Class Notes –
Dilema Muslimah: Mana Lebih Utama, Kerjaya Atau Kerja Rumah?
By Ustazah Kalthom Muhammad Isa
23 December 2017 @ Masjid Kassim
Image from: Masjid Kassim
In Singapore, our President is a Muslimah. In Singapore, the education literacy of women increased from 89.7% in 2001 to 95.4% in 2016. In 2015, more women than men aged 25-34 years have graduated from university. The dilemma arrives when women are highly educated, but when it comes to matters at home, they do not know what to do, their work at home had always been done by their mothers and helpers previously.
Saiyida Fatima RA does a lot of work at home, so much so that she wanted to ask from Rasulullah a helper. When Rasulullah came to her house, she was making bread, and Rasulullah came and helped her. He told her that if he wanted to find a helper for her, it was possible, (with Rasulullah’s “mukjizat” – he could easily talk to the stones or brooms etc. to work for Saiyida Fatima RA.) However, he said ‘no’, he wanted her to enter Paradise with her jihad.
Imagine these scenarios: If a mother gives her child a handphone and let it babysit her child, without teaching the child things of importance such as learning the Quran etc., and the mother plays with her own other handphone – wouldn’t it be easy? If we spend so much time with our friends outside, hours and hours, wouldn’t it be easy?
Paradise does not come easy. Our children need us to teach and nurture them.
Ustazah Kalthom managed to do her Masters degree in three years while giving birth to her two children and pregnant with her third child, while trying her best to write her final thesis- all possible with the help of her own mother. However, Ustazah is focused. After her classes, she will not spend time at the coffee shop with students – she goes straight home for her responsibilities.
Know our responsibilities. Do not wait for our children to grow up and we are easy before we want to take care of our children ourselves. Our children would not need us as much then. Rasulullah SAW prayed sunnah prayers at home after fardhu prayers at the mosque, reflecting the importance of spending time with family. Rasulullah emphasised the importance of congregational prayers with family too.
Saiyida Khadijah RA was a successful businesswoman. Al Shifa binti Abdullah and Samra Bte Naik Al Asadiyah were leaders in the marketplace in Madinah and Mekkah chosen by Saiyidina Umar. Ummu Salamah and Nusaibah binti Kaab were soldiers in war, protecting Prophet SAW. Nusaibah asked the Doa from Rasulullah SAW to be neighbours in Paradise with Rasulullah and Rasulullah prayed for that to Allah for her. To enter Paradise, we will have to face lots of challenges. Sitting and doing nothing much is not the characteristic of a Muslim, not of someone who seeks for Allah’s Pleasure and desires for Paradise.
Also, work does not impede our abilities to fulfil our responsibilities towards our husband and the education of our children. We have to be cautious of our etiquette in interactions at the workplace to avoid fitnah and adultery. Work should not lessen our attention to the wajib that is the nurturing of our children. Avoid things that can adversely affect our family institution such as affecting our children’s emotions, our relationship with them and our husband and other family members, such as spending too much time on the handphone. When we have meals, pay attention to each other and have conversations. Support from other family members such as grandparents for their help. Always be thankful for their help- it is being thankful to Allah. Always make doa. If we have a lot of issues, wake up at night and ask from Allah.
We have to jihad, with full of spirit, strength (from prayers, seeking advice from asatizah, experts, elders and friends), to take control of our ego and impulses and take care of our heart (read a lot of Surah Insyirah while holding our chest), and know the importance of all. Our children will have an impact on the community – they will be a spouse to someone else, a colleague, a friend. We must understand our responsibilities and if we have work, we must have a love for what we do at work, ready to face all the challenges, have patience through all the struggles and seek Paradise.
Image from: https://zaahara.wordpress.com/
As I sat in the class, I was affirmed in the decision I made to support my family and contribute to the community through my work biitznillah. However, I felt an overwhelming sense of renewed energy to do more for my responsibilities at home with my husband and child, mashaAllah. This is where I also need to place as much or if not, even more energy in fulfilling the trust of building a masjid, and not be complacent or neglectful.
I felt a need to place strong intentions in whatever I do, which would lead back to being a good mother. For example, if I take time to exercise – it would be to also give me increased health to take care of my spiritual growth, as well as my role and duties as a mother. And if I were to work, I make intentions to do my best in the job to contribute to the ummah of Rasulullah SAW, to be an example of a good worker to my children, to do dakwah at work in small and subtle ways, and when I am home, give full attention to my children when we are together, all for the sake of the pleasure of Allah.
May Allah make us aware of our responsibilities and grant us abilities to fulfil them and may we see beauty in them and enjoy the ride in building a beautiful family towards the pleasure of Allah and Rasulullah.
Sweet and Sincere Advice
Ummi’s Feelings of Jealousy Towards Helper as a Full-Time Working Mother
I feel jealous of my helper/nanny. My helper/nanny helps in taking care of my daughter as well as the household chores as I work full-time. She is bonding so well with my daughter and I cannot help but have ill-feelings in my heart. What should I do?
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Dear Ummi, remember to see the perspectives from the other person – her actions have good intentions and surely, not bad ones. She wants to do her best in her job. Also, focus on the feelings of gratitude that your baby girl has one more person who loves her so much. Perhaps you could also sit down and have a discussion with the helper if she is overstepping her role as a helper/nanny. It might make both parties feel better to have her role clearly defined for her. Ultimately, do not leave your prayers to Allah, and seek protection from Syaitan who causes us to question others’ intentions and have doubt and ill-feelings.
(Shared by sis Suliyati)
Dear Ummi, My ustazah in Tareem shared with me that if someone is sincerely wanting to purify her love for others and get rid of ill-feelings towards others, then recite “Ya Waduud” (Allah – The Most Loving) in abundance, especially after prayers and when the ill-feelings surface. InshaAllah it will be purified.
(Shared by Ustazah Farhana Munshi)