I went out this morning, with my flock: my super chatty little girl and my nosey little baby. Oh and the ameer joined us. It was freezing cold but the sun was shining bright so we went to the park. I kept making sure both the kids had their hats on and felt snug and warm. I wanted them to enjoy the outdoors (we don’t have a garden) but at the same time didn’t want them to feel the chill in the air. We managed to get on the swings and the climbing frames, jumped on some crunchy winter leaves and of course I took pictures too.
This is one of them, taken by me, whilst balancing on a climbing frame. When I looked down and saw both the kids with their dad, I remembered the below hadith:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”
(Bukhari 6719, Muslim 1829)
I thought, hey that’s my flock, right there! The hadith took me back to a class I had attended many years ago, before I had children, before I was married. This hadith was mentioned as a way to account ourselves of our daily actions, I remember the teacher saying that we can be lazy about ourselves, but it takes a very irresponsible person to be lazy when it comes to others. I don’t think I properly understood what the teacher had said then, but I think I understand now; it is the constant worry that I want to give them (my kids) the best and see the best in them, knowing very well that none of this is in my full control.
The accountability aspect of this hadith is very interesting, because it allows us to scrutinise each one of our intentions and actions, making us really think about what we do with the “power” that we have been granted with, through the guardianship of our children.
Whenever I’ve read a parenting book (they are mostly written by devout Christians), I’ve often come across the concept of having a family mission statement – to keep the family focused and grounded in their purpose. And although I’m not writing this with the same idea of the mission statement, remembering this hadith today has come as an answer to a lot of worries and questions I’ve had recently regarding my parenting choices and in general how I view my life right now. The last part of the hadith: “No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock” is what I needed, to know that despite feeling overwhelmed, anxious, even helpless – I am still responsible. Not just responsible for making sure the kids have appropriate clothing, but making sure that my thoughts, the ones that help nurture them are also in line with what is asked of me as a Muslim.
My ultimate accountability lies with Allah, and it will be on a Day that we will all surely witness, but before then, I must account my thoughts, my actions, my wants, my fears and my desires. Sometimes things happen that are not in our control, they throw us off track. It takes us away from the path we had shaped for ourselves. At those times, it is so difficult to jump back up, but with this hadith at hand (or engraved into the mind), we can learn to understand that with the task of motherhood comes a responsibility that we must take seriously. How and what my children grow up to be is part of the unknown for me but who I am right now, is COMPLETELY down to me.
Does this post make sense, most probably not. But I had to write it, because it makes sense in my head. Worrying can cause laziness within us, a dangerous kind of laziness, I’ve seen it, its been too close to me – the above hadith and this post is to snap me out of it, bi’idhnilAllah.