MUTUAL OBLIGATIONS WITHIN THE FAMILY
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between you.” (Rűm: 21)
A family consists of a husband, a wife and children. Almighty Allah has given corresponding rights and responsibilities to the members of the family. The performance of these reciprocal tasks within the limits, instituted by Allah, the Exalted, provides tranquility and happiness in the family.
The survival of the family is possible only through mutual respect between mates.
A wife should think “I am at home but my husband is working till evening to supply all our needs: I should appreciate this.” She should be grateful for whatever her husband brings to the home.
The husband, on the other hand, should appreciate his wife by saying: “I am not at home, she is doing the housework, raising our children and she is serving me.” Thus, by mutual respect, they try to fulfill their responsibilities.
Allah, the Exalted, declares is His holy verse:
“Women have rights over their husbands similar to those of their husbands.” (Baqara: 228)
A) THE DUTIES OF MAN
Man and woman differ from each other by creation. Therefore, man has been given an advantage in a degree greater than woman has in the virtues such as strength, courage, management and he has the duty to provide for his wife and family.
Due to this, man is the head of the family and has too many responsibilities. He should protect his family from all kind of evils, provide a home, their livelihood and ensure all their basic needs.
It is declared in these venerable hadiths as follows:
“When someone spends on his family seeking a reward from Allah, it will be counted for him as a charity.”
“It is indeed a sin for a person to hold back the sustenance of one whose living depends on him.”
In the holy verse, it is decreed:
“Men are in charge of women.” (Nisa: 34)
But this concept of “charge” does not mean oppression. Man must not forget that woman is a trust to him from Allah. He has to treat her well with affection, devotion and politeness.
In another holy verse, Allah, the Exalted, said:
“Live with women on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” (Nisa: 19)
The Prophet of Allah -may Allah commend and salute him- states in his venerable hadiths:
“The best among you are those who behave best towards their wives.”
“Treat women kindly. You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you.”
“Let no Muslim male entertain any malice against a Muslim female. He may dislike one habit in her but may find another in her which is pleasing.”
“A woman is like a rib; if you try to make it straight you will break it and if you wish to draw benefit from it, you can do so in spite of its being curved.”
B) THE DUTIES OF WOMAN
The role of woman for the well-being and maintenance of the family is no less important than that of man.
A woman has to love her family, be contented, abstain from extravagance, raise her children with compassion according to the divine commands, be always respectful to her husband, guard the secrets of the family, please her husband, consult with him, not to talk about him anything other than goodness, has always to obey her husband within the limits of Islamic rules.
Our Master, the Prophet of Allah -may Allah commend and salute him- told a woman who was sorry over her inability to give alms due to her poverty.
“Your service to your husband is a charity.
It is stated in the holy verse:
“Good women are the obedient.” (Nisa: 34)
Our Master, the cause of creation -may Allah commend and salute him- enjoins in his hadith:
“A woman enters Paradise if she offers the regular prayers, fasts, protects her chastity and obeys her husband.”
“Whoever among women makes her husband angry, the curse of Allah -may His glory be exalted- be upon her.”
“If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her, she will enter Paradise.”
The glad tiding in this hadith clearly belongs to the women who protect themselves from great sins.
“The one, for a woman, to be respected the most is her husband, For a man it is his mother.”
“When a husband calls his wife to his bed and she refuses and he spends the night in anger at her, the angels keep cursing her till the morning.”
“The woman who uses perfume to have men smell her scent (be attracted by her scent) is like a fornicatress.”
“The woman who goes out from home dressing herself up for men other than her husband, is like darkness without light on Doomsday.”
“The whole world is a place of useful things and the best thing of this world is a virtuous woman.”
“Hell was shown to me. What am I to see? Most of its dwellers were women. Because they blaspheme.”
- O Messenger of Allah! Do they blaspheme against Allah?
“They are ungrateful to their husband. They act ungratefully when provided with things such as food and clothing. Even if you generously provide her with many blessings, she says ‘I have never seen any benefit from you’ when she faces a little opposition from you.”
THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN
As it is prescribed for children to obey and respect their parents, it is also a religious duty for parents to treat their children with the equivalent consideration.
A child is a divine gift, a divine trust to parents. His heart is pure, just like an unsowed field, whatever seed you plant, grows up. If he is inspired with goodness and motivated to do good deeds, he becomes a good man. He reaches happiness and salvation in this world and in the hereafter.
If they bring him up with such an admirable education (admirable manners), his mother and father share in his good deeds and merits. If the child is not grown up fairly, he becomes a sinful person. The parents are responsible for his wickedness, they participate in his bad deeds.
Our Master, the Glory of the Universe -may Allah commend and salute him- decrees in his holy hadiths:
“None of the fathers can leave a more precious and superior inheritance than good manners and conduct.”
“Fear Allah, treat your children fairly with reverence to favor and kindness.”
“Bring up your children with three virtues: the love for your Prophet, for the members of the family of the Holy Prophet and for reciting the Qur’an.”
“Whoever has three sons and does not name one of them ‘Muhammad’ is ignorant.”
“The odor of a child resembles the scent of the sweet basil which exists in Paradise.”
“May Allah have mercy on that father who helps his child for doing good deeds.”
“The rights of children over their fathers are: to be named with an agreeable name and to be educated and trained in the accepted ways of Islam.”
When a baby opens his eyes to the world, the first thing to do after being washed and swaddled, is to recite the Adhan in his right ear and the Iqama in the left. Secondly, he is to be named with a pleasant name.
A man came to Umar -may Allah be pleased with him- and complained: “My son annoys and beats me.”
Umar -may Allah be pleased with him- called the boy and asked:
“Do you not ever fear Allah? Does a child (a boy) ever revolt against his parents? Don’t you know the rights of a father over his child?
The boy answered: “Well Commander of the Faithful! Nevertheless, does not a boy have some rights over his parents, too?”
Facing this rightful objection, Umar -may Allah be pleased with him- said:
“Yes, he has. He should get his son married to an honest and noble lady; name him fairly, teach him the divine rules.”
The boy explained:
“My father did not carry out any of these things you listed. He has bought my mother from a slave bazaar. He has named me Juâl, meaning an insect, which rolls up dirt. He has also taught me nothing about the divine rules.”
Thereupon, Umar -may Allah be well pleased with him- stated to the father:
“You grumble at the disobedience of your son. In fact you have done him wrong. You are the first at fault.”
To bring up children according to the religious laws is a divine order:
“O you who believe! Guard yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.” (Tahrim: 6)
We should delicately deal with our children. This is a difficult task, yet we must at the very least protect them from harm.
Although most people know this honorable order, everybody is looking at the faults of their children because they do not realize where this duty should begin. Everyone does not perceive and understand his own fault.
Did you look for a noble, pious, chaste and pure girl when you decided to marry?
Because Almighty Allah decrees in the fifth verse of the Sura Maida to marry the Muslim men, free and chaste ladies. Our Master, the Pride of Universe, -may Allah commend and salute him- also instructs: “Abstain from the vegetables grown in the garbage dump.”
Have you given the child a good name and taught him the divine rules? Have you sown in his unsowed garden of the heart the love of Allah and His Messenger?
Have you let him know that all the organs such as eyes, ears, hands and legs have been given by Allah, the Most Great; that He has bestowed endless blessings such as health, well-being, provision and property, and that He will also grant much more of these favors in the hereafter? Have you instructed him how to get prepared in order to save himself from the great dangers coming such as death, grave, resurrection day, sýrat (the bridge), hell? Have you helped him reach Paradise and the beauty and grace of Allah? Have you realized that the expense spent for religious education is the most precious charity and the most valuable inheritance to be left for a child?
Did the people, who lament over their children, pay attention to these matters?
If we did not fulfil our responsibilities, we have no right to expect anything from them. What have we given them to be able to expect something positive?
Man should keep on maintaining his good manners even in bed in order to raise a pious child; if respect can be preserved, Almighty Allah also grants good manners to the child.
It is very important for parents to be a good model for their children. Because a child immediately acquires the things which he observes in his parents, whether good or bad.
Parents should always bless their children and abstain from praying for evil or harmful things for them.
As he grows up, all his manners and actions including his friends should be carefully watched.
Because, in a blessed hadith, it is ordered:
“Keep away from sinful and rebellious friends. Because it is understood that you are of them.”
Lawful and good food has to be earned and brought home.
The father will choose unseen, hidden foods which are untouched by the eyes of others; he should avoid buying those sold openly because there are people who can’t afford them and have put the evil of envy on them.
A body, which is fed with unlawful food, tends to commit bad deeds. It is very normal that those men are rebellious.
Such an anecdote about Sheikh Vefa is related:
The small son of this person had the habit of poking a hole with a needle in the leatherbag of water sellers. The water-sellers were ashamed to mention the problem to the wise man. At last they could not endure it and told it to Sheikh Vefa.
He thinks that the guilt should be on himself or his wife not on his child and goes into deep contemplation. He can not find a fault in himself, and asks his wife. His wife thinks carefully and says:
“Sir, when I was pregnant with our son, I visited my neighbor. There were oranges on the table. I longed for them, but felt ashamed to ask. For a while taking advantage of the absence of the hostess, I stuck a needle into an orange and sucked the juice which leaked from it.”
Having received this answer, Sheikh Vefa tells her: Immediately go and ask forgiveness of the neighbor. The following day, the child gave up his bad habit.
The mother, deeply affected by the situation, says: “My good child, you did not conceal even a small mistake of mine.
THE RIGHT OF THE RELATIVES
Allah, the Most Great, ordains in His holy verse:
“Fear Allah in whom you claim your mutual (rights), and toward the wombs (that bare you).” (Nisa: 1)
Visiting relatives, getting on well with them and maintaining this relation is called sýla-i rahim (preserving the bonds of kinship). It is one of the Islamic obligations.
To be respectful of the rights of relatives means not to forget them, to meet and talk to them, to visit, to offer gifts mutually and also to provide material and moral support to them when they are in need.
The visit to relatives should be done in accordance with the possibilities; when the visit is impossible, relatives should be inquired about with a letter or phone call.
A rich Muslim capable of paying zakat, should first of all give it to his poor sister or brothers, then his uncle -paternal aunt, then his maternal uncle- maternal aunt and other poor relatives respectively.
It is stated in the honorable Hadith:
“The most acceptable alms is that which is given to an harassed relative.”
A man said to the Holy Prophet:
“O Messenger of Allah! My relatives are such that I cooperate with them, but they cut me off; I am kind to them but they ill treat me; I am patient and they are rude with me.”
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- said: ‘So long as you continue as you are, Allah will always help you and He will protect you against their mischief.”
In another honorable Hadith, he states:
“The one who returned kindness with kindness (responded to kindness with kindness) has not exactly preserved the bonds of kinship. The reality of maintaining relations with relatives is to visit and care for those who cut relations with you.”
“There are two rewards in giving alms to relatives. The first is for charity reward, the second is for taking care of relatives.
“The man who wishes his sustenance to be plentiful and his life to be long should visit his relatives.”
“A person who wants that there may be abundance in his provision, and that his age be lengthened, then he should do favors to his blood relations.”
THE RIGHTS OF THE NEIGHBOR
Allah, the Exalted, ordains in His holy verse:
“Do good to the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger.” (Nisa: 36)
Forty houses around our home are considered to be our neighbors for whom we have responsibilities. Our religion has attributed great importance to the rights of neighbors. In a honorable Hadith, it is stated:
“Seek a neighbor before buying a home, and look for a friend before setting off on a journey.”
Neighbors have some mutual religious and moral rights: to help when he is needy, to be beside him on the days of happiness and sorrow, to protect his property, life, chastity, honor and dignity.
The essential thing in neighborliness is not only not to harm them but to bear with their injuries and sufferings, to respond with goodness and kindness against their harmful acts.
Our Master, the Pride of the Universe -may Allah commend and salute him- declares in his honorable Hadiths:
“Neighbors have a great deal of rights over one another.”
“The Angel Gabriel kept urging me about obligations towards the neighbor, so much so that I imagined that he might be included as one of the heirs.”
“Gabriel kept on commanding me to treat my neighbors with good manners that I thought he would give him the right of inheritance.”
“He is not a perfect believer that merciless man who is full but his neighbor is hungry.”
“He has not believed thoroughly who lies down with a full stomach while his neighbor is hungry.”
“One who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment must not cause hardship and inconvenience to his neighbor.”
“A man who has faith in Allah and the Last Day should do favor to his neighbor.”
“That person will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not safe from his mischief.”
“O Muslim women! Do not consider your neighbors despicable even though she may send you a piece of goat’s shank as a present.”
“The boundary of the neighborhood is forty houses.”
That is, beyond this boundary one can not be called “neighbor.”
THE RIGHT OF A FRIEND
Every human is in need of friends with whom he could share his happiness, grief and secrets, unburden himself and unite with him sincerely. Friendship, made solely for Allah’s sake without any other purpose and profit, is permanent. It continues in the Hereafter, too.
In the holy verse:
“Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except the righteous.” (Zukhruf: 67)
In fact, all Muslims are friends and brothers of each other. But, it is usual for a Muslim to have friends whom he would love more than others and join together with more intimate feelings. The friendship between the Messenger of Allah -may Allah commend and salute him- and Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- is an example of this.
The Ansar accepted the Muhajirins who migrated from their homes and abandoned all their property and they preferred the needs of their brothers, above their own. To strengthen this cordiality, our Master, the Messenger of Allah -may Allah commend and salute him- arranged bonds of brotherhood between the Ansar and the Muhajirin.
For the bliss of the world and the Hereafter it is very valuable to have pious friends, to persist in this alliance complying with the rights of friendship to the utmost effort.
Those, who are deprived of a good friend, will express their longing in the hereafter according to the holy verse:
“Now we have no intercessors, nor a close friend.” (Shuara: 100-101)
Our Master, the pride of the Universe -may Allah commend and salute him- states in his hadiths:
“Make many friends from the pious and righteous. Because each man from them will have permission to intercede on doomsday.”
“It is a source of happiness for a man to have a truthful friend.”
Some rights arise once a friendship has been concluded. In the honorable hadith, it is declared:
“Two friends are like two hands which wash each other.”
One should value his friend’s needs more than his own. He should come to his friend’s aid financially and physically, should let him select first.
He should be with him in times of happiness and grief, be tolerant, always have a good opinion about him, keep his secrets, forgive his mistakes, cover his faults, protect his rights in every matter.
He should pray to Allah for the well-being of his friend during his life and after his death he should care for his relatives and children.
TO MEET THE REQUIRED
NECESSITIES OF HIS FRIEND
Our Master, the Messenger of Allah orders in his Hadiths:
“There are rewards as much as those for Hajj (pilgrimage during required time) and Umra (visiting Kaaba at other times) for a man who solves a worldly problem or that of the next life of his Muslim brother.”
“Allah, the Exalted, removes the needs of a person who meets the needs of his Muslim brother.”
“A servant, as long as he keeps on assisting his Muslim brother, Allah, the Exalted, also continues to help him.”
THE RIGHTS OF THE VISITOR
Our Master, the Pride of Universe -may Allah commend and salute him- commands in one of his honorable Hadiths:
“When a guest comes to you, do serve him.”
This service is performed in three ways: Conditional, conversational, actual service.
Conditional service: A man should be pleased at the visit of a guest and give this impression of pleasure to the guest.
Conversational service: He should use pleasing words to his guest. Because the guest is away from home and he may be easily hurt. Heart-warming words should be said, so that he feels himself at home.
As for Actual service: He should make him comfortable. A host should serve his guest whatever Allah, the Exalted, has granted him. Because in an honorable Hadith, it is declared as follows:
“It is required to respect and serve the guest.”
During a visit, both the host and the visitor should comply with the regular customs and observances of a visit; especially they should be careful regarding the conditions of eating and drinking.
You should examine your heart and see whether you pose a burden on the host and whether or not he likes you. If you like him and if you are pleased when he visits you that means he likes and loves you.
If visitor goes to a home where he is liked (by host), he gains reward with each step. He comes with ten provisions, eats one and leaves nine to the host. He causes the sins of the host to be forgiven.
In an honorable Hadith, it is stated:
“When a visitor comes to a people, he brings his sustenance. He leaves by causing the sins of that people to be forgiven (with the sins of that people.)”
On the other hand, he acquires sins with every step (and each morsel he ate becomes unlawful) if the host does not like his visit and if he is invited unwillingly or due to bashfulness. Because, he is not desired, but he insists on visiting.
It is very improper to act without evaluating this feeling in the heart.
A wealthy man can not eat from the meals, which are prepared in order to cause people like Islam and financed from the alms and charities. The spiritual power of man is interrupted and he is deprived of mercy.
Someone invited our Master Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- to dinner:
He said: “I will come there on these conditions: You will not buy anything for me, you will serve me the things, which are available at your home, not undergo an extra burden. Furthermore, you will present food without reducing your children’s portions.”
If a host, who is in destitution, serves his guest the sustenance of his family that dinner becomes unlawful.
Our Master, the Messenger of Allah -may Allah commend and salute him- decrees in his honorable Hadith:
“It is prohibited to prepare something for a guest above one’s capacity.”
A man should not pose difficulties in his visit and should never cause trouble. He should not visit so frequently his Muslim brother that he may be annoying. Everything must be in accordance with the Islamic rules.
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