The Muslim Home – 40 Recommendations by Sheikh Munajjid
Book by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid
Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides, no one can lead astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Ibn Katheer (Ra) said: “Here Allah, 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?
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 caf‚ 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 Allah punished the Jews of Banu Nadeer, He took away this blessing and expelled them from their homes, as He said: “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. First, 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 Allah, but do that which they are commanded” [al-Tahreem, 66:6].
Second, the great responsibility borne by the head of the household on the Day of Reckoning. The Prophet (peace be upon him – sallahu allahi wa salaam) said: “Allah 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.”
Third, 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 (saws) said: “Blessed is the one who controls his tongue, whose house is sufficient for him, and who weeps over his mistakes.” The Prophet (saws) said: “There are five things, whoever does one of them, Allah will be with him: visiting the sick, going out for jihad, 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 (saws) 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 haram things or looking at haram things, and will protect h is wife from wanton display and unveiling, and will protect his children from bad company.
Fourth, 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.
Fifth 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 neighborhoods, and neighborhoods form societies. If the building blocks are sound, the society will be based on the laws of Allah, 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 Allah 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.
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, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people)” [al-Noor, 24:32]. The head of the household must select a righteous and suitable wife based on the following conditions described in various ahadith:
- “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 Allah] 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 hadith: “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 (saws) 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].
If one’s wife is righteous, this is a blessing indeed, and this is from the Bounty of Allah. 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 Allah, and that Allah is the One Who reforms people. One of His blessings to his slave Zakariya was, as He said: “and [We] cured his wife for him” [al-Anbiya’, 21:90].
- Paying attention to correcting her worship of Allah in all its aspects, as will be discussed in detail below.
- Striving to strengthen her iman, such as: encouraging her to pray at night (qiyaam al-layl).
- Encouraging her to read Qur’an encouraging her to memorize Dhikr 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 iman – 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.
Making the home a place for the remembrance of Allah – The Prophet (saws) said: “The likeness of a house in which Allah is remembered and the house in which Allah is not remembered is that of the living and the dead, respectively.”
We must make our homes places where Allah is remembered in all kinds of ways, whether in our hearts, verbally, during prayer, by reading Qur’an, 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 Allah, 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, 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 Allah have mercy on you!
Make your homes a Qiblah
What is meant is taking the home as a place of worship?
Allah says: “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 Allah 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 Allah says: ‘O you who believe! Seek help with patience and prayer.’ [al-Baqarah 2:153], and as it was reported in the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (saws), 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 non-believers. In this context we may think of the mihraab of Maryam, which was her place of worship, as Allah says: “Every time Zakariya entered the mihraab to visit her, he found her supplied with sustenance” [Al-Imran, 3:37].
The Sahaabah (ra) 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 Malik – who was one of the Companions of the Messenger (saws) and was one of the Ansaar who had been present at Badr – came to the Messenger of Allah (saws) 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 Allah, 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 Allah (saws) said, “I will do that, insha’Allah.” ‘Utbaan said: “The next day the Messenger of Allah (saws) and Abu Bakr came in the morning. The Messenger of Allah (saws) 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 Allah (saws) 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).
Spiritual training for the members of the household
‘A’isha (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah (saws) used to pray qiyaam at night, and when he prayed witr he would say, ‘Get up and pray witr, O ‘A’isha'” (Reported by Muslim, Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 6/23).
The Prophet (saws) said: “May Allah 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 (saws) 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-Bukhari, 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.
Paying attention to dhikr and Sunnah du’a’s that have to do with the home
Muslim reported in his Saheeh that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “When any one of you enters his home and mentions the Name of Allah when he enters and when he eats, the Shaytan says: ‘You have no place to stay and nothing to eat here.’ If he enters and does not mention the name of Allah when he enters, [the Shaytan] says, ‘You have a place to stay.’ If he does not mention the name of Allah when he eats, [the Shaytan says], ‘You have a place to stay and something to eat'” (Reported by Imam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 3/346; Muslim, 3/1599).
Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “If a man goes out of his house and says, ‘Bismillah, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allah, laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa Billaah (In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, there is no help and no strength except in Allah),’ 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 Shaytan will stay away from him, and another shaytan 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).
Imam Muslim reported in his Saheeh that ‘A’isha (ra) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (saws) entered his house, the first thing he would do was use Siwaak.” (Reported by Muslim, Kitaab al-Tahaarah, chapter 15, no. 44).
Continuously reciting Surat al-Baqarah in the house to ward off the Shaytan: There are a number of ahadith concerning this, such as: The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Do not make your houses into graves. The Shaytan flees from a house in which Surat al-Baqarah is recited” (Reported by Muslim, 1/539).
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Recite Surat al-Baqarah in your houses, for the Shaytan does not enter a house in which Surat al-Baqarah is recited.” (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak. 1/561; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1170).
Concerning the virtues of the last two Ayat of this Surat, and the effect of reciting them in one’s house, he (saws) said: “Allah wrote a document two thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, which is kept near the Throne, and He revealed two Ayat of it with which He concluded Surat al-Baqarah. If they are recited in a house for three consecutive nights, the Shaytan will not approach it” (Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 4/274, and others. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1799).