It’s already nearing the end of Ramadhan. A blessed month as it is, I think I may have wasted another chance to redeem myself, though I keep telling myself it is not too late.
Or maybe I feel very much so frustrated because I am comparing myself against the standards – those flying around on Facebook and other social media – on what a Muslim should dedicate his or her time on during Ramadhan, or specifically towards on the final nights of Ramadhan. I guess that’s the only (minute) drawback of having God-conscious Muslim friends.
The other day I was mumbling to myself in the presence of my husband, when the children were making a lot of noise: ‘How could mommy ever have time for i’tikaf when all of you are behaving this way, children?”
Then my husband laughed.
“I’tikaf is not incumbent upon you.”
I know he has a good intention when he said that – he knows me all too well that I often be hard and harsh on myself.
“But I’tikaf is for women too!”, I objected. “A’isyah r.a. did it every year, and why should not I?”
“A’isyah did not have children. You do.”
He maybe was right about that.
Sometimes it is too difficult for me to see that being with my children, being their greatest influencer, being their first teacher, or being their most available, versatile playmate is as an act of worship by itself.
How could it not be when my sole intention is to raise them to be His worshippers and servants? When all those plays and fun are actually meant for them to grow into thinking human beings like what God wants them too?
Of course, direct or formal acts of worship (i.e. ibadah khusus) are important to me to connect to Him (and I do crave for quiet, uninterrupted time to perform solat these days). But what Allah wants from me is that consciousness; the constant awareness of Him being there, watching my every move – as He made it clear in the Holy Book that it is this thought that will bring me peace. And that consciousness; that state of being in dhikr does not come necessarily by performing formal acts of worship, although they are meant as a training ground.
I remember one of my teachers saying: We often heard anecdotes on prominent scholars of the past – something around the person never missing a sunnah prayer for 30 years, completing tilawah of Quran within weeks or days, or spending 20 years doing an act of worship etc. And we may begin to wonder, how could they do such things? Didn’t they work? The teacher’s explanation was satisfying: These scholars went through life in phases – e.g. they spent 20 years learning and studying, another 30 years teaching, and perhaps 20 years concentrating on formal acts of ibadah.
What this tells me is ‘This is a phase’.
And with each life phase comes its own rights that is a priority for me to fulfill above anything else. Right now, my most important role is perhaps being a mother to my children. And by Allah, I intend to be the best in performing it, for His sake.
So why should I be worried about things I could not do when there are more important, obliged things I am yet to do?
It is enough for me to be reminded of this hadith:
“If a woman observes her five daily prayers, fasts during the month of Ramadhan, guards her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter Paradise through any of the gates she wishes.”
[Ibn Hibban ~ Hadith Sahih]
“Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that once a group of women came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! Men have reaped all the rewards of participating in Jihad; show us a deed which will help us reach the rewards of the Mujahideen.’ The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, ‘Any one of you who stays in her home protecting her modesty and honour will receive the rewards of Jihad.’”
May Allah ease.