Another article from an old Daughters of Adam. I didn’t write it, a friend of mine who now lives in Medina…

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By Umm Yumn

 

A friend told me that once she was walking to a masjid in a Muslim country and she saw an older, bearded Muslim man wearing a flowing thoub, miswak in mouth, musshaf in hand. She was just saying masha’Allah and thinking what a grand scholar he must be when a kitten happened to cross his path. She told me that, instead of simply walking around the kitten or waiting for it to pass, a leg shot out from his thoub and sent the kitten flying in the air. When he saw someone had seen him, he scurried off in another direction.

 

Pause for just a moment and think about your family, whether it consists of you and your husband and children, or you and your siblings and parents. Is your family like the older man above; does it look polite and kind and pious from the outside, while the inside is an entirely different story, leaving much to be desired? Or do you really strive to respect and be kind to one another, behaving with one another just as you would with a stranger or friend? Of course perfectly behaved, ever-cheerful families like the ones on old TV shows don’t exist, and no one expects them to. However there are certain faults which are totally unacceptable in a Muslim home.

 

Rasulullah (S) once said to his companions, “The best among you are those who are best to their wives.”[1] Why did he not say, “The best among you are those who are best to their friends”? Or “employer”? Or “relatives”? A wife, unlike a friend, boss or relative, is the first person he sees when he wakes up and the last person he sees when he retires for the night. It is almost impossible for any one person living in such proximity to another to maintain a kind, friendly attitude throughout the vicissitudes of the day. That is why Rasulullah (S) specified the wife, because, indeed, it takes a man of strong eman and noble manners to be able to refrain from mistreat his wife and children in the privacy of his home. We can also understand from this hadith that the closer our relation is to someone, the more reward we reap in maintaining a good relationship with them.

 

Cursing, insulting, beating, ignoring, and spying on one another may come to mind when one thinks of traits that block kindness from entering the home.

Rasulullah told us very plainly that such characteristics should not be found in a Muslim: “The Muslim is not given to harming others, or cursing them or being vulgar or obscene.”[2]

If you find that one or more of these problems are present in your family, you should begin taking the necessary steps to extirpate them from your life:

 

1- Make your goal Allah’s pleasure: I want Allah’s love, I want my household to be blessed by Allah, I will try as hard as I can to make a change!

 

2- Start with yourself: Start off making little changes; soften your voice when speaking to family members, especially when speaking with your elders and parents! Try to compliment more and complain less. Refrain from insulting someone; instead, look for something worth complimenting, no matter how small. You will soon find your kindness being returned with kindness. Do not assume that everyone has to start trying to be kind all together at once. Don’t tell your family members to be nice (they will probably take it as an indirect accusation or arrogance from your part), show them. Also, you can try using more subtle methods such as reading ahadith on Islamic manners occasionally after a meal or prayer. Though no one may say anything, it’s quite probable that they will realize their shortcomings and make their own little effort to act positively.

 

3- Apologize and MEAN IT: For those of us who have a habit of blaming others for all of our problems, apologizing is almost impossible for us. This is an arrogant habit that needs to be broken. The good news is that after the first few times, it’s actually not so tough. However, don’t be generous with your apologies if you don’t mean them, or if you follow a fresh apology with a new bout of whatever you had been doing. Doing so will only wear out the weight of the apology, and you will soon find that no one takes your apologies seriously.

 

4- Your Mother, Your Mother, Your Mother: A man came to the Prophet (S) and asked him, “O Messenger of Allah (SWT), who among people is most deserving of my good company?” He said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet (S) said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet (S) said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet (S) said, “Then your father.”[3]

Rasulullah (S) repeated “Your mother” to emphasize its importance. How often do you see teenagers (and adults even!) that have yet to outgrow their toddler tendencies of hitting their mother when things don’t go their way? Of course physical striking is rare, but many times we overhear words that leave deeper marks in the recipient than hitting ever could. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I once heard a girl sneer at her mother at the masjid. The mother froze, mouth agape. Her shoulders drooped and her eyes darkened as though the light inside was slowly being snuffed out. I went after the girl and cornered her, reminding her, as gently as possible (I wanted to shake her instead), about the status of her mother in the sight of Allah, and her obligation towards her mother. “She started it,” the girl replied, defending herself. Of course it will be difficult at times to speak to your mother lovingly and gently. We can never repay her for carrying us, for raising us, for nurturing us – and this is why Rasulullah reminded us again and again of persevering in our good behavior, no matter what!

 

5- Mother, Mother, Mother: If you are a mother, you must realize that your mood prevails! If you’re in an unpleasant mood, chances are the kids are, too. If you’ve a habit of screaming and beating your kids, don’t wring your hands when you get headaches from your kids doing the exact same thing to one another. Scare yourself from falling into such faults by remembering that your bad habits will most probably be passed on to your kids (who will then pass them on to theirs!). Radiate self-control and patience!

 

6- Make du’aa: Turn to the One who holds every creature’s heart in His Hand. You may not be able to change your family’s attitude right away, but making du’aa to Allah is the wisest step you can take in achieving your goal.

Realize that making a change in your family, is, at some level, making a change in the entire Ummah. If we ever wish for the pitiable situation of Muslims to change, we must realize that this change will only come from within; a true believer will positively influence his family, the family will positively influence their acquaintances, the acquaintances will positively influence theirs, until the whole community is reformed, and the circle continues to expand and permeate in larger spheres. One of the most crucial steps we can take to achieve this is instilling a kind, peaceful environment in the home. A question, however: Why is this atmosphere so important to our spiritual and physical well-being? Read Rasulullah’s saying below (which gives a big hint) and think of the answer before continuing the article.

“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 know you can trust her with regards to herself and your wealth.

-A compliant riding animal that enables you to keep up with your companions.

-A house that is spacious and has plenty of facilities…”[4]

Did you notice how all three elements of happiness are related to the positive effect on the mood of the Muslim? A pious wife who keeps herself neat and cheery, and can be trusted, puts her husband’s mind at rest and makes life easier for him. He can then put his energy and concentration into seeking knowledge and worshipping Allah. A fast, smooth riding animal (i.e. vehicle), a house that is not so cramped that it is impossible to move around in, or lacking the necessary facilities for comfortable living, are also great blessings which put the Muslim at ease and allow him to turn his attention and energy to fulfilling the purpose of life. Allah the Merciful knows how we need to have a certain amount of peace and order to develop into righteous and wholesome beings, and that is why He brought the importance of this matter to our attention. Once we create a loving, kind and balanced atmosphere in our home, we can look forward to blessed results which will be a benefit to all mankind.

 

May Allah fill our homes will kindness and contentment, may He join us among those whom He loves, Ameen!

 


[1] In another wording, “…are the best to their family.” Reported by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi and others, verified authentic by al-Albani (Sahih al-Jami’ no.3265, 3266, 3316).

[2] Reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad and others, verified authentic by al-Albani (al-Sahihah no.320).

[3] (Bukhari and Muslim), See Sharh al-Sunnah, 13/4, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah, bab birr al-walidayn.

[4] The hadith goes on to mention the three elements of misery which are the very opposite of the elements of happiness. Reported by al-Haakim, verified authentic by al-Albani (Sahih al-Jami’ no.3065).

[5] The hadith goes on to mention the three elements of misery which are the very opposite of the elements of happiness. Reported by al-Haakim, verified authentic by al-Albani (Sahih al-Jami’ no.3065).

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