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iv) Qalb, Mother and Child

The mother child relationship is a beautiful relationship; it is one that is steeped in love, mercy, peace and care. Mothers are beautiful.

“The Arabic and Hebrew word for womb (raḥm) is derived from the word for mercy (raḥmā) and an expression of the creative power of God in man.” (Climbing Mount Purgatorio: Reflections from the Seventh Cornice, Ḥamza Yūsuf)

So we come from mercy, the bond between mother and child is one of the closest ever, it is a bond that should never diminish, only grow.

The Qurʾān says,

It is He Who has created you from dust then from a sperm-drop…” [40:67]

Now I did not know how deep to go here, because before a foetus forms, you have an embryo, this can take up to 8 weeks and it is fascinating but not entirely relevant so I won’t mention it.

The heart is one of the first things to be formed, even before the brain.[1] This usually occurs in around the 3rd-5th week, and by the 6th a heartbeat can heard, felt and visually seen with the help of an ultrasound machine. Our hearts now, are about the size of our fists (this depends on fitness among other things) but as a fetus the heart takes up most of the space, at first it is just a tube, and after various twisting and bending it begins to form the similar structure of the heart, it grows and expands from a tube. When I was reading about this I instantly thought of the verse

“Did We not expand for you, [O Muhammad], your breast?” [94:1]

Now this verse is alluding to the Prophet  but it is something to ponder.

Along with all the other features of the child, hearing is another sense it develops, now what is one of the first sounds it hears? The mother’s heartbeat, that continuous rhythmic heartbeat. Subḥān’Allāh!

This is why when a child cries and you clutch them to your chest they are placated, because it hears that rhythmic heartbeat and it is reminded of the womb, of mercy, of sanctuary.  I believe this was first mentioned by Thomas Verny in his book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child.

As long as the mothers heartbeat is regular and normal all is well, however if it is intensified due to stress or discomfort the child too feels the tension. Only when the mother is calm, and the heartbeat is normal is the child okay, so in essence only when the hearts are synchronized is the child at peace. Subḥān’Allāh!

This is why breastfeeding is so very important; it allows the mother-child bond to grow. The mother’s milk contains just the right amount of nutrients that the baby needs to grow, not less, not more, but just the right amount. This is very interesting because when human milk is compared to other types of milk such as cow or rabbit, you see that the latter have a higher concentration in fat. This means they don’t feed their infants as often because their milk is so rich in nutrients. So human milk is “poor” in nutrients and is digested quickly, this is surely a disadvantage, no? It is not! Why you ask? Well because it is so “poor” in nutrients the mother must feed the child more often, she must take the child and place it close to her heart, where surely countless spiritual benefits are passed on too! Studies now suggest that breastfeeding is important and causes not just harm to the child but also the mother.

The Qurʾān states that a mother should breastfeed a minimum of 2 years. [31:14]

So yes, mothers! Subḥān’Allāh!  They help you before you are born, when you are born and in the hereafter too. Only Allāh knows the true rank and honor of mothers, why else do you think he placed heaven beneath their feet? (Authentic hadith)

May Allāh allow us to honor them as they should be honored  may He increase each and every one of them in blessings and blessedness. Amīn.

All mistakes are mine,  Allāh alone knows best.

Not too sure what my next piece will be on, suggestions welcome.

Further Reading:

Fetal Development

The First Trimester

"To Mothers" poem by Baraka Blue

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