The Modern Islamic Home: Aspects and Principles
We live in a world where our sphere of concern is greater than it has ever been, encompassing the entire globe fueled due to the advent of international news and the Internet. Meanwhile our sphere of influence has been ever shrinking due to the larger number of people cohabiting the world simultaneously and a loss of sense of community in many parts of the world with even the family unit breaking under a variety of stresses and pressures. Yet, despite our inability to influence the world, the state, the community or even our families, we generally still have a living environment which we have complete control over.
The environment we live in might be extremely polluted with un-Islamic people, culture, norms, forbidden activities and indulgences widespread. But the environment we spend those hours eating, sleeping and spending our idle time is of utmost importance simply because we do have the ability to control it. Our homes are a critical part of our life and the idiom “home is where the heart is” shows the great role it plays in our life, yet, more importantly, we should be aiming to draw near Allah . We should transform our homes so that remembering Allah is where our heart is, ultimately experiencing true peace and contentment.
What is an Islamic home? Can the modern home be Islamic? The answers to these questions must be derived from pearls of wisdom of the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad . Nearly all Islamic principles apply to the home given it is a place we spend so much of our time in; and should be our place of safety, security, grounding, peace of mind and recovery.
Attending to Neighborly Needs
Neighbors not only deserve kindness but they have many rights to it. One should bear in mind remembering their neighbors when considering their home. A successful and positive community comes about when neighbors attend to each others rights which could ultimately change the environment of the whole area. There are many rights afforded to neighbors which make Islamic building codes, and etiquette to neighbors when cooking or after having purchased fruit.
Narrated Samurah : The Messenger of Allah said: “The neighbor of a home has more right to the home.” – Tirmidhi.
The rights are actually so great that they are stressed in the Sunnah.
Mujahid narrated: “Abdullah bin Amr had a sheep slaughtered for his family, so when he came he said: ‘Have you given some to our neighbor, the Jew? Have you given some to our neighbor, the Jew? I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Jibril continued to advise me about (treating) the neighbors so (kindly and politely), that I thought he would order me (from Allah) to make them heirs.” -Tirmidhi.
The book Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rasoolullah: Proven Techniques of How to Succeed in Today’s World by Shaykh Mirza Yawar Baig goes on to list these rights in detail which the Messenger of Allah narrated to the Sahaba, which we should bear in mind to maintain such honorable and noble tradition even as hard as it can be, in our modern style communities:
1. Assist him when he asks for assistance.
2. Give him a loan if he needs it.
3. Help him if he is needy.
4. Visit him when he is ill.
5. Accompany his funeral when he dies.
6. Congratulate him on happy occasions.
7. Console him in adversity.
8. Do not build your house higher than his without his permission lest his ventilation is obstructed.
9. If you buy fruits, send some for him as a present. If you cannot do so, take the fruit into your house concealed so that he cannot see it. Don’t allow your children to take it out and eat openly in case his children see it and become grieved.
10. Don’t let the smoke from your house get into his house causing him annoyance.
Acts of Worship
The home should be a spiritual abode. Prayers, supplications, ghusl and wudu, acquiring Islamic knowledge, reciting the Quran are just some of the spiritual activities that should be undertaken on a routine basis. Not doing so will turn the home into a negative atmosphere. If you are returning home after praying in the mosque, then it is recommended to save the optional prayers for the home to bring light, blessings and angels into it.
Zaid bin Thabit narrated that: The Prophet said: “The most virtuous prayer of yours is in your homes, except for the obligatory.” – Tirmidhi.
Avoiding Idolatry, Dogs, Etc.
Portraits, statues and the like should not be displayed whether it be paintings, sculptures, photographs or whatever the material form. Dogs are also not allowed in an Islamic home with the exception of a guard dog when security is an issue. Some people can make these types of mistakes unknowingly out of ignorance, especially in cultures where it is common place. Cleaning the home from these types of things will bring immediate spiritual benefit.
A very important aspect of the home is to practice simplicity. The Prophet would not enter a home which was excessive in the adornments and embellishments of this world. Wealth should be spent where it’s needed; not in a manner where you want a beautiful home that is spiritually empty and shallow in all other ways.
Abu Umamah bin Tha’labah reported: The Companions of Messenger of Allah mentioned the life of the world before him. He said, “Do you not hear? Do you not hear? Simplicity (in life) is part of Faith, simplicity is part of Faith.” – Abu Dawud.
The furniture and food also need not be extravagantly elegant or excessive. The principle applies to the home and all that is inside the home.
Remembering Allah and the Hereafter
The ultimate aim of this life is to worship and please Allah maintaining the hereafter as the goal and not any small benefits of the worldly life. The Quran is very firm on this and thus our home should reflect it given the amount of time spent in it. We need reminders so that we do not forget Allah and what He has blessed us with and the home is an essential place for them. Specific strategies from keeping the Quran near at hand or prayer clothing nearby or a siwak (tooth stick) next to the place one does wudu, are of the many examples that will be looked at in detail later in this series.
“…the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” – (Al- ‘Ahzab 33:41)
Maintaining Wife and Raising Children
The treatment of the wife and children is a determining factor on the Day of Judgment that can tip the scale. Thus, they have rights that must be properly maintained, cared for and given priority. If the home is not providing a positive spiritual environment for the wife and children, then this will harm the entire family.
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar : The Prophet said, “Everyone of you is a guardian and everyone of you is responsible (for his wards). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible(for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband’s house and she is responsible (for it), a slave is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible (for that). Beware! All of you are guardians and are responsible (for your wards).
Abu Sa’id narrated, ‘Zainab, the wife of Ibn Mas’ud came along and said to the Prophet “O Messenger of Allah ! You have commanded us today to give Sadaqah (charity). I have some jewelry of mine and I wanted to give it as Sadaqah, but Ibn Mas’ud claims that he and his children are the most entitled to my Sadaqah. (deserve it more than anyone else.)’ The Messenger of Allah said: “Ibn Mas’ud is right. Your husband and your children are more deserving.’’ Related by Al-Bukhari.
Removing Extravagant Indulgences of the World
Things like gold and silver utensils, and silk clothing are indulgences which are not befitting of us to have for this world but these things are for the hereafter. Even the wrong type of music, television and/or video games can very much pollute and harm the environment of a home. Wasting time, focusing on excessive materialism and competing in worldly matters that are prohibited takes our focus away from competing in good deeds for the hereafter.
It was narrated that Hudhaifah said: “The Messenger of Allah forbade drinking from vessels of gold and silver. He said: “They are for them in this world and for you in the Hereafter.’” – Sunan Ibn Majah
“Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure.” – (At-Takathur 102:8)
Cleanliness is a clear part of Islam without which our prayers are not accepted, the punishment of the grave becomes a serious risk and our physical and spiritual health will be degraded.
Abu Malik at-Ash’ari reported: The Messenger of Allah said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one’s faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur’an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves. – Muslim 223
Functionality Especially in Terms of Safety and Privacy
The Quran itself makes mention of the safety of a home and thus, it is a priority especially in terms of the construction. Privacy is also emphasized as it is a great part of the etiquette of the home, when it comes to women and children, and the various functions of the entryway, living room, the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom. The functionality should be maximized with safety and privacy being the foremost guiding principles followed by utilizing the home in a way to avoid waste.
“Then is one who laid the foundation of his building on righteousness [with fear] from Allah and [seeking] His approval better or one who laid the foundation of his building on the edge of a bank about to collapse, so it collapsed with him into the fire of Hell? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” – (At-Tawbah 9:109).
Narrated Jabir : “The Messenger of Allah prohibited that a man sleep on a terrace without something to obstruct him (so that he will not roll off and fall).” – Tirmidhi
Striving for Perfection
The home is a place to be perfected so that its maintenance can be an act of worship and more good deeds will hopefully come from it by not being distracted or bogged down with unimportant things. It needs to make us productive so we can make it our basis for being firm in the path of Allah .
Abu Sa’id (Al Khudri) reported The Prophet was asked “Which believers are most perfect in respect of faith? He replied “A man who strives in the path of Allah with his life and property and a man who worships Allah in a mountain valley where he protects the people from his evil.””- Abu Dawud.
The Islamic home requires a moderate balance and a spiritual feel to ward off Shaitan-the rejected, and to promote a positive, productive, stable, spiritual, intellectual and focused atmosphere. Modern electronic devices such as televisions, gaming systems, computers, radios and the like must currently be very constrained to the few good uses when most of what can come through them would be otherwise totally materialistic and send un-Islamic messages. The home is not a place for laziness, indulgence, sinning in secret, wasting time or foul acts.
The home must be a place of worship, a classroom, a place of taking care of the necessities of life, a place of close family relationships, a place for rest, a place for work, a place for drawing near to Allah even when no one else can see, a place of thinking, a place of upbringing steadfast and upright Muslim children. The home is the place we always return to in this world while the hereafter is the place we will certainly return to, after our death. Thus, it is a temporary resting place for us given as sustenance from Allah which we should use to prepare for the final resting place to come.
In the future, the manners and etiquette along with the specific details of each part of the home will be analyzed as well as some tools that would make excellent reminders (especially for those who don’t have access to sufficient authentic knowledge) to maximize their nearness to Allah through dua’a and actions in accordance with the Sunnah.
Posted on December 4, 2014, in Children (According to Quran & Sunnah) and tagged Great Muslimah's, how traing kids, importance of training kids and raising children in islam, islamic dawah activists, mom presenting servers of islam to the community, Muslim family. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.