If you are anything like me then you are constantly fighting to keep yourself in check. Fighting with yourself and your kids can be very draining especially if your daughter takes after you and is an expert in the art of arguing! Add fighting against narrow-minded unIslamic views and you have a fully fledged hormonal battle going on inside yourself! That’s why it’s important to have someone who reminds you to have sabr at these times. Mashallah I listened to a great lecture today (well, the ending!) on the tafsir of Surat al-Asr; I was just in time to catch the bit about having sabr and I think that maybe I was meant to hear it to relay this message to all you sisters our there that struggle (like me and everyone else) with sabr.
Not only is it important to have sabr when you are going through a trying time, but also it is important to have sabr with yourself and I don’t think many people remember that. Yes we do all make mistakes and may even make them daily, but the fact that you acknowledge this and want to better yourself counts for something – it means you still stand a chance because if Allah had so willed, you may feel no guilt over wrong actions and how then would you be able to better yourself? A lack of sabr stems from a lack of eemaan: Ali – ‘alayhis salam – said, “Indeed sabr is from eemaan (faith). Its position is like that of the head with respect to the rest of the body.” Then he raised his voice and said, “Verily, there is no eemaan (faith) for the one who has no sabr.” Related by al-Laalikaa’ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah (no. 1659). We now know how to build up our sabr – by increasing our eemaan, I am in no way a scholar so I wont try to explain this Islamically, but just appreciating Allah and everything He has given us can increase eemaan. You may, like me, have noticed in your life that there were points when you wanted to give up and not come out of your bed because you couldn’t face the world around you and its criticisms; yet some driving force made you get up and face the world and a problem ended up getting sorted out somehow. That was Allah’s Mercy on you and a miracle in itself; that was Allah swt doing what no other person could by putting the fight back in to you and that’s why you got up. If you count them all you will see these favours add up to a lot and this is Allah’s way of showing you that you have Him; subhanallah! How can we then say we are alone? This is how my eemaan increased by stopping to reflect on moments like this and letting it sink in, realising how many times Allah had been there for me. We tend to overlook these moments or not count them as they seem so miniscule, but they aren’t. How can you ever say that something that leads you towards Allah is miniscule?!
Not having sabr with yourself means that you beat yourself up a lot when you do something wrong or maybe think that what you have done is so bad that you will never be forgiven. It’s good to feel bad and guilt over wrong actions but not to let this transgress limits and become obsessed with your sin thinking it will never be forgiven as this is the whispering of shaytaan. Almighty Allah said: “ ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I will forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky, and you were to ask me for forgiveness, I will forgive you and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins nearly the size of the earth, and you were to meet Me not associating anything with Me, then I would bring you forgiveness nearly the size of (the earth).’” ( Hadeeth reported by al-Tirmidhi; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4338); and in the following hadeeth Rasulullah (sallilahu alayhi wa sallam) said “Allah says: “Whoever knows that I am able to forgive all sins, I shall forgive him, and I shall not mind, so long as he does not associate anything with Me.’” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and by al-Haakim; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4330). This refers to when the slave meets his Lord in the Hereafter. When we do let shaytaan be an influence on us our eemaan goes down – and how can it not, because by listening to him [shaytaan] it’s almost like saying we know that Allah CANNOT do something. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi pointed out “Do you think that you, and you alone can be so sinful that Allah’s Mercy cannot encompass you? That you have so much ‘power’ to commit sins that the infinite mercy of Allah is powerless when faced with it?!”
This, my dear sisters, should give us hope that as long as we do not commit shirk and that we repent we stand EVERY chance of being forgiven if we repent with a pure heart. Once we acknowledge the favours bestowed upon us by our Lord Allah swt and appreciate how He has been there for us we will insha’Allah have sabr because we will know that if Allah swt got us through difficulty before He can do it again if He so chooses; and THAT is what dua is for! When someone goes through a time of hardship their eemaan drops – it happens to everyone, no-one’s eemaan can stay high all the time and that is when shaytaan pounces on you and whispers in your ear; he takes advantage of this time to put negative thoughts in your head. Some single mums are quite susceptible to this whispering as they go through a lot of stress doing everything alone and if they have no support from anyone especially society this can end up magnifying things.
This is why we should take extra care to guard our eemaan by doing things to boost it regularly – one way this can happen is when people tell us to have sabr; when we are alone we lose sabr more than when we are around people. Shaytaan tries to tempt people more when they are alone and especially goes after those who persevere in telling others to have sabr and those people who are good for our Ummah but have bad habits that they are addicted to. Our sabr feeds off each other and this is why we need to be told and to tell others to have sabr even though we may already know it; we just need to, at times, hear those words reiterated. We should mutually tell others with perseverance about sabr; after all, you never know when someone needs to hear it and we should also remember to have sabr when promoting sabr.
So please remember sisters: being a single mum is a challenge, and there are going to be times when you think you cannot do it, but remember you are not alone as you ALWAYS have Allah; and remember to have sabr with yourself which insha’Allah in turn will lead to having sabr with your situation. I know how much I have struggled at times with motherhood and life and my eeman; and I know thinking negatively didn’t help and it’s a hard habit to break. Many things in life are a challenge and can leave your head reeling making you feel out of your depth; you may feel (like I did) that there are other mums who do things so much better than you and take everything in their stride and that you are not a good enough mother, but this comes from a lack of sabr with yourself and your situation and from shaytaan. There will always be people out there better than you and that applies for everyone, but what I do now is tell myself “it’s ok Misbah, you are going through a difficult time because you are finding it hard but you are still fighting and trying to be a better Muslim and mother and Allah knows how hard you are trying so just ignore all the haters, only Allah’s opinion counts!” Wallahi, since I started doing that I started loving myself a little and stopped hating myself. It’s ok to not have all the answers and not always be in control because the One who actually controls your destiny KNOWS what He is doing!