Going the Extra Mile

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(Wife of Moulana Qaasim Nanotwi [rahimahullah] - Part Five)

The respected wife of Moulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahimahullah) was blessed with a heart of such compassion and love, that let alone serving her husband she even went the extra mile in serving her mother-in-law and seeing to her comfort.

Shortly before her mother-in-law passed away, she fell ill and would experience bouts of diarrhoea which were so severe that she would soil three or four sets of clothing daily. Together with rendering all the other services, the wife of Moulana Qaasim (rahimahullah) would happily wash the soiled clothing of her mother-in-law. However, Moulana Qaasim (rahimahullah) would also insist to personally wash his mother’s clothing and clean it. Hence, Moulana Qaasim (rahimahullah) and his wife came to the agreement that they would take turns to wash the clothing.

Despite this arrangement, the wife of Moulana Qaasim (rahimahullah) had such a heart that she would wash, clean and dry the soiled clothing when it was her turn – and when it was her husband’s turn as well! However, since her husband wanted to share in the reward of washing his mother’s clothing, she would leave just one garment for him to wash.

(Sawaanih-e-Qaasimi vol. 1, pg. 502)

Lessons:

1. Let alone the soiled clothing of another person, if a person has to soil even his own clothing, he will prefer to give it to a worker to wash rather than washing it himself. However, in the case of Moulana Qaasim (rahimahullah) and his respected wife, they understood the immense reward of serving Moulana’s (rahimahullah) mother and regarded serving her to be their good fortune – not a burden. Hence, Moulana (rahimahullah) wished to earn the reward of serving his mother, while his respected wife also wished to gain the reward. Such was their eagerness that they had to eventually reach a compromise. Sadly, in many homes today, we have the opposite situation. There is an aged father or mother, and it is heartbreaking to see that none of their children want to be ‘burdened’ with them. Eventually, the children try to reach a compromise so that they can ‘share’ the burden and minimize the amount that each one is ‘lumped’ with his parent (may Allah Ta‘ala save us!).

2. The excellence of Moulana Qaasim’s (rahimahullah) wife can be understood by the fact that although her husband had excused her from this task, she still insisted on attending to it herself. Furthermore, the person for whom she went the extra mile was not even her own mother – it was her mother-in-law! In this regard, we should always bear in mind that although the mother-in-law is not our own mother, she is our husband’s mother. Hence, any friction or unpleasantness with the mother-in-law will most definitely have a negative impact on the marriage, as it will displease the husband. Thus, in the interest of our marriages, and to uphold the sunnah of showing good character and serving people (even when they ill-treat us), we should try, to the best of our ability, to serve our mothers-in-law and be good to them.