We were in the early hours of February 15th 2020 when my life changed forever. As I heard the first cry coming from the maternity bed, I could not help but cry louder than my wife or my new born- I was now a dad.
Reflections From a First Time Dad
We were in the early hours of February 15th 2020 when my life changed forever. As I heard the first cry coming from the maternity bed, I could not help but cry louder than my wife or my new born. I was crying insanely with joy as I walked towards the bed to lift up my baby girl- it was like Mufasa lifting Simba… the feeling of blessing and pride was indescribable!
At the moment when she looked at me, I prayed that she would be a service to Islam. My prayers were that she would serve and be an ambassador to the religion that we have been blessed with.
Settling back at home with a newborn was tough- lockdown had just kicked in and it was really upsetting that my daughter couldn’t have as much time with my family as we would have wished. My wife and I had to adapt and figure out everything on our own. The positive was that we figured it out and realised that Allah SWT gives you strength at every stage of your life.
As Ayah Zahra was growing, we had a special focus on reading her books. Wether she understood what we were reading or not didn’t matter, but the key was just to read to her. There were baby books with black and white images and slowly but surely she would start opening her eyes and recognising the pictures. My wife and I set some rules between us to not let her watch any TV unless it was Quran or a religious children’s programme- we wanted to avoid building any bad habits early on.
Not having much interaction with anyone apart from me and my wife, we took the decision to send her to play group at 10 months. Honestly, it was the hardest thing leaving her in the hands of others from 8am- 6pm twice a week at such a tender age! We knew that it would develop her and that she needed interaction with others. The first day that we dropped her off, she didn’t even cry when we handed her over- instead, my eyes watered and my wife was crying her eyes out.
It’s difficult as a father to make decisions like this but it really played out well and was the best decision for us.
Slowly as she started growing, she spoke her first word… Abu! It is the name with which she will refer to me for the rest of my life! I teased my wife that she said my name before hers even though my wife spent most of the time with her and it just shows that bond between father and daughter is really special.
My dream had always been to take my daughter to all the resting places of the Prophet and his family, and Alhamdulillah, in August 2021we were fortunate to take her to Karbala, Iraq to visit the Grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). This was a really proud moment for me as a dad.
Understanding identity is something very important to me, so my wife, who is Pakistani, speaks to our daughter in Urdu while I speak to her in English and Gujarati. The vocabulary she has picked up since is incredible and I have learned that leading by example is the most effective way to teach children, rather than forcing something. A great example was when this Ramadhan just gone, I witnessed my daughter mimicking Salah- we had never taught her how to do Sujood, but she was doing it! All because she had seem my wife and I praying.
My favourite time of day is around 11pm- when my daughter comes into our bed, shares my pillow, and eventually throws me out! I know many people will advise us not to form bad habits, but these years are so precious and time will fly, so we try and make the most of our little one and her company.
I’m still learning everyday, along with my wife. Insha’Allah we hope to find ways to raise our daughter to be a true servant of her Lord.