How Do I Balance Worship and Family Time?
Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
It has been narrated that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to recite Surah Yasin, Sajdah, and Mulk before going to sleep. I would like to know if ‘Aisha or the other Mothers of Believers also recited with him, or would he wait till they were asleep and then recite them?
If I did all the acts I wanted to do, I would not spend any time with my spouse or take a share in looking after children.
Thank you for your question. You bring up an excellent point, sister. The amount of worship that any mother can do is limited, and a careful balance of her obligations to her husband, children, and religion is needed. How does she find this balance?
I won’t mention the Prophet’s wives; may Allah bless him and give him peace because only his first wife had given him children, while Mariya al-Qibtiyyah had borne him a son who died in infancy. When his first wife had died, the Qur’an had not been completed in revelation yet, so I believe the context of your question is different from the lives of his wives; may Allah be well pleased with them all.
Devotion and Worship
A woman who devotes herself to worship has a tremendously positive influence on her family and sets the tone for the standard of worship in the home. Always keep this in mind, and don’t be dissuaded from worship in the best way that you can. Given this, her devotion absolutely cannot interfere with her duties to her home and husband. There are two ways to accomplish this: A) Consistent worship even if little and B) Organization.
A) The Mother of Believers, `A’isha, said, “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.“ [Bukhari] (‘not make you enter Paradise‘-meaning that one only enters Paradise from Allah’s mercy)
Devoting yourself to 15 minutes of worship every day of the week is better than worshipping Allah for an hour or two irregularly. Your children will also benefit from seeing this.
B) Any woman who wants to use her free time to gain knowledge and worship Allah must have an organizational plan in place. Her meals should be planned out, ingredients purchased every week, budgeted, defrosted on time, and cooked on time. French cuisine or fancy food is a waste of time. Meal prep is beneficial. She should also have a cleaning routine so that everything is cleaned regularly in small increments (much like your worship) and never overlooked.
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This is more important than the information above. The most successful families that I have seen among religious circles are the ones who worship together. They pray five times together; they wake each other up lovingly for fajr; they read surah Kahf every Friday morning together. Worship is done most of the time collectively. This ensures that they bond with each other while worshipping with Allah, strengthening the links all around.
What is Worship?
The last thing that I want to mention is that fulfilling obligations is worship and entails reward by the grace of Allah. My teacher taught us that working is dhikr, sleeping is dhikr, sleeping with your spouse is dhikr, exercising is dhikr, etc. This is because any obligations that one fulfills towards another person or even towards oneself are rewarded and entails Allah’s good pleasure.
So don’t despair if your ritual worship seems little because you are cooking, baking, cleaning, calling to check on a friend, removing a harmful thing from the road, or teaching your children. These are considered obligatory good deeds that will last for all eternity.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah the Exalted has said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have enjoined upon him, and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (supererogatory deeds) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I protect him.“ [Bukhari]
I pray that you can find a way to balance and involve your whole family with you such that worship Allah in everyone’s free time becomes a habit and pleasurable experience for everyone. May Allah reward you for such great intentions.
Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.