Our Father Favors Our Brother Over Us - I

10/09/2012| IslamWeb

A child’s memoir:

I was finally born after nine months in my mother’s womb; that dark and narrow place that forced me to stay in strange positions. Later, I discovered that my birth was a happy event that my family had eagerly awaited and my mother was counting the days and getting happier as her abdomen got larger.

When I kicked her for the first time, she went hurriedly to my grandmother to tell her. Her only entertainment during the waiting period was sewing the clothes that I would wear in my new life.
They had long discussions about my name if I was a boy or a girl!

My mother started reading books about raising children and asked my grandmother about the pains of childbirth anxiously. Then, I was born.

They were very kind to me and my parents used to hurry whenever they heard me making the least noise. They spent many nights awake when I caught any common disease like a cough or stomach ache. They never stopped carrying, kissing and pampering me. Since my birth, I felt as if I had ascended the throne of their hearts. The bigger I grew, the more I felt their love and appreciation for me and I used to love and appreciate them in return.

In short, I spent happy days, during which I was the center of attention of my whole family.

Life was good in my eyes and I believed that my happiness would last forever. This distracted me from noticing that my mother’s abdomen was getting larger and I completely ignored the talks about the newborn.

After that, some changes started happening in my life. They transferred me from my bed, where I used to sleep since my birth inside my parent’s room, to another room and a new bed to make space for the newborn.

At this moment, I started harboring bad feelings towards the intruder that had disturbed my family life and I did not know that the worst had not yet happened.

My mother started speaking about the sex of the newborn and its name. I also found her preparing his new clothes and noticed that history repeats itself. I began watching this new development with interest in order to determine my stand.

Once I searched for my mother but I did not find her. I asked my grandmother, who had come to our house the night before, about her and she told me that my mother was in hospital to give birth to my little brother who would amuse me and play with me. In fact, this pleased me so much because I had actually been bored with loneliness.

When I heard the doorbell, I ran towards my mother and expected that she would greet me warmly. However, she met me calmly and I knew that she was very tired due to the delivery.

This new child occupied my father and mother and completely took their attention away from me.

Amidst this disappointment, I looked at this intruder and said to myself, “Is this the new child?

When this child came to the house, everything turned against me. This child completely distracted my father and mother from me. They only speak about him and play with him. I felt that their love for me has changed.”

One day, I saw my mother breastfeeding this child from her breast. You can imagine this; she gave him the part which was exclusively mine!

Since that moment, I had a feeling that I now call “jealousy”.

At the beginning, this jealousy was simple, because I thought that the child would only stay for a few days in the house. Once, I even said to my mother to take him back to the hospital because I had played with him enough. However, I later discovered that it was not that easy and that he was going to stay for a long time.

So, I decided to defend my entity and my status more clearly through beating and biting my brother. Sometimes, I would behave smartly by embracing him and applying pressure strongly to strangle him. In fact, this was a result of conflicting feelings of love and jealousy.

I often directed my jealousy and anger against my mother through breaking plates to anger her and get her attention at the same time.

When this behavior failed to get my family’s attention, I tried to get back to the happy days of my early childhood. So, I started sucking my fingers and wetting my bed at night. Nevertheless, all of this was fruitless.

Gradually, jealousy transformed into hatred and I felt jealous of whoever tried to compete with me. This transformed my life into a series of personal failures until I became an introvert who hates society and every successful person.

Even the sons of Jacob, may Allah exalt his mention, fell prey to jealousy:

Jealousy is an expected feeling from a child who loses his parents’ attention and interest. Each child has emotional needs including his need for love, appreciation, success and coddling. Such needs should be satisfied, because the failure of the parents in this respect will give space for jealousy in the child’s heart, especially in case of having a newborn.

The Quran refers to jealousy in Soorah Yoosuf, when the sons of Jacob felt jealous of their brother. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {When they said, "Joseph and his brother are more beloved to our father than we, while we are a clan. Indeed, our father is in clear error. * Kill Joseph or cast him out to [another] land; the countenance of your father will [then] be only for you, and you will be after that a righteous people."} [Quran 12:8-9]

Consider how their jealousy drove them to the plan to murder their brother.

That is why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) used to command us to be evenhanded with our children to avoid this dangerous sickness.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said, “Be evenhanded with your children in [terms of giving gifts].” [At-Tabaraani]

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that a man was sitting with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when his son came to him. The man kissed the boy and placed him on his thigh. Then, a daughter of this man came and he seated her in front of him. Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said, “Would you treat them equally?”

Look at the following intelligent woman who was aware of the importance of treating all her children fairly. Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "A woman came to 'Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and 'Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, gave her three dates. She gave each of her two children a date and kept one date for herself. The children ate the two dates and then looked at their mother. She took her date, split in it two, and gave each child half of it. The Prophet, sallaalahu `alayhi wa sallam, came and 'Aa’ishah, may Allah have mercy uupon him, told him about it. He said: 'Why are you surprised at that? Allah has shown her mercy because of her mercy towards her children.'”

Allah The Almighty had mercy upon that mother because she was compassionate towards her children by giving them precedence over herself, and because she treated them equally.