As I kneel down, facing the direction of the Kabbah, ready to focus my energy and attention on my prayers, I pause and think of the blessings Allah has granted me. My thoughts center on my womb, where the tiny being inside me is perfectly encapsulated from all harm, where Allah has allowed the child to grow and develop into the creation He desires, where body and soul transform rapidly to produce the beautiful bundle of joy that will enter into the world.
Three years ago on the Night of Power in Ramadan, I took shahada over the phone with a Muslim friend who had helped me to understand and accept Islam as the one true faith. I was ill-prepared for the struggles that lie ahead, but I knew with Allah ta’alla’s help, I would become the kind of Muslim that I longed to be.
Now, married and expecting my first child, I feel an even stronger connection to Islam. Islam teaches us how to live our lives here on earth in the way that pleases Allah, through the guidance given to us in the Holy Qur’an. As a young parent, I feel the fear of the unknown. I sense the immense responsibility that has been handed down to me, and I fear that failing as a parent will mean my failure in this life. But I know that the Qur’an is the best parenting manual I can find. I know that succeeding as a Muslim will be my success as a parent. And I know that Allah is with me through it all.
Seeing the world through the eyes of a parent now, I view the outside world as a collection of temptations and worldly pleasures. Each decision I make has and always will be recorded, but now will also be viewed through the impressionable eyes of my child. In the choices I make, I will not only affect my own life and the life of the Hereafter, I will also be sending a ripple of influence through the life of the child Allah has granted me. And that, too, will be recorded.
This Ramadan is a special one. Because I will be pregnant for the duration of Ramadan and therefore cannot fast, I strive to find new ways to strengthen my faith and make this month more meaningful than any before it. I have started to learn the prayer after many years of internal struggling. Finally I am worshipping Allah as He has intended for us as Muslims. As I bow down in worship, my baby follows with me. Every salat I perform, my baby is there, experiencing with me the wave of intense emotions I feel when in Allah’s presence, when performing this most sacred of pillars. I feel him moving, alive and eager, and I am grateful to Allah for giving me this most precious gift in this life.
None of us is a perfect Muslim – we are far from it. All of us can do better and strive to control our desires and increase our nafs. But always we are an example to our children. They are the ones we often fail to remember during times when we get angry, impatient, or fail to carry out our duties as Muslims. They are watching all that we say and do closely and they do not forget.
I pray that Allah may guide me in the right direction, throughout the month of Ramadan, while I prepare mentally and physically for bringing a child into this world in the most appropriate time of this year, and I pray that my humble demeanor will lay a solid foundation for the tiny blessing that I will soon, insha’Allah, bring into this wonderful world.