Dear Mama,

Thank you for making my day special. To you, it felt like another day when you failed to take advantage of the blessings of this month but to me, it was magical.

You were trying so hard to be as quiet as possible when you woke up to prepare suhoor for you and Baba but soon my little feet came running out of my room. Snack time at 4am! I never get to be out of bed at nighttime so I could tell something was special today! You looked so sleepy but you still gave me a hug and let me have a date.

Anas ibn Malik described the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him):

I served the Prophet for ten years, I lived with him for ten years and not once did he rebuke me. Not once did the word “uff” come from his mouth.

I pray that you get to have special snack time with the Prophet in Jennah, Mama.

You were trying so hard to pray ‘Asr with extra focus and khushoo’ today. I’m sorry you worried when you saw me wander toward the stove where dinner was cooking and you hurriedly said your salaams to end your prayer. I wanted to mix the pasta since you always say I’m your big helper.

In Surah at-Tahrim, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…” (66:6)

I pray that Allah protects you from even getting close to the Hell Fire in the same way that you protected me from this fire.

You had finally finished cooking and sat down to read some Qur’aan thinking that you would take advantage of the last couple of hours before Maghrib to get in touch with Allah’s Book. But I was thirsty and wandered over to ask for some water. Thank you for taking my hand and walking me to the kitchen to quench my thirst.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “On the Day of Judgment, Allah, the Exalted, will say:

‘O son of Adam! I asked you to give water to Me, but you did not give it to Me!’ The son of Adam will say: ‘O Allah, How come You ask me for water even though You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah will say: ‘My slave asked you for water and you refused to give him. Don’t you know that if you had given him water, I would have rewarded you?’” (Muslim)

I pray that Allah quenches your thirst on the Day of Judgment like you quenched my thirst today, Mama.

As soon as you started listening to a Ramadan lecture on your laptop, my sister pulled my hair so I pushed her. As the yelling and fighting escalated, you distracted us by suggesting we take a walk to “shake our sillies out.” Thank you for showing us the leaves and the acorns. Thank you for taking us to feed the ducks. You reminded us that we can get closer to Allah by admiring His creations and thanking Him for our blessings.

In Surat Ibrahim, Allah says,

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (14:7)

You taught me to be grateful and so I pray that Allah will increase you in everything good.

When I cried you came running. I scraped my knee while chasing the prettiest duck I could find. Knowing you were there made me feel safe and I knew I would be ok.

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

The most beloved of the people to Allah are the most beneficial for the people. The most beloved of actions to Allah are to cause happiness to reach a Muslim, to relieve him from a hardship, to settle a debt for a Muslim or to repel hunger from him. For me to walk with a brother in order to assist him is more beloved to me than to make ‘Itikaf in this Masjid (Masjid al-Madeenah) for a month. (Reported by Al-Asbahani and Ibn Abi Al-Dunia)

You make me happy everyday, you relieve me from every difficulty and you feed me when I’m hungry. I pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes you even more beloved to Him than you are to me (although I don’t know how that’s possible since I love you all the way to the sky, Mama).

When it was time to break your fast, you finally sat down with your plate of food and were about to take your first bite when I asked you if I could have a piece. You moved your fork away from your mouth and put it into mine with a smile on your face.

Anas ibn Malik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)said, “A woman came to ‘A’isha and ‘A’isha gave her three dates. She gave each of her two children a date and kept one date for herself. The children ate the two dates and then looked at their mother. She took her date and split it into two and gave each child a half of it. The Prophet (saw) came and ‘A’isha told him about it. He said, ‘Are you surprised at that? Allah will show her mercy because of her mercy towards her child.’” (al-Albani)

I pray that Allah shows you mercy and fills your tummy with yummy goodness in Jennah, Mama.

When you finally put my sister and me to sleep, your eyes struggled to stay open. You just couldn’t stay awake for the taraweeh prayer you had hoped you would complete tonight. You awoke for suhoor feeling guilty that you couldn’t do more- only to start the entire process again as you heard the pitter patter of little feet excitedly drawn to the lights and smells of your “4am snack time.”

Dear Mama, this Ramadan remember: “…My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him/her, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him/her.” (Hadith Qudsi)

Do not doubt for one moment that wiping those runny noses, feeding those hungry mouths and nurturing the minds and hearts of your children is a way to draw nearer to Allah. Make your intention that you are embracing the role that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) granted you as a mother and that every monotonous daily task can be your fulfillment of a religious duty that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has enjoined upon you. During Ramadan, and throughout the year, we need to prioritize our obligatory acts of worship. Caring for our children is, without a doubt, an obligation and an act of worship.

Remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) chose you to be the mother of your children and there’s no role that is more rewarding for you right now than this one because Allah has decreed it for you and only you. Allah (swt) acknowledges the hardship mothers endure when He says, “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Surah al-Ahqaf: 15)

Instead of viewing our children as the obstacle to worshipping Allah during this blessed month, let us view them as the key to our salvation, forgiveness and success this Ramadan. You are a gift to them and they are a gift to you. View your daily struggles as opportunities and imagine your scale of good deeds overflowing with all that you achieve as you care for your family during this blessed month.

Written by : Sarah Sultan, LPC, LMHC

Sarah Sultan is a licensed professional counselor who strives to empower her clients through achieving healthier, more fulfilling lives and relationships while reconnecting with Allah during the healing process. Sarah obtained a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and has practiced therapy for nearly 10 years. She is an instructor with Mishkah University, where she teaches a course about the intersections between Islam, psychology, and counseling. She is also a Research Fellow with Yaqeen Institute where she focuses her research on a variety of comprehensive and Islamically sound approaches to treating trauma from a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical perspective.