Its been a while since I wrote anything. I certainly have various topics on my mind, but between Ramadan, and now recovering from a surgery I just haven't sat down and taken the time. Insha'Allah you haven't all given up on me!
A reader recently asked me to publish a post about motherhood and marriage in Islam. I am hardly one that should speak on these two incredibly imprtant elements, but insha'Allah I will divulge a piece of my life in the hopes it will inspire other Muslims, and show non-Muslims the beauty of this religion.
To understand the greatness of Allah (SWT) in this area of my life, and how He changes hearts you have to understand who I was before Islam. For personal reasons I was jaded by the idea of marriage and had decided I would never marry and didn't want children. I felt that Marriage was a useless commitment that nobody cherished as sacred, so why even bother.
When Islam, alhamdulillah, became my way of life, without my even knowing it, Allah (SWT) changed my heart. So much so that in just mere months after my reversion, and without really knowing the man I was to wed, I got married. To most in my life it seemed like the craziest thing I had ever done (even more so than my conversion in some people's minds I am sure.) Such haste in a relationship is not easily understood in the West. I even had a hard time wrapping my mind around it as it was going on for me. It really is the one of the ways I just have proof that Allah (SWT) works in a believers life if we submit to Him. I remember telling the people most important to me in my life about my impending wedding and they gave this look of shock and disaproval and I met it with "I know it seems crazy eh?" But each time someone asked me how we would raise a family or live with each other it seemed to make perfect sense. After all if we both believed the same religion which unlike the the religion of my past, dictates every life decision from how we eat, go to the bathroom to how we raise children, what would we argue about? Why did I need to know what his favorite colour was or whether he liked peas better than carrots? That could all be learned.
That being said, it really wasn't quite as cut and dry as that. Of course there were/are challenges that I couldn't forsee. The biggest often stemming from culture. This is not to say that culture supercedes religion in our home-- I don't believe it does, but at the end of the day I am Canadian-- and at times a far too independent and outspoken one, and my husband is Turkish. Somewhere there needed to be a balance, and that balance was what takes the time to find. That and there is also the learning how to be a wife and a Muslim all at the same time. Remember I had gone from living alone since I was 18 in various cities and provinces, being fully independant to sharing everything with someone I really knew little about.
I only offer so much history to show you again the grace of Allah (SWT). That is a promise, that if two people love each other and meet because they love each other for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone, that Allah (SWT) will reward them in this life and the next. And even if there are hard times that if our true desire is to stay together Allah (SWT) will make that happen. It is promised in the Qur'an.
The couple of things that I have really learned though--- Is that marriage is a challenge. Although Allah (SWT) has made us partners for each other and that there really can be a perfect balance to our mutual and harmonious existance, it is difficult at times and takes work. Don't forget that we are still two different people with different backgrounds and personalities. However, the best example always comes from the Prophet (SAW). That being said, as a wife I should look at the mothers of the believers, how did they react and act towards our beloved Prophet (SAW). The best advice that I can possibly offer is if you and your husband can emmulate the characteristics of these individuals insha'Allah there will be success.
I don't know that the person who wanted me to write about marriage in Islam was seeking my counsel but there now you have it! Insha'Allah it is of some benefit.
As for children I will try to be less long-winded.
Prior to Islam, I wanted none. I wanted financial freedom, and the thought of raising children in such a hate-filled world made me sick. When I got married I decided okay, yes I wanted children, but maybe just two or three and certainly not until a year or two after I was married. After all I wanted to just enjoy being married for a while. Again, Allah (SWT) moved in my heart. We had our first child before our second anniversary--- I can't wait for more, and even though I have a full University education and career that is perfectly established. I have NO DESIRE to pursue it. I was pregnant the month after graduation and haven't looked back. Alhamdulillah Allah has blessed us in the way that my husband can provide so I can be the care provider for our child. I can't imagine putting her into daycare knowing that she would be expose to things that I can't be there to monitor. I don't think that I am being naive or overprotective. I believe that insha'Allah I am doing my duty as a Muslim woman to raise my children. We will be responsible for them on the day of judgement and I just can't imagine standing before Allah trying to explain why I allowed my child to be in an environment where swear words may have been used, pork eaten, TV programs watched without monitoring, the values of our relgion not taught. Of course there are Islamic options out there, but right now the best Islamic option is me raising our children. It is only by Allah (SWT) that my heart has moved towards this way, and I don't think it can be fully understood until a person has children.
Of course it is a constant struggle with my family and friends who think I have thrown away my education and my career. And that's hard because I am still largely influenced by my emotion, but in the end I will answer to Allah not my family.
My greatest fear now comes from my inadequacies that I have to be able to raise a child in accordance with Islam. After all the amount of Qur'an I know is minimal, I don't speak Arabic, my knowledge of the deen is small.... But what is important is that I seek the right support, turn to my husband for what I don't know, make sure I strive to learn, and most importantly, turn to Allah.
Insha'Allah this is of benefit. Any sin or error above is mine, any goodness is of Allah (SWT) alone.