By Sh Abdul Baari Ath-Thubayti – Imaam of Haram
Marriage fulfils the dearest wish for every young man and young woman in their quest for a happy Muslim home, in which they find shelter, peace of mind and happiness, and in which their dreams come true. In this new home a new righteous generation would be raised under the shade of a protective paternity and a sentimental maternity. Therefore, what are the characteristics of such a home? How will it raise its young? How will its happiness be accomplished? Allaah says that which translates as: “And of his signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and he placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Ar-Room: 21).
Such a home is an immense favour from Allaah, which nobody fully appreciates except he who is deprived of it and is forced lived in a shelter home, or prison, or is homeless on the streets in the desert, Allaah says that which translates as: “And Allaah has made for you from your homes a place of rest…” (An-Nahl: 80). Commenting upon this verse, Imaam Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Allaah has mentioned the perfection of His favours upon His slaves by mentioning His making homes as shelters which shield and benefit them in many different ways.”
The Muslim home is a trust and responsibility that both spouses shoulder, because they are the foundation and the pillars of this home; they are ones who determine the direction of the home, so if they choose to adhere to the straight path theoretically and practically; beautify themselves with internal and external piety, and have good manners and honourable conduct, then this home will be one which raises the next generation upon virtuousness and will illuminate others with its chastity. Such a home is a launching pad for a noble and great nation and a distinguished and respected civilisation.
O Husbands and wives! Your homes are fortresses which protect this religion; you must protect the guarding posts that you are standing upon so that your enemies do not penetrate from your side, for you are the guards of this fortress. The husband is the one who has the upper hand and guardianship in this home and obeying him is mandatory. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “All of you are guardians and all of you will be questioned (by Allaah) about your responsibilities …A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and she will be questioned By Allaah) about her responsibilities (i.e., about her children, property, duties etc.)…” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
The Prophet’s homes set the example for all homes; they were homes in which you would find neither luxury nor extravagance; they were homes in which the remembrance of Allaah was always heard. The ascetic way of life and the contentment that this leads to was clearly found in these homes. Indeed the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam gave his wives a free choice, to choose this life and all its beauties or Allaah, His Messenger and the Hereafter. In this regard Allaah says that which translates as: “O Prophet! Say to your wives. ‘If you should desire he worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release. But if you should desire Allaah and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter – then indeed, Allaah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward'”. (Al-Ahzaab: 28-29). All his wives, may Allaah be pleased with them, chose Allaah, His Messenger and the Hereafter, as was mentioned in the books of Imaam Bukhaari & Muslim.
The Muslim homes which the first generation of Muslims established were founded on Islaam, both in theory and action, and their lives were illuminated by the light of belief. They learnt their manners from the Qur’aan, which produced unique examples of people, and this was therefore the best era in history. The Muslim homes during that era produced heroes, dedicated worshippers, sincere leaders, dutiful children and dedicated women. This is exactly how a Muslim home will be when it is built on the foundation of faith, guidance and the light of the Qur’aan.
The pure and righteous Muslim home is a protection for ones innate natural disposition from going astray or becoming corrupted. Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Every new baby is born with the innate natural disposition (i.e., Islaam) and then it is the parents who cause him to become a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.” (Bukhaari & Muslim). Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said commenting upon this Hadeeth: “Most corruption of children happens as a result of the father’s negligence and his abandonment of the teaching of obligatory acts in the religion as well as the Sunnah. So they wasted their children when they were young, which resulted in the fact that they were of no benefit to them, or even themselves, during the old age (of the parents).”
How beautiful it would if the head of the home were to gather his children and recite some verses of the Qur’aan with them, and narrate some stories of the Prophets, and thereby instil noble manners in his children.
The first priority of the Muslim home must be to cultivate its children Islamically and produce a righteous generation. This cultivation and advice will have no effect if it is not backed up by the parents setting a practical example in terms of worship, manners, words, deeds and appearance, Allaah says that which translates as: “And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us a leader [i.e., example] for the righteous.” (Al-Furqaan: 74). Also, consider the Du’aa’ of Prophet Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, when he said that which translates as: “My Lord! Make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendents. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” (Ibraaheem: 40). Allaah also says that which translates as: “And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.” (Taa Haa: 132).
In the absence of tranquil Muslim homes, deviation occurs, crime spreads, drug usage increases and the percentage of suicides rapidly rises.
The home which does not instil sound beliefs and the Qur’aanic methodology, and does not live harmoniously will produce individuals who are emotionally disturbed, intellectually lost, and morally corrupted. Moreover, such homes produce undutiful children which is a common occurrence nowadays, as well as bad relations between youth who abandon their responsibilities and shun the worship of Allaah as well as rebelling against sound morals. This is a definite result of Muslims parents being heedless of purifying and properly cultivating their children, as well as not setting good examples for their children to follow.
The homes which neglect the commandments of Islaam, follow their base desires and blindly imitate other nations will naturally raise a generation who will be weak, disturbed and who will never succeed in reforming the Muslim nation and bringing back its might and honour.
One of the most important and obvious aspects of the Muslim home must be that it refers all its affairs to Allaah and His Messenger, and that all within the home accept this and submit to the rulings of Allaah. Allaah says that which translates as: “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” (Al-Ahzaab: 36).
The life of the Muslim home, its happiness and pleasure, lies in its remembrance of Allaah. Abu Moosaa, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The difference between a house in which the name of Allaah is mentioned and a house in which the name of Allaah is not mentioned is like the difference between a dead person and one who is alive.” (Bukhaari & Muslim). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Pray some of your (optional) prayers at home and do not make your houses like graveyards.” (Bukhaari & Muslim). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said as narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him: “Do not make your houses like graveyards; Satan runs away from houses in which the chapter of Al-Baqarah is recited.” (Muslim). Also, he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said as narrated by Zayd Ibn Thaabit, may Allaah be pleased with him: “Pray in your homes, for the best prayer (in terms of reward) is the prayer at home, except for the obligatory prayers.” (Muslim).
These Ahaadeeth and others show how vital it is to give life to the Muslim home with the remembrance of Allaah and His glorification, as well as with optional prayers. Homes which are devoid of remembrance and prayers are just like graveyards or ruins. Indeed these homes become a dwelling place for Satan; its inhabitants having dead hearts even if their bodies still move.
Another characteristic of the Muslim home is that its people co-operate to obey Allaah and worship Him; Whenever the husbands faith becomes weak in such a home, then the strength of the wife’s faith boosts him up; and if the wife were to falter then the husband would correct her with support and advice.
‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to pray during the night, and just before he prayed the Witr prayer, he would say, “O ‘Aa’ishah! Wake up and pray Witr.” (Bukhaari & Muslim). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said, as narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him: “May Allaah have mercy upon the man who wakes up to pray during the night and wakes his wife to pray, and if she does not wake up he splashes water on her face. May Allaah have mercy upon the woman who wakes up to pray during the night and wakes her husband to pray, and if he does not wake up she splashes water on his face.” (Ahmad, Abu Daawood, Nasaa’i & Ibn Maajah).
These two Ahaadeeth are evidence that both the man and the woman have a role to play in rectifying one another, and encouraging them to be obedient, because the relationship between them ought to be based on faith, through which they cooperate to obey Allaah. If one were to weaken then the other should support and rectify.
The Muslim home should be founded on knowledge and action; knowledge which guides to the right way and the straight path and which makes one aware of all that which leads to Hell; knowledge which educates one about the etiquettes of purity, the rulings of prayer and the lawful and unlawful, because no Muslim home should be ignorant of the basic rulings of the religion.
Chastity is another obvious characteristic of the people in a Muslim home, because this is the protection against the corruption and evil which would otherwise render the home powerless. It is to be expected that a Muslim home which was based on piety will lose its chastity and become defiled if it were to succumb to shameless pornographic movies, songs, uncovered women, or other evil forms of imitation of the disbelievers. Such things will affect a Muslim home in exactly the same manner that cavities affect ones teeth, and therefore the gates for evil would be opened and result in the ruin of the home.
From the characteristics of the people in a Muslim home is that they keep their secrets hidden and their differences concealed. Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The most evil person in the sight of Allaah on the Day of Resurrection is a man who sleeps with his wife and then goes out and spreads her (sexual) secrets.” (Muslim).
The Muslim home builds its relationships with the community on basis of faith; it’s people increase in faith whenever they visit righteous people, because a believer is like a perfume seller, you either buy from him and receive a nice fragrance, or at the very least you smell a nice fragrance from him. Allaah says that which translates as: “My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction.” (Nooh: 28).
No one whose religion is unacceptable may enter into the Muslim home, because the entrance of evil people brings corruption and imposes grave dangers unto ones children, indeed such visitors ruin the morals of people, they spread magic, steal, and therefore turn joy into grief and sorrow.
The bonds between the people in the Muslim home become stronger as they co-operate in performing the housework, and the best example for us in this regard is the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, when ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, was asked about the his behaviour at home, she replied: “He was a human being just like all others, he would sew his clothes, milk the sheep and serve himself food.” (Ahmad). In another narration she, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “He would serve his family, but as soon as it was time to pray, he would rush to the prayer.” (Bukhaari).
If we were given a wish in this life which would come true, then we would certainly wish to live a happy life with our families. Such happiness for the Muslim home will never be achieved by possessing a luxury home, expensive furniture or fancy clothes; indeed that is a gross misconception of the notion of happiness.
In fact happiness can only be achieved by being fearful of Allaah and pious, and being mindful of Him in open and in secret; happiness is achieved when the husband and wife consider their marriage as a form of worship by virtue of which they come closer to Allaah, each according to their sincere fulfilment of their individual duties.
In light of all this, the Muslim home can only realise true happiness by this type of love and harmony, and a righteous generation would thereby be raised who would be the comfort of their parent’s eyes and a source of goodness for them in this life and the Hereafter. Allaah says that which translates as: “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (An-Nahl: 97).