The Governor’s Son is whipped!

Jul 10 - The governor's son is whipped

Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) was the governor of Egypt during Umar Ibn Khattab’s (rta) caliphate. He belonged to one of the tribes of Quraish called Banu Saham. He entered the fold of Islam in 8 AH. The Prophet (sa) sent him towards Oman, and Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) preaching inspired the ruler to accept Islam.

He was an eloquent speaker, very soft spoken, a writer, thinker, politician and commander-in-chief. He has narrated thirty-nine Ahadeeth.

One day, a citizen of Egypt approached Umar (rta) and complained to him: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! I have come to you to seek shelter from cruelty.”

Umar (rta) replied: “You have come to a man who has the power to grant you shelter.”

The Egyptian continued: “I participated in a race with Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) son. When I went ahead of him, he started to whip me and cried out: ‘I am the son of a noble family.’”

Upon hearing the complaint, Umar (rta) wrote a letter to Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) and summoned him along with his son.

When Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) and his son appeared before him, Umar (rta) inquired: “Where is the Egyptian?”

When he appeared before Umar (rta) too, he commanded the Egyptian: “Take this whip and hit him.”

As soon as the Amir-ul-Mumineen ordered the Egyptian to do so, he started to whip Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) son. Umar (rta) kept on repeating: “Whip the son of the noble family.”

Anas (rta) narrates: “By Allah (swt)! The Egyptian whipped the governor’s son fiercely, and we all wanted him to do so. However, after some time, we wished that he stopped.”

Then Umar (rta) ordered: “Whip Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) bald head too.”

The Egyptian said: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! His son whipped me, and I have avenged him by way of Qisas.”

Then, Umar (rta) addressed Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta): “Since when have you enslaved your people, when their mothers had borne them free?”

Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) clarified: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! I was not aware of this incident and this man never brought his complaint to me.”

This is how justice was served during the caliphate of the Muslims. The son of a governor, belonging to a noble family, was commanded to be whipped before his own father’s eyes and that too by a common man, who had been wronged. Shariah laws protected the innocent and set an unprecedented example for others to stay within limits.

Adapted from “Sunehray Faislay”, published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

Handling Hygiene with Kids

Jul 10 - Handling Hygiene with kids

“My mother never hires a maid with small children,” says a friend of mine, “She thinks they are dirty; constantly smelling of their infants’ and toddlers’ waste on their clothes, as their hygiene is poor.”

I recall an incident I witnessed back in my own childhood. We were at a private swimming pool, when a few mothers caused a furor. A boy aged 3-4 relieved himself outside the pool. The boy’s mother, without any mortification, calmly walked him to the toilet as he continued to poop, marking their path with droppings. Everyone at the scene duly expressed what they thought of the mother’s ‘potty’ training skills. As for us, children, we were just grateful he decided to ‘go’ before getting into the pool.

It is not just uneducated women, who have low standards of hygiene with their children, is it? Even educated mothers need training about maintaining overall cleanliness after they have a baby – in their persona, home and environment. Getting dirty in cleaning up is a mandatory part of a mother’s life, especially during the first three years post-baby. There are no two ways about it – it is her job and she must know how to get it done effectively.

Doing away with hang-ups

Just like medical students must give up any queasiness in handling blood, human flesh, organs or cuts, new mothers, too, must give up innate abhorrence to human waste and body excretions.

In order to bring up a healthy and happy child, a mother must accept the fact that from now on anything that comes out of her baby’s body has to be cleaned up by her: spit-up

milk, nose goop, vomit, earwax, saliva, excreta – you name it. When a mother happily accepts this as part of her ‘job’, she can move past it quickly and efficiently.

As Muslim women, we should ultimately believe in and hope for the great reward promised by Allah (swt) for doing this so-called ‘dirty’ work. We will be rewarded not just for efficiently rearing a clean baby, but also for upholding the high standards of Taharah (purity) and cleanliness required by Islam.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “Cleanliness is half of faith.” (Muslim)

Read relevant literature

Issues of Taharah need to be understood in-depth by reading Islamic literature on its do’s and don’ts. Websites, such as askimam.org and islam-qa.com, answer everyday questions about hygiene issues regarding children, e.g., what to do if a child urinates on its mother’s clothing? Does washing a baby’s excreta invalidate Wudhu?

Sheikh Uthaymeen replied to this question as follows: “With regard to changing a baby’s diaper, if you mean the act of changing in itself, this does not affect the validity of one’s Wudhu. If you mean that it involves touching something that is Najis (impure, i.e., the baby’s urine and stools), this does not affect your Wudhu either, because there is no connection between touching something Najis and the validity of one’s Wudhu. There is scholarly consensus on this point. All one has to do is wash one’s hands to get rid of any Najis material.

“If you mean that it involves touching the child’s private parts: whether the child is a boy or a girl; in the case of a child under the age of two years, the rulings on Awrah (that which is to be covered) do not apply, as the scholars have stated. So if you touch them, this does not affect your Wudhu. And Allah (swt) knows best.” (Islam-QA.com)

Make use of modern cleaning resources

Gone are the days of cloth diapering and hand-washed clothes! Now, new mothers can avail resources that maintain hygiene and purity, from waterproof cot mattresses and sheets, to wet wipes and ‘breathable plastic’ diapers, hand sanitizers and baby bath gels, to fully automatic washing machines. Also, cleaning materials, such as absorbent sponges, flannels and scented floor wipes, help a lot during potty training a couple of years after the birth, in which ‘potty accidents’ regularly need to be cleaned up!

Here are a few tips, regarding how a mother can clean up leakages efficiently:

Wet bed

During the first few months, when a first-time mother is learning the ropes herself, she might be too exhausted to change the baby’s diaper before falling asleep, having to face a wet baby, bed sheet and mattress in the morning.

  1. Change the baby’s clothes first. Put on a clean diaper and dry clothes; feed him/her, then proceed to the next step.
  2. Take the sheet to the tap. Wash just the wet area of the bed sheet with running water. Do NOT immerse the entire sheet in a pail. The urine on the wet portion should be drained away completely, using a minimum amount of running water.
  3. Once the wet spot has been washed, purity is restored. Wring it dry. You can wash it further with soap/detergent, if you wish. You do not need to wash the entire bed sheet.
  4. As a precaution, place a large rubber mat covering the entire mattress to prevent it from getting soiled in case of leakages. You can place the bedsheet over this rubber mat.

Soiled mattress or carpet

Remove any solids (feces or vomit) with dry tissue first; then, discard the tissue in the toilet. An absorbent, damp cloth should then be used to clean the soiled patch on the mattress/carpet thus:

  1. Wash the cloth with water under a tap, wring, and rub the patch; repeat this, until the stain is considerably gone, and the soiled area on the carpet/mattress has lost its smell.
  2. Mix enough detergent in some water and repeat the process: wet the cloth in the soap-water, rub the patch, rinse the cloth, wring; wet, rub, repeat. Eventually, the patch of carpet/mattress will be thoroughly clean and pure.
  3. Once it has dried, prayer can be performed on it, Insha’Allah. Using an absorbent cloth to rub the area repeatedly ensures that the excreta are completely removed.

On the go:

Some items are essential for mothers of babies and toddlers on the go: wet baby wipes, changing (waterproof) mat, some extra diapers, small plastic bags (for waste disposal), a plastic bottle filled with tap water, tissues (or a tissue roll) and hand sanitizers.

Make your children wash their hands before and after eating; make them use the toilet in such a way that after they are done, an onlooker cannot tell that it has been used. Tell the boys never to urinate while standing and always wash themselves after answering the call of nature. If they are old enough, they can have small aerosols of air fresheners in their toilets to use.

As mothers of the next generation, we have to leave no stone unturned in inculcating high standards of cleanliness and purity in our little ones from day one, whether, we are in our private spaces or in public.

“Allah is clean, and loves cleanliness.” (Ibn Majah)

Defining my Hero

Jul 10 - Defining my hero

Just like any other teenager, I also wanted to marry a tall, dark and handsome young man. But as my late grandmother predicted: “I was a dark complexioned girl, so I found a fair skinned groom, so will you one day.” And, I did, indeed. I ended up marrying a short, fair and cute bloke. But that wasn’t the end of my fairytale; rather, it was the beginning.

I learnt an important lesson that marriage is not just about finding a good-looking mate. It is not about treating our husband as a genie found in a bottle who’s meant to please us by granting our every wish (justified or unjustified).

Marriage is much deeper and far more meaningful – a relationship between two individuals. It is a partnership, which entails dispensing each other’s rights. It is a companionship meant for sharing each other’s sorrows and comforting one another through hardship.

It also means to celebrate each other’s victories. It is always about putting our partner’s needs and desires before our own. It means to find our own happiness in his/her smiles and love our beloved with the warmth we had never felt for anyone before.

After twelve years of marriage, this is some of the wisdom that I can share. But it wasn’t so in the early years of matrimony.

The first few years were more about taming our egos and wild desires to criticize and constantly complain about the smallest things. When we were blessed with our first child, we set realistic expectations as parents and stopped demanding the impossible from one another. After the second child came into the picture, it was about extending our roles further as mom and dad. Now, it was fine for dad to change diapers and for mom to get the broken car fixed.

With the third child, we learnt that multi-tasking and strict budgeting was the only way to get ahead smoothly. This meant simple clothes for ourselves, if we were to have a decent wardrobe for our three little angels. This is just one of the many sacrifices that we have made together with a smile and have grown up to become mature and responsible parents. If someone would have asked us to make the same sacrifice in the very first year of our marriage, we would probably have killed him/her. But as I said, we lived the good times and the bad times together. When we look back, it gives us a sense of pride to have lived through it all as a couple.

Many people have helped me along my journey and taught me to change the way I used to think. May Allah (swt) bless them for this. They truly enabled me to discover a new perspective of marriage and love my husband – the only true hero in my life.

This doesn’t mean that my husband has suddenly become a perfect mortal, and I have awakened to this reality. It rather means that I have come to love him the way he is with all his flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses, as he has come to accept me with mine. He can still get on my nerves with his forgotten promises, missed appointments, over-commitments to others and last minute havoc-stricken actions. But now, instead of being angry or upset for days, I either mutter under my breath, ignore him or when I can’t bite my tongue, I scold him and eventually go back to loving him the way he is.

I have to remind myself constantly of the great many things he has done for me, without me even having to ask him. One such thing includes working day and night tirelessly to provide for the family’s comfort and well-being. I have a choice to stay at home, while he has to get up every morning and head for the real world. When the family goes for shopping, he is the last one to buy anything for himself and even then, only when I insist. In spite of hating household chores, he helps me with almost everything on Sundays. He tries to be the best father and husband.

Here, I would like to confess that I used to gossip about his late arrivals from office and the mess he leaves behind when leaving for work in frenzy, or giving too much attention to his own brothers and sisters. Not anymore. Now, I have vowed not to backbite, but instead to highlight the very best qualities in him.

I am grateful to my dear sister who very wisely pointed out to me: “Our husbands are fulfilling their duties as the Ameers (leaders) of the family. When Allah (swt) will question them, Insha’Allah, they will fare better than us, as compared to our roles as wives and mothers, because of our constant thankless attitude towards their contributions. Ingratitude and gossip is a major cause for many wives to break their marriages and eventually their peaceful homes.”

I also owe a big thanks to a sister in Islam. I was completely swept away by the way Na’ima B. Robert dedicated her book “From my sisters’ lips” to her better half. She wrote: “For my husband, the wind beneath my wings.” How freely she expressed her love, gratitude, trust and affection!

That’s another problem with us. As a cultural taboo, many of us are either embarrassed or self-conscious of expressing our true inner feelings as the Eastern brides or wives towards our spouses. But believe me – saying such romantic lines as ‘I love you’ every now and then can enliven our relationship.

And if we happen to be extremely uneasy or shy expressing our love candidly, we should at least try using such words as ‘sorry’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ more often.

So here we are! The next time any of us is tempted to compare her husband to any other man (be it her father, a celebrity or a complete stranger), she should remember all that he has done and goes on doing for her and her family, that too without having to ask him!