Don’t waste your tears. Be strong. This is your life. Get up.
These are the words that my grandmother said to me as I cried and cried from the pain that cut deep inside my heart. She lent me her strength, power, and courage when I had none left. A woman who birthed and raised eight incredible human beings who now have families of their own. A woman who has seen more pain in her entire life than I could ever even imagine. She is the embodiment of strength. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and lifted me up in my lowest moments. She empowered her daughters, who empowered their daughters.
My mother is the embodiment of patience. The tests and pain she has had to endure and continues to endure throughout her life are beyond my realm of understanding. And yet she still lives life with a sweet, gentle kindness. She continues to treat everyone she meets beautifully. She raised five children and is still raising us, is still our mother, even though we’ve hurt her over and over and over again. She is our source of life, comfort, and unconditional love. My mother tells me I’m her jaan, her life. But without her, I would have no life.
My sister is the shoulder on which I lean. The arms that always embrace me when I need them. The heart of gold that supports me no matter what. Her shining eyes that see me a something incredible, something beautiful, something inspirational – something I could never see myself being. She is the embodiement of empathy. And although she sees me as a phoenix, rising from the ashes, healing with its tears – she is the woman who pushed me to rise, and helped me to heal.
The women of my family have always been the ultimate source of strength, not just for me, but for everyone. They are courage, fierceness, softness, bravery, and light. They are women, fearless.
And that makes me wonder what kind of woman I am.
Am I like Sayyidatuna Aminah, the mother of our Nabi ﷺ, who never once asked, “Why me?” when she dealt with difficulties? Do I view the world with her lens of balance, generosity and kindness?
Or Sayyidatuna Khadijah, the wife of our Nabi ﷺ, who lost both her first two husbands and had to bury some of her children in her lifetime? Do I have the utmost unconditional love for Allah ﷻ’s will, no matter what he tests me with?
Or Sayyidatuna Maryam, the mother of Sayyiduna Isa (as), who had to endure the pain of childbirth alone and the judgment of her people? Do I have that unwavering trust and tawakkul in Allah ﷻ and His plan for me?
Or Sayyidatuna Fatima, the daughter of our Nabi ﷺ, who was أم أبيها, the mother of her father? Do I care for my parents the way she loved and took care of her beloved father?
Or Sayyidatuna Asiyah, the wife of the Pharaoh, who had to deal with the most oppressive tyrant and abusive husband of all time? Do I pray, رب ابن لي عندك بيتا في الجنة, when I feel helpless and alone?
Or Sayyidatuna A’ishah, the wife of our Nabi ﷺ, who patiently endured when she was slandered against? Do I remain patient in times of hardship, or do I despair?
What kind of woman am I?
If I were to be blessed with a daughter someday, I would raise her with the love of these women in her heart. I would tell her that she follows in the footsteps of these beloved giants, these ultimate role models, these most beautiful and incredible women – so to walk on this earth gently, with hayaa. I would tell her to be loving, compassionate, and humble. To always, always say, “Allah ﷻ is enough for me,” and never despair, or give up, or lose hope. I would tell her all the things I would have told myself as a young girl. That we have an army of women behind us who continue to lift us up with their strength. We need only look back and remember that they are there.
May Allah ﷻ make us from among them.