My Dear Yusuf and Ibraheem,
You are both too young to understand what I am about to say to you in this letter, but one day, when the time is right, I will give this to you and hope that you cherish it and take lessons from it.
Since before Baba and I were married, we wanted to go for Hajj as soon as possible. Ideally, we wanted to go before we became parents, but that didn't happen. We were saving for a few years and planned to go last year, but we plan and Allah plans, and Allah is the Best of Planners. Now after seven years of marriage, and being blessed with two beautiful boys, Allah has sent us the invitation to visit His House. Though it is something we have been wanting to do for so long, it was not an easy step to make... mainly, because you both are such a huge part of our lives!
When we realized that alhamdulillah we had enough money to go this year, it came as a bit of a shock. Though I have wanted to perform Hajj since the day I became Muslim, the anxiety of leaving my babies took over. I looked around for rulings and excuses to exempt me from the religious obligation based on you both being so dependent on me. People told me different things. But even when someone told me that no, religiously speaking I am not fully obliged to go, I didn't feel contentment. I was so incredibly torn, but I turned to Allah and begged Him to do what was right. I didnt even want to think about it because I was so confused. I just asked Allah to show us the way.
The first Hajj group we signed up with seemed promising but last minute they ran out of Visas. I thought that perhaps this was our way out. But then subhanAllah Baba made a call to another Hajj group and they had four spots left, so we signed up with them. The day Baba made the payment, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. My heart was so full of emotion. I was shocked and amazed and greatful that this day had finally come. But I was heartbroken that I would really have to leave you both.
The one thing that has given me comfort is that, I know (though it is difficult to fully comprehend) Allah loves you both, so much more than I do. As much as I want to protect you from any harm, my abilities are limited. And as much as I thought you wouldn't be okay, my knowledge is limited. Allah is Al Hafeez, He will take care of you no matter what happens. Allah is Al Aleem, He knows if this step in our lives was truly harmful for your well being. And I have full faith that He would have put obstacles in our way to prevent us from going in order to save you.
When I first became a mother, I could not understand how a woman can give birth and still not believe in Allah. Watching as you both grow up has only increased my belief and reliance on Allah. Yes, I may feed you, dress you, teach you, love you... but it is Allah Alone who is the Provider, who gives you life every day, who makes you grow, and who has blessed you with your innocence and love for life. What I can offer you is so limited. What Your Lord will give you is never ending.
Perhaps we could have postponed Hajj until you were older and more independent. But only Allah knows what the future holds, and right now everything has worked out so perfectly. Alhamdulilah we had the money, our health is good and you will be well taken care of by your family while we are gone. We would be foolish to let this opportunity pass.
The story of Hajj itself is an inspiration and comfort. Allah's best friend, Ibraheem AS was commanded to leave his wife Hajar and son Isma'eel in a barren desert with little food and water. I cant even begin to imagine the pain in Ibraheem AS's heart as he walked away from his family. But they did as Allah had commended them and look how Allah has rewarded them for their struggles. Thousands of years later, millions of people visit the very same land and perform ancient rites in honor of Ibraheem AS, Haajar and Ismaeel AS. A place which was nothing but hot sand is now flooded with people from every nation on earth! SubhanAllah. Verily, Allah does not allow His servant's deeds to go to waste.
I pray that I come back as a better person. As a better Muslim. And as a better Mother. Though you are both the loves of my life, Allah must always be the first love in all our hearts. This world is but a test, and Allah tests us through people. I pray I pass the test of being the best mother I can, but in order to fulfill that role, I must put Allah first. And inshaAllah if I do, He will guide me to do what is right for you.
Thinking of saying salams to you at the airport is one of the biggest tests of this entire experience. Im sure you'll be fine since our entire family will be there with you, keeping you busy, and distracting you with their plans of what you'll do when were gone. But the thought of physically walking away from you literally makes my heart ache. I really dont know how Im going to do it, but I have faith in Allah that He will help me.
All the mothers that I know who have gone for Hajj and left kids behind have told me that the plane ride there is very painful, but once you arrive, you are so overwhelmed and your heart is at peace. I know youll be in good hands, Ammi, Naani and Chaachi will keep you busy. I know you will be sad at times and you wont fully understand why were gone. But I know Allah will take care of you.
There 27 days left before we leave. Twenty seven more nights of me tucking you into bed, and then sneaking into your room to hug and kiss you while you're sound asleep! Twenty seven days left to prepare. I feel like there's so much left for me to do. As we are getting ready, I cant help but be reminded of death. My to-do list is so long, but Im only going for three weeks. I pray that Allah helps us to prepare for the most important journey, the one to the Hereafter. Because I know Im leaving soon, I want to take advantage of the time I have with you before I leave. I know my day of departure. But, death is something that will come without warning, and we should always remember that our days in this life are limited and plan our lives accordingly.
The first time I see the kabah, Ill be wishing you were there beside me. I promise to give Rasoolullah SAW your salams just like you asked. And I will pray that one day soon we will go together as a family. On the Day of Arafat, when every dua is answered, you both will be on the top of my list. I pray Allah allows me to make the most beautiful duas for you, and that He accepts every one!
Please forgive me for my shortcomings. I love you so incredibly much and only want the best for you!
InshaAllah I will come back with pictures and stories to share with you. And I hope through my experience, you will develop a love for the House of Allah and yearn to go there one day as well. I hope that I am able to take the lessons I learn from Hajj and apply it to our lives once we return inshaAllah.
Never forget to make dua for your parents, because you are always in ours.
I love you more than words can say....
Wasalamualikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,