have neighbors, you have teachers, you have your village, you have to create your village. So use every positive experience to

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enhance your child's teddy bear and be open to that and take advantage of it. Subhanallah one of the things I did when my son when I wanted him to do hip, I went to the mosque, and I said to the one of the brothers in the mosque, I said, you know, it takes a village to raise a child. And I want you to realize that my son is your responsibility as well.

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That takes a lot of guts and bravery. So they actually set up his class, because, you know, like, we kind of made them realize that actually, you know what, it's not just about us parents, this community is raising these children and these children will be assets for the entire community. Right. So I think with regards to this point, one of the beautiful things my mom used to do, she used to get us all to sit together with her, okay, and then she would make dua, she would get us all to make go out together. But what she was really doing is teaching us how to talk to Allah. And subhanAllah you'll be surprised that a lot of young people you know, when you talk to them

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teenagers, for example, they actually don't really know how to have

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relate to Allah, how do I talk to him? And if nobody has ever taught them that and modeled that for them, they actually won't know how. So I think it's really important as a family to come together and make dua so that your children can see. How do I talk to this creator? Who is this creator? We don't just teach our children to hate by teaching them the categories of hate, you know, Rubia Oh, here a smile. That's not how children learn who Allah is. The way children learn who Allah is, is that like a gut feeling that they have? That is nurtured by their parents. When they see you go through a troubling time? What do they see you doing? When they see you get angry? What do they see

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you doing? Right? When they see you, you stumble and you fall? What did you say? They thought they're gonna see and model right? You know, once though, my son said to me, um, you can you can make dua that my delivery comes on time. And I said, why? He said, because when you make dua, you know, it's answered, usually, you know, and I'm thinking it was a way to thinking and saying things like this, because we have a thing in our family, where we discussed when others have been answered, like family, or this is the thing that I used to make the offer, and he got answers. So he grew up thinking that okay, you know, what do I really get answered? So he related to his, you know,

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delivery, he was expecting a, I think, a parcel. So he was saying, You know what, I want you to make dua for me, and I was thinking what it's like in a repair as we get used for Baraka. And so I said what he said, Because I'm, and he's young, you know, when he's asked me to do this, because when you make dua, and we know that the doors of parents answered, and I was thinking Subhanallah, they know how they make Association. And that only happens, not abstract to me. But in context, you got to provide the child the content when you're doing it. In fact, I think it's easy as mothers and fathers for us to kind of separate raising our children. And we teach them the LF Berta, and we, you

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know, send them to madressa. But then when it comes to our own activity, whether we, you know, wait for nap time, I mean, sometimes I feel good for you to eat myself Halloween to the kids are asleep, so that I have no distractions, so that I can pray you, you know, have my lunch and things like that. But I think it's really important to include them in that door, I love the example of making your mother making dua with you, because like you said, sometimes, you know, growing up, you don't know how to talk to Allah, you know, and, you know, we have to teach our children that talk to Allah as a friend, you know, talk to Allah, you know, as someone closest to you.

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And I guess that kind of plays into having good role models. I mean, first and foremost, as parents, we are our children's role models. But what about in the community? And what what other role models do we get for our children? You know, one of the things that I have noticed is that, mashallah, there are so many role models around us, there are, you know, the knowledgeable people, you know, when we go to Islamic events, you know, making that little effort to get your child to say salaam, just salaam, when you go to, you know, a family gathering, you always would have certain positive role models in making your child to kind of sit around them, you know, so you're always like keeping

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an eye on, okay, the people that can be influencing your child positively. And that you have to make a bit more effort, it just has to come naturally. Sometimes you notice certain teachers that really, you know,

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you know, influence your child in a positive way, you could be saying the same thing, but that particular teacher, if they were to say it, the child takes it on, like, you know, did they have to do it, so you can have a, like, more stronger relationship with that teacher and say, you know, my child really is influenced by you. So you could get certain things through your teacher, you know, and that would be more impactful. Because, you know, they say, familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes when the children hear from the parent, they think, oh, you know, but when they hear from a person they influence, you know, and I will say, you know, as parents be very mindful of the type

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of influence, your child has positive ones, and negative ones, so that negative ones, you can actually minimize positive ones you can maximize, you could be your cousin, who, you know, has that rapport with your child, use that cousin to your advantage. It could be your siblings, it could be your grandparents, you know, so whoever they may be used them. And also, we, of course, have the Stories of the Prophets. We have the Sahaba as role models, and I think, look, in our times, one of the things parents worry about is, you know, there's there are these YouTubers and they're these influences and my child is looking up to them because they're rich, and they've got this and they

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seem to be having a fun lifestyle, right. So if you don't provide your child with role models, they will be provided for them, right. So what I think we need to do is

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Apart from the real life role models that Intel has mentioned, make sure they know about the great people of our history, you know, make sure they they can. And even in our times, you know, people like Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, do our children know about them? Have they read their biographies? Do they know what great things this is really important to have, like you said, you know, role models as the Sahaba The Omen what we need, but also real life figures that our children can relate to, like, you know, the people that you've mentioned. And even, you know, as you were to, you know, you mentioned something about the village and you, you know, you both spoke about how we have to make an

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effort to create that village, I would say, that's really hard in today's day and age, and that is one of the struggles that a lot of us, mothers and fathers face. I mean, you know, the Father, he goes to work generally, and the woman is left alone to kind of take care of her children, what are some of the ways we can, you know, other ways that we can kind of do to build that village and that community around our children, because it is one of the things my mum used to do. And remember, this was the generation that came here, they were more isolated than us, you know, there was hardly anyone wearing hijab on the streets, my mum was like one of the only people that we knew, I think

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one of the things she used to do to stave off loneliness and, you know, build that community. She started inviting the neighborhood's Muslim kids to do to learn chi and Quran in our house, right? Or she would set up a halacha or something, you know, like, sometimes you have to do something, you got to do something proactive, it's not going to, people are not going to knock on your door, you know, you might have to knock on their doors. But you as a woman, especially, have got the ability to think proactively and think of solutions, think of ways of bringing people together. And when you create that environment, even something as simple as a regular halacha in your neighborhood, for

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example. You'll be surprised at that sorts of people you meet, and the sort of networking you can do. And more doors will open up in Sharla. Absolutely. But go back to basic and every single one of us were born in a family, that family has different members. So go back to your like immediate family, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and SubhanAllah. We know in our deen there's a lot of emphasis on keeping the ties of kinship because that kinship provides that village for your child. And when a woman is married, you have your in laws use them to your advantage your brother in new your sister in law, they are they might have a quality a person might have a quality that you

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wish you want your child to have exactly. You could connect them neighbors, you know if you have Muslim neighbors, if you have a masjid, you go to a halacha or your husband goes to the Juma that's how we try to form the community around us and hamdulillah with with with with our deen is so beautiful, you know, you share the same faith, then that opens the big door to create that community. But it has to come from within yourself and you have to have that vision. I want the community for my child because it takes a village to raise that child so I want certain members of that village to be in that village so that I can have them as my support net. I guess the main thing

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to take from that is that we have to be proactive and make that effort we can't just wait you know for things to come to us JazakAllah fair once again for joining me for this episode and insightful and beautiful conversation we've had and insha Allah until next time, we will see you for the next episode. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi