Are you finally realising the importance of self love as a mother? Have you realised you need to start filling your jug before you fill the jug of others? No matter what, self love and self care is so vital through faith and prayer. It is hope, mercy and love of Allah that will get you through the difficult days of mother hood or just life in general. So hold on to Salaah no matter what!
Here is a reminder I wrote to myself over 2 years ago when Ammarah (now 4 and a half) was 2 and a half and Hibah was only 7 months! We had only just moved to Makkah.
Thursday 19th November 2015
A few days ago, we visited Masjid al-Haram for the second time since we have arrived. We had planned to go the day before, but it rained causing floods in parts of Jeddah. So we tried for the following day. This time we wanted to pray our Isha Prayer. As we left pretty much after our Maghrib prayer, we arrived at Masjid al-Haram in 20 minutes exactly. We had a whole 40 minutes before Isha Prayer began! We drank zamzam water and sat with the Ka’bah in full view. People were happy. Some were draped in white sheets – they were performing Umrah. Others were taking family pictures, feeling proud, having accomplished something great by Allah’s permission. There were people of all nations, hands up in prayer, crying, begging for their Lord’s mercy and forgiveness – You could see it in their eyes! After a while, Ammarah and I were ready to make our tawaaf, my husband and Hibah joined us too. It was our first ever family tawaaf – may Allah accept it from us.
As the mataaf [area you walk or do tawaaf around the Ka’bah] wasn’t as busy – we moved in towards the Maqam-e-Ibrahim [the place that is marked by where Prophet Ibrahim stood when making the Ka’bah] which is quite close to the Ka’bah. From there it looks HUGE! Ammarah walked with us through 6 whole rounds mashaAllah and only as we were finishing I picked her up. She loved it! She watched the birds flying around above just like they were making tawaaf too. A kind man was handing out sticky dates to the people in the Mataaf area – he knelt down to give Ammarah one – I think she was a little confused but did recognise that it was a date and finally took it. During tawaaf, every time I looked at the Ka’bah I’m just in awe! Sometimes I don’t know what to say, what prayer to read. That’s why I’ve collated all my prayers, including those requested by friends and family in a book so I remember.
As our tawaaf ended we headed upstairs to the new temporary ring to get ready for the prayer. This was one of the first times I would be praying salaah with the Ka’bah right in front of me! Although I had come for Umrah before, it was in Ramadaan and I always prayed outside the masjid! So this was a pretty special day for me. We prayed on the first floor of the temporary tawaaf ring – it’s great for wheelchair users to make their tawaaf. [Note this ring has now been removed] We waited in our rows ready to hear the Adhan – call to prayer. My two girls were with me, whilst my husband stood with the men in front. Ammarah recognised the Adhaan immediately – I was very proud of her; it was loud even for Hibah but she listened attentively [I can tell when she does this]. Throughout my salaah Ammarah remained quiet and observant [at the Mosque in England, she would usually cry] she tried to entertain Hibah when she started wondering where her Mama was. All praises to Allah for these countless blessings. May He accept our worship, our good deeds and continue to keep us on the right path of Islam. Ameen!
For all my readers who are immersed in their life struggles and problems, I want to share one really important bit of advice with you all – Live with Salaah. It’s like the most obvious piece of advice ever as Salaah is our connection to our Lord, our Creator. But what I mean to say is REALLY live with Salaah.
I know it is so easy for me to say this right now, because I can hear the Adhaan and actual prayer from my local Masjid through my kitchen window – and I’m forever reminded to pray. But I also know how difficult this is in our busy lives in the UK or other western countries perhaps. It really is so difficult because of daylight saving, meeting deadlines, balancing the work-home life especially for the women and home-makers and I’m sure for many other reasons too. But I know we can still make this possible – and your reward is with Allah for your every effort – Make it such a habit that you cannot let go of it and see the blessings in your life increase inshaAllah!
Here are a few tips and reminders I’ve noticed since living in Makkah:
1. Our call to prayer – the Adhaan should be heard LOUD and clear – it leaves an amazing impact with children – who will constantly remind you it’s Allah time – that’s what Ammarah says every time “Come on, It’s Allah time!” So ensure you have reminders set up on your phone or at home and let yourself be reminded constantly of the call to prayer, the call to success.
2. Planning your day around Salaah – The one amazing thing about being in Saudi Arabia is – everything shuts down at prayer time – literally the shops in the malls close, the shutters come down for some! – you see all the women go to one side of the mall for their prayer room and the men the other. It’s a country that has really emphasised and facilitated for the people’s prayer. Yes this is not always possible for those who reside in non-Muslim countries for example. BUT, if we plan ahead which most of us can try at least whilst commuting or planning our days out in town or work, we can make it possible – I have lived that life so I can say so too. I have, like many of you, probably prayed in changing rooms in Next 🙂 All it requires is determination, conviction and satisfaction of blessings that increases in our life through our connection with Allah. Click here for a follow up article by Productive Muslim article/discussion that looks at ways in which to ‘Observe Salaah when you’re out and about’
3. Be around people and places that remind you of Allah – one of the most important things in life is companionship -and I’m not just referring to the other half. Having friends, family and colleagues that remind us of our Lord – whether they are of the same faith or not. Their actions and their words will remind you of Allah – their kind gestures, their good intentions, their good mannerisms. We all go through ups and downs in our level of Imaan [faith] – just don’t ever give up on the mercy and hope from Allah swt. He hears our every call – whether we live in Makkah or not! 🙂
4. Reflect in a journal about your daysand track your salaah and see the correlation of how you felt and how you reacted and how you did and how life has simply changed since you focus on your prayer. Of course there will be test no doubt, but you will be able to face all that Allah plans for you. Why did I include this 4th point. Well if you think about that is what salaah is. Conversing with your Lord by reflecting on your day. Seeking His help in the struggles in your day, asking forgiveness for snapping at your colleagues or children, filling your soul with His remembrance and knowing full well that only Allah can help you through your days no matter if you are struggling with hardship or even going through life with ease. I highly recommend the beautiful Productivity journal by Ayeina which comes complete with a salaah tracker and many pages of reflection throughout!
5. Keep up with your remembrance of Allah after prayer with the adhkaar. These are the morning and evening supplications that protect you throughout the day. Days I forget to read these, I always feel an uneasiness. More info can be found here.
Most of all, these posts are reminders for me but if you read them and benefit then alhamdulillah. May Allah bless us in all aspects of our lives and accept our good deeds, intentions and worship. Ameen!