Hira and her brother Farid were very happy. They now had a baby sister. She was such a lovely baby. She had such tiny feet and hands and was not really much bigger than the doll Hira played with.
But most of the time baby Mariam would be crying or cooing or making strange noises. Hira loved her baby sister very much but when baby Mariam cried she did not like it one bit.
She would think to herself. “Why does baby Mariam cry so much? Poor Mom has to pick her up, pat her and walk with her in her arms till she is quiet.” Sometimes baby Mariam dirtied her diaper and Mom would have to clean her. When it was time for her to sleep, Mom had to rock her for a long time before baby Mariam finally fell asleep.
All this made Hira very cross. “All the time baby Mariam needs to be in Mom’s arms. She doesn’t sleep nor does she eat properly. Only when baby Mariam falls asleep does mom get the time to give Farid and me our meals, or help us with our homework. Mom even does all the housework while she sleeps. After all, Mom has to take care of everything around the house.”
One day Mom’s younger sister, Auntie Mona came over. Mom looked so happy to see Auntie Mona and they talked and laughed and Mom’s eyes shone with happiness. Hira had not seen her Mom look like this in a long while. After tea, Mom went upstairs to change baby Mariam’s clothes, while Auntie Mona washed the tea cups and dishes. Hira sat at the kitchen table and watched. “You know Aunty Mona, it is only because you are over that Mom has the time to laugh and talk. Otherwise, with baby Mariam, she never gets a moment’s rest.” When Auntie Mona heard this she began to laugh. “Why, Hira! You are really upset with your baby sister! When you were a baby you hardly slept for the first three months. Your Mom had to stay up most of the night to take care of you.”
“Really?” exclaimed Hira, shocked to hear this. “Of course. Babies just don’t grow up by themselves,” explained Auntie Mona. “They require a lot of hard work and lots of love and care.” “But you know Auntie; I really want to make it easier for Mom. Isn’t there something that can be done?” said Hira, thoughtfully. “Maybe if Mariam bothered Mom less or if she went to sleep all by herself. That would make it so much easier for Mom.”
Auntie Mona shook her head, “I don’t think that is possible at all. But once Mariam grows a little older, she will not bother your mother so much. But you know, now thinking about it, you can do something.”
“And what is that?” asked Hira.
“You can help your Mom.” said Auntie Mona as she dried her hands on the kitchen towel.
“I am little myself. How can I help Mom? I can’t wash clothes; I can’t do the dishes…”
“No, no!” said Auntie Mona, sitting beside Hira. “You are a big girl, Hira. You are six years old and there are many things you can do. So tell me. Will you do what I tell you to do?”
“Yes. Tell me what is it that I can do to help?” asked Hira.
“When Your Mom tells you to do something, do it right away. She shouldn’t have to tell you over and over again. When you come home from school, put away your school shoes, and go and wash up and change without being told. Put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket not all over your room. Put your school bag in its place. Wash your hands and sit at the table ready for your Mom to give you lunch. She shouldn’t have to call out to you again and again because you’re too busy playing with your toys and don’t bother to hear her.”
“Hmm. That’s a little difficult,” said Hira. “Sometimes I forget. But please go on; tell me more ways that I can help Mom.”
“Well, when your Mom needs you to get something, you can run and fetch it for her. Try and keep an eye on what she is doing. Think to yourself, how can I help her? If she is bathing the baby, ask her if she needs you to hand the towel to her, once she’s done. You can ask what clothes baby Mariam will wear that day and take them out and keep them ready. Run and get her bib when Mom needs to feed her.”
“Yes. I think I can do these things,” said Hira thoughtfully. “I must have bothered Mom a lot when I was little and I really want to help her. I love it when Mom smiles and I really do want to make her happy.”
“Do you know when you make your Mom happy, even Allah is happy with you?” Auntie Mona told her. “You must have heard the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw) that Jannah lies under the feet of your mother.”
“Really??? I never knew that!” So saying Hira dashed off to go check under her mother’s feet.
Auntie Mona smiled and called out. “Hey, wait up! Let me tell you what that means….!”
A man came to the prophet[saw]and said,” O Messenger of Allah! I intend to go on a military expedition (Jihad), but I have come to ask your advice.” He [saw] said,” Is your mother alive? He said yes. Rasul Allah (S.A.W) told him, “Then stay with her, for the garden (Jannah) is under her feet.”
Declared Sahih by Ibn e Majah.