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1) The Muslim Woman - Her Status in the Ummah

By Shaykh 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah ibn Baz
The status of the Muslim woman in Islam is a very noble and lofty one, and her effect is vey great in the life of every Muslim. Indeed, the Muslim woman is the initial teacher in the building of a righteous society, providing she follows the guidance from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

Since adherence to the Qur'an and the Sunnah distances every Muslim male or female from being misguided in any matter. The misguidance that the various nations suffer from, the path of Allah the Most Perfect, the Most High, and from what His Prophets and Messengers, may Allah's peace and prayers be upon them all, came with. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "I am leaving behind two matters, you will not go astray as long as you cling to them both, the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Hasan: Related by Malik in Al-Muwatta (2/899) and Al-Hakim (1/93), from Ibn 'Abbas radhiallahu 'anhu. It was authenticated by Al-Albani in As-Sahihah (no. 1871)]

The great importance of the Muslim woman's role - whether as wife, sister or daughter, and the rights that are due to her and the obligations due from her have been explained in the Noble Qur'an, and further details of this have been explained in the purified Sunnah.

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder. In terms of responsibilities, some of which not even a man can bear. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father. Allah, the Most High, says:

"And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness and hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Show gratitude and thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination." [Al-Qur'an 31:14]

Allah, the Most High, also says:

"And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship, and she brings him forth with hardship. And the bearing and the weaning of him is thirty months." [Al-Qur'an 41:15]

A man came to Allah's Messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: "Your mother." The man asked: Then who? And he again replied: "Your mother." The man asked: Then who? So the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied a third time: "Your mother." The man then asked: Then who? He replied: "Then your father." [Related by Al-Bukhari (no. 5971) and Muslim (7/2), from Abu Hurayrah]. So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the likes of kindness and good treatment than the father.

As regards the wife, then her effect in making the soul tranquil and serene, has been clearly shown in the noble ayah (verse), in His - the Most High's - saying:

"And from amongst His Signs is this: That He created for you wives from amongst yourselves, so that you may find serenity and tranquility in them, And He has put between you love and compassion. Indeed, in this are signs for those who reflect." [Al-Qur'an 30:21]

Al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir (d. 774H) (rahimahullah) said, whilst explaining the terms Mawaddah and Rahmah, which occur in the above verse. "Al-Mawaddah means love and affection, and ar-Rahmah means compassion and pity, since a man takes the hand of a woman either due to his love for her, or because of compassion and pity for her; by giving to her a child from himself ... " [Tafsir Qur'an al-'Adhim (3/439) of Ibn Kathir]

And the unique stance that the Prophet's (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) wife Khadijah (radhiallahu 'anha) took, had a huge effect in calming and reassuring Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), when the angel Jibreel ('alayhis-salam) first came to him in the cave of Hira. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) returned to Khadijah with the first Revelation and with his heart trembling and beating severely, saying to her, "Cover me! Cover me!" So she covered him until his fear subsided, after which he told Khadijah (radhiallahu 'anha) everything that had happened, and said: "I fear that something may happen to me." She said to him: "Never! By Allah! Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good ties with relations, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generouly and assist those who have been affected with calamities." [Related by Al-Bukhari (1/22) and Muslim (1/139), from the lengthy narration of 'A'ishah (radhiallahu 'anha)]]

And do not forget about 'A'ishah (radhiallahu 'anha) and her immense contribution to the Ummah. Even the eminent Sahabah (Companions) used to take knowledge of Hadith from her, and many of the Sahabiyyat (female Companions) learnt the various rulings pertaining to women's issues from her.

And I have no doubt that my mother (may Allah shower His mercy upon her) had a tremendous effect upon me, and has a great excellence over me, in encouraging me to study, and she assisted me in it. May Allah greatly increase her reward and reward her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. And there is no doubt also, that the house in which there is kindness, gentleness, love and care, with the correct Islamic Tarbiyyah (education and cultivation) will greatly affect the man. So he will become, if Allah wills, successful in his affairs and in any matter whether it be seeking knowledge, trading, earning a living, etc. So it is Allah alone that I ask to grant us all success and to guide us all to that which He loves and is pleased with.

And may the prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and upon his Family, his Companions and his followers. Ameen.

2) The Muslim is Merciful

By Abu Bakr Jabir al-Jaza'iry

The Muslim is merciful, for mercy is one of the traits of a Muslim, since it is the source of a pure soul and spirit. By being kind, doing righteous deeds, staying away from evil, and shunning corruption, the Muslim's soul abides in purity and his spirit remains in goodness. Since this is the case, then mercy would never separate from his heart at all. It is for this reason that the Muslim loves mercy, he spreads and encourages it and calls others to it, believing in Allah's saying:

"Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion. They are those on the Right Hand (i.e. the dwellers of Paradise)." [Al-Qur'an 90:17-18]

And acting according to His Messenger's sayings (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam):

  • "Allah is only merciful with those who show mercy to others." [Al-Bukhari]
  • "Be merciful to those on the earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you." [At-Tabarani and al-Hakim with a sahih (authentic) chain]

And being guided by his sayings:

  • "He who does not show mercy to others, will not be shown mercy." [Al-Bukhari]
  • "Mercy is only removed from the miserable." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

The Muslim actualises the saying of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam):

  • "The believers in their mutual love, mercy and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever." [Muslim]

Since the reality of mercy is a kindness of the heart and a compassion of the soul that leads to being forgiving and beneficent, it does not merely exist as internal kindness without external results. Rather the heart's mercy is the essence of external results who physical reality is visible. Among the external effects of mercy are: pardoning those who slip, forgiving those who are mistaken, helping those in trouble, assisting the weak, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, tending to the sick, and consoling the grieved. All of these, as well as many other things are among the effects of mercy.

The following are some real cases of examples of mercy in Islam:

1. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "We went with Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to the blacksmith Abu Sayf, and he was the husband of the wet nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelt him. Later we went to Abu Sayf's house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) started shedding tears. 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Awf said, 'O Allah's Messenger even you are weeping!' He said:

'O Ibn 'Awf, this is mercy.'

Then he wept more and said:

'The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.' "

Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) visited his (youngest) child at the house of the child's wet nurse. He kissed and smelt him. Then returned to visit him out of compassion and kindness whilst he was sick and upon his last breath. Then he wept, his eyes shedding tears of sorrow and grief. This behaviour is an example of the manifestation of mercy in one's heart.

Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

'A person was walking on his way when he became extremely thirsty. He (suddenly) came upon a well and so went down into it so that he could drink from the water. Upon coming out, he saw a panting good eating the dirt (searching for water). The man though to himself: 'This dog is as thirsty as I was,' so the man again descended down into the well, filled up his leather sock with water, and holding it in his mouth, climbed back up and quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah held this act of kindness in high esteem and forgave the man of all his past sins.'

The Companions asked: 'Shall we be rewarded for showing kindness to the animals too?' He (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied:

'A reward is given in connection for every living creature.' "

This man descended into the well, filled his leather sock with water and holding it in his teeth, climbed up, and quenched the thirst of the dog. This was done out of his affection, kindness and compassion, otherwise he would not have undertaken such an act.

To exemplify this further, there is a saying recorded by al-Bukhari (through Abu Hurayrah) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"A woman was punished in the Hell-Fire because of a cat, which she imprisoned until it died. It was said to her, 'You did not give it food nor drink whilst you imprisoned it, nor did you release it so that it might have eaten of the vermin that live in the earth.' "

The behaviour of this woman was a manifestation of a heart enveloped by evil, devoid of mercy, and mercy is not removed but from the miserable.

Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Qatadah said that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"When I enter prayer, I intend to prolong it. Then if I hear the crying of a child, I shorten it knowing that the crying causes the mother difficulty."

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) considered the mother whose infant was crying along with the long recitation he had intended on reciting. This is another manifestation of the heart's mercy that Allah has ordered upon His servants.

2. It is reported that while Zayn al-'Abidin 'Ali bin al-Husayn was going to the masjid, someone verbally abused him. His servants followed the man in order to punish him. However they were prevented by Ali ibn al-Husayn out of mercy for the man. He said, "O so and so! I am more than what you have said. What you do not know about me is more than what what you do know. If you want to know more, I will tell you." Upon hearing this the man felt ashamed and shy. Then, Zayn al-'Abidin took off his own cloak and gave it to him along with granting the man one thousand dirham.

This is an example of pardoning, and such benevolence would not occur except as a manifestation of the mercy in the heart of the grandson of Allah's Messenger.

(s) Minhaj al-Muslim Volume 1

(p) Dar-us-Salam Publications


3) Good Manners at Home

Spreading Kindness in the Home

'A'ishah radiallahu 'anha reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "When Allah wills some good towards the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them." [Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/71; Sahih al-Jami', 303]

According to another report:

"When Allah loves the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them." [Reported by Ibn Abi ad-Dunya and others; Sahih al-Jami', 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 Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Allah loves kindness and rewards it in such a way that He does not reward for harshness or for anything else." [Reported by Muslim, Kitab al-Birr wa as-Sillah wa'l-Adab, no. 2592]

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 Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), however, used to "sew his own clothes, mend his own shoes and do whatever other work men do in their homes." [Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/121; Sahih al-Jami', 4927]

This was mentioned to us by his wife 'A'ishah radiallahu 'anha, when she was asked about what the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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 Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/256; as-Silsilat as-Sahihah, 671]

She was also asked about what the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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-Bukhari, al-Fath, 2/162]

If we were to do likewise nowadays, we would achieve three things:

  1. We would be following the example of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)
  2. We would be helping our wives
  3. We would feel more humble, not arrogant

Some men demand dinner instantly from their wives, when the pot is on the stove and the baby is screaming to be fed; he will not pick up the child or even show any patience. Let these ahadith be a reminder and a lesson to these men.

Being Affectionate Towards Members of Your 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 Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Everything in which Allah's name is not mentioned is idleness and play, except for four things (among which is) a man being affectionate with his wife." [Reported by an-Nisa'i in 'Ushrat al-Nisa', p. 87; also in Sahih al-Jami']

The ways in which the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) showed affection towards young children are very well known.  He often used to show his affection towards his grandchildren, Hassan and Hussain. 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 sahih hadith, "Whenever he returned from a journey, the children of his household would rush out to meet him." He (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to hug them close to him, as 'Abdullah ibn Jafar radiallahu 'anhu said:

"Whenever the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) came back from a journey, we would be taken out to meet him. One day we met him, Hassan, Hussain and I. He carried one of us in front of him, and another on his back, until we entered Madinah." [Sahih Muslim, 4/1885-2772; see the commentary in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 8/56]

Compare this with the situation in some miserable Muslim homes where there is no fun or laughter, no affection, and no mercy. Whoever thinks that kissing his children goes against the dignity of fatherhood should read the following hadith from Abu Hurayrah radiallahu 'anhu who reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) kissed Hassan ibn 'Ali while al-Aqra' ibn Habis at-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra' said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them." The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) looked at him and said:

"The one who does not show mercy (to his children) will not be shown mercy (by Allah)."