Childless/Childfree

I’m childless.

Or childfree.

However one wants to look at it. And to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s a trial, a blessing, or both. But as I get older, I realize that motherhood may not be “in the cards.” But as I weigh the pros and cons of a childless/childfree life, I’m glad that women like Aisha bint Abi Bakr (may God be pleased with her) are my role models. She was scholarly and inquisitive. Outspoken and beautiful. She was pious, God-conscious and exceptionally, wonderfully “human.” She was the Prophet’s wife (peace be upon him). Over 2,000 hadith are transmitted from her. She had NO children of her own, yet she became our mother–the Mother of the Believers.

So in the light of this great woman, I can’t find it in myself to feel bad or inadequate about being childless/childfree. I simply observe it as a fact, no judgment. It simply “is.” And I say this because there are some who are desperately trying to make me and others feel inadequate for something that is simply the decree of God.  Thank God, my family and friends accept me, just the way I am.

No judgment.

I don’t feel inadequate because I understand these verses. “To God belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He creates what He will; He gives to whom He will females, and He gives to whom He will males. Or He couples them, both males and females; and He makes whom He will childless. Surely He is All-knowing, All-powerful.” (42: 49-50)

I also understand that what I desire regarding marriage and motherhood is a good thing. But it may not be good “for me.” Or it may not be good for me today, but good for me tomorrow. I may not be ready today but in the near future.  “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God Knows, while you know not.” (2:216)

So to my fellow sisters and brothers, in Islam, and in humanity

Those of you with no children,

because you can’t conceive,

because you can’t afford them because,

you haven’t met the right partner,

because you simply do not want them—please know this.

You are loved. You are precious and beloved to your Creator—just as you are.

Women in White

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Women in White by Kelly Izdihar Crosby
acrylic and fabric on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, $180
My “Women in White” painting is including of a series of paintings done with Muslim women as the subject matter. It’s one of a three-part painting series. The other two paintings are entitled “Women in Black” and “Women in Gold.”
This painting is just one of many attempts to mute my palette. Whenever starting a new project, I always gravitate to using bold and bright colors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I’m just stretching my palette choices a little bit. All these three paintings are done with muted, neutral tones.The rose gold color is about as close to a reddish tone as it gets.
After completing these series of paintings, I learned quickly that muted does not mean boring or lacking in vitality. My ladies are decked out in milky, silky creams, accented with black, gold, copper, and rose gold. They wear soft-patterned hijabs and sophisticated turbans. I used my favorite art medium–fabric paint–to create the shiny and glittered textures.
I like how it came out. Of course, I had fun painting my ladies in various skin tones. I feel like it is absolutely crucial to show the diversity of Muslim people in my work. Islam is a global faith, but for many people, it only has an Arab, olive-skinned face.  But nothing could be further from reality. We are blue-black, sable, tawny, cinnamon, porcelain, alabaster, chai, cafe au lait. (See how I had fun naming those shades!) To promote this awareness, I’ve chosen a mixture of light and dark skin tones for this piece.
I’ve also have chosen to depict different hijab styles–highlighting another expression of diversity in Islam. Muslim women cover our heads in so many different ways. Depicting the various headscarves and wraps show our differently we interpret hijab and what hijab means to each individual Muslim woman.