Spreading Kindness in the Home
'A'ishah radiallahu 'anha reported that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "When Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala 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 the Prophet 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 said 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 radiallahu 'anha 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:
- We would be following the example of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam;
- We would be helping our wives; and
- We would feel more humble, not arrogant.
Some men demand food instantly from their wives, when the pot is on the stove and the baby is screaming to be fed; they do not pick up the child or wait a little while for the food. Let these ahadith be a reminder and a lesson.
Being Affectionate Towards and Jovial with the 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 advised Jabir radiallahu 'anhu to marry a virgin, saying:
"Why did you not marry a virgin, so you could play with her and she could play with you, and you could make her laugh and she could make you laugh?" [The hadith is reported in a number of places in the Sahihayn, such as al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 9/121)
The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said:
"Everything in which Allah's name is not mentioned is idleness and play, except for four things: a man playing with his wife." [Reported by an-Nisa'i in 'Ushrat al-Nisa', p. 87; also in Sahih al-Jami']
The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to treat his wife 'A'ishah radiallahu 'anha affectionately when doing ghusl with her, as she radiallahu 'anha said:
"The Messenger of Allah and I used to do ghusl together from one vessel, and he would pretend to take all the water so that I would say, 'Leave some for me, leave some for me,' " - and both of them were in a state of janabah (impurity). [Muslim bi Sharh an-Nawawi, 4/6]
The ways in which the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam showed affection towards young children are too famous to need mentioning. He often used to show his affection towards Hasan and Husayn, as mentioned above. 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 came back from a journey, the children of his household would be taken 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, Hasan, Husayn 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 homes where there are no truthful jokes [i.e., jokes that do not involve lying], 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 al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, and 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 will not be shown mercy."