Praise be to Allaah.
This ummah is the nation of moderation and balance, so everyone who belongs to this ummah must be like that in all areas of his life.
At the same time as we are hearing of some Muslims who spend most of their time away from their families – whether for da’wah or for travelling or some other permissible purpose – we are also hearing of the opposite, where some people stay with their families all the time and never devote any time to calling others to Allaah.
Just as a man’s family has rights over him that he should not neglect, other people, Muslims and non-Muslims – also have rights over him which he should not ignore..
It was reported from al-Hasan that ‘Ubayd-Allaah ibn Ziyaad visited Ma’qil ibn Yassaar during his final illness. Ma’qil said to him, I will tell you a hadeeth which I heard from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say:
“There is no person to whom Allaah has given people to take care of, and he fails to take care of them properly, but he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6731; Muslim, 142)
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned [about those under his care]. The leader is a shepherd and will be questioned. A man is the shepherd of his family and will be questioned. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and she will be questioned. A slave is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and will be questioned. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you will be questioned [about those under his care].” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4892; Muslim, 1829).
Many women wish that their husbands would not go out and leave them, not even to pray (in the mosque)! So how about to call people to Allaah? A woman said in the past: Three co-wives would be easier for me than my husband’s library! Because her husband was fond of learning and reading.
So she should not be given everything she wants; the matter should be referred to what Allaah loves and wants.
In the case of some acts of worship, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us not to go beyond what is prescribed in sharee’ah, for fear that the rights of others – above all the family – may be affected because of that. A number of ahaadeeth were narrated concerning this matter, such as:
‘Awn ibn Abi Juhayfah narrated that his father said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) established brotherhood (mu’aakhah) between Salmaan and Abu’l-Dardaa’. Salmaan visited Abu’l-Dardaa’ and noticed that Umm al-Dardaa’ appeared scruffy and unkempt (this was before the aayah of hijaab was revealed). He said to her, What is the matter with you? She said, Your brother Abu’l-Dardaa’ has no need of this world. Then Abu’l-Dardaa’ came (to visit him). He made some food for him, and said, Eat. [Abu’l-Dardaa’] said, I am fasting. [Salmaan] said, I will not eat until you eat. So he ate. When night came, Abu’l-Dardaa’ went to pray qiyaam, but [Salmaan] said to him, Sleep, so he slept. Then he wanted to get up for qiyaam, but [Salmaan] said, Sleep. When the last part of the night came, Salmaan said, Now get up. So they prayed, then Salmaan said to him, Your Lord has a right over you, your soul has a right over you and your wife has a right over you, so give each one his due. He [Abu’l-Dardaa’] went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him about that. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Salmaan is right.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1867).
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, “O ‘Abd-Allaah, have I not heard that you fast all day and pray all night?” I said, yes, O Messenger of Allaah. He said, “Do not do that. Fast and break your fast, pray qiyaam and sleep, for your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, your wife has a right over you and your visitors have a right over you. It is sufficient for you to fast three days of every month. For every good deed (hasanah) you will be rewarded tenfold, so that will be like fasting for an entire lifetime.” But I went to extremes and made things hard for myself. I said, O Messenger of Allaah, I can do more than that. He said, “Then observe the fast of the Prophet of Allaah, Dawood (peace be upon him), and no more.” I said, What is the fast of the Prophet of Allaah, Dawood (peace be upon him)? He said, “Half a lifetime.” After he grew old, ‘Abd-Allaah used to say, I wish that I had taken the easier option which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) offered me. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1874; Muslim, 1159).
In these ahaadeeth you can see how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised moderation in fasting, praying qiyaam and reading Qur’aan – for those who were doing a lot and neglecting their families’ rights. He was drawing attention to the rights of others, including wives and families.
Whoever organizes his time and pays due attention to everyone who has a right over him, should not worry about who is happy and who is not. Do not let da’wah activities take over your life and occupy all your time, but do not listen to your wife and give them up altogether.
One of the things that may help you is to get your wife involved in da’wah activities. Ask her to listen to a tape and summarize it, or to read a book and write down what she has learnt from it, or ask her to attend a study circle or take part in women’s da’wah activities at the Islamic centre or attend women’s seminars held in parallel with the men’s seminars, etc., so that she will feel that she is sharing these activities with you, and she will not feel bored because her husband is away.
Another issue to bear in mind is that you have to help her to understand that she will have a share in the reward if she is patient with you and creates the right atmosphere for you to learn and engage in da’wah. The Sahaabiyyaat (women of the Sahaabah) used to take care of their husband’s houses and children when the men went out for jihaad; they would serve their husband’s guests when they came to visit. If a woman takes care of her husband’s house when he goes out to seek knowledge or engage in da’wah or jihaad, and she serves the seekers of knowledge and daa’iyahs who come to visit him by honouring them and preparing food for them, then she will have a great reward for that. Allaah may admit three people to Paradise because of a single arrow: the one who makes it with a good intention and the one who hands it over – not just the one who shoots it. If a wife understands and remembers this, it will make it much easier for her to bear it when her husband is absent or busy.
We will end with the story of a great woman, Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr As-Siddeeq, and see what she used to do when her husband was busy with jihaad and da’wah and taking care of the affairs of the Islamic state with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: I got married to al-Zubayr and he owned nothing in this world apart from a camel for carrying water and a horse. I used to feed his horse, and bring water, and prepare his saddle, and make dough, but I was not good at baking; some women of the Ansaar who were my neighbours used to bake my bread for me, and they were good women. I used to bring the dates from some land which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had given to al-Zubayr, carrying them on my head. (The land) was two-thirds of a farsakh [parasang=approx. 3 miles] away. One day I was coming with the dates on my head, and I met the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a group of the Ansaar. He called me and made his camel kneel down so that I could ride behind him. But I felt too shy to go with the men, and I remembered al-Zubayr and how jealous he was, for he was the most jealous of men. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) realized that I felt too shy, so he went on his way. I came to al-Zubayr and told him that I had met the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst I was carrying the dates on my head, and there was a group of his companions with him. He made his camel kneel down so that I could ride on it, but I felt too shy, because I remembered your jealousy. He said, By Allaah, your having to carry the dates is harder for me than your riding with him. Later on, Abu Bakr sent a servant who took care of the horse, and it was as if I had been set free from slavery.
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari,4823).
We ask Allaah to reform the affairs of the Muslims and make things right between husbands and wives. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
And Allaah knows best.