Dear Muslim Mother Living With Pain - Suma Din


A mother waiting for test results,

Reading your blog


My dear sister,

Today I read your blog and wondered how I got to this place; thousands of blogs and sites out there, but such is our rizq. We receive these blessings through a link shared, an icon tapped, and I entered your world momentarily. It was a privilege, an eye-opener, a heartbreaker, food for the soul – all in one. I guess we find what we are seeking.

As I’ve just had a host of medical tests done and am waiting for results, my subconscious drifting online led me to a mother living with a long-term condition. It must be a way our souls prepare us, helping us, just in case this is what is waiting around the corner.

To read of your long-term health problems alongside caring for your own children – being a mother, a wife, a daughter – stopped me in my tracks. When life becomes one appointment after another, one more restriction, one more type of pain management, one more uncertainty, I imagine, as you say, it wears you down into a version of yourself that’s hard to recognise. It sounds as though dealing with a long-term condition actually becomes two or three conditions: first it’s the diagnosed health issue, second it brings a psychological challenge and third is dealing with what it does to relationships. All three rotate in their orbit, stars strung together around your life shining a torchlight onto parts uninvited.

I felt, as a mother too, the mixture of regret and sadness as you spoke of making more of the good times, especially when you didn’t have health issues. This regret is so common in us mothers. Why didn’t we do x, y, or z when we could? Why did we lose our temper or lose our focus? Why didn’t we make more of the opportunities in easier times?

It’s easy to fall into these regrets, but at the same time we can remind each other that we don’t know what is around the corner; it’s impossible. Neither do we have knowledge of what’s going to happen, nor the imperative to reach some ideal of perfection that we curate in our minds.

The longer we continue on our motherhood voyage, wading our way through high and low tides, the more we face the reality that we can only do our best with the circumstances we are in. And aiming for ‘perfect’, and then feeling disappointed when we sink, is something we collectively need to sail away from.
I’ve been looking for help with my challenges too, particularly on days I can’t do the things I planned.

As I look for strength through reading, I keep coming back to these following two hadiths; the first filled with hope and the second with comfort, reassuring us that none of the hardship is empty or in vain:

Abu Musa al-Ash'ari reported: The Messenger of Allah (sws) said, “When a slave of Allah suffers from illness or goes on a journey, he is credited with an equal reward of whatever good works he used to do when he was healthy or at home.”


Abu Hurayrah reported that: The Prophet (sws) said: “Never is a believer afflicted with discomfort, illness, anxiety, grief or mental anguish, or even something as trivial as the pricking of a thorn, except that Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience.”

We travel great distances in our mind, finding ourselves in unnamed places. Lost. With these two hadiths, we find our way home.

Your post helped me sit with the subject of gratitude and really think about it. Years upon years of good health can easily lull us into forgetting that this isn’t a guarantee we are entitled to – it is a privilege, a blessing. Other struggles occupy us, fog our mind, and we lose sight, forgetting the things to be grateful for. Thank you for reminding me, too, that real thankfulness to Allah, The Most Generous, manifests as consistent actions: daily acts of ibadah, helping others, giving sadaqah with whatever resources we have whether time, energy or donations.

As a mother, you understand the needs of your children best. Why is it that we, mothers, feel we’re not enough? Please don’t think they need anyone other than you. It’s inevitable that on tough days, you wish the healthy, well version of yourself back and to cope the way you used to

Allah’s (swt) plans can go over our head or take years to come to completion and make sense to us, but they are His designs. And I sense, from what you say, that the struggle is real. I don’t doubt that for a minute, nobody can understand the struggles you have. But there’s one thing I’m sure of, even as an outsider: you are the best mother for your children. What they gain from you is unique. In time, their storehouse of experience will be a life-force for someone else in this world.

We all need help along our mothering journey. And we all need different types of help. There’s no shame in that. Some of us are fighting battles that no one will ever know about. We will need support to raise our children. That support could be practical and hands-on for one mother, for another it’s a compassionate ear on a regular basis that keeps her going. I hope you’ve found help in practical and emotional ways to give you some succour and ease.

When I read about how you feel too deflated sometimes to make dua’, it reminded me of the time when a Companion asked the Prophet (sws) if he needed to whisper or call out loud when supplicating to Allah (swt). The beautiful answer to this query came as direct revelation in this hopeful and healing ayah:
[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided. (2:186)

Knowing that we are never really ever alone, as this ayah confirms, is solace to our hearts when we feel isolated. In those moments of despair, when there is no one else and we’re on our knees with head and heart in submission, we are not alone – we are heard. Some days, I too have felt like ‘what’s the point?’. This ayah then turns into a lifejacket to stop me from drowning.

Thank you again for posting your experience that found me in my time of need.
With my dua’s for your good health, ease and barakah for your family,

Love from your ‘virtual’ sister x


Excerpt is from Dear Mother: Letters From the Heart by Suma Din

9781847742032 - Hardback