40 Naseeha Li-Islaah
The Muslim Home – 40 recommendations
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Bismillaah il-Rahmaan il-Raheem
In the Name of Allaah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
All praise be to Allaah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides, no one can lead astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
The home is a blessing.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And Allaah has made for you in your homes an abode…” [al-Nahl 16:80]
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Here Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, is mentioning His complete blessing to His slaves: He has given them homes which are a peaceful abode for them, to which they retreat as a haven which covers them and gives them all kinds of benefits.”
What does the home represent to each one of us? Is it not the place where he eats, enjoys intimacy with his wife, sleeps and rests? Is it not the place where he can be alone and can meet with his wife and children?
Is the home not the place that offers cover and protection to women? Allaah tells us (interpretation of the meaning): “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]
If you think about those who are homeless, who live in shelters, or on the streets, or as refugees scattered in temporary camps, then you will realize the blessing of having a home. If you listen to a distressed homeless person saying, “I have nowhere to settle, no fixed place to stay. Sometimes I sleep in so and so’s house, sometimes in a café or park or on the sea-front, and I keep my clothes in my car”, then you will realize the disruption that results from not having the blessing of a home.
When Allaah punished the Jews of Banu Nadeer, He took away this blessing and expelled them from their homes, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture (i.e. the Jews of the tribe of Banu al-Nadeer) from their homes at the first gathering.” Then He said: “… they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes (to see).” [al-Hashr 59:2].
There are many motives for the believer to pay attention to putting his house in order.
Firstly: protecting himself and his family from the Fire of Hell, and keeping them safe from the burning punishment: “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded.” [al-Tahreem 66:6 – interpretation of the meaning].
Secondly: the great responsibility borne by the head of the household on the Day of Reckoning.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah will ask every shepherd (or responsible person) about his flock (those for whom he was responsible), whether he took care of it or neglected it, until He asks a man about his household.”
Thirdly: the home is a place to protect oneself, to keep away from evil and to keep one's own evil away from people. It is the refuge prescribed by Islam at times of fitnah (strife, tribulation).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Blessed is the one who controls his tongue, whose house is sufficient for him, and who weeps over his mistakes.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are five things, whoever does one of them, Allaah will be with him: visiting the sick, going out for jihaad, entering upon his leader with the intention of rebuking and respecting him , or sitting in his home so that the people are safe from him and he is safe from the people.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The safety of a man at times of fitnah is in his staying home.”
The Muslim can see the benefit of this advice when he is residing in a foreign land where he is unable to change much of the evil around him. Then he will have a refuge which, when he enters it, will protect him from doing haraam things or looking at haraam things, and will protect his wife from wanton display and unveiling, and will protect his children from bad company.
Fourthly: people usually spend most of their time at home, especially when it is very hot or very cold, when it is raining, early or late in the day, and after finishing work or school, so this time should be spent in worship and halaal pursuits, otherwise it will be spent in wrongdoing.
Fifthly and most importantly, paying attention to the home is the most important means of building a Muslim society, because the society is formed of the households and families that form its building blocks. Households form neighbourhoods, and neighbourhoods form societies. If the building blocks are sound, the society will be based on the laws of Allaah, standing firm in the face of enemies and filled with goodness that evil cannot penetrate. Then Muslim homes will produce pillars of society who will reform and guide it aright, such as exemplary dai’yahs, seekers of knowledge, sincere mujaahideen, righteous wives, caring mothers and all other types of reformers.
Because this subject is so important, and our homes are full of so many shortcomings and evils and examples of negligence, this begs the very important question:
What are the means of reforming our homes?
The following contains advice on this topic. May Allaah benefit us from it, and cause the Muslims to focus their efforts on reviving the Muslim home.
All the following advice revolves around two things: achieving our interests, which is by establishing that which is right and good, and warding off evil, by removing that which can cause it or bring it into our homes.
(1) Making a good choice when choosing a wife
“And marry those among you who are single (i.e., a man who has no wife and a woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the saalihoon (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allaah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people).” [al-Noor 24:32 – interpretation of the meaning].
The head of the household must select a righteous and suitable wife based on the following conditions described in various ahaadeeth:
“A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty or her religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [i.e., may you prosper]!” (Agreed upon).
“This world is all temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this life is a righteous wife.” (Reported by Muslim, 1468).
“Let every one of you have a thankful heart, a remembering tongue [remembering Allaah] and a believing wife who will help him with regard to the Hereafter.” (Reported by Ahmad, 5/282, and al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah from Thawbaan. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5231).
According to another report: “A righteous wife to help you with your worldly and religious affairs is the best treasure anyone could have.” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4285).
“Marry one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud before the other Prophets of your great numbers on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by Ahmad. Saheeh al-Irwa’, 6/195).
“I advise you to marry virgins, for their wombs are more fresh, their mouths are more sweet and they are more content with little.” According to another report: “… and they are less likely to deceive.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah. Al-Silsilah al-Saheeh, 623).
Just as a righteous wife is one of the four elements of happiness, so a bad wife is one of the four elements of misery, as it says in the saheeh hadeeth: “One of (the elements of) happiness is a righteous wife, who when you see her you feel pleased, and when you are away, you feel that you can trust her with regard to herself and your property. And one of (the elements of) misery is a bad wife who when you see her, you feel upset, she keeps attacking you verbally, and when you are away, you do not feel that you can trust her with regard to herself and your property.”
On the other hand, it is also essential to look at the situation of the prospective husband who is proposing marriage to the Muslim woman, and to agree to his proposal in accordance with the following conditions:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If there comes to you one with whose religion and character you are pleased, then marry your daughter [or sister, etc.] to him, otherwise there will be fitnah and great corruption in the land.”
All of the above must be achieved through asking the right questions, verifying facts, gathering information and checking sources, so that the home will not be corrupted or destroyed.
The righteous man and righteous woman together will build a righteous home, because “the vegetation of a good land comes forth (easily) by the Permission of its Lord, and that which is bad, brings forth nothing but a little with difficulty…” [al-A’raaf 7:58 – interpretation of the meaning].
(2) Striving to guide one’s wife
If one's wife is righteous, this is a blessing indeed, and this is from the Bounty of Allaah. If she is not that righteous, then it is the duty of the head of the household to strive to guide her. Any of the following scenarios may apply:
A man may marry a woman who is not religious in the first place, because he himself is not religious at first, or he may have married her in the hope of guiding her, or under pressure from his relatives, for example. In these cases he must strive hard to guide her.
A man must also realize from the outset that guidance comes from Allaah, and that Allaah is the One Who reforms people. One of His blessings to his slave Zakariya was, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “… and [We] cured his wife for him…” [al-Anbiya’ 21:90]. This curing or reforming may have been physical or religious. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “She was barren and could not have children, then she had a child.” ‘Ataa’ said: “She was harsh of tongue, and Allaah reformed her.”
There are various means of guiding or reforming one’s wife, such as:
Paying attention to correcting her worship of Allaah in all its aspects, as will be discussed in detail below.
Striving to strengthen her eemaan, such as:
encouraging her to pray at night (qiyaam al-layl)
encouraging her to read Qur’aan
encouraging her to memorize adhkaar and remember the appropriate times and occasions for saying them
encouraging her to give charity
encouraging her to read useful Islamic books
encouraging her to listen to useful Islamic cassettes that can increase knowledge and strengthen eemaan – and continuing to supply her with them.
choosing good, religious friends for her, with whom she can form ties of sisterhood and have good conversations and purposeful visits.
protecting her from evil and blocking off all avenues for it to reach her, by keeping her away from bad companions and bad places.
(3) Making the home a place for the remembrance of Allaah
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The likeness of a house in which Allaah is remembered and the house in which Allaah is not remembered is that of the living and the dead, respectively.”
We must make our homes places where Allaah is remembered in all kinds of ways, whether in our hearts, verbally, during prayer, by reading Qur’aan, by discussing Islamic issues, or by reading different kinds of Islamic books.
How many Muslim homes nowadays are dead because there is no remembrance of Allaah, as mentioned in the hadeeth. What must they be like when all that is heard therein is the music of Shaytaan with instruments and singing, and backbiting, slander and gossip?
What must they be like when they are filled with evil and sin, such as the haraam mixing of the sexes and wanton display between relatives who are not mahram or with neighbours who enter the home?
How can the angels enter a home like this? Revive your homes with all kinds of dhikr, may Allaah have mercy on you!
(4) Make your homes a qiblah
What is meant is taking the home as a place of worship.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And We inspired Moosa and his brother (saying): ‘Take dwellings for your people in Egypt, and make your dwellings as places for your worship, and perform al-salaah, and give glad tidings to the believers.’” [Yoonus 10:87].
Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “They were commanded to take their dwellings as places of prayer [lit. mosques].”
Ibn Katheer said: “This – and Allaah knows best – was because of the intensity of the tribulation that they were facing from Pharaoh and his people. They were commanded to pray much, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘O you who believe! Seek help with patience and prayer…’ [al-Baqarah 2:153], and as it was reported in the hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when he was distressed by something, would pray.”
This explains the importance of worshipping at home, especially at times when the Muslims are in a position of weakness, as happens in some places where the Muslims cannot pray openly in front of the kuffaar. In this context we may think of the mihraab of Maryam, which was her place of worship, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… Every time Zakariya entered the mihraab to visit her, he found her supplied with sustenance…” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:37]
The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to be keen to pray at home – apart from the fard or obligatory prayers (which they prayed in congregation in the mosque) – and there is a moving story concerning this. Mahmood ibn al-Rabee’ al-Ansaari reported that ‘Utbaan ibn Maalik – who was one of the Companions of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and was one of the Ansaar who had been present at Badr – came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “I am losing my sight, and I lead my people in prayer. When it rains, the valley between me and them gets flooded and I cannot get to their mosque to lead them in prayer. O Messenger of Allaah, I would like you to come to come and pray in my house so that I can take it as a place for prayer.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “I will do that, in sha Allaah.” ‘Utbaan said: “The next day the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and Abu Bakr came in the morning. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked for permission to enter, and I gave him permission. He did not sit down until he entered the house, then he said, ‘Where would you like me to pray in your house?’ I showed him a corner of the house, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up, said Takbeer, and we stood in a row behind him, and he prayed two rak’ahs and gave the salaam at the end of the prayer.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/519)
(5) Spiritual training for the members of the household
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray qiyaam at night, and when he prayed witr he would say, ‘Get up and pray witr, O ‘Aa’ishah’” (Reported by Muslim, Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 6/23).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May Allaah have mercy on a man who gets up at night and prays, then he wakes up his wife to pray, and if she refuses he throws water in her face.” (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Dawood. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3488).
Encouraging the women of one's household to give charity is another means of increasing faith. This is something very important which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged, when he said, “O women! Give in charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/405).
One of the new ideas is to have a box at home for donations to the poor and needy: whatever is put in the box belongs to them, because it is their vessel in the Muslim home.
If the family members see an example among them fasting on al-Ayyaam al-Beed (the 13th, 14th and 15th of each Hijri month), Mondays and Thursdays, Taasoo’aa’ and ‘Aashooraa’ (the 9th and 10th of Muharram), ‘Arafaah, and frequently in Muharram and Sha’baan, this will be a motive for them to do likewise.
(6) Paying attention to adhkaar and Sunnah du’aa’s that have to do with the home
Adkhaar for entering the home:
Muslim reported in his Saheeh that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you enters his home and mentions the Name of Allaah when he enters and when he eats, the Shaytaan says: ‘You have no place to stay and nothing to eat here.’ If he enters and does not mention the name of Allaah when he enters, [the Shaytaan] says, ‘You have a place to stay.’ If he does not mention the name of Allaah when he eats, [the Shaytaan says], ‘You have a place to stay and something to eat.’” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 3/346; Muslim, 3/1599).
Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man goes out of his house and says, ‘Bismillaah, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allaah, laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa Billaah (In the name of Allaah, I put my trust in Allaah, there is no help and no strength except in Allaah),’ it will be said to him, ‘This will take care of you, you are guided, you have what you need and you are protected.’ The Shaytaan will stay away from him, and another shaytaan will say to him, ‘What can you do with a man who is guided, provided for and protected?’” (Reported by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi. Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 499)
Imaam Muslim reported in his Saheeh that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered his house, the first thing he would do was use siwaak.” (Reported by Muslim, Kitaab al-Tahaarah, chapter 15, no. 44).
(7) Continuously reciting Soorat al-Baqarah in the house to ward off the Shaytaan
There are a number of ahaadeeth concerning this, such as:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not make your houses into graves. The Shaytaan flees from a house in which Soorat al-Baqarah is recited.” (Reported by Muslim, 1/539)
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Recite Soorat al-Baqarah in your houses, for the Shaytaan does not enter a house in which Soorat al-Baqarah is recited.” (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak. 1/561; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1170).
Concerning the virtues of the last two aayaat of this soorah, and the effect of reciting them in one’s house, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah wrote a document two thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, which is kept near the Throne, and He revealed two aayaat of it with which He concluded Soorat al-Baqarah. If they are recited in a house for three consecutive nights, the Shaytaan will not approach it.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 4/274, and others. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1799).
(8)Teaching the family
This is an obligation which the head of the household must undertake, in obedience to the command of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…” [al-Tahreem 66:6]. This aayah is the basic principle regarding the teaching and upbringing of one's family, and enjoining them to do what is good and forbidding them to do what is evil. There follow some of the comments of the mufassireen on this aayah, in so far as it pertains to the duties of the head of the household.
Qutaadah said: “He should command them to obey Allaah, and forbid them to disobey Him, and direct them in accordance with the commands of Allaah, and help them to do that.”
Dahhaak and Muqaatil said: “It is the Muslim’s duty to teach his family, including relatives and female slaves, what Allaah has enjoined upon them and what He has forbidden.”
‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Teach them and discipline them.”
Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “We must teach our children and wives the religion and goodness, and whatever they need of good manners. If the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to urge the teaching of female servants, who were slaves, what do you think about your children and wives, who are free?”
Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Saheeh: “Chapter: a man’s teaching his female slaves and wife.” Then he quoted the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There are three who will have two rewards: … a man who has a female slave whom he teaches good manners and teaches her well, and teaches her knowledge, and teaches her well, then he frees her and marries her: he will have two rewards.”
Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on this hadeeth: “The chapter heading refers specifically to female slaves, and to wives by analogy, i.e., teaching one’s free wife about her duties towards Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger is more clearly essential than teaching one's female slaves.”
In the midst of all a man’s activities, work and other commitments, he may forget to allow himself time for teaching his wife. One solution to this is to allocate some time for the family, and even for others such as relatives, to hold a study-circle at home. He can let everyone know the time and encourage them to come regularly, so that it will be an ongoing commitment for him and for them. Something similar happened at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Chapter: can the women be given a day exclusively for them to seek knowledge”? and quoted the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him): “The women said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): ‘The men always crowd us out and we cannot reach you, so set aside a day for us when we can come to you.’ So he set aside a day when he would meet them and teach them.”
Ibn Hajar said: “A similar report was narrated by Sahl ibn Abi Saalih from Abu Hurayrah, according to which [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: ‘Your appointment is in the house of so and so,’ and he came to them and spoke to them.’”
What we learn from this is that women should be taught in their houses, and we see how keen the women of the Sahaabah were to learn. Directing teaching efforts to men alone, and not to women, is a serious shortcoming on the part of dai’yahs and heads of households.
Some readers may ask, suppose we set aside a day, and tell our families about it – what should we study in these gatherings? Where do we begin?
I suggest that you begin with a simple program to teach your family in general, and the women in particular, using the following books:
The tafseer of al-‘Allaamah Ibn Sa’di, entitled Tayseer al-Kareem al-Rahmaan fi Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan, which is published in seven volumes and is written in an easy style; you can read it or teach somes soorahs and passages from it.
Riyaadh al-Saaliheen – you coul discuss the ahaadeeth quoted, along with the footnotes and the lessons learned from them. You could also refer to the book Nuzhat al-Muttaqeen.
Hasan al-Uswah bimaa thubita ‘an Allaahi wa Rasoolihi fi’l-Nuswah, by al-‘Allaamah Siddeeq Hasan Khaan.
It is also important to teach women some of the ahkaam of fiqh, such as the rulings on tahaarah (purity) and menstrual and post-partum bleeding, salaah, zakaah, siyaam (fasting) and hajj, if she is able to go; some of the rulings on food and drink, clothing and adornment, the sunan al-fitrah, rulings on mahaarim (who is a mahram relative and who is not), rulings on singing and photography, and so on. Among the important sources of such information are the fatwas (rulings or edicts) of the scholars, such as the collections of fatwas by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz and Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, and other scholars, whether they are written fatwas or fatwas recorded on tapes.
Another matter that may be included in a syllabus for teaching women and family members is reminding them of lessons or public lectures given by trustworthy scholars and seekers of knowledge which they can attend, so they can have a variety of excellent sources for learning. We should not forget either the radio programs of Idhaa’at al-Qur’aan al-Kareem; another means of teaching is reminding family members of the particular days when women can attend Islamic bookstores, and taking them there, within the guidelines of sharee’ah [i.e., proper hijaab, etc.]
(9)Start building an Islamic “library” in your home
Another thing that will help in teaching your family and letting them develop a understanding of their religion and help them adhere to its rules, is having one’s own Islamic library at home. It does not have to be extensive; what matters is choosing good books, putting them in a place where they are readily accessible, and encouraging family members to read them.
You could put books in a clean and tidy corner of the living room, and in a suitable place in a bedroom or guest room; this will make it easy for any member of the family to read constantly.
In order to build a library properly – and Allaah loves things to be done properly – you should include references so that family members can research various matters and children can use them for their studies. You should also include books of varying levels, so that old and young, men and women can all use them. You should also have books for giving to guests, children’s friends and family visitors, but try to get books that are attractively presented, edited properly and with the sources and classification of the ahaadeeth properly given. You can make the most of Islamic bookstores and exhibitions to build a home library, after consulting and seeking advice from those who have experience in the field of books. One way in which you can help family members to find a book when they want it is to organize the books according to subject, with books of Tafseer on one shelf, books of hadeeth on another, fiqh on a third, and so on. One of the family members could also compile alphabetical or subject indexes of the library, to make it easier to look for books.
Many of those who want to start a home library may ask for titles of Islamic books. Here are a few suggestions:
Tafseer Ibn Katheer
Tafseer Ibn Sa’di
Zubdat al-Tafseer by al-Ashkar
Badaa’i’ al-Tafseer by Ibn al-Qayyim
Usool al-Tafseer by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen
Lamahaat fi ‘Uloom al-Qur’aan by Muhammad al-Sabbaagh
Saheeh al-Kalim al-Tayyib
‘Aml al-Muslim fi’l-Yawm wa’l-Laylah (or: Al-Saheeh al-Musnad min Adhkaar al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah)
Riyaadh al-Saaliheen and its commentary Nuzhat al-Muttaqeen
Mukhtasar Saheeh al-Bukhaari by al-Zubaydi
Mukhtasar Saheeh Muslim by al-Mundhiri and al-Albaani
Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer
Da’eef al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer
Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb
Al-Sunnah wa Makaanatuhaa fi’l-Tashree’
Qawaa’id wa fawaa’id min al-Arba’een al-Nawawiyyah by Naazim Sultaan
Fath al-Majeed Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed (edited by al-Arnaa’oot)
A’laam al-Sunnah al-Manshoorah by al-Hakami (ed.)
Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah, edited by al-Albaani
The series on ‘Aqeedah by Umar Sulaymaan al-Ashqar in 8 parts
Ashraat al-Saa’ah by Dr. Yoosuf al-Waabil
Manaar al-Sabeel by Ibn Duwiyyaan
Irwa’ al-Ghaleel by al-Albaani
al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah
Fiqh al-Sunnah [also available in English translation]
Al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhi by Saalih al-Fawzaan
Collections of fatwas by different scholars (‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Muhammad Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen)
Sifat Salaah al-Nabi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by Shaykh al-Albaani and Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz [available in English under the title The Prophet’s Prayer Described]
Mukhtasar Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz by al-Albaani
Good manners and purification of the soul:
Tahdheeb Madaarij al-Saalikeen
Tareeq al-Hijratayn wa Baab al-Sa’aadatayn
Raafi’ al-Kalim al-Tayyib by Ibn al-Qayyim
Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif by Ibn Rajab
Tahdheeb Maw’izat al-Mu’mineen
Seerah and biographies
Al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah by Ibn Katheer
Mukhtasar al-Shamaa’il al-Muhammadiyyah by al-Tirmidhi, abridged by al-Albaani
Al-Raheeq al-Makhtoom by al-Mubaarakpoori [available in English translation]
Al-‘Awaasim min al-Qawaasim by Ibn al-‘Arabi, ed. by al-Khateeb and al-Istanbooli
Al-Mujtama’ al-Madani (2 vols.) by Shaykh Akram al-‘Umari [available in English under the title Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)]
Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’
Minhaj Kitaabat al-Taareekh al-Islaami by Muhammad ibn Saamil al-Salami
There are many other good books on various topics, such as those by:
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Naasir al-Sa’di
Shaykh ‘Umar Sulaymaan ibn Ashqar
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ismaa’eel al-Muqaddim
Prof. Muhammad Muhammad Husayn
Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zayno
Prof. Husayn al-‘Awayishah’s books on al-Raqaa’iq (topics to soften the heart and strengthen eemaan)
Al-Eemaan by Muhammad Na’eem Yaaseen
Al-Walaa’ wa’l-Baraa’ by Shaykh Muhammad Sa’eed al-Qahtaani [available in English translation]
Al-Inhiraafaat al-‘Aqdiyyah fi’l-Qarnayn al-Thaani ‘Ashara wa’l-Thaalith ‘Ashara by ‘Ali ibn Bukhayt al-Zahraani
Al-Muslimoon wa Zaahirat al-Hazeemah al-Nafsiyyah by ‘Abd-Allaah al-Shabaanah
Al-Mar’ah bayn al-Fiqh wa’l-Qaanoon by Mustafa al-Sibaa’i
Al-Usrah al-Muslimah amaam al-video wa’l-tilifiziyon by Marwaan Kijik
Al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah I’daadaatuhaa wa mas’ooliyaatuhaa by Ahmad Abu Bateen
Mas’ooliyat al-Abb al-Muslim fi Tarbiyat Waladihi by ‘Adnaan Baahaarith
Hijaab al-Muslimah by Ahmad al-Baaraazi
Wa Jaa’a Dawr al-Maajoos by ‘Abd-Allaah Muhammad al-Ghareeb
Books by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
Abhaath al-Shaykh Mashoor Hasan Salmaan
There are many other useful, good books – what we have mentioned is only by way of example, and is by no means a complete list. There are also many useful pamphlets and booklets, but it would take too long to list everything. The Muslim should consult others and think hard. Whomever Allaah wishes good for, He helps him to understand His religion.
(10)Home audio library
Having a cassette player in every home may be used for good or for evil. How can we use it in a manner that is pleasing to Allaah?
One of the ways in which we can achieve this is to have a home audio library containing good Islamic tapes by scholars, fuqaha’, lecturers, khateebs and preachers.
Listening to tapes of Qur’aan recitation by some Imaams, for example those recorded during Taraaweeh prayers, will have a great impact on family members, whether by impressing upon them the meanings of the Revelation, or by helping them to memorize Qur’aan because of repeated listening. It will also protect them by letting them hear Qur’aanic recitation rather than the music and singing of the Shaytaan, because it is not right for the words of al-Rahmaan (Allaah) to be mixed with the music of the Shaytaan in the heart of the believer.
Tapes of fatwas may have a great effect on family members and help them to understand various rulings, which will have an impact on their daily lives. We suggest listening to tapes of fatwas given by scholars such as Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani, Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, and other trustworthy scholars.
Muslims must also pay attention to the sources from which they take fatwas, because this is the matter of religion, so look to where you take your religion from. You should take it from someone who is known to be righteous and pious, who bases his fatwas on sound ahaadeeth, who is not fanatical in his adherence to a madhhab, who follows sound evidence and adheres to a middle path without being either extreme or too lenient. Ask an expert. “… Allaah, Most Gracious: ask, then about Him of any acquainted (with such things).” [al-Furqaan 25:59 – interpretation of the meaning – Yusuf Ali’s translation].
Listening to lectures by those who are striving to raise the awareness of the ummah, establish proof and denounce evil, is very important for establishing individual personalities in the Muslim home.
There are many tapes and lectures, and the Muslim needs to know the features of the sound methodology so as to distinguish sound lecturers from others and look for their tapes, which they can listen to with confidence. Among these features are:
The lecturer should be a believer in the ‘aqeedah of the Saved Group, Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, adhering to the Sunnah and firmly rejecting bid’ah. The speaker should be moderate, neither extremist nor lenient.
He should base his talks on sound ahaadeeth, and beware of weak and fabricated ahaadeeth.
He should have insight into people’s situations and the realities of the ummah, and should offer the appropriate remedy for any problem, giving the people what they need.
He should speak the truth as much as he can, and not utter falsehood or please the people by angering Allaah.
We often find that tapes for children have a great influence on them, whether by helping them to memorize Qur’aan by listening to a young reader, or du’aa’s to be recited at various times of day and night, or Islamic manners, or nasheeds (religious “songs” with no instrumental accompaniment) with a useful message, and so on.
Putting tapes in drawers in an organized fashion will make it easier to find them, and will also protect them from getting damaged or from being played with by young children. We should distribute good tapes by giving or lending them to others after listening to them. Having a recorder in the kitchen will be very useful for the lady of the house, and having a recorder in the bedroom will help a person make good use of time until the last moments of the day.
(11) Inviting good and righteous people and seekers of knowledge to visit the home.
“My Lord! Forgive me, and my parents, and him who enters my home as a believer, and all the believing men and women…” [Nooh 71:28 – interpretation of the meaning].
If people of faith enter your home, it will increase in light (noor), and will bring many benefits because of your conversations and discussion with them. The bearer of musk will either give you some, or you will buy from him, or you will find that he has a pleasant scent. When children, brothers and parents sit with such visitors, and women listen from behind a curtain or screen to what is said, this offers an educational experience to all. If you bring good people into your home, by doing so you keep bad people from coming in a wreaking havoc.
(12) Learning the Islamic rulings with regard to houses.
Praying in the house
With regard to men, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayer is a man’s prayer in his house – apart from the prescribed prayers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 731).
It is obligatory to pray (the five daily prayers) in the mosque, except if there is a valid excuse. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “A man’s voluntary prayers in his house will bring more reward than his voluntary prayers at other people’s places, just as his obligatory prayers with the people are better than his obligatory prayers alone.” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2953).
With regard to women, the deeper inside her home her place of prayer is, the better, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best prayer for women is [that offered] in the furthest part of their houses.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3311).
A man should not be led in prayer in his own home, and no one should sit in the place where the master of the house usually sits, except with his permission. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man should not be led in prayer in his place of authority, and no one should sit in his place in his house, except with his permission.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2772). I.e., no one should go forward to lead him in prayer, even if they recite Qur’aan better than he does, in a place that he owns or where he has authority, such as a householder in his home, or an imaam in a mosque. Similarly, it is not permitted to sit in the private spot of the head of the master of the house, such as a bed or mattress, etc., except with his permission.
Seeking permission to enter.
“O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them, that is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you. And Allaah is All-Knower of what you do.” [al-Noor 24:27-28 – interpretation of the meaning].
“… so enter houses through their proper doors…” [al-Baqarah 2:189 – interpretation of the meaning].
It is permissible to enter houses that are empty if one has some legitimate business there, such as a house prepared for guests. “There is no sin on you that you enter (without taking permission) houses uninhabited (i.e., not possessed by anybody), (when) you have any interest in them. And Allaah has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal.” [al-Noor 24:29 – interpretation of the meaning].
Not feeling too shy to eat in the houses of friends and relatives, and in houses of friends and relatives and others to which one has the keys, if they have no objection to that. “There is no restriction on the blind, nor any restriction on the lame, nor any restriction on the sick, nor on yourselves, if you eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your father’s brothers, or the houses of your father’s sisters, or the houses of your mother’s brothers, or the houses of your mother’s sisters, or (from that) whereof you hold keys, or (from the house) of a friend. No sin on you whether you eat together or apart…” [al-Noor 24:61].
Telling children and servants not to barge in to the parents’ bedroom without permission at the times when people usually sleep, i.e., before Fajr, at siesta time and after ‘Isha’, lest they see something inappropriate. If they see something accidentally at other times, this is forgivable, because they are tawwaafeen (those who go about in the house) and it is difficult to stop them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions: before Fajr prayer, and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the ‘Isha prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, - attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allaah makes clear the aayaat (verses of this Qur’aan, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [al-Noor 24:57].
It is forbidden to look into the houses of other people without their permission. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever looks into someone’s house without their permission, put his eyes out, and there is no diyah or qisaas [blood money or retaliation] in this case.” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Musnad, 2/385; Saheeh al-Jaami, 6046).
A woman who has been divorced by talaaq for a first or second time [and could still go back to her husband] should not leave or be made to leave her home during the ‘iddah, and she should still be supported financially. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their ‘iddah (prescribed periods), and count (accurately) their ‘iddah (periods). And fear Allaah your Lord (O Muslims), and turn them not out of their (husband’s) homes, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open illegal sexual intercourse. And those are the set limits of Allaah. And whoever transgresses the set limits of Allaah, then indeed he has wronged himself. You (the one who divorces his wife) know not, it may be that Allaah will afterward bring some new thing to pass (i.e., to return her back to you, if this as the first or second divorce).” [al-Talaaq 65:1]
It is permissible for a man to forsake his rebellious wife inside or outside the home, according to the interests prescribed by sharee’ah in any given case. The evidence for forsaking her inside the home is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… refuse to share their beds…” [al-Nisa’ 4:34]. With regard to forsaking women outside the home, this is what happened when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forsook his wives, leaving them in their apartments and staying in a room outside the houses of his wives. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Talaaq, Baab fi’l-Eelaa’).
One should not stay alone overnight in the house. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade being alone and said that a man should not stay overnight alone or travel alone. (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 2/91). This is because of the feelings of loneliness etc., that come from being alone, and also because of the possibility of attacks by enemies or robbers, or the possibility of sickness. If one has a companion, he can help fight off attacks, and can help if one gets sick. (See al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 5/64).
Not sleeping on the roof of a house that has no protecting wall, lest one fall. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever sleeps on the roof of a house that has no protecting wall, nobody is responsible for what happens to him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, al-Sunan, no. 5041; Saheeh al-Jaami, 6113; its commentary is in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 13/384). This is because one who is asleep may roll over in his sleep, and if there is no wall he may fall off the roof and be killed. In such a case, nobody would be to blame for his death; or his negligence would cause Allaah to lift His protection from him, because he did not take the necessary precautions. The hadeeth may mean either.
Pet cats do not make vessels naajis (impure) if they drink from them, or make food naajis if they eat from it. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Qutaadah reported from his father that water was put out for him to make wudoo’, and a cat came and lapped at the water. He took the water and did wudoo’ with it, and they said, “O Abu Qutaadah! The cat drank from it.” He said, I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘Cats are part of the household, and they are among those who go around in your houses.’” (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/309; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3694). According to another report he said: “They [cats] are not naajis; they are among those who go around [al-tawwaafeen wa’l-tawwaafaat – refers to children, servants, etc.] in your houses.” (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/309; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2437).
(13) Creating opportunities for meetings to discuss family matters.
“… and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation…” [al-Shoora 42:38 – interpretation of the meaning]. This is a time when the family members can sit together in a suitable place to talk about issues within and without the family that affect them. This is a sign of strong ties, interaction and cooperation within the family. No doubt the man is the one whom Allaah has appointed to be in charge of his “flock’s” affairs and he is primarily responsible and is the decision maker, but giving room to others to contribute – especially when the children get older – is good training for them to learn to bear responsibility, as well as giving everyone the confidence of knowing that his or her opinion is valued when they are asked to express their points of view. Examples of this are discussions concerning going for Hajj or for ‘Umrah during Ramadaan, and other trips, travelling to visit relatives and uphold family ties, or for vacations; organizing wedding parties and ‘aqeeqahs for newborns; moving from one home to another; and charitable projects such as finding out about the poor people in one's neighbourhood so the family can offer help or send food to them. Families can also discuss problems faced by themselves or by relatives, and talk about how to solve them, and so on… It is worth pointing out here that there is another important kind of family meeting, which is holding frank discussions between parents and children. Some of the problems of adolescence can only by solved by one-on-one conversations between parents and children, where a father talks, calmly and quietly, with his son about matters that have to do with the problems of youth and the Islamic rulings pertaining to adolescence, and a mother talks to her daughter and tells her what she needs to know about Islamic rulings and helps her to solve the problems that she may face at this age. The father or mother may open the discussion with words such as “When I was your age…” This will have a great effect in making what they say acceptable to the youngster. Lack of such frank discussions will force the children to talk to bad companions, which leads to so many other evils.
(14) Not showing family conflicts in front of the children.
It is rare for people to live together under one roof without any arguments, but reconciliation is better and correcting oneself is a virtue. What shakes the unity of the family and harms its infrastructure is when conflicts are brought out into the open before the members of the family, who then split into two or more opposing camps, not to mention the psychological harm that is done to children, especially little ones. Think about a home where the father says to the child, “Do not speak to your mother,” and the mother says to him, “Do not speak to your father.” The child is confused and filled with turmoil, and the entire family lives in an atmosphere of hostility. We should try to avoid conflict, but if it happens, we should try to hide it. We ask Allaah to create love between our hearts.
(15) Not letting into the house anyone whose commitment to Islam is not pleasing to you.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The likeness of a bad companion is like the one who works the bellows” (from a report narrated by Abu Dawood, 4829). According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari, he said, “the one who works the bellows will burn your house or your clothes, or you will smell a bad odour from him.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4/323). Indeed, he will burn your home with all kinds of corruption and evil. How often has the entry of corrupt and suspicious people into a home been the cause of enmity among the family members, or of division between husband and wife. Allaah curses the one who turns a wife against her husband, or a husband against his wife, or causes enmity between a father and his children. This is how sihr (magic, witchcraft) is brought into people’s homes, why things are sometimes stolen, and why so often morals are corrupted: it is because a person whose commitment to Islam is no good is admitted into the home. We must not let such people in, even if they are neighbours, men or women, and even if they appear to be friendly. Some people keep quiet out of embarrassment, and if they see such a person at the door, they let him in, even though they know this is one of the corrupt people. In this matter, women bear a great deal of responsibility. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, which day is most sacred? Which day is most sacred? Which day is most sacred?” They said, “The greatest day of Hajj.” Then he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his Friday khutbah on that day: “Your rights over your women are that they should not allow anyone to sit on your beds whom you dislike, or allow anyone into your homes whom you dislike.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 1163, and other from ‘Amr ibn al-Ahwas; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7880).
Muslim women, you should not feel upset if your husband or father does not let one of the female neighbours into the house because he sees that she is trying to cause trouble. Be smart and be strong if someone tries to make comparisons between her husband and yours, lest that pushes you to demand things from your husband that he cannot afford. It is also your obligation to advise your husband if you notice that he has close friends who are making evil appear attractive to him.
§ Advice to men: try to be at home as much as you can, because the guardian’s presence at home keeps things under control and enables him to supervise the upbringing of the family and to put things right by watching and following up. For some people, the basic thing is to be always outside of the home, and only if they cannot find some place to go do they come home. This is wrong. If a man is constantly going out for purposes of worship, he must still strike a balance; if he is going out for the purposes of sin and wasting time, or because he is too busy with matters of this world, he must reduce his work and business commitments, and put an end to idle meetings. And how evil are those people who neglect their families and stay in nightclubs…! We do not want to fall in with the plans of the enemies of Allaah; we can learn a lot from the following paragraph of the minutes of the French Eastern Masonic lodge held in 1923:
“ For the purpose of separating the individual from his family, you must eliminate morals at their root, because people are inclined to cut off their family ties and do things that are forbidden, they prefer to chat idly in cafés rather than carry out their duties towards their families.”
(16) Taking careful note of what family members are up to.
Who are your children’s friends?
Have you met them before?
What do your children bring home from outside?
Where does your daughter go, and with whom?
Some parents do not know that their children have in their possession bad pictures, pornographic movies and even drugs. Some of them do not know that their daughter goes with the (female) servant to the market, then asks the servant to wait with the driver whilst she goes to her appointment or “date” with one of the shayaateen (devils), or to smoke and mess about with her bad friends. Those who neglect their children will not be let off on that terrible Day, nor will they be able to flee from the horrors of the Day of Reckoning. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah will ask every shepherd (or responsible person) about his flock (those for whom he was responsible), whether he took care of it or neglected it, until He asks a man about his household.” (Hasan. Reported by al-Nisaa'i, 292, and Ibn Hibbaan from Anas; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1775; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1636).
There are some important points to note here:
1. This supervision must be subtle.
2. There should be no terrorizing atmosphere
3. The child must not be made to feel that he or she is not trusted.
4. Advice and/or punishments must be measured against the ages of the children, their levels of understand and the extent of the wrongful behaviour.
5. Beware of negative methods of checking on children and making them feel that their every move is being watched. I have been told of a person who has a computer in which he records every mistake his children make in detail. If one of his children does something wrong, he sends him a memo requesting his presence, then he opens the child’s file in the computer and tells him all his previous mistakes, as well as the current misdemeanour.
Note: we are not talking about a company here. The father is not the angel whose job it is to write down bad deeds. This father needs to read more about the principles of Islamic upbringing and education.
I also know of people at the other extreme, who refuse to get involved in their children’s affairs at all, claiming that the child will not be convinced that a mistake is a mistake or a sin is a sin unless he does it and then finds out for himself that it is a mistake. This deviant idea comes from being weaned on ideas of western philosophy and notions of absolute freedom. Some of them give their child free rein, fearing that the child may start to hate them, saying “I will earn his love whatever he does.” Some of them give the child free rein as a reaction to their own over-strict upbringings, thinking that they have to do the absolute opposite with their own children. Some of them take this stupid attitude to extremes by saying, “Let our sons and daughters enjoy their youth as they wish.” Do these people not think that their children might pull on their clothes on the Day of Resurrection and say, “O my father, why did you leave me in sin?”
(17) Paying attention to children at home.
- Teaching them to memorize Qur’aan and Islamic stories. There is nothing more beautiful than a father and his children coming together to read Qur’aan, with a simple commentary, offering rewards for memorizing passages. Young children have memorized Soorat al-Kahf from hearing it recited repeatedly by their fathers every Friday. You can teach children the basics of Islamic ‘aqeedah, for example as mentioned in the hadeeth, “Heed Allaah’s commandments and He will protect you.” You can teach children good manners and the adhkaar prescribed by Islam, for example for eating, sleeping, sneezing, greeting, asking permission to enter.
- There is nothing more attractive or effective for children than telling them Islamic stories, such as the story of Nooh (peace be upon him) and the Flood; the story of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), and how he broke the idols and was thrown into the fire; the story of Moosa (peace be upon him) being saved from Pharaoh, who was drowned; the story of Yoonus (peace be upon him) in the belly of the whale; the story of Yoosuf (peace be upon him) in brief; the biography of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as the beginning of his mission and his hijrah; some of the Islamic battles such as Badr and al-Khandaq; other stories from the Prophet’s life such as the story of the man and the camel which he did not feed properly but abused it by making it work too hard; stories of righteous people, such as the story of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) and the woman and her hungry children in the tent; the story of the people of al-Ukhdood (the ditch); the story of the people of the garden in Soorat al-Qalam , and the three companions of the cave. There are many good stories which you can tell in a brief and simple manner, with a few comments. These are better for us and we have no need of the many stories that go against ‘aqeedah, or frightening myths that distort children’s concept of reality and make them cowardly and afraid.
- Beware of letting your children go out with just anybody, lest they come back home uttering bad words and behaving badly. Be selective when choosing children of relatives and neighbours to invite to come and play with your children at home.
- Make sure that your children’s play is both entertaining and purposeful. Give them a special playroom, or at least a cupboard for their toys, where they can keep their toys tidy. Avoid toys that go against sharee’ah, like musical instruments, or toys that have crosses or them, or games containing dice.
- It is also a good idea to make a corner where children can practice hobbies such as carpentry, electronics and mechanics, or play some permissible computer games. With regard to the latter, we should be alert to the fact that some computer games show the worst types of pictures of women on the screen, and other games have crosses in them; one person has even told me that there is a game that involves gambling against the computer – the player chooses one of four girls whose pictures appear on the screen to represent the other player, and if he wins, his prize is to see the worst kind of picture of the girl.
- Separating boys and girls in their beds or sleeping arrangements. This is one of the things that distinguish those who are committed to their religion from those who do not care.
- Joking and showing affection. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to play with children and pat their heads; he would speak to them in a kind and gentle manner, giving the littlest one the first fruit, and even letting them ride on his back sometimes. There follow two examples of how he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) played with al-Hasan and al-Husayn:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to stick his tongue out at Hasan ibn ‘Ali, and the child would see the redness of his tongue, and would like it and come running to him.” (Reported by Abu’l-Shaykh in Akhlaaq al-Nabi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wa Aadaabuhu; see al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 70). Ya’laa ibn Murrah said: “We went out with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and we were called to eat, when we saw Husayn playing in the street. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) rushed ahead of the people, holding out his arms, and the child was running hither and thither; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was laughing with him until he caught him, then he put one of the child’s hands under his chin and other other on top of his head, and kissed him.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 364; Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 1/29).
(18) Being strict in adhering to a schedule for meals and bedtime.
Some houses are like hotels where the people who live there hardly know one another and hardly ever meet.
Some children eat whenever they want and sleep whenever they want, which leads to them staying up late and wasting their time, or eating on a full stomach. This chaos leads to a weakening of family ties and a waste of time and energy, and exacerbates the lack of discipline among family members. You could excuse those who have legitimate reasons, because students, male and female, may have different times of leaving schools and universities, and those who are employed or who run stores do not have the same work schedules, but still there is nothing nicer than a family gathering together at the table and making the most of this opportunity to ask how everyone is and to discuss useful topics. The head of the household has to be strict in setting a time for everyone to be back home, and in insisting that everyone asks permission before going out, especially those who are young, whether in terms of chronological age or mental age, as it were, for whom one might have fears.
(19) Re-evaluating women’s work outside the home.
The laws of Islam complement one another. When Allaah commanded women to “…stay in your houses…” [al-Ahzaab 33:33 – interpretation of the meaning], He also decreed that men, their fathers and husbands, etc., should be obliged to spend on them.
The basic principle is that women should not work outside the home unless they have to. When Moosa (peace be upon him) saw the two daughters of the righteous man keeping back their flocks and waiting to water them, he asked them: “… ‘What is the matter with you?’ They said, ‘We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks), and our father is a very old man.’” [al-Qasas 28:23 – interpretation of the meaning]. They were apologetic about the fact that they had come out to water their flocks, because the guardian [their father] was unable to do so due to old age. So they were keen to do away with the need to work outside the home as soon as the opportunity arose: “And said one of them (the two women): ‘O my father! Hire him! Verily the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.’” [al-Qasas 28:26 – interpretation of the meaning].
This woman made clear her desire to go back to staying at home to protect herself from the vulgarity to which she could be exposed if she worked outside the home.
In modern times, when the kuffaar needed women’s labour after the two world wars, to make up for the resulting lack of men in the workforce, and there was a critical need to rebuild their economies, this coincided with the Jewish plots to “liberate” women and advocate their rights with the aim of corrupting them and consequently corrupting society as a whole. Thus the idea of women going out to work was established.
In spite of the fact that the same motives were not present in our lands, and that Muslim men protect their womenfolk and spend on them, the women’s liberation movement developed in the Muslim world too, and even reached such an extent that women are sent abroad to study, then are expected to work so that these degrees will not go to waste. The Muslim societies are not in need of such a thing on such a grand scale as is the case, and one of the signs of this is the fact that there are men who are without work whilst fields are still being opened up to women.
When we say “not on such a grand scale”, we mean that there is a need for women to work in some fields, such as teaching, nursing and medicine, within the conditions set out by sharee’ah, and when there is a need for them to do so. But we started by saying that there is no great need, because of the fact that we notice some women going out to work when there is no need, and sometimes they work for very low wages, because they feel that they have to go out to work even when there is no need to do so, or they work in places that are not suitable, which leads to much fitnah and trouble.
One of the main differences between the Islamic view on women’s work and the secular view is that the basic principle in Islam is to “…stay in your houses…” [al-Ahzaab 33:33 – interpretation of the meaning], although women may go out when they need to – “And permission has been given to you to go out for your needs” (hadeeth). The secular principle, on the other hand, is to go out no matter what the circumstances.
To be fair, we should say that there may indeed be a need for women to work, such as a woman who is the breadwinner for her family after her husband has died or her father has become too old to work, and so on. Indeed, in some societies which are not based on Islamic principles, a woman may find herself forced to work to help her husband cover the living expenses of the family. A man may not propose to a woman unless she is working, and some men may even make it a condition of the marriage contract that the wife work!
In conclusion: a woman may work if she needs to or for some Islamic purpose, such as calling others to Allaah in the field of teaching, or to make use of her time, as some women do who do not have children.
With regard to the negative aspects of women working outside the home, these include:
§ What often happens of things that are forbidden in Islam, such as mixing with men, getting to know them and being alone with them, wearing perfume for them and starting to show one's adornment to strangers (non-mahrem men), which can ultimately lead to immoral conduct.
§ Not giving the husband his rights, neglecting the house, not giving the children their proper rights. (This is our basic point here).
§ Undermining the feeling in some women’s minds that the husband is the qawwaam (protector and maintainer). Let us take the case of a woman whose qualifications are equal to those of her husband, or even higher (although there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself), and who works and earns more than he does. Will she feel the proper need towards her husband and obey him properly, or will she feel that she is independent of him, which could rock the household on its foundations, unless Allaah wills good for her? These arguments about spending on the working wife and how much she should spend on the family may never end.
§ Physical exhaustion and psychological and nervous pressure which do not befit the nature of women.
Having briefly discussed the pros and cons of women’s work, we conclude that we have to fear Allaah, and to weigh the matter up according to sharee’ah, and to know the circumstances in which a woman is permitted to go out to work, and when she is not. We should not be blinded by worldly gains or allow them to distract us from the truth. This advice to women is in their best interests and in the interests of the family. Husbands should also stop thinking in terms of taking revenge and should not consume their wife’s wealth unjustly.
(20) Confidentiality: keeping family secrets.
This includes a number of things, including:
- Not disclosing intimate secrets.
- Not disclosing marital conflicts.
- Not disclosing any secrets the exposing of which could cause harm to the family or to any of its members.
With regard to the first matter, the evidence that this is haraam is the hadeeth: “One of the most evil of people in the sight of Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who went in unto his wife and she went in unto him, then he disclosed her secret.” (Reported by Muslim, 4/157). The meaning of going in unto one another is that he approaches her and has intercourse with her, as in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… while you have gone in unto one another…” [al-Nisa’ 4:21].
Further evidence is to be seen in the hadeeth of Asma’ bint Yazeed, who said that she was with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when men and women were sitting with him, and he said: “I think there are some men who talk about what they do with their wives, and that there are some women who talk about what they do with their husbands.” The people stayed silent. [Asma’] said: “Yes, by Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, [women] do that and [men] do that!” He said, “Do not do that, for it is as if a male devil met a female devil in the street and had intercourse with her whilst the people were watching.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 6/457; also reported in Aadaab al-Zafaaf by al-Albaani, p. 144). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: “Are there men among you who when they have intercourse with their wives, they close their doors and lower their curtains and ask Allaah to conceal them?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “And then do they sit and say, ‘I did such and such, and I did such and such?’” They kept silent. Then he turned to the women and said, “Are there any among you talk [about intimate matters]?” and they kept silent. Then a young girl sat up on one of her knees and craned her neck so that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) could see her and hear her, and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, indeed the men talk and the women talk.” He said, “Do you know what that is like? It is like a female devil meeting a male devil in the street and having intercourse with him whilst the people are watching.” (Sunan Abi Dawood, 2/627; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7037).
With regard to the second matter, which is disclosing marital arguments outside the home, in many cases this only makes matters worse. Involving outside parties in a marital conflict usually deepens the split, and it reaches a stage where the couple will only communicate via intermediaries when they should be the closest of all people to one another. This should not be resorted to except in cases where they cannot resolve matter face to face, in which case we should act in accordance with the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… appoint (two) arbitrators, one from his family and the other from hers; if they both wish for peace, Allaah will cause their reconciliation…” [al-Nisa’ 4:35].
With regard to the third matter, which is harming the family or one of its members – by spreading their secrets – this is not permissible, because it is covered by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 1/313; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 250). An example of this was narrated in the Tafseer of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Allaah sets forth an example for those who disbelieve, the wife of Nooh and the wife of Loot. They were under two of our righteous slaves, but they both betrayed their [husbands]…” [al-Tahreem 66:10]. Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported the following in his tafseer of this aayah:
“The wife of Nooh used to know about his secrets, and whenever anyone believed in him, she would tell the oppressors among the people of Nooh about it. As for the wife of Loot, whenever Loot welcomed anyone as a guest, she would tell the people of the city who used to do evil things” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/198), i.e., to come and do immoral things to them.
(21) Spreading kindness in the home.
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘When Allaah – may He be glorified – wills some good towards the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them.’” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/71; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 303). According to another report: “When Allaah loves the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them.” (Reported by Ibn Abi al-Dunya and others; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 1704). In other words, they start to be kind to one another. This is one of the means of attaining happiness in the home, for kindness is very beneficial between the spouses, and with the children, and brings results that cannot be achieved through harshness, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah loves kindness and rewards it in such a way that He does not reward for harshness or for anything else.” (Reported by Muslim, Kitaab al-Birr wa’l-Sillah wa’l-Aadaab, no. 2592).
(22) Helping one’s wife with the housework.
Many men think that housework is beneath them, and some of them think that it will undermine their status and position if they help their wives with this work.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), however, used to “sew his own clothes, mend his own shoes and do whatever other work men do in their homes.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/121; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4927).
This was said by his wife ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), when she was asked about what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do in his house; her response described what she herself had seen. According to another report, she said: “He was like any other human being: he would clean his clothes, milk his ewe and serve himself.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/256; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 671). She (may Allaah be pleased with her) was also asked about what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do in his house, and she said, “He used to serve his family, then when the time for prayer came, he would go out to pray.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 2/162).
If we were to do likewise nowadays, we would achieve three things:
We would be following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
We would be helping our wives
We would feel more humble, not arrogant.
Some men demand food instantly from their wives, when the pot is on the stove and the baby is screaming to be fed; they do not pick up the child or wait a little while for the food. Let these ahaadeeth be a reminder and a lesson.
(23) Being affectionate towards and joking with the members of the family.
Showing affection towards one’s wife and children is one of the things that lead to creating an atmosphere of happiness and friendliness in the home. Thus the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised Jaabir to marry a virgin, saying, “Why did you not marry a virgin, so you could play with her and she could play with you, and you could make her laugh and she could make you laugh?” (The hadeeth is reported in a number of places in the Saheehayn, such as al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 9/121). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Everything in which Allaah’s name is not mentioned is idleness and play, except for four things: a man playing with his wife…” (Reported by al-Nisaa'i in ‘Ushrat al-Nisa’, p. 87; also in Saheeh al-Jaami’). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to treat his wife ‘Aa’ishah affectionately when doing ghusl with her, as she (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah and I used to do ghusl together from one vessel, and he would pretend to take all the water so that I would say, ‘Leave some for me, leave some for me,’” – and both of them were in a state of janaabah (impurity). (Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 4/6).
The ways in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) showed affection towards young children are too famous to need mentioning. He often used to show his affection towards Hasan and Husayn, as mentioned above. This is probably one of the reason why the children used to rejoice when he came back from travelling; they would rush to welcome him, as reported in the saheeh hadeeth: “Whenever he came back from a journey, the children of his household would be taken out to meet him.” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to hug them close to him, as ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ja;far said: “Whenever the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from a journey, we would be taken out to meet him. One day we met him, Hasan, Husayn and I. He carried one of us in front of him, and another on his back, until we entered Madeenah.” (Saheeh Muslim, 4/1885-2772; see the commentary in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 8/56).
Compare this with the situation in some miserable homes where there are no truthful jokes [i.e., jokes that do not involve lying], no affection and no mercy. Whoever thinks that kissing his children goes against the dignity of fatherhood should read the following hadeeth: from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissed al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, and al-Aqra’ ibn Haabis al-Tameemi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra’ said: ‘I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) looked at him and said: ‘The one who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.’”
(24) Resisting bad manners in the home.
Every member of the household is bound to have some bad characteristics, such as lying, backbiting, gossiping and so on. These bad characteristics have to be resisted and opposed.
Some people think that corporal punishment is the only way to deal with such things. The following hadeeth is very educational on this topic: from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “If the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to know that one of his household had told a lie, he would try to ignore him until he repented.” (See al-Musnad by Imaam Ahmad, 6/152. The text of the hadeeth is also in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 4675).
It is clear from the hadeeth that turning away and forsaking a person by not speaking to them, rather than resorting to punishment, is effective in such circumstances, and may be more effective than physical punishment, so let parents and caregivers think about this.
(25) “Hang up the whip where the members of the household can see it.” (Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah, 7/332; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 1446).
Hinting at punishment is an effective means of discipline, so the reason for hanging up a whip or stick in the house was explained in another report, where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Hang up the whip where the members of the household can see it, for this is more effective in disciplining them.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 10/344-345; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 1447)
Seeing the means of punishment hanging up will make those who have bad intentions refrain from indulging in bad behaviour, lest they get a taste of the punishment. It will motivate them to behave themselves and be good-mannered. Ibn al-Anbaari said: “There is nothing to suggest that it should be used for hitting, because [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] did not command anyone to do that. What he meant was: keep on disciplining them.” (See Fayd al-Qadeer by al-Mannaawi, 4/325).
Hitting is not the way to discipline; it is not to be resorted to, except when all other means are exhausted, or when it is needed to force someone to do obligatory acts of obedience, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… As to those women on whose part you fear ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)…” [al-Nisa’ 4:34] – in that order. There is also the hadeeth: “Order your children to pray when they are seven years old, and hit them if they do not do so when they are ten.” (Sunan Abi Dawood, 1/334; see also Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 1/266).
As for hitting unnecessarily, this is aggression. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised a woman not to marry a man because he always had his stick on his shoulder, i.e., he used to beat his wives. On the other hand, there are those who think that they should never use this method of discipline at all, following some kaafir educational theories; this is also a mistaken opinion that goes against the sharee’ah.
(26) Beware of non-mahrem relatives entering upon women when their husbands are absent.
(27) Men and women should sit separately during family visits.
(28) Be aware of the dangers of having male drivers and female servants in the house.
(29) Kick immoral people out of your houses.
(30) Beware of the dangers of TV.
(31) Beware of the evils of the telephone.
(32) You have to remove everything that contains symbols of the false religions of the kuffaar or their gods and objects of worship.
(33) Removing pictures of animate beings.
(34) Do not allow smoking in your homes.
(35) Do not keep dogs in your homes.
(36) Avoid too much decoration in your homes (keep it simple).
(37) Choosing a good location and design of home.
No doubt the true Muslim pays attention to the choice and design of a home in ways that others do not.
With regard to location, for example:
The home should be close to a mosque. This has obvious advantages: the call to prayer will remind people of prayer and wake them up for it; living close to the mosque will enable men to join the congregational prayers, women to listen to the Qur’aan recitation and dhikr over the mosque’s loudspeakers, and children to join study-circles for memorization of Qur’aan, and so on.
The home should not be in a building where there are immoral people, or in a compound where kuffaar live and where there is a mixed swimming pool and so on.
The house should not overlook others or be overlooked; if it is, he should put up curtains and make walls and fences higher.
With regard to design and lay out, for example:
He should pay attention to the matter of segregating men and women when non-mahrams come to visit, e.g. separate entrances and sitting areas. If that cannot be done, then use should be made of curtains, screens and so on.
Covering windows, so that neighbours or people in the street will not be able to see who is in the house, especially at night when the lights are on.
The toilets should not be sited in such a way that one faces the qiblah when using them.
Choosing a spacious house with plenty of amenities. This is for a number of reasons:
“Allaah loves to see the signs of His blessings on His slave.” (Hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2819. He said: This is a hasan hadeeth).
“There are three elements of happiness and three elements of misery. The elements of happiness are: a righteous wife, who when you see her she pleases you, and when you are absent from her you feel that you can trust her with regard to herself and your wealth; a compliant riding-beast that helps you to keep up with your companions; and a house that is spacious and has plenty of amenities. The elements of misery are: a wife who when you see her you feel upset, she keeps attacking you verbally, and when you are absent from her you do not feel that you can trust her with regard to herself and your wealth; a stubborn riding-beast that if whip it, you get tired, and if you do not whip it, it does not help you to keep up with your companions; and a house with few amenities.” (Hadeeth narrated by al-Haakim, 3/262; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 3056).
Paying attention to health-related matters such as ventilation, natural light and so on. These matters depend on financial ability and feasibility.
(38) Choosing the neighbour before the house.
This is a matter which has to be singled out for discussion because of its importance.
Nowadays neighbours have more impact on one another, because houses are closer together and people live together in buildings, apartments and compounds.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of four causes of happiness, one of which is a righteous neighbour, and four causes of misery, one of which is a bad neighbour. (Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah, 8/388; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 887). Because of the seriousness of the latter, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allaah from bad neighbours in his du’aa’: “Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bika min jaar al-soo’ fi daar il-muqaamah fa inna jaar al-baadiyah yatahawwil (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from a bad neighbour in my permanent home, for the neighbour in the desert [i.e. on a journey] moves on).” He commanded the Muslims to seek refuge with Allaah from a bad neighbour in a permanent home because the neighbour in the desert will eventually move on. (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 117; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2967).
There is no room here to talk about the influence a bad neighbour may have on a couple and their children, or the kinds of nuisance he can cause, or the misery of living next to him. But applying these ahaadeeth quoted above to one's own life should be sufficient for the one who is possessed of understanding. Another practical solution is that implemented by some good people who rent neighbouring homes for their families, so as to solve the neighbour problem. This may be an expensive solution, but a good neighbour is priceless.
(39) Paying attention to necessary repairs in the home, and making sure that the amenities are in good working order.
Among the blessings of Allaah in this modern age are the “mod cons” that He has bestowed upon us, which make many things easier and save time, such as air-conditioners, fridges, washing-machines and so on. It is wise to have the best quality of appliances that one can afford, without being extravagant or putting oneself under financial strain. We should also be careful to distinguish between useful extras and extravagant additions that have no real value.
Part of caring for the home includes fixing appliances and amenities that break down. Some people neglect these things, and their wives complain about homes crawling with vermin, with overflowing drains and piles of stinking garbage, filled with broken and worn out furniture.
No doubt this is one of the obstacles to happiness in the home, and causes problems in the marriage and health problems. The smart person is the one who hastens to fix these things.
(40) Paying attention to the family’s health and safety procedures.
When any member of his family got sick, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would blow on them and recite al-Mi’wadhatayn (last two soorahs of the Qur’aan). (Reported by Muslim, no. 2192).
When one of his family members got sick, he would call for soup, and it would be made for him, then he would tell them to drink it, and he would say, “It will strengthen the heart of the one who is grieving and cleanse (heal) the heart of the one who is sick just as any one of you wipes the dirt from her face.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2039; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 4646).
One of the ways of taking safety precautions is:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When evening comes, keep your children inside, for the shayaateen (devils) spread out at that time. Then when an hour of the night has passed, let your children go, lock the doors and mention the name of Allaah, cover your pots and mention the name of Allaah,even if you only place a stick across the top of your vessel, and extinguish your lamps.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 10/88-89).
According to a report narrated by Muslim, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Lock your doors, cover your vessels, extinguish your lamps and tie your knots properly [i.e., cover your jugs properly – in those days they would cover them with a piece of cloth and tie it], for the Shaytaan does not open a door that is closed, or uncover something that is covered, or untie a knot that you tie. And the mouse could set the house on fire (i.e. it could pull out the wick of the lamp and set the house on fire).” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 3/103); Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1080).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not leave fires lit in your houses when you go to sleep.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 11/85).
And Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.