I am often asked where I get the time and energy to do everything that I do. Strange as it may seem, I’ve never been able to answer that question. I just do what I have to do. But recently I realised the source of my strength by watching my mom closely this ramadhan. Her courage, strength and compassion have always been inspirational for me.

In the mornings she wakes up before anyone else, makes suhoor and then undertakes the tedious and challenging task of waking 5 kids and a husband. She wakes up one person successfully only to find them asleep again as she goes to wake another. She makes sure we are fed even if we don’t want to be. After fajr, she stays up reciting qur’an until sunrise. On average my mom completes a reading of the qur’an every three days and she follows a very strict reading schedule.

Once again after sunrise my mom wakes up the entire family for work and school. She is always more worried about us reaching our destination on time than we are. When we are off, my mom finally has time to prepare for the chores of the day. With five really busy kids who are always at school, work, or extracurricular activities, household chores pile up everyday. When I come home in the evening, my mom is reciting qur’an again and almost like magic, my room looks amazingly clean–almost like it cleaned itself.

“Be at your mother’s feet and there is the Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)

After iftar we make our way to the masjid. All the family comes home after eight rakahs of taraweeh, except my mom. She has always been adamant about praying 20 rakahs and insists that we go home with the car and let her walk home from the masjid. When my mom arrives home she reads more qur’an, performs qiyam and catches some sleep before beginning the cycle again. Some days she will go visit my grandmother.

My mom does all of this without complaining or grumbling, perhaps the occasional scolding but her love and compassion for her family and those around her overpowers everything. That love and compassion is contagious and it’s been inculcated within me and and in my work with the community. I’ve learned from my mom that if you truly care about something, be it family, school or activism, you don’t complain you just do it. Along with that effort, you also have to make an abundant amount of dua and make the qur’an the spring of your heart. With that combination, nothing can go wrong. That is what keeps me going no matter how tough things are. If I have five meetings, an assignment due plus work, life begins to feel very stressful. But when it does, I think of my mom, my hero, the woman I love who has sacrificed everything for us and has never once complained, no matter how ungrateful we may be sometimes.

My mom is the one who makes it possible for me to be able to do what I do. Mothers are the pillars of our societies, and at the heart of the development of every great individual, is a great mother.

Your mother, your mother, your mother. Heaven is under the feet of your mother.

Aisha Raja is a 4th year student at the University of Toronto in Trinity’s’ Ethics, Society, and Law program. She is currently serving as the President of the University of Toronto Muslim Students’ Association for the 2012-2013 term.