Just One Child

My husband passed away when our daughter was 9 months old. Many people, in their attempts to comfort me said, it’s a good thing you only have one child. Imagine how hard it would’ve been if you had a few!

At the time I didn’t know how to respond, so I just gave them the standard smile and nod. But truthfully, one of the great sources of my pain came from the fact that I had always wanted to have many children with my husband. At least four.

But every human plan is superseded by Allah’s plans…

I often think about the mother of Maryam (as), the wife of Imran. She pledged the baby that was in her womb to the service of Allah (swt). When she gave birth to a girl instead of a boy, she said in surprise: “‘My Lord, I have delivered a female.’

“And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered” (3:36).

She had assumed that she would give birth to a boy who could grow into a strong man and have the ability to serve God. Instead, Maryam’s mother gave birth to the best of all women, whose service to God caused her to be a revered role model long after her departure from this earth.

Then, Maryam gave birth to the honoured messenger Isa (as). May Allah be pleased with them all.

Allah (swt) knew what the wife of Imran wanted. She wanted to serve Him through the service of her child. She dedicated the unborn child to Him. And so, in accepting this act of worship from her, Allah (swt) gave her these two blessings in her lineage instead of one.

I love to reflect on this story because it illustrates the great generosity of Allah (swt) in that He takes our actions, our pledges, our devotions and He multiplies them according to whatever He wills. And in turn, when we ask only of Him, He grants us what we ask, or better.

And so as parents (and humans in general) we should all hold on to that great and beautiful hope in Allah. Even if we are only able to have one child, or we have children that aren’t exactly who we were expecting, or no children at all – we shouldn’t dwell on it. Perhaps Allah (swt) will give us the blessings we seek (and better) in another form, at a later time.

I have hope in Allah’s generosity. Instead of mourning the children that I never had, I’ve redirected that energy into continuous Dua for my daughter.

I raise my hands and ask Allah (swt) to guide her and to bless her and her offspring in innumerable ways. And then I lay my hands back in my lap and silently hope that one day, she will be better for me than 10 children would have been. And her offspring will be better, too.

And I trust that from her, the little two year old that drives me up the wall, much good will come to the world. After all, the prophet Muhammad (saw) said: Three supplications will not be rejected: the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler.

May Allah (swt) bless our offspring and their offspring, and make them a continuous charity for us, even after we leave this world.

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