At ProductiveMuslimah, we realise sisters have a difficult time trying to live up to their expectations in all the different roles in our lives – whether it is as a mother, wife, worker and a worshipper. Being a good daughter has been on my mind for a long time as I often meet sisters who feel they are failing in this role. I have myself struggled to find the balance at times in serving my parents and other demands of life. Recently I have adopted a few hacks to help me in this pursuit to be a better daughter, and note I chose the word ‘better’, because none of us are perfect!
Firstly, we should acknowledge that as a Muslimah, our first and foremost role is to worship Allah but then immediately after fulfilling these obligations, serving our parents is the best honour we can have. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do” [Qur’an Chapter 29: Verse 8].
Allah has endowed upon women so many challenging yet rewarding roles, but we often overlook that being a good daughter is one of the best ways in which we can worship Allah – whether you are a married woman with demands from your in-laws or a single Muslimah who is looking to get married – remember that you can live your life’s true purpose by looking after your parents.
As a working Muslimah, I have been fortunate and blessed to have parents who have always supported me in my work endeavours; however, I realise that some of us can take our parents for granted and this can lead to us neglecting our duties towards our parents even though we may not have intended to do this. So, here are a few hacks I have adopted to fulfil my obligations towards my parents:
1. Prioritise your parents over other tasks
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt as a Muslimah is that despite the demands on our time from work, personal goals and other aspirations – we must do our best to prioritise our parents over other less important tasks. It isn’t easy! However, making sure you are flexible and checking in with your parents before making other commitments outside of work life can really help you manage your family tasks and fulfil your duties to your parents. I often block out time in the weekend to see if my parents need anything and follow up on any outstanding tasks. It also helps to have an understanding employer who will be able to understand that your family comes first so there may be times where you need to prioritise them over work.
2. Communicate regularly
I find that there’s nothing better than a cup of tea with my Mum or chat with my Dad on a quiet Sunday to build a positive relationship with your parents. It’s very important to have open and honest communication with your parents, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to have a very close relationship with both of my parents. Even small chats and giving your parents time can help them to realise that they are not taken for granted – as parents get older all they want is your attention just as you wanted all of theirs as a child! Something as simple as going for a walk in the park or sitting in the living room talking about life in general regularly can remind them that they are still the most important people in your life as you get older and preoccupied with other commitments in life.
3. Be patient and good to them
I’ve met many sisters who have challenging family circumstances, some have hopes and dreams of accomplishing certain goals or careers in life which their parents do not support whilst others find themselves constantly battling the expectations their parents have of them whilst trying to practice Islam (trust me I know it’s a long battle!). We may fall into the trap of shaytan – talking back to our parents, arguing with them when we disagree on a matter or even saying hurtful things to them. But we must remember that Allah says in the Qur’an that even when our parents do not not necessarily see things the way we do, it is important to still be kind and good to them. Sometimes I have found that all it takes is a kind word to acknowledge that your parents want what is best for you so we should strive to obey and please them unless their orders go against a command of Allah . Ultimately, none of us can be perfect daughters (as much as we may try to be!) because perfection belongs to Allah alone. We can however do our best to please our parents with good words and kind treatment.
4. Give them quality time
One hack that has helped me recently to have better work life balance is to schedule outings and quality time with my parents. This could be something simple and low-budget by taking your parents to the mosque, having brunch in your favourite cafe or scheduling a shopping trip to treat them. This should be time where you give them your undivided attention and make them feel like they are worthy of your time no matter how busy you may get in life. After all, your parents most likely spent most of their lives sacrificing and giving up their own time and desires to care and provide for you. Spending time with your parents, especially if you don’t live with them, is something you try to do even if it means a regular phone call to let your parents know that you are thinking of them and that you are there if they ever need you. This is a huge positive booster in being a good daughter.
5. Shower them with gifts and du’a
There is a profound hadith which highlights how we will never be able to be truly grateful for everything our parents have done for us especially when we were younger. To this day, my father will ensure all my siblings are given an equal share in anything he buys. It is then only befitting that we do our best to attempt repaying them by gifting them with things they like – cooking them dinner, buying clothes, flowers (I love to buy unique roses for my mother) or spending on them by taking them on a trip to ‘Umrah or to Hajj – a journey of a lifetime.
Finally, the best thing you can give them is your prayers, as Allah says we should always recite: “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small” [Qur’an Chapter 17: Verse 24]. We must remind ourselves that making du’a for our parents is one of the best actions we can do for them whether our parents are still with us today or have departed from this world as the Prophet Muhammad said: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah (charity), knowledge from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.” [Muslim]
So those are my 5 simple hacks to incorporate into our daily lives, that I hope will help us all strive to be better daughters and ultimately be more productive Muslimahs in our lives, I’d love to hear your tips and advice as well as your thoughts on this article below!