Our Children Are a Loan
The news of the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria has brought many miraculous stories of survival along with it. People rescued after 3, 4, even 7 days, waiting under the rubble, bring joy and hope to our hearts of recovery and healing. Many of these people spent their time under the rubble praying, reciting the Quran, and patiently waiting for a miracle from Allah. We know that Allah SWT never leaves his servants and he is always helping them and showing them His mercy. Of course not everyone can survive such widespread destruction. The most heartbreaking stories have involved the deaths of children, sometimes multiple children, from the same family. This is always very hard to take and requires faith and trust in the decree of Allah SWT. This brings to my mind something that our Sheykh Lokman Efendi HZ reminds us of. He always tells us that our children are not our creatures, and that they are creatures of Allah SWT and a separate creation belonging to Him. Usually we forget that our children are not in fact ours, they are merely a loan from Allah, and a responsibility that we have been given. It is hard to accept that sometimes that responsibility includes bearing their loss in this life.
There is a lot of talk in the world today about women’s rights in Islam compared to their rights in the West. One of the most beautiful things I discovered when I became Muslim was the station and status of the mother. Along with that status comes great reward for enduring things such as childbirth or the loss of a child. In fact, any woman who dies during childbirth, becomes the level of a Shaheed in Paradise, and any woman who loses a child, especially before the age of maturity, will be welcomed by that child in Paradise. There are many hadith from Holy Prophet AS detailing the reward of the parent who is grieved at the loss of their child. Even unborn fetuses who pass away will be able to welcome their mother into the gates of Paradise. When thinking about the earthquake in Türkiye, it is especially poignant in the light of these Hadith to realize that some women became Shaheed twice over in the same day.
One of the most widespread stories was of a woman who was pregnant when the earthquake happened, and she passed away under the rubble as Shahid Inshallah. She also gave birth spontaneously after she was crushed, and her baby was rescued alive. Therefore she died under the rubble and also died in childbirth. Inshallah may this be a double reward for her Amin. Her child was named Aya, which means sign from Allah. and indeed she was a sign for believers.
There was another man who wrote a beautiful letter that he published for his six year old son, Ahmed. He wrote in this letter, what we have been told by our Sheykh: that Ahmed was a loan from Allah SWT and that He SWT called him home. The grief, love, and patience displayed by parents like these is an inspiration to us all when our children are testing us and pushing boundaries, and we have to remind ourselves, that they are not our creatures, May we show beautiful patience in the face of their challenges and remember that they are a beautiful loan from our Lord. May we always show gratitude for being tested in life rather than face the test of patience in the face of their deaths. Amin