May is officially the last month of spring, and as this season draws to a close, we can take the opportunity to see how we can apply the habit of guardianship in relation to our womanhood. Guardianship can be seen as the role we have when we are guardians over others and responsible for them.
In this article, we will explore guardianship with a general overview of mercy and guardianship, how we can be guardians over our menstrual cycles, what guardianship is for women without children, and guardianship in pain and loss.
Mercy and Guardianship
As Cherished Muslimahs, we connect to Allah ﷻ through His divine names, accept and take responsibility and also adore performing our roles of guardianship. The acts of looking after others may include looking after children, husband, parents, in-laws, elders and neighbours.
We know that Allah ﷻ is Ar-Rahmaan, Ar-Raheem, The Most Merciful and Always Merciful and through a hadeeth, we are reminded to show this mercy to others.
The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahmaan. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahmaan, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him.
As a leader, we do our best to be loving, wise and merciful guardians, accepting others as they are, as we can only change ourselves, and ask Allah ﷻ to have continued mercy on us and those under our care. We do our best to emulate these blessed traits of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ
As discussed in March’s article, the womb is a source of mercy, a place where the miracle of life is nourished, and where our creative element stems from.
With this source of mercy comes the role of responsibility. As we are doing these acts of guardianship, we remember that we are submitting to Allah ﷻ taking responsibility for these gifts He ﷻ has given us.
Some of these guardianship roles are those whom we have ties of kinship, connected to our wombs. Let us remind ourselves, that this role is an act of leadership; we take responsibility for upholding this connection, as it is a command of Allah ﷻ.
We do our best to perform our roles asking Allah ﷻ to help us to connect to our mercy as women, in being merciful in our roles with those we are responsible for.
Suggestions of connecting to mercy in guardianship
- Learn to emulate one beautiful characteristic of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Get your family involved or arrange with a friend to remind you to implement this new blessed act.
- Accept others as they are and be mindful of being merciful in your words, remembering Allah ﷻ mercy upon us.
- Take time to ensure that you are responsible for upholding the ties of kinship, even if it means writing a list and planning when to get in touch with people.
Guardianship of our own cycles
When I attended the Mizan wombpsace workshop, I was taught the importance of charting emotions and physical changes in my body for each day of my menstrual cycle. I didn’t realise the significance of this until I actually did this!
I encourage every woman, whether menstruating or not, of being aware, noting and understanding the gentle whispers of their bodies, understanding what is normal and signs of dis-ease. This allows us to be guardians over our own cycles and looking after our own selves.
The four seasons of the cycle menstruation, pre-ovulation, ovulation and post-ovulation reflect the four seasons spring, summer, autumn and winter. Just like the seasons of the year, the menstrual cycle has new growth as spring, the peak as in summer, a time of reflection in autumn and a needed rest in winter.
Look out for your differing emotions each day, are you happy, content, reflective or agitated?
See if you can recognise the renewed “let’s go” energy in the spring of your cycle and the differing energy levels throughout your cycle!
Note the physical changes in your body, from your quality of sleep, changes in discharge, your digestion and even the amount you sweat!
Suggestions for guardianship of our own cycles
- Begin charting your emotions, physical changes and energy levels daily and list what you want to record in each area, e.g. happy, sad, anxious, colour of discharge, quality of sleep, focus.
- A score system for each area of 1-5 can be helpful, e.g. good – mad mood!
- Once you see a pattern in your energy levels throughout the month, see if it is possible to plan things around these energy shifts.
For those that do not have children
Allah ﷻ is the one that perfectly chooses what roles we are given at all stages of our lives, as He is Al-Hakeem, The All Wise.
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, the blessed wife of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, had the title ‘The Mother of the Believers’, even though she did not have children. Nevertheless, she was a highly intelligent woman and a scholar, and Allah ﷻ chose for her to be an expert in many areas including the interpretation and commentary of the Quran, hadeeth and fiqh.
Just like Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, some women are not guardians of children on a day-to-day basis as a mother. I have found that it can be helpful to look how to fulfil this innate need of motherhood in other ways, but I am not claiming anything can substitute the role of a mother, as nothing can.
As I do not have children, I keep in touch with my younger friends through their kind and generous mothers. It allows me to express my love to these little people and also offer nourishment to them in the form of love and, of course, lots of innocent giggles!
Alhamdulillah, I am grateful that I have a love of plants as it allows me to care for another living being and be grateful to Allah ﷻ for having this love. Each plant is individual; they have specific needs of temperature, humidity, food, soil, light, heat and rest periods! As their carer and guardian, it is my obligation to check all their needs are met.
It is very easy to pine over the guardianship roles that we desire to have. For our own emotional, physical and spiritual health, it is vital we use the resources we have and to use the gift of time, whatever our guardianship roles are. Allah ﷻ is The Wakeel, so let us trust Him ﷻ in the guardianship roles we have been assigned. And of course, seek professional help if needed – see below1.
Suggestions for those not guardians over children
- If you feel you may need to fulfil this area, think about what you can do to help nourish someone or something. There may be a relative, friend, neighbour or colleague that may need some time out and support with their children, or themselves.
- Is there a skill you can share with others that may be a form of ongoing charity for you? E.g. teaching others how to cook, maintaining your car, changing a tyre, teaching Islamic studies.
- If you do feel you want to enhance your life in this way but can’t think how, perhaps ask others what creative qualities they see in you – those who are close to us often know us better than we know ourselves!
And most importantly ask Allah ﷻ to guide you, to allow you to accept the roles He destined for you and to fulfil your needs.
Being merciful in times of pain and loss
There may be those under our guardianship that have hurt us in the past. Yet with wise naseeha from our teachers, local scholars, trusted support and our inner wisdom, there are ways we can find to look for peaceful solutions with others and within ourselves inshaAllah.
One way is remembering the mercy of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had with others. Of course, we are human, and it is natural conflicts arise in life, these are the tests of life and what shapes who we become.
As Cherished Muslimahs, we do our best to find solutions in order to resolve and heal, so that we can be merciful to others, and very importantly, to ourselves as well.
Unnecessary anxiety can arise if we are blaming ourselves, and such thoughts can result in stagnation in the body, in particular the wombspace, the mind and soul. Being merciful to ourselves in getting help for resolve or even release of a relationship is crucial to our wellbeing as women, as merciful women. And ultimately we are never hopeless in the mercy of Allah ﷻ.
Allah ﷻ only tests those whom He loves, perhaps the bigger the test, the bigger reformation of yourself and the bigger the reward…inshaAllah.
Sometimes we can be struggling with pain as we experience loss in one of our guardianship roles. Perhaps it is the loss of a husband, children or elders being called back to Allah ﷻ, or a divorce or moving away from your friends and neighbours.
Allah ﷻ is Al Muhyi and Al Mumeet, The Giver of life and The Taker of life.
It can be very painful to heal from losses. We can connect to our purpose during this time, by remembering that ultimately, we are not in control but Allah ﷻ is, to Him ﷻ we belong and to Him ﷻ we all return. Perhaps reflecting on our final destination can remind us that all the roles we have as guardians are limited and so could aid healing.
For many people, ignoring and “putting aside” the severe sadness within themselves can cause tensions in the different parts of the body, in particular, the wombspace. In Wild Feminine, by Tami Lynn Kent, she mentions that “unless there are rituals or other means to channel the energy of grief, it sits like a stone in a woman’s pelvis.”
It is essential that these feelings of grief and immense hurt are acknowledged and listened to for your physical and mental health. In this vulnerability, talking with trusted wise people can perhaps allow release and an understanding of these feelings, and allow the re-connection to the mercy within ourselves as women.
Suggestions for being merciful in pain and loss
- In difficulties, in tests with relationships and grief of lost loved ones, seek advice from your teachers and scholars. If you do not have anyone, ask trusted people to suggest their teachers or speak to local scholars. This enables us to follow the teachings of our Deen during times of hardship.
- Find the right people to talk to so your feelings are validated and acknowledged, knowing accumulated energy can cause physical illness. Seek professional help if needed1.
- Continually ask Allah ﷻ to heal and help you, especially in the last portion of the night. Wake up 10 minutes before the start of Fajr to pray two Rakaat Salaat Al Haajat when Allah ﷻ descends to the lower heaven to answer our calls.
Embrace your guardianship roles as merciful leaders this May inshaAllah!
- Please seek professional medical advice if you feel you are struggling with your thoughts and feelings; some useful websites shared by a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist are below.