Growing Up to Growing Old: 5 Phases in A Muslim's Lifeby Farida Haji
My Dear Daughter,
Years are passing by, we can count the days and minutes. In this visible world, Allah has granted us precious gifts. Just like you are growing up, I am too, but I am growing older as well and so are you.
Conflicts will arise, and you may come and ask me: “How do I learn more about Islam as a Muslim?”
I want to share five spectacular gifts, five phases of our existence, and tell you they are all inter-connected. Like how I am connected to my mother, you are to me. Daughters are always connected. You see that belly button, that’s proof that children can never be disconnected from their mothers. I may not be a perfect mother. Yet, I have something to say to you.
1. Youth Before Old Age
You were born spotless. Ready for your own story to be written. We prayed the azaan and iqamah in your ears. Your father and I smiled, the widest we could. Father did not shed a tear, but his eyes were full.
As you grow, remember to be in the present, to live with strength and patience. Don’t hasten. I will tell you to rush when you spend an extra minute wearing shoes before you leave for school, but no matter how late, you still say your salaam and run.
Just like that, pray to Allah; don’t hurry, when you go into sujood, stay there a while longer, ask for a more dua. Fill your heart with gratitude, for as years pass, inshaAllah your deeds will keep growing.
2. Health Before Sickness
Alhamdulillah, except for a few fractures and clumsy accidents, I have not been through grave sickness. I have been able to call out to Allah even when I was bringing you into the world. Two days after you were born, there was a severe infection in your eye. We were sitting in the hospital and I saw children crying in pain for numerous reasons. Mothers stressed and rushing. I was exhausted and fatigued. I wanted to rest, but I was at peace knowing that you are a gift born out of the labour of love that I needed to nurture, and we braved through it.
Your little cries brought me to tears. But with that sickness came a more conscious understanding of health. To be careful with our lifestyle, with our words, with what we consume physically and mentally, and even more so with our heart. The gift of health works miracles on your body and it aids in the health of your mind and heart. This healthy heart will call for Allah and Allah will cherish it.
3. Wealth Before Poverty
Allah has bestowed us with numerous types of wealth. The material wealth of shelter, the wealth of family and friends, and even emotional wealth. In the past years, I’ve lost some wealth — my grandparents.
I have lost the wealth of their physical being, but their memories have created a grand abode in my heart. There will be times when this prosperity will slowly slip away from you. Remember one thing, the best still awaits with Allah. He has unimaginable wonders stocked for you when you enter paradise inshaAllah.
Regardless, use your wealth as He has taught us. Share your happiness with others, so it may increase. Share your sorrows with Allah, but share it with me as well, so we can pray and work it out together. Share your food, your money, your deen (marriage and family). Like the uncertain future, these gifts come with a date of expiry. If not used well, you will land below the poverty level — a level where material wealth will not be of any essence or value.
4. Free Time Before Busyness
Oh how I have seen you struggle in attempting everything we did. Walking, talking, babbling, mimicking. You used every minute of your life productively until I started directing you. Then you wandered, tried to escape, and looked for something else that you felt was right to do.
I would try patiently to tell you, and I want to remind you again now, that your free time is valuable. Gather your skills and prepare your luggage — the heavier the luggage of your good deeds, the lesser the burden of your sins. The pillars of Islam will direct you to the right path. Love Allah and Him only. Everything else, even I, will perish with time. May the teachings of Allah be the spine keeping me straight, so I can walk with you and teach you more as long as Allah allows me to.
5. Life Before Death
The last and most prized gift: The gift of life. This is where we unravel all the surprises, hardships, happiness; stumble, get back up, get power and strength. We get only one chance, so I hope you can gather enough and so much more in this lifetime while growing up to growing old.
In my duas, I will always pray for your long, healthy, and wealthy life.
A life of eternal youth,
Where you never fall prey to the concept of old age and never give up on pleasing Allah.
Where your heart never falls sicks, and the light of Allah never dims.
Where poverty of love, compassion, kindness doesn’t strike your pure heart.
Where your time is spent being a better Mumin. Where leisure is not wasting time but peacefully relaxing with a content heart.
Where there is only one goal for every action you do — the quest for paradise.
The Quest for Paradise
My dear child, this chance we have and the gifts we are granted are so precious that when they are taken away, we might not realise it. And when Allah questions us with what we did with all His gifts, we don’t want to be without an answer.
I pray I can be there to unravel all your gifts. Reflect and explore them with you until I have closed my eyes. Then when it is your time, you shall close yours, and when they open in heaven inshaAllah, I shall be waiting for you under the tree that provides shade for a hundred years.
May Allah grant us the love and connection so we may reunite and enjoy our life together in Jannah.