Between getting my child to eat semi-healthy food, trying to ensure she doesn’t colour everything in the house with permanent markers, and putting her to bed at a reasonable time every night, I often feel like I’m at my rope’s end. My patience wears thin. Very, very thin.
I was recently sitting with a group of friends and our children were playing together next to us. I looked at the other kids and I thought – any one of these children could have been mine. If I had married someone else, my daughter, as she is now wouldn’t exist. If her conception was delayed by one month, my child wouldn’t be the same person. If any number of factors had been changed, even slightly, Ruqaya wouldn’t be here. It would someone else entirely. Or no one.
And then it dawned on me that all of these “factors” that could have changed in the blink of an eye, wouldn’t have. Before she existed, my daughter was a soul waiting her turn to enter into this existence. She was a specific soul, meant for a specific body and set of parents and time period. She didn’t just come into being when she was conceived or when her soul was blown into my womb.
She outdates all of that.
Before any of us inhabited this earth, Allah (swt) created our souls and gathered us together. We bore witness to His Oneness.
And now we enter and exit this life in turns, in waves, in generations one after the other. Only Allah (swt) knows when each soul He ever created will come and leave, and to whom they’ll be born, and under what circumstances.
When I think about my daughter as a soul that was entrusted to my care, I look at her differently. God gave her to me – specifically this soul that has been waiting for who knows how long to enter into life. She didn’t end up in the arms of a couple in a different country or in a different time period. She waited in queue according to Allah’s command, and then she came. When He says, “Be” then it is.
I remind myself that she isn’t just a ball of mischief or a set of sticky hands. She isn’t just a body that grows or a bundle of skills that develops with age and knowledge. That’s the surface of her. Inside she’s actually a soul that has been waiting for so long to join me.
And when I see her as she truly is – a soul in need of nurturing, a soul that Allah (swt) meant for me, and me alone – I am able to have that extra moment of patience with her. I am able to appreciate the fact that she’s a gift and a test and an entire person on her own.
She has a purpose to fulfill on this earth, just as I do. We were brought together by Allah’s will, and I know He creates everything with a purpose.
In a way, our children are our soulmates – souls that are bound together in this life, and we hope in the next life too.
Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted (31:34).