When the mother of Musa (as) asked her young daughter to follow baby Musa to see where the basket reaches, the mother knew she was asking a confident and responsible child to carry this task. Nouman Ali Khan spoke about this at great length in his Story Night – Musa video.
The young sister of Musa (as) not only followed the basket, she followed it into the Firaun’s palace. She then told them about a woman (her mother) who can maybe breastfeed the baby. She really was a confident child. No rehearsals, no grown up sitting in front of her, cheering her on for this great, brave task. Amazing.
This got me thinking about building confidence in my children. I was never a confident child myself, and even now, I’m not great with speaking in front of lots of people. But that’s not the only thing a confident person does. Confident people carry themselves differently. They are confident in what they believe in and what they do. I want that for my children. Any little confidence I do have now, has been acquired after a lot of conscious thinking, it didn’t come naturally and wasn’t nurtured in me either.
I want to change that for my children. In a world where being Muslim is becoming increasingly difficult, I’d love for them to grow up believing and speaking up about Islam. And that won’t happen over night. It’s a process. Another part of the parenting process. My daughter has a heart of love and sincerity but not a very confident heart. It needs much, much nurturing. The mother of Musa, didn’t just one day expect her daughter to go knock on the Firaun’s doors, and speak to the most powerful people – when she asked her daughter to do this, she knew her daughter will be able to do it! And of course, this was also the will of Allah. But alongside the will of Allah, we do our bit, we tie our camel in the best way we know and can.
A while back I read about Abdullah ibn Zubayr, the son of Zubayr Ibn Awwam and Asma bint Abu Bakr. Islamic history tells us that he was bold and courageous from a young age. One day, Abdullah was playing with his friends and while they were playing, Umar (ra) passed by them. All the boys ran away quickly for there was something awe-inspiring about Umar. Abdullah, however, remained in his place and did not flee.
Umar asked, “Why do you not flee with the other boys?”
Abdullah replied, “Oh, Commander of the Faithful! I have not committed any sin, and the road is not narrow that I should make room for you.”
I love reading about such confidence. This isn’t a sign of disrespect but a reflection of confidently knowing what is allowed and permitted.
The issue of confidence bothers me a lot, because I don’t even know how it is nurtured. But I see the personalities from Islamic history and realise that they too had mothers, who worked to build awareness and confidence in them – Umm Sulaim being one of my most recent obsessions.
Yesterday, the hijab was discussed under new EU regulations – I started thinking about what laws would be in place when it will be my daughter’s time to wear hijab. But before we get there, inshaAllah, I would need to build in her the love of wanting to please Allah first and foremost, and I need to build confidence in her to choose that, over every rule and law out there. If she can confidently believe in Allah, man made laws will inshaAllah have little impact on her choices. At a recent talk, the Imam at our masjid said, we may not all be under a big rock like Bilal (ra) but we learn from him, that we need to all have firm faith like he did; firm faith that Allah is the One. Bilal was a slave. A person of no status in society, but he was confident about what he believed in, it was rock hard confidence!