Making du’a is something that I rely on heavily in my parenting; as a source of strength, solace, hope and Divine help. It’s comforting to think that if we have whispered it up to my Lord; if our Lord has guided us to pray about it, then it’ll be okay. I often make du’a in the realm of parenting: both for everyday things (like Allah’s help in the days whilst I look after the boys) and more long term things (like the boys being given the gift of eemaan, the ability to do ‘amal saalih – righteous deeds – and being of kind and good character).
Asking for Barrakah in My Sleep And Miracles in My Day
In the short term, everyday things, du’a helps in the midst of hard parenting moments and for me, very often in the context of getting very little sleep. If I have gone to bed really late, for example, either by way of poor decision making (it happens…you just want more time to yourself in the evening…) or just because I may be up with an ill child, or a frequently waking nursing child, and it’s super late, and then next day crosses my mind; how I am going to parent with such little sleep, such little energy, feeling so zapped, etc? When those thoughts cross my mind, I know it’s du’a time. So after praising and thanking Allah, and sending salutations upon Rasulullah, I ask: “Yaa Allah, please put barrakah in my sleep and miracles in my day, ameen”. I ask for these things because I deeply believe that He can and He will. And after making this du’a, I fully expect Allah SWT to help me, having husn an dhan billah (good expectations from Allah).
I ask for barrakah (blessings) in my sleep because I’m fully aware that three hours of sleep, on paper, is not sufficient. However, the One I’m asking, owns us and owns, and can change, our internal states (we are taught that the hearts are between the two fingers of Ar-Rahman, right?). So asking for His barrakah in something will make it plentiful and…sufficient. Of course, I wouldn’t neglect doing your part: i.e. trying to get as much sleep as you can (I struggle with this…because you wanna wake up rested but you want those precious few hours in the evening after the kids’ bedtime too…the conflicting decisions struggle is real!)
I ask for miracles in my day as, at times, it is 3am and I find myself in the living room as my baby has decided he wants to hang out with Mummy (who needs sleep?!) and going back to sleep is not in his imminent plans. So in that moment, when I remember, I remind myself to submit to the situation that Allah has decreed for me, and to not project the moment forward; i.e. just because I may feel shattered now, it does not mean I will feel very tired later/tomorrow/the next moment. Or even, if at 3am, and I’m okay and begin to be present, and to enjoy my baby even, to still not project the ‘rational’ side of it forward, which is that if you are up at this time, tomorrow is going to be hard: not necessarily. The thoughts do begin to flow when it seems the fatigue odds are against you (and if you’re incessantly up and continuously getting very little to no sleep, you may need some help; for someone to take the kids while you top up on rest and sleep, etc); but I find it helpful to think of Allah and to put trust in Him, and to ask Him for miracles in my days.
The Hadith About The Man Who Killed 99 People, And Miracles
One of hadiths that I love is about the man who killed 99 people and asked an aabid (a devout worshipper) if he could be forgiven. The worshipper responded in the negative and the man killed him, also. He then proceeded to visit a scholar to ask him the same question; to see if there was hope, if Allah could forgive him. The scholar, being both a learned person as well as a worshipper, affirmed God’s infinite mercy. He told him “who can stand between you and tawbah (repentance)?”. He also advised him to move to another place, a place that would be conducive to his goal of reform, of tawbah, of coming back to Allah SWT. The man took this advice and began his journey to this place. En route to his destination, the man passed away. The angels of mercy and the angels of torment then disputed where his final abode would be, and then Allah sent down an arbitrar that suggested that the distance between where he died relative to the town he was coming from, as well as the town he was going to, be measured. And then to see which place he was closer to; if he was closer to the the place he was coming from, he would be taken by the angels of torment, and if he was closer to the town he was going to he would be taken by the angels of mercy. The distances were measured and it was found he was closer to the land he was travelling to. And so he was shown mercy. In the narration of Imam Bukhari, it states that Allah SWT moved the earth so that he would be closer to the town of mercy. Subhan’Allah. When I have come across this hadith being discussed, it is usually from an angle of the vastness of Allah’s forgiveness and mercy, which is profound. But more specifically, what I find amazing about it, is that, this man, Allah *moved the earth in his favour*. He moved the earth in his favour. Like, He, Al Wadud, Ar-Rahman, Al-Karim, moved the earth in this man’s cause. Subhan’Allah. What makes us think He won’t perform miracles in our favour? And this is why I ask for miracles in my day: because I know He can, and I know that He will.
Reaping The Fruits of Du’a in My Role
I find that when I make the two du’as regarding barrakah in my sleep and miracles in my day on the tired nights, some level of ease manifests the next day. Some days, it does feel miraculous: I find plain ease and joy, and on other days, even if some parts of the day feel testing, it overall feels manageable. For example, it may be really demanding with one of my boys, but subhan’Allah, the other is completely engaged in his play and I don’t have to worry about him at all; my elder son takes some quiet time whist the younger one naps, and I get lost in a good book for 20 minutes; nothing has really changed but in the midst of the routine and the nappy changing, I observe that I’m content inside; we are all singing and laughing through parts of our day; one of the boys do or say something that is beautiful; and most frequent of all, I don’t feel as tired as my thoughts the night before were convincing me I would be (that barrakah was put in my sleep!); or I do feel tired, but with some internal self-kindness talk, I trod on, one task, and one moment at a time, and overall, it is okay and I feel thankful. And in the midst of a moment of ease, I feel warm as I suddenly remember that I’m reaping the fruits of the whispers I made up to my Lord.
The Power of Du’a
Du’a is powerful. Allah says:
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. *I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me*. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (2:186)
(emphasis added by me)
Furthermore, the Prophet SAW says about du’a:
‘Du’a is worship’ (Abu Dawud)
Subhan’Allah. This act that is a such a generous gift to us, a benefit to us, is, in and of itself, worship. The whole act, in this hadith, has been equated to worship. Engaging in du’a is engaging in worship subhan’Allah: our very purpose of creation.
Du’a And Mindful Parenting
Making a change for the better in the realm of parenting used to, and can sometimes still, feel really hard for me. I wasn’t good at calming myself down and regulating my own emotions for example; yet I knew this was important (for my own well being) and more urgently, in my example as a mother, for my own children’s ability to self-regulate. So because these things felt challenging for me (and sometimes still do), I would take steps and read about how I could do them and try to do them, but often with du’a preceded by it, or along with it. I felt that the Lord that leads us to khair and beneficial learnings helps us in embodying such changes, with effort and du’a. And when we’re inevitably imperfect, it’s comforting to know that we could apologise/seek forgiveness and keep going. And now I personally feel like some of the positive changes that have come about in my parenting are because of accepted whispers to Allah.
Making du’a in really testing moments with the children helps too, though I don’t always manage to or remember. When I’m flustered, or pushed to the limit or angry, pouring it all out in du’a is an outlet and a vehicle for change, insha’Allah…by asking Allah for what I do want to see and experience, beyond my current reality.
So with regards to habitualising du’a around our important amaanah (trust) of parenting, what can we do?
Actionable Steps In Implementing The Tip:
1) Get into the habit of asking Allah for *everything*; so in motherhood, this means for your everyday tasks such as asking for a blessed day, for alleviating anything less than optimal that you may feel: help with a hard day, tiredness, barrakah in your sleep, potty training, sleeping through the night, the ruts or wearing enthusiasm/monotony that you may feel or run into with the repetitive nature of the daily tasks of motherhood, challenges. Do your part, make a plan, take some small action to change whatever it is that you are finding challenging, make du’a and then figuratively peel those eyes and observe the smallest positive changes; or the very apparent, specific du’a you asked for being answered.
2) Habitualise uttering one (or more!) du’a(s) from the morning adhkaar. One sunnah du’a from the morning adhkaar that I find to be really beneficial is the du’a that starts ‘Asbahnaa wa asbahal mulku lillah, walhamdulillah’* (I will place the whole du’a along with it’s transliteration and translation at the bottom of this piece, insha’Allah). Since I became a mother, I don’t do, or struggle to do, my morning adhkaar, but one du’a I say more often than the others, that I can do in the midst of breakfast prep and nappy changing is that one. I love it, it really resonates with me, makes me aware of Allah and His Greatness as I utter it, gives me perspective, and makes me hopeful about the day.
3) It is a nice habit to thank and make du’a for your children in their presence. You can start off with an intentional ‘jazakAllahu khairan’, it is essentially a du’a right (though we may perhaps think of it as interchangeable for ‘thank you’; I think of it as an accelerated form of thanks as it asks the Lord of the worlds to recompense the person you are saying it to with khair) and then move onto praying for your child at times they perform a nice gesture: ‘may Allah bless you/may Allah increase your goodness/Allah is in the assistance of those who are in the assistance of others; I pray Allah always helps you’. A lovely thing that I’ve observed some Somali mothers do is that when their child does something good like assist them, or assist others, or any other acts of goodness, they would say to the child “khair Allah hakku siyo” (May Allah grant you khair).
4) Memorise the du’as in the Qur’an that pertain to one’s offspring and ask Allah through them. I haven’t memorised them all. The two that I love and say are (du’a translations underlined) :
• Coolness of the eyes du’a: ‘And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”’ (25:74)
• To establish salah and accept our supplications du’a: ‘”My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.”’ (14:40)
I love the above two du’as because the first one asks Allah to make our spouses and our offspring the coolness of our eyes: don’t we all want great relationships that, despite inevitable tests, are generally embedded in tranquil; that bring us ‘coolness’ as such? I know I do. And I love the second du’a because salah is the first thing we will be asked about on the Day of Judgment, as the Prophet SAW told us. If our salah is sound, then and only then will we have succeeded. So it is an important and wise du’a as our ultimate and eternal success depends on it. The latter part of this du’a asks that our supplication be accepted; I love it because I feel like if we are blessed with the gift of accepted supplications from Allah SWT, the One who controls the world, we will be fine.
5) Assign a portion of your du’a list to your parenting and children. Spend some time thinking about the traits you would want your children to embody both short and long term, as well as your parenting goals/the kind of parent you want to be, and write these down into a du’a list. Try to make some time asking Allah for these, especially at times we’ve been told du’as are accepted: when it rains, last hour before maghrib on friday, at the time of breaking your fast when you are fasting, etc.
6) When (I won’t say if!) your children push your buttons, try praying for them, for you, and for your unity and success in both worlds. So in the midst of testing moments, pause. Take some deep breaths and make du’a if you need to. Allow supplication to Allah to be one of the things that helps carry you through the difficult moments. If you are angry, here is a piece which includes helpful things you can do to help you move through the anger in a healthy manner, insha’Allah.
I hope some of these tips help, insha’Allah. And I wish you great days in your role 🙂
© WAA, July 2016 (Ramadan)
The translation and transliteration of the du’a mentioned in Tip Number 2:
‘We have reached the morning and at this very time unto Allaah belongs all sovereignity, and all praise is for Allaah. None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner, to Him belongs all sovereignty and praise and He is over all things omnipotent. My Lord, I ask for the good of this day and the good of what follows it and I take refuge in You from the evil of this day and the evil of what follows it. My Lord, I take refuge in You from laziness and senility. My Lord, I take refuge in You from torment in the Fire and punishment in the grave.’
Asbahnâ wa asbahal-mulku li-l-lâhi, wal-hamdulillâhi.
Lâ ilâha illâ l-lâhu, wahdahu lâ sharîka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-
hamdu, wa huwa ‘alâ kulli shay’in qadîr. Rabbi, as’aluka khayra
mâ fî hâdhâl-yawmi wa khayra mâ ba’dahu. Wa a’ûdhu bika min
sharri mâ fî hâdhâl-yawmi wa sharri mâ ba’dahu. Rabbi a’ûdhu bika minal-kasali,
wa sû’i-l-kibari. Rabbi a’ûdhu bika min ‘adhâbin fi n-nâr wa ‘adhâbin fil-qabr