Episode 5 - Iram Bint Safia on Parenting Uncomplicated

Irambintsafia on “Parenting Uncomplicated” and Simple Ways to Manage Stress

Aug 28, 2020

Saba Malik 0:00
Asaalamu Alaikum, I’m Saba Malik, and welcome to the Mentally Fit Muslims podcast. I hope you’re feeling great. Today I have a special episode for you. I sat down with my friend Iram. She is a homeschooling mom, and much, much more. I love talking with her. And I hope you really enjoy our conversation.

And make sure to stay till the end and hear why we actually think that COVID was really good for us. Enjoy the show.

Asalaamu alaikum Iram

Irambintsafia 0:41
Wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah.

Saba Malik 0:43
How’s it going?

Irambintsafia 0:44
It’s been well, can’t complain, Alhumdulillah. How are you?

Saba Malik 0:48
I’m good. I’m Alhumdulillah. Thank you for coming on my podcast. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was kind of going crazy with the Corona thing and I have a young daughter. Then I hear about schools closing or opening and we have no clue and I was like, “What am I gonna do?”

I’m already going crazy at home with my family. And now I have to think about her school. So I think I was just googling online “parenting and homeschooling,” then you popped up and I saw “Irambintsafia.” I’m like, “Hmm, interesting. Who is this?” lol

Irambintsafia 1:26
Lol I’s like to ask. So did you find anything useful Irambintsafia? Did you find anything useful when you saw the name, when you clicked on it?

Saba Malik 1:34
You know, the first thing I heard was one one of your Instagram videos, the one where your kids are in the background and they’re helping you record. So, one of them asked, “why Irambintsafia?” and you mentioned that your mom is a single mother and she raised you?

Irambintsafia 1:50
Yeah, yes.

Saba Malik 1:51
And you know, my mom raised us as a single mother too. That’s the first thing that clicked. I was like, okay, we have something in common lol.

Irambintsafia 2:02
Alhumdulillah lol.

Saba Malik 2:03
So that first pulled me in and then what is different between us is that you’re homeschooling three kids and I’m not. Well, I’m starting to homeschool now. So what is it like to homeschool three kids? And how do you stay sane? I just want to know, HOW do you stay sane?

Irambintsafia 2:24
See, the thing that the video did not show was that I stay “sane.” So that’s an assumption that I leave for the world lol!

Saba Malik 2:31
Oh really?! Lol!

Irambintsafia 2:32
Ask my children. They will tell you stories. So yes, “Irambintsafia” came into being because I felt the need to make my own niche. I actually started blogging for another website and I had some sort of creative restrictions when it came to them. Although I’m very grateful that they gave me the platform, they gave me the opportunity Alhumdulillah.

And then someone else actually asked me, “Why don’t you do it? Why don’t you do your own thing? And where’s your own voice? Where’s your own personality?” So that’s how the whole process of “Irambintsafia” and “Parenting Uncomplicated” by Irambintsafia came into being.

I was always a speaker, a motivational speaker, and a bilingual motivational speaker. In fact, I speak in Urdu as well as I speak in English. So I’ve had my audiences in different parts of the world. And I knew that I had this ability to reach out to people and mostly all of us mothers, we have something in common that we share. We might be very different personalities, we might have very different backgrounds but when you become a mother, the first thing that a mother wants for her children is the best of everything, really the best of the best of home, education, love, emotional bonding. I don’t think there’s any mother who would not want all of that, security, safety.

Saba Malik 4:09
I’ve heard other parents mentioned that too and I’ve read it on so many other blogs and articles. But what struck me with you was one of your recent posts that you just put up on Facebook and I saw it on Instagram as well. In the middle of it, you said that, “Parenting is the toughest job you sign up for and cannot resign from.”

Irambintsafia 4:30
Yes, that’s true.

Saba Malik 4:31
I have not read anywhere, something like that and I was like that is so true. It is something you sign up for and then you’re like, you can’t leave it. You cannot turn back and it is a full commitment, all your life. And it is tough. It’s very tough.

And I think especially during this COVID time, and not knowing for parents, whether they should send their kids back to school. Alot of mothers who have to work and it’s just you know, a very unique situation. And Alhamdulillah I’m a teacher and I was able to take that option of homeschooling but you don’t have to have a teaching degree to be a homeschooler but it gave me that confidence that yes, I can do this. And I’m not working right now. So I could do that with my daughter. But also I saw that you just got your teaching degree from an online university?

Irambintsafia 5:24
It’s an online Islamic University called as International Online University and I was enrolled in it for six years.

Saba Malik 5:30
Wow, mashaAllah lol you finally got it!

Irambintsafia 5:32
Lol

Saba Malik 5:35
I think you already have multiple degrees in parenting. I don’t think you need a degree. I think you could be a professor of parenting.

Irambintsafia 5:46
JazakAllah, Thank you so much. Of course, age, and children give you a lot of wisdom. The aches and pains that come along with being a parent. Yes Alhamdulillah. But my whole idea, I started homeschooling in 2015.

So a short synopsis of my story is I was born and brought up in thre United Arab Emirates. I did my 12th grade there. My mom is a nurse by profession. I have a younger sister who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s married Alhumdulillah. I got married right after in the last semester of my bachelor’s, which I was doing from Lahore while I was still settled in UAE.

So I used to travel back and forth. And my last semester, I got this proposal, and I was so fed up with the degree I was doing, which was IT.

Saba Malik 6:31
Oh, lovely lol

Irambintsafia 6:32
And I absolutely hated it I was always very sure that I will become a teacher and in the 12th grade, I thought I can go into IT and make money, which was the most wrong decision of my life. Then I hated it so much that I thought getting married was better than completing that degree but I did not see an end to that. Very wrong assumption!

It was just jumping from a frying pan into a fire! But somehow when the marriage started alhumdulillah, with the whole birthing and taking care of the babie, I got lost. I got depressed. I did not know I had so much anger and frustration built up in me that when my mom visited me once, back in 2009? No, 2010.

Saba Malik 7:44
That was when you had your first child?

Irambintsafia 7:46
No, by that time I had my third baby.

Sorry, she visited me in 2011 and she said to me, “What is wrong with you? Why are you so apprehensive all the time? Angry, yelling, you know? These are just small children. Have some sabr. Have some patience.” She said this to me and I’ve said this many times in my stories and I will give a joke before I say the main line. I tell this to people, “If your mother-in-law would said these things to you, you would never forgive her.” But if your mother’s saying this to you, then you’re like, “Oh, yeah Mama! You’re so right!”

Saba Malik 8:25
Oh, this has to be good! Lol!

Irambintsafia 8:28
No, I mean, she just pointed out my behavior and she said, “You were so nice, and so kind to everybody around you except your own children. How are you being a good Muslim?”

She put that question. She didn’t say anything more than that. She said, “You read Quran, you do Tafsir. You are a motivational speaker already. You work around people. You go out of your way to help your people but you are so unkind to your own children and they’re literally so scared of you. So please tell yourself, ask yourself this, how are you a good Muslim?”

That hit me really hard and then I did not ask her what I need to do or what I don’t need to do. Then after a few days, I came across this certification, course for teaching at Delta College and I asked my husband if I could do this. My mom was like, “Sure, go ahead. I’m here. So I’ll take care of the children while you go for a few hours. That’s completely fine.” And that’s how my teaching journey started.

I found so much fulfillment because as soon as I finished it, I started to teach preschool at the Islamic Islamic Academy of Delaware at Masjid Ibrahim in Delaware. I became a preschool teacher over there. I had a good mentor, sister Crystal and then I had a good partner sister Eman and the whole thing was really good for me.

I went into that Saba and I realized while I was doing the certification, it actually opened my mind. SubhanAllah, these people have studied children and the research tells us exactly what the Sunnah tells us in how to be with younger children.

So, long story short, two years of preschool teaching, and I said, “You know what, my children deserve the best of me.” So now I’m good. I’m stable, and I know what to do with them. So I packed them up and I brought them home and I said, “Mama is going to homeschool.”

Saba Malik 10:25
What was their reaction?

Irambintsafia 10:27
Noooo. Lol! So yeah, my eldest was in fourth grade. He was turning fourth grade. My middle one was starting second grade and my youngest was starting kindergarten.

Saba Malik 10:42
Wow. So you took on three?

Irambintsafia 10:44
Yeah, I took on three because I had learned and I had done my homework. I had done my homework extensively. I had read through books. And there was another thing. Before I had my children, I was introduced to Hamza Yusuf and John Gatto and I listened to their talks and articles. And in my head, I was like, “You know what, there’s something wrong with the schooling system.”

I knew that before I even had my children. I knew that but the thing was I always thought, “Okay, you know what, I’m not going to send them to public schools, but I’ll send them to Islamic schools.” And I always separate myself from your generation, in a sense that I was not born here. I was not brought up here. I never even set foot in a school or university here.

In my head. I was like, you know, I don’t know the system here. So Islamic school is safer for me and later on, of course, Alhumdulillah I came to homeschooling and since then, I’ve been homeschooling for six years. And when I brought them to homeschool, I said, “You know what, I should enroll myself in Bachelors of Education at the Online Islamic University and we never looked back again.

Saba Malik 11:59
Congratulations on getting that.

Irambintsafia 12:01
Alhumdulillah.

Saba Malik 12:02
What’s so crazy is you’re mentioning the Islamic school and Sister Eman there and the funny thing is that my daughter was enrolled in that school last year, and her teacher was Sister Eman.

She’s a preschool teacher now. Yes, yes.

So that’s really crazy that you were teaching there. It’s also funny hearing you talk, it’s like we’ve been on a similar journey without having met one another. Even not being on the same timeline, it’s kind of the same journey because what happened to me is when I was in high school, and you said you always felt like you wanted to be a teacher, I had that same feeling.

Two of my sisters, when they used to come home from school, I would just take them in my room, and I would pretend to be their teacher. I would help them finish their homework, had my own blackboard and everything. And in college, I went into the sciences and my goal was something in biology or something science related.

I don’t know subhanAllah, last minute, I chose education. And when I went into education, I had my goal. My dream was one day when I becom a mom, I want to homeschool my own children. So that was my plan. I had it all set. Then bipolar happened lol.

Irambintsafia 13:26
Okay lol!

Saba Malik 13:30
The story didn’t go as planned. Everything was toppled over. It was like a storm and I had to make sense of it. I had to overcome mental barriers just to get what a “normal” person would have. And after a while, I stopped chasing the normal. I’m gonna make my own normal. Maybe it’s not at the rate other people are at but I’m just gonna do what I can.

So how can you stay sane? What’s the actual stuff you do? Like how do you separate Okay, this is homeschool time, I’m going to teach my kids and now it’s time for mom. Nobody bother me. What would you do on a typical day?

Irambintsafia 14:06
So the first thing I learned was, I needed to understand that I had to “de-school” myself. I came from a very rigid schooling system right? Sit down. Stand up. Walk in lines. Assembly time. Uniform should be perfect. Nails cut. Be the best student. Get the highest grade.

I never got the highest grade. I was a good student up until the eighth grade. And then I was always, mashaAllah tabrakAllah, I mean, just imagine. My mom sent me two tutions to pass in my 10th and 12th grade and if the passing mark was 36, I got 37.

Lol. She’s spent a lot of money for her daughter to not pass but get an A+ and her daughter brings home a passing mark. My mother, may Allah subhanahu taala protect her always from every harm and bless her immensely. She hasd patience. She was like, “Mera bacha pass ho gya. Alhumulillah.” Lol.

Saba Malik 15:02
That’s so cute lol. There was always a focus on performance.

Irambintsafia 15:08
Yeah, yeah.

Saba Malik 15:09
Like, being a certain way, acting a certain way.

Irambintsafia 15:13
It’s true. Yeah, true.

So in college, one of the reasons that I was unable to complete my IT degree was because I had given up. I had given up on this idea that. You know, I’m not meant to study. I always appreciated for my other qualities, talking, speaking, being kind, mannerisms, altruism, all of that. I had all of those things. What I did not have was book smarts. I just did not have book smarts. And I couldn’t score 100 out of 100 and I couldn’t get even 15 in some certain subjects. I just couldn’t work.

English came to me. Writing, in Urdu or English came to me naturally. History came to me naturally. These subjects, like the liberal arts came to me naturally, but when it came to the science subjects, I was always a mess.

So khair alhumdulillah, I already by the time I became a mother, I was very relaxed. I did not have that notion that my child is going to go to school, and he’s going to get the first grade. No, because, you know, by college I had become like, if I passed with a C grade, I was like alhamdulillah sajdha shukr because I knew that I was much more than my grades.

I knew that people liked me had something more to give. And nobody, when they see me are going to say, “Irambintsafia, what was your grade?” Who asks you that right? Nobody asks you that unless until of course you’re applying for certain jobs which was never my goal.

Anyways, so coming back to parenthood, I was very relaxed. Then alhamdulillah, my husband, on the other hand, he was very like “army” because he went to army school, right? So he was very regimed. He was like, it should be like this, and it should be like this. But SubhanAllah, I am so grateful to him, that even though we are very different personalities, and every marriage has its pros and cons but when it came to raising children, he trusted me completely. And when I said I want to do Islamic school, he said, okay, Bismillah. And when I said I wanted to homeschool, he said, okay, Bismillah.

He supported me without questioning me. Now I can take it in a very negative sense and I will say oh he said “joe murzi kar lo. (Do whatever you want). It’s okay. I don’t care.” But no, that was not it. He was concerned. And he asked me the correct questions. And he saw my research because I know how he works, right? I know how his mind works. So I’m prepared. I did all of my homework, and I went with research work. So he was like, “Okay, you know what, fine. Do it.”

SubhanAllah I don’t remember the first day Saba. I still don’t remember it but I remember that my children refused to listen to me. They were like, “She’s gone crazy. What are you trying to do?” I did make a schedule and I made sheets, and I highlighted stuff but I did not know how to communicate. I did not know how to communicate with them from that teacher tone.

I was studying on the side still on how to do that and my children alhumdulillah, they started coming around. How we started was we with a set curriculum. I got books from the library that were for their age group, that were being taught in the public and private schools.

I saw their curriculum and I got very overwhelmed. I got really overwhelmed. And I was like, I can’t do this. This is too much work. I mean, like, who is going to do this? And then I asked around other people, and then I did more research and then I got with the eclectic method. I instantly jumped into the eclectic.

Saba Malik 18:02
Can you describe that? Because I saw on one of your videos you talked about that. Can you tell me more about that? What does that look like?

Irambintsafia 19:20
It’s basically a mishmash of other methods. For example, when we doing Quran studies, we are doing the classical method where we are doing rote memorization or the Charlotte Mason method. So we don’t have any ease on that. We know exactly that this is the time that we’re going to sit and this is the time that we’re going to do our Quranic studies.

When it comes to reading, understanding and poetry and doing you know all of these things, then we go with the Charlotte Mason method where there are a lot of read alouds. The classical method and the Charlotte Mason method both have the same strategy that let the children read. Let the children read aloud, or read it to them when they’re younger or read with them, depending upon how the child likes it.

All of our English, science, social studies went into reading. I gave them paragraphs and lessons and did all of the read alouds with them when they were younger, and then let them read when they are now MashAllah able to read. I never touched the Maria Montessori method. That was too heavy for me. So I never even touched that.

Saba Malik 20:32
Okay.

Irambintsafia 20:34
Then I even started with the “Time for Learning” online schooling. I even tried that in my first year but it was a very bad experience and I will tell you why. It was not because “Time for Learning” is a bad thing. No, MashAllah, It’s a very good program. It’s like a box curriculum. It’s like bringing school into home curriculum and it’s easy. It’s pretty easy.

Saba Malik 20:59
Is that something you sign up for?

Irambintsafia 21:00
Yes, but I honestly believe it’s for older children. Now, my son who is 14 can do “Time for Learning” but back then, six years ago, he was not able to manage it. Younger children were not able to manage online learning unless you’re sitting with them. And that for me defies the whole process of homeschooling that if I’m sitting with them for 3, 4 hours and then they’re doing it like a school system, then that’s not homeschooling. That’s basically school and house, which a lot of people like to do and can do. But I couldn’t. That was not my style. I was already anti-school, and got so much anxiety for myself and for my children. Why would I bring that into my house?

Saba Malik 21:47
How did you become anti-school?

Irambintsafia 21:50
Well, as I told you, I was always “C, D, E.” There was no respect for the “C, D, E” students. And you know, I was something of a mix. If you did not know my grade, you would like me. The teacher would really like me but as soon as the teacher saw my test paper, she would be like, “What is wrong with you?”

Saba Malik 22:04
It’s so funny people. They judge you, even ourselves, according to our grades.

Irambintsafia 22:12
Right.

Saba Malik 22:13
And if we get out of school, and we have our careers, we judge ourselves based on our income. And then once we get married, we judge ourselves on how many children we have compared to the neighbors. Or how many pounds we have or can’t lose or our cars. What is it worth? It is always the numbers.

And that all, a lot of people know how to measure their worth, their productivity. And if they’re not producing a certain amount, if their “net worth” is not what society is saying it should be, we start to feel worthless. We feel, “Oh, I haven’t accomplished anything. I’m not lovable or likeable.” And like you’re saying when people didn’t know your grades, they would love you.

Irambintsafia 22:58
Yeah. I was specifically talking about my teachers. I mean subhan Allah, it was so funny.

Saba Malik 23:04
That made you anti-school.

Irambintsafia 23:06
Yeah, I was like come on, seriously? Who has their “A” on their forehead but subhanAllah, there’s a surah that Allah subhanahu wa tala talks about in the Quran:

“Al haaku mut takathur. Hatta zurtumul-maqaabir.”

“Until you reach your graves, Allah says, if you are into this habit of counting and evaluating and doing this, and contrast (comparing) with the other person, you will just die like that. And even after that, will if you would be given the freedom to choose, you would say no, my qabr (grave) should be better than the other person’s qabr and you know, design it like this and like that lol astagfurAllah.

Saba Malik 23:48
Thart reminds me of your three E’s, and one of them is ethical goodness. When I saw it on Instagram, ethical goodness, what does that mean? What does that look like? And hearing you talk, that is basically what it sounds like, to me ethical goodness. Focusing on “what does Allah want?” What is going to be in the end? What have I brought forth? Is it gonna be how big my house is?

We hear this right? Don’t focus on how big your house is, your car and your kids and your looks. And the thing I find is that when I’m in the situation, and I am doing that comparison, I don’t notice I’m comparing in my heart. Intellectually I know, I’ll blog about it, I’ll write about it but when I’m in the situation to have that awareness is so difficult. And then in your post in one of them, you said, Taqwa-filled human.” I was like, amazing.

Irambintsafia 24:49
Thank you, Alhumdulillah.

Saba Malik 24:53
MashaAllah.

Irambintsafia 24:55
Like I said, in that post, again, the one that you were saying, we’re not good humans and then we become parents. And when I say we’re not good humans, is doesn’t mean naudzubillah we are some evil kind of a being. I’m not saying that. It’s just that we don’t have restraints on our nafs and we lash out on the children because they’re the most vulnerable of people around us. We cannot lash out like that with our husbands. If we do that, we will be like divorced or separated within five minutes of our marriage lol subhanAllah.

Saba Malik 25:34
The younger kids, because they have no power, they’re basically at our mercy.

Irambintsafia 25:38
And we abuse that power. And I as a parent, I’ve done that to my children and I recognize that and I do apologize to them. When I remember, I do tell them that at this point, this was happening with me, and I’m so sorry I did it to you. And, alhumdulillah. I have trained myself to some extent, but then there are some crazy days too but my children are alhumdulillah now they’re trained enough to know and tell me “Mama, you’re going back there. Come back, come back.”

Saba Malik 25:39
Wow.

Irambintsafia 25:43
Yeah because I trained them. I told them, “Listen, I know my flaws. I very well know my flaws and I’m telling you my flaw,s not so that you could rub it in my face when I’m low but tell me to overcome it. Be my support system.”

Saba Malik 26:23
Yeah, that is a great thing to teach them.

Irambintsafia 26:26
And in my head you know Saba, I honestly believe that we are not in control of the people that they’re going to have as their partners or be married to. And one of the things that I’ve learned from my marriage is that I have to teach my children to be able to communicate. Regardless of what relationship they are in, whether it’s a parent, or it’s a spouse, or it’s an in-law, they should know how to respectfully communicate.

Because half of my problems that I had created in my head were my own creation. And I kept blaming the people in my life for the heartaches that I had. When that light bulb went “ding” in my head, I understood. MashAllah Iram, I mean, come on lol.

Saba Malik 27:14
How did that lightbulb…

Irambintsafia 27:17
Happen?

Saba Malik 27:18
What was that moment? What led up to it that things turned on for you in your head?

Irambintsafia 27:23
I was able to make dua. So for me, spirituality is my strength. I mean, I do understand the spirituality might not be everybody’s strength but for me, it was my core. It is my core, alhumdulillah.

It used to frustrate me the word “compromise.” I hated that word. I hated that word that what does compromise mean? What does sabr mean? And subhanAllah in my head, I was so scared for asking for sabr because in my head, I thought sabr comes to only those who are miserable. I thought that sabr means that indirectly, you’re going to be in misery, and then you’re going to have sabr. When I we used to read Quran and learn Quran, I was like Allah loves the sabireen and shakireen. So I said, “Ya Allah, please give me shukr and give me that station where I’m always in your shukr but I don’t have to go through sabr.

Saba Malik 28:20
Hmmm. That’s not life though.

Irambintsafia 28:21
Yeah, lol.

Saba Malik 28:22
You always have to go through that.

Irambintsafia 28:24
Yeah.

And when that situation, and many situations like that happened over the 14 years, I went back to the events of my life and I said, “Iram, you did sabr here and Allah rewarded you and then you did sabr here and Allah rewarded you and when you did sabr here, Allah rewarded you.” So what are you running from actually? You have been doing sabr all this time. SubhanAllah.

Saba Malik 28:47
So that was like the slow realization. It’s not like one day you woke up and you’re like, Okay, I know not to blame others. And I know I have sabr. I’ve done it in the past. Slowly, slowly, it dawns on you.

Irambintsafia 28:59
Yes because humans are stubborn like hell lol

Saba Malik 29:03
Yes. That’s what I want our audience to know that, especially when they’re going through a mental challenge, whether it’s just like having stress or raising kids, or having a mental illness, like depression, or postpartum or anxiety, any of those… that we don’t wake up one day, and we’re like, okay, “ding, I have the solution. I know what to do, and everything will be fine.”

I think we expect clear cut roads in life and it doesn’t work like that. You know, imagine a cork in the ocean and sometimes there’s waves so the cork goes up, and then the waves go away so it comes down. It’s just like up and down, up or down and we just have to learn to go with the flow and sabr and shukr are definitely like the guidepost.

And just like you, faith is huge for me. Islam. I don’t think I would be alive, literally, if I didn’t have Islam, if I wasn’t a Muslim. And the reason is I had a very, very severe, suicidal attempt. And at that moment, everything gave out.

It’s often difficult for people to hear about it right? It’s sometimes difficult for me to talk about it, too but the one thing is, I don’t remember much of the moment, but I do remember being there. I was sitting on the ground and I felt this power above me.

Irambintsafia 30:35
Alhumdulillah.

Saba Malik 30:35
I couldn’t understand, physically, mentally. I couldn’t really, I didn’t have any control over my body but I felt there was a power above me. And I call that Allah. I felt, I literally feel like that at that time, my knowledge of Islam got out of my head and I actually experienced it, and I felt it.

Nowadays, people are like, “Why are you always talking about, mentally fit, but with Muslims? Why are you always bringing Islam into mental health? Why don’t you just talk about mental health?”

Irambintsafia 31:06
Why?

Saba Malik 31:08
I cannot separate the two. If I didn’t have that faith, I wouldn’t be able to continue with that mental recovery. So the sabr and shukr is definitely key because when you’re in a hardship, we go through three states all the time, we’re either in the hardship, or we’re in a blessing, or we’re committing a sin. We’re always in one of these three stations.

Irambintsafia 31:34
That’s true.

Saba Malik 31:35
When we’re in a test, our act of obedience needs to be that I’m going to have sabr. When we’re in a blessing, our act of obedience needs to be that I’m going to be thankful. I’m going to have shukr. And when I’m doing a sin, what’s the obedience? I make istighfar. I say sorry to Allah. In Islam, the solutions are built in.

Irambintsafia 31:58
Yep.

Saba Malik 31:59
We just have to seek that.

Irambintsafia 32:01
True, very true. Alhumdulillah, mashaAllah tabarakAllah. I would add to that is why is it difficult for us Saba? Because we grew up on movie culture, right? A movie is two and a half hours long. In that movie, the turmoil happens, the sadness happens, the heart break happens, and then they live happily ever after.

Saba Malik 32:20
Yes lol.

Irambintsafia 32:20
Lol and unconsciously we think of ourselves like that. I will tell you this very frankly, and shamelessly that the only reason I married was I thought that I would live the life Siri Devi or Madhuri Dixit you know with all that jewelry and saris and singing along the trees hanging out with monkeys. And, my husband is always going to be head over heels in love with me. And, you know subhanAllah, we were fighting on the first day of our marriage so Mashallah tabarakAllah.

That notion was really easily very quickly thrown out alhumdulillah. But the point is, we are so deluded subhanAllah. We talk about Islam. We talk about Quran and we teach our children stories. What we do not connect as adults, this is this is me, this is my experience, which took me such a long time to understand and it’s a very simple thing, but subhanAllah, you know, human, people, our minds.

Prophets Muhammad sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam’s journey was 23 years of bringing Islam. Yusuf alayhis salam stayed his entire youth in the prison. Musa alayhi salam stayed 10 years outside of his homeland and then when he came back, he took the people of Bani Israel. He did not get to see the promised land. He died before that because his people were so stubborn. 14 years. They were in the desert, but they never entered Palestine. Right. SubhanAllah.

Then talk about Ayub alayhi salaam. He had the severe of the diseases and how many years? They say 18 years, some say so many more. There are different numbers and he stayed with that disease. Now tell me this. If Allah has given us an exam, and I often think about Yunus alayhi salaam’s exam. I think about how he went into the whale’s stomach, and the other day my daughter asked me, “Mama, what is the inside of the, you know the belly of the whale look like?” I said, and this was the first time, I’m 38 years old, I have narrated the story to my children. It was the first time that I actually felt what it would have felt like. I said, “It must have been very dark. It must have been very smelly. It must have been very congested. It must have acids. I don’t know if he was able to even breathe properly. He must have been crunched and Allah says in the Quran that when he was spat out when he was thrown out of the belly of the whale, he had a disease all over his skin. And he was extremely sick and Allah subhanahu ta’Allah blessed him with health again, right?

So my point is, we tell these stories to our children, but then we never tell them that all of these prophets had sabr. And we don’t tell them that, child of mine, whatever life will throw at you, it will take time to get off. It will take time to become better. We have forgotten because of instant gratification. We have forgotten, absolutely forgotten that Allah, the Creator of Time, the Creator of us, the Creator of the good and the bad, He is listening to us the whole while, but our journey is not two and a half, or three and a half hours of a movie. It’s a life journey.

So I don’t know if I went on a tangent here but that was also a lightbulb situation for me too like, come on in, Iram.

Saba Malik 36:03
No, that wasn’t a tangent at all. I think what you highlighted is the mental strength these prophets had. They did not seek instant gratification, instant results. On the contrary, they left things that they would never see their effects in their lifetime.

Irambintsafia 36:20
Yeah.

Saba Malik 36:21
I find that’s the same thing with our kids, raising them. We don’t always see, “Oh, okay, here’s the benefit, or this is what they’re learning.” No, even like, I hope when I’m gone from this earth, that she still carries on that good. And I think that’s the kind of focus we need to have because there are times when it’s so hard, when you’re like, I can’t do this. And that’s when I find, you know, like you were saying, I get so crabby. I just want to snap and you know, the closest person is my daughter. And poor her, you know, if she happens to be around, then she receives that. And it’s not fair to her at all.

So I think having that perspective, to think that this is bigger than me, and we need that mental strength and it doesn’t come overnight.

Irambintsafia 37:06
No, it does not.

Saba Malik 37:07
What you’re talking about, that light bulb going on…just whether it’s parenting or having an illness like Ayub alayhi salaam had, he’s one of my favorites Iram.

Irambintsafia 37:18
Alhumdulillah.

Saba Malik 37:19
When I first got sick, somehow I I fell in love with him and his story. One point when I was reading his story was, so he had all those great things. He had his house, his kids has everything on his farm, riches, friends. And when he lost all that, and he basically had his wife and everyone else had abandoned him.

She asked him, you know, you’re a prophet of Allah, why don’t you make dua and ask Allah to you know, bring everything back, get rid of this illness? He’s gonna answer you, of course. And, you know, what his reaction was? He actually got upset. Why? He said I had those all those blessings for so long, and the hardships have not even equaled to all all those blessings that I had. So he actually felt shy.

Irambintsafia 38:09
Yes.

Saba Malik 38:09
He felt shy to ask Allah. And he was actually praise, he would thank Allah for the hardship he was in. And that’s like, a whole another level of gratitude because it’s so easy to say, “Oh, thank you Allah for the nice weather or thank you for this beautiful food” because it’s something that we like, it’s something that is good. But to say thank you for something that is hard, for something that you don’t like, thank you Allah for COVID, thank you Allah for Trump lol

Irambintsafia 38:39
But really, thank you Allah for COVID. Yes, because, I mean, I think a lot of us came back to our senses subhan Allah.

Saba Malik 38:47
Yeah, and you know the whole Black Lives Matter, I was like, if we weren’t in quarantine, if we weren’t in lockdown., if all the entertainment shows, games weren’t turned off, this same thing, the George Floyd thing would have happened and we wouldn’t have noticed it.

Irambintsafia 39:01
There’s so many men and women who die without being noticed.

Saba Malik 39:05
Yeah and that three months of lockdown, where everything entertainment, kind of frivolous, whatever, like, you could still do it,fine. But it was something kind of unnecessary, you know?

Irambintsafia 39:15
Yeah, yeah.

Saba Malik 39:16
Once that was shut down, we woke up to a newer reality. We woke up to something like our Black brothers and sisters who have been fighting for so long. We actually felt their pain and it’s funny because in your video, you were saying I’m also an “activist” and then your daughter or son?

Irambintsafia 39:33
Yeah daughter…

Saba Malik 39:39
Yeah, so Iram, mother, writer, blogger, and educator, activist. You were a lot of hats. I really appreciate you coming on. I learned a lot from you and I know I have a lot to learn.

Irambintsafia 39:52
JazakAllah Khair and I can say the same about you. Alhumdulillah I’m here and I’m learning from you too mashaAllah. JazakAllah Khair for so beautifully sharing your story and alhumdulillah I learned from you as well mashaAllah tabarakAllah.

And hopefully inshaAllah once the COVID is a bit, actually we can still meet though we should plan to meet inshaAllah.

Saba Malik 40:16
Yeh. Where can my audience or people who are listening, where can they find you?

Irambintsafia 40:23
Okay, so they can find me on… I have two YouTube channels. There’s “Parenting Uncomplicated” which talks more about parenting, positive parenting, homeschooling, and it has both English and Urdu lectures in it because I do a lot of Facebook Lives and Urdu mommy groups.

Saba Malik 40:43
Oh really?

Irambintsafia 40:44
Yep so alhumdulillah. So I put those onto YouTube and then there’s just “Irambintsafia” on YouTube and the whole idea of Irambintsafia was bringing my motivational talk regarding religion and life reflections on it. I just did a Hajj series life reflection on that and I put it up there. So it is again bilingual.

So my niche is basically immigrant parents and Urdu speaking parents regardless of whether they are immigrants or not. That’s the niche that I basically cater to. And apart from that, I’m on Instagram “Irambintsafia” and there it’s “sparks inspire.” So it’s irambintsafia_spark_inspire. And on Facebook, you have my page Irambintsafia.

Saba Malik 41:31
So with this episode, in the show notes, I’ll put all the links to your social media, and people can click on that and check you out inshaAllah. Thanks again and I hope to talk to you soon.

Irambintsafia 41:43
InshaAllah, JazakAllah Khair. Thank you for your time.

Saba Malik 41:46
Really nice talking to you.

I hope you really enjoyed the show and that you benefited from it. If you really found some value in it, please do leave me a review on Apple podcasts and give my show a rating.

Okay, see you next time.

Asalamu Alaikum

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