Normal and everyday activities become acts of worship if they are done for the sake of pleasing Allah. The regular and consistent deeds are the best among these deeds.
Aishah, May Allah be pleased with her, said that Allah’s Messenger said: “The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This means that we do not need to do anything spectacular in our day to obtain rewards from Allah, but we should establish some type of routine that incorporates not only the prayer but also reciting the Quran, Du’aa (supplication), Dhikr (mention of Allah), and other good deeds. This will increase the serenity, patience, and enthusiasm of the believer.
This article is the first in a series aimed at bringing the spiritual side in the everyday life of a married Muslim woman:
Wake at night to perform Tahajjud.
The Prophet said: “The best (most rewarding prayer after the obligatory prayer is Tahajjud, night prayer.” [Ahmad and Muslim]. It is best to do this toward the last third of the night as the Prophet said: “Allah descends every night in the last third of the night [in a way that befits His majesty] and says: Is there anyone invoking Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone asking of Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My Forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. It is even better if the husband and wife perform the Tahajjud together as the Prophet said: “When a man wakes his wife up at night and they perform two Rak’ah together, they are written down among the men and women who remember Allah.” [Abu Daawood] After this prayer, one can return to bed until the Fajr prayer.
Upon awakening in the morning, say this Du’aa: “Al-Hamdu Lillaah, praise be to Allah who brought me to life after giving me death, and to Him is the resurrection.” [Al-Bukhari] One should also greet the other members of the household who are awake. The Prophet said: “O my son (to Anas), when you enter to where your family is, say Salaam. It is a blessing on you and on the people of your house.” [At-Tirmithi]
When getting dressed, say this Du’aa: “AI-Hamdu Lillaah, praise be to Allah, who clothed me with this, and who provided me with it, without any power or might of mine.” [Abu Daawood]
Recite the Quran. Early morning is often a good time to recite the Quran, especially if the children are still sleeping and the house is quiet. This allows one to fully concentrate and obtain the most benefit. The Prophet said: “(The recital of) the Quran at dawn is always witnessed – the angels of the night and the angels of the day witness it.” [At-Tirmithi] If one’s spouse is available; this would be the ideal time to strengthen the marriage by reciting the Quran together and praising Allah for His blessings. The issue of women touching the Quran during menstruation is often debated. Most scholars say that a woman should not touch the Quran during this time. However, even if she does not, she may still recite from memory or listen to tapes if she fears she may forget the Quran. This should be an incentive to memorize larger portions of the Quran, which can also be done during this early morning time.
Work on a project that will benefit the Muslim community in some way. Before the children awake and after reciting the Quran, it would be a good time to put energy into some project of interest to which one is committed. This may include such things as acquiring more Islamic knowledge by reciting or listening to tapes, writing articles, preparing for circles, developing some type of program (such as a Children’s circle, Muslim scouting program, etc.), keeping in touch with other sisters through e-mail, social service projects, etc. There are many opportunities for sisters to benefit themselves (through Allah’s rewards) and the community.
Mid and Late Morning
Prepare a healthy breakfast for the family. It is important to remember that the Prophet used to eat a very healthy food such as dates, cucumbers, bread, meat, milk, etc…. Much of the unhealthy food that we have now was obviously not available at the time of the Prophet . It is best to avoid processed foods and to use items that are the most natural. Allah Knows what is best for His Creation and He has provided us with all that we need. We should take care of our children’s physical needs in the best manner possible. Cleanliness is also an important element of the Islamic faith and should be observed in all matters, especially in food preparation and eating.
Du’aa when beginning the meal. “O Allah! Bless whatever You provided for us and save us from the punishment of the Hellfire. Bismillaah.” The Prophet told a boy who was attending a meal with him: “… Mention the name of Allah and eat with your right hand and eat of the food that is nearer to you.” [Al-Bukhari] Spend some time in conversation during the meal since this was encouraged by the Prophet.
Duaa after finishing the meal “Praise be to Allah, who gave us to eat and to drink and made us Muslims.” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]. It is important to remember not to overeat due to the unhealthiness of this behavior for physical and spiritual reasons. The Messenger of Allah said: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a thin his food, a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.” [At-Tirmithi] Overeating can lead to laziness and lethargy, and make acts of worship seem laborious, making it more likely that one will delay or avoid them.
Spend quality time with the children. Older children may need to be sent off to school, while younger children will continue to require the attention of their mother. Raising children is the most important and most honorable role for a woman. It is essential to include quality time with the children in a busy daily schedule. This should be given priority over household chores and other activities, although it should not interfere with obligatory acts of worship. Quality time may include such things as reading books about Islam, teaching Arabic, reciting the Quran together, playing games, going to the park, and much more. The emphasis should be on the children’s spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical development. Doing this early in the day also makes it more likely that children will be content to play with themselves later on, freeing time for other activities.
Perform Ad-Dhuhaa prayer: Abu Hurayrah said: “My friend (the Prophet) advised me to observe three things, not to abandon them till I die; to fast three days a month, to perform two Rak’ah of Dhuhaa (forenoon) Prayer , and to perform Witr before sleeping.” [Bukhari and Muslim] This is one of the forgotten Sunnah of the Prophet that needs to be revived. Two or more Rak’ah should be prayed some time after the sun rises until a few moments before noon. The preferred time is when it is extremely hot, which usually occurs around the hour before noon. A mother has a wonderful opportunity to renew this Sunnah by teaching her children from a very young age. Have a peaceful and blessed morning!
Preparing a healthy dinner for the family.
Conducting a study circle within the home:
The evening is a nice time to gather the family members for the study of the Quran, Ahadeeth, Seerah (Biography of the Prophet) and other areas of Islamic knowledge.
This is something that can be made a regular part of the daily or weekly schedule.
Although parents will be primarily responsible for the topics and discussions, older children may be given assignments to prepare for the group. Encouraging them to actively participate will enhance their excitement and interest in learning. Creative and engaging methods may be used to maintain the attention of younger children, although they should not be forced to sit for long periods of time. Regarding the importance of teaching, the Prophet said: “Each of you is a guardian, and each of you will be asked about your guardianship. The leader (Muslim ruler) is a guardian, and the man is a guardian over the people of his house, and the woman is a guardian over her husband’s house and children. So each of you is a guardian, and each of you will be asked about your guardianship.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Holding a family discussion:
The evening is also an ideal time for family discussions since most family members are likely to be present. The family may discuss happenings or special events of the day, issues that need to be considered together, or other matters of importance such as rules or schedules. Doing this on a regular basis will instill responsibility and respect in children and make them feel that they are a vital part of the family unit. As children mature and reach the age of responsibility, it becomes necessary to include them in discussions and decision-making, particularly in matters that pertain to them. This is actually a time for them to learn how a family should function and the most effective ways to plan and make decisions, since they will eventually begin a family of their own. Obviously, the parents should provide acceptable role models that the children will want to emulate.
„X Du’aa after a meeting or gathering: “Glory be to You, O Allah, and praise be to You. I witness that none is worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and I turn to you in repentance.” [At-Tirmithi]
Securing the house:
Keep children in after the darkness begins and be sure to secure the house. The Prophet said: “When the darkness of the night or evening (comes), then keep in your children, for satan is then out. And when an hour of the night has gone, then let them go and close the doors, and invoke the name of Allah, for satan does not open a closed door, and tie up your water-skins and invoke the name of Allah, and cover your vessels and invoke the name of Allah, even when you put something on them, and put out your lights.”
Reviewing the day for acts of charity:
There should be at least one act of charity in each person’s day and this can come in many forms. Allah’s Messenger said: “Charity is due upon every limb of a human being on each day that the sun rises. To act justly between two (people) is charity. To help a man with his riding beast, or to load his provisions on it or lift them up for him is charity. A good word is charity. Every step going to prayer is a charity. Removing from the road what causes harm is charity.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]