The single greatest barrier that children raised by single mothers have is other people’s stereotypes.
Often when we learn that a woman is raising her children alone, we immediately feel pity. With just a dash of scorn. Bypassing the list of judgements made against divorcees, we can make a short list of the many assumptions people make about single moms and their children.
It’s called a ‘broken home’ if a father and mother are not together in it.
Children raised by single moms have lower self-esteem.
Single moms can’t prepare their sons to face the world.
But who feels pity for Maryam bint Imran, or her amazing son, Prophet Eesa (alaihi salam)?
Let’s see how Maryam bint Imran broke these and other stereotypes surrounding single motherhood..
A solid foundation
What an idea, that a single mother raising her family is somehow ‘broken’! The idea of a home being broken means that it’s dysfunctional in some way. There is a gap in the structure, and everyone suffers because there isn’t a man around the house.
Who was in the home of Maryam bint Imran? Herself and her little son. We know that Maryam bint Imran’s guardian was Prophet Zakariya who was a relative. We can imagine that growing up, Prophet Eesa did not spend all his time with his mother. He was serving in the temple, and had mentors all around him.
Sure, there’s a gap when a woman is raising her child alone. So she outsources some of the teaching, training and role models to those she sees fit. She delegates when necessary so that her son can have a great role model if his father is unavailable.
No one would say that Prophet Eesa came from a broken home. The very idea is insulting, and it is insulting to every other single mother that came after her. Because it just isn’t true.
A born leader
Imagine for a moment that we didn’t know who Prophet Eesa was, and we read his biography like any other historical figure.
As a child, he was very knowledgeable, and taught men many years older than him. He scolded elders when they came away from practicing the law of Allah.
He attracted a group of followers who wished to keep the law as it was, and they taught the people. He left a legacy of courage, knowledge and energetic defence of the law, and worked hard to advise people to worship Allah alone.
He performed miracles, like curing lepers and blind people. He made a clay bird come alive. Yet he was always humble, and reminded people that real power and miracles come as signs from Allah, so people can turn back to Him.
Would we consider that this man had low self-esteem? Could he possibly feel disadvantaged by his upbringing by his mother alone?
Again, this is an impossible thought and easy to dismiss. Just because a child is raised up by only his mother is no reason to write him off. If that mother can do a great job despite her setbacks, the child will turn out amazing, if Allah wills.
A devoted mother
We focused a lot on Prophet Eesa in the last two points, and now let’s turn to his mother, Maryam bint Imran. When she was a young woman, she amazed all around her with her piety and servitude to the temple.
Her mother had committed her to the temple when she was not even born, and Allah allowed her to learn, worship, and serve right up until the angel came to her.
But Maryam was no coward. She told the angel to leave her alone and fear Allah! Her knowledge and her connection with Allah gave her strength and bravery. She dealt with this odd situation with grace and strength.
When she understood that the mission she was given was from Allah, she accepted it. She bore her pregnancy and birth with the same devotion she had in the temple.
Can we imagine that she did not take her motherhood of Prophet Eesa seriously after he was born? She had to be as devoted to raising him up as she was to her previous duties.
After all, she knew he would be a Prophet, and she had a duty to raise him up and prepare him to challenge the authority of not only the temple, but of the Roman government!
So no, it’s not possible that because she was a single mother she did not give Prophet Eesa the tools to face the world. It is obvious that she did, may Allah be pleased with her and send blessings on her and her son.
A boost for single moms
We all know that the absent father in the life of Maryam bint Imran was not due to a divorce or break-up as is common among single moms today. But the principles still stand.
A single mom can be successful and honored through time, and so can her child. There is no reason to stereotype a woman raising her children on her own, to pity her or assume she or her child will amount to nothing.
She is mentioned among the best women of the world, and her son is of the strongest Prophets, who will return to battle the Dajjal (Anti-Christ)! And they are both loved, their lives studied, and their conversations memorized by Muslims worldwide.
This legacy was not dictated by the fact that Maryam bint Imran was a single mom, but despite it.