Visionary single parenting: Challenging the stereotypes

Single Parenting

Are you a single mom and trying so hard to succeed in single parenting? Cheers!

I know you are worried about the future of your children. You can’t help thinking about the responsibility of being ‘dad’ to them.

I know you want them to thrive and become the best of mankind.

How to be successful at single parenting?

How do we succeed in being a single mother?

Single parenting is not something that any mom would want for their son to grow up in, but at times such situations is beyond and above  our control.

To help you in this delicate matter, I would like to share these true and inspiring stories of single parenting.

Let us follow the footsteps of those muslimah moms, who had been successful in bringing up their sons singlehandedly

You must have heard about the stories of moms whom Allah had purposefully chosen, to raise the Prophets of their times and thus became the best exemplary we have today.

Among them, were :

1. Maryam (a.s.) who was chosen to raise Prophet Issa (a.s.),

2. Hajar (rahimullah) who singlehandedly raised Prophet Ismail (a.s.) till Ibrahim (a.s.) returned

3. Ummi Mosa (rahimullah) who took care of her son Prophet Mosa (s.a.)

Their stories of single parenting is legendary and mentioned in the Quran and recorded in numerous hadith traditions.

Let me also introduce you to another 4 single moms ,who had managed to raise their boys  into living examples of being knowledgeable and exemplary men.

These are the proud mothers of Imam Shafi’i, Imam Bukhari, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Rabi’ah Ar-Ra’yi and Imam Malik, the great scholars of Islam.

The success stories of these scholars revolved around their courageous and visionary single mothers, who had put their heart and soul into moulding them into legend of their times.

Imam Shafi’i (rahimullah) was born in Ghaza and his father passed away while he was in the womb of his mother. Historians mentioned that his mother used to be a great worshipper.

She was young then but she had decided that her goal in life was to make something out of her child. She stepped out of her private space of her life and entered the public sphere for him.

She was the one providing the means to educate her orphan son.

She decided to take him from Ghaza to Makkah, bearing all the hardships all alone, because she wanted her son to get the best of  education from Makkah.

That was her ambition and she put in sheer dedication towards it. She designed the whole curriculum for her son. Deciding upon what he will be learning in the coming years, which scholars to go to and negotiating with his teachers.

Imam Shafi’i once mentioned that his mother was so poor that she had to negotiate with the Sheikh to accept him as his student.

In return, he will serve and take care of the students during his absence.

Imam shafi’i didn’t have anything to write on, so his mother used to go to all the dungeons of Makkah to collect camel skin, leaves and whatever she could find.

She would then borrow some ink so that he could write on it.

The life of Imam Shafi’i was entirely shaped by his mother. She was always contemplating, analyzing the situation and took the best decision for her son despite of all the financial and social stigma she was facing.

She used to advise her son to sit in the presence of the scholars, in such a way that they don’t get disturbed and don’t even feel his presence in the gatherings.

It was because of her determination and tireless efforts that Imam Shafi’i became the best scholar, the most renowned Qari and Arabic speaker of his times.

So much so that people used to come from faraway places not always to become his student but to listen to his beautiful recitation and  the eloquence of his Arabic speech.

The mother of Imam Bukhari was also a single mom

Imam Bukhari was born an orphan.

His mother made such a strong contribution to the character and upbringing of her son.

Imam Bukhari was blind since childhood and his mother spent nights crying , asking for help from Allah to cure the eyesight of her son. It was because of the impact of his mother’s dua that he regained his eyesight.

She had shown that the dua and zikr of Allah can do miracles. Masha Allah

His mother sacrificed her desires so that she could focus her full energy on her son. She supported him emotionally, morally and financially.

When Imam Bukhari requested for permission to let him stay in Madina to seek knowledge, she happily accepted it despite knowing that she will be left on her own.

She put all her trust in Allah, giving him full rights to his choice and freedom. She had faith that her efforts through the years will not go in vain.

Another legend of the legends,

Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, was also raised single handedly by his mother.

Born in Baghdad as an orphan, his mother used to take him to masjid during his early years.

Because his mom put great effort in educating him to be well mannered at such an early age, he became very well known among the neighbors.

He was highly spoken of due to his etiquette and adab.

The society at that time did not mention about his indepth knowledge but rather about his beautiful adab.

His mother had moulded him into a famous, fine and well mannered gentleman.
Imam Ahmed grew up loving and practicing the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him).
During his younger days, his mom used to take him to masjid at such an early hour, long before anyone else would arrive. She would then waited outside for him. She would waited until everyone had left so that she could hold his little hand to ake him back home.
Similarly she used to take him to the gatherings of scholars and waited there until all the scholars had left.
His mother dedicated herself completely to the upbringing and educating of her son, Imam Ahmed
So much so that the reward she got in return was a mega win, masha Allah.
Lots of times women got married but due to their life situation, they ended up  raising their kids on their own.

Rabi’ah Ar-Ra’yi, was a great scholar who was solely raised by his mother

 His father was a soldier in the army of Affan ibn Usman (rahimullah). He was enlisted to fight the war in Khurasaan with them. When he left, Rabi’ah was just a very young boy.
Before leaving, his father had given to his mother 30,000 dirham to take care of the household till he comes back.
When he returned after almost 25 years later, he first visited the masjid. There he saw a young scholar sitting in a large gathering of students.
He came to know that this young man was one of the seven fuqah of Madina.
When he got home, he asked his wife what she did with the money that he gave her 25 years ago. He wanted to know how she managed her life affairs without him.
She told him to go to the masjid and see with his own eyes the fruit of her labor.
He was very pleased of what he learned and said “SubhanAllah you spent it so well”
That was the thoughful wisdom of a mother. Well planned with  a vision of seeing her son becoming a scholar. 

Imam Malik, a man with great adab, akhlaak and giant of the ahl-ul-ilm

He was also raised by his mother.
She had to work hard for a living after her husband became paralyzed and was unable to move much.
Surprisingly Imam Malik, as a young man he had wanted to be a singer and expressed his desire to his mother.
The intelligent mother of Imam Malik explained to him that the career of singers only lasted  for as long as they were young and good looking.
All the while trying to attract his attention towards the scholars she made him do role play with her.
She would put on him a  sufra, placed a turban on his head and started asking him questions as if he was a scholar. This role playing act changed his thoughts about being a singer.
Her vision had sparked a light in his heart and developed a thirst for knowledge at a very young age.
The mothers of these legends invested their time, money and even their lives. It was within the capacity of these single parenting mothers that built the greatness in them.
Hence we could take in our stride, to learn from these moms who has great foresight and superb intellectual.  What we needed the most is the courage and determination.
The vision we have for our children’s future and the strategic approach towards achieving it.
Persistence in upholding strong morals for the upbringing of the righteous generation.

I know that single parenting is never easy

Nobody promises us gold.

But the more tawakul we have in Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, trust that He will shower us with unexpected blessings.
I hope you found great pleasure in reading this short story and may it helps to uplift your spirit in your single parenting and becoming a better mom for your sons.
You might also like :

The writer,  Saima Asghar is the proud owner of  The ilm Lounge’ (an online bookstore for International Islamic Literature) and a Human Resource expert. She is also a student of knowledge at Al-Huda International. She writes at

Thoughtful parenting and homemaking are her passion.  Reading and writing  are her food for soul. She believes that life affords no greater responsibility and no greater privilege than the raising of the next generation.

Saima’s passion for Islam, parenting and writing is what has connected us to her.


Translate »