The Muslim Household – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The Muslim Household – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Hamza Yusuf is currently visiting the Emirates. He studied there in his youth, and has maintained ties with his friends there over the years. He has been invited back many times to share his knowledge and experience with the people in the place where his journey of seeking knowledge began.

Hamza Yusuf gave a lecture after Tarawiyyah prayers on July 30th, 2012 in Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was aired on Abu Dhabi Radio.

The subject he spoke on was the Muslim household, and his remarks were based on the verses in Sura al-Ahzab (33:32-35) which address the wives of the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, letting them know that they are not like other women because of the great honor of being married to the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him. The verses describe the wives as having seven characteristics, and Hamza Yusuf explained that every Muslim woman should model herself after them. They are as follows:

1) To have God-consciousness (taqwa), which entails adhering to the commandments of God and avoiding God’s prohibitions, inwardly and outwardly.

2) To not speak seductively, but rather to speak resolutely and forcefully with men who are not of the household in order to avoid being objects of desire for those whose hearts are diseased.

3) To stay home and not go out without good reason, as the house is the real abode of peace (dar al-Islam). It is the place where a believer can control his or her environment – hence the hadith, “What a blessed monastery is the house of a believer.”

4) To not ornament oneself with the ornaments of the Age of Ignorance (jahiliyyah) but to be modest in dress and movements when outside the home.

5) To establish the prayer and pay zakat. This is because prayer purifies the heart and zakat purifies wealth, and God has purchased from us our lives and our wealth.

6) To obey God and His Messenger, God’s peace and blessings be upon him. Even though prayer and zakat are part of obedience to God, they are mentioned before general obedience because those who pray and give zakat will find it easy to fulfill the rest of the obligations.

7) To remember God through recitation of the Qur’an and Prophetic practice.

After mentioning these seven characteristics, God reminds us that He is al-Latif; He knows the hidden matters of the house and of the heart. He is also al-Khabir; He knows the reality of everything.

The next verse describes the ten qualities that are necessary in order to have a purified household in this world as well as an eternal abode of bliss in the next world. They are as follows:

1)   Islam

2)   Faith (iman)

3)   Piety; reliance on God with humility (qunut)

4)   Truthfulness (sidq)

5)   Patience (sabr)

6)   Humility (khushu’)

7)   Charity (sadaqah)

8)   Fasting (siyam)

9)   Chastity (hifdh al-furuj)

10)  Much remembrance of God (dhikr)

In the midst of these verses, God reminds the household that the purpose of practicing these qualities is divine purification.

Hamza Yusuf concluded by suggesting that we all begin to try to inculcate these qualities during this blessed month.


Fostering Love and Sympathy Between Siblings – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

The following is a sample of what you can learn taking SeekersHub Global’s Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children course. The Course starts September 1st, 2014, so register soon!

A couple words of advice:Fostering love and sympathy between siblings may seem like an uphill battle at times, however this forum


is very key in how your children learn to behave in close relationships. Emphasizing having adab at home will avoid many common instigators for problems, and it help them to develop good character traits for the long term, when they insha Allah start their own families.

  • Really inculcate the meaning of the hadith “you love for your brother what you love for yourself” at every opportunity. One’s foremost instinct should be to always prefer others to oneself. Explain that this is a continuous opportunity to earn reward from Allah Most High, and that these seemingly “small deeds” can add up to vast amounts on the Day of Judgment (insha Allah). This also creates a bond of closeness between the people who practice this, especially when such deeds are reciprocated. On top of this, one can teach the formal niceties of how one would prefer others to oneself. An example that comes to mind is if you make waffles (or a similar treat) at home, kids usually fight for who gets the first one… teach them to rather try and give it to the others first (and they will actually get the most reward). It is very sweet to hear children argue “please, you go first” and “No, I prefer you go first.” (when they actually both really want that thing being served). Another example would be when the children race to the car, instead of shoving each other aside to get in first, to say “please you go ahead” or “ladies first” and opening the door for their sister. All of this done with the intention of seeking the reward of Allah Most High. (And then thanking Allah Most High for giving you the good deed.)
  • Promote empathy. Teach children to help fulfill the needs of the others around them. If one sibling is crying, they should make attempts to comfort them, not tune them out or ignore them (Even if they had nothing to do with causing the sadness or hurt feelings). Children are often the best comforters, as they can quickly direct the upset child to focus on something else (like another toy, or entice them into a new game). If they have caused the upset, they need to apologize and “make it right”. A good expression is to say, “I’m sorry about what I did. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” And to sit with the upset one until they feel better. This in turn can often be reciprocated between siblings, such that when the other one is upset, the other siblings will notice and try and do something about it.
  • Clamp down on derogatory jokes, insults or “put downs” in your home. A firm rule should be that this is not allowed in any form, and there should be repercussions to such uncouth behavior. A book I really like on this subject is “Words Are Not for Hurting” by Elizabeth Verdick. As a parent, we need to be firm about this, and not “pretend not to hear” and “let the kids work this out on their own”. They need to understand what does it mean to have adab and respect for one’s own family members. If they don’t give respect, they certainly won’t receive it. If you notice a particular child doing this more than the others, I would take him/ her aside and talk to them about it. Maybe take them out for a treat and have a heart to heart about why it is important to you that they not hurt the feelings of others. Mention the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him) as the best of examples and how he treated others. You may also want to find out if perhaps this child is being bullied in some way at school or other social forum, that they feel a need to inflict such pain on others. They should also understand what backbiting is, and how/why this is forbidden in the Shariah. Children should be taught to protect the honor and dignity of their own siblings, in front of others, but especially amongst themselves.
  • Don’t compare kids. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. A child that is weak in one area will not feel elevated or motivated by hearing “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” However, if one child does very well in a certain area, you can praise their achievement before the others (with no hint of comparison) so that they in turn try and work harder. Generally all children have various strengths, so there are many opportunities to praise each child for their various achievements at different times. This way they can learn from one another. Specifically comparing children can lead to jealously, and bitter feelings between siblings – which in the long term will work against achieving family harmony.
  • Model resolving conflict. Teach children what to do when they can’t agree on something. This is an ESSENTIAL lifelong skill that they need to master, and the best forum for learning this is with their own siblings. Conflict resolution needs to be respectful, productive, and not aggressive. Shouting, throwing, hitting, insulting are simply ineffective ways of resolving conflict. Teach child the stoplight of behavior which says to stop, calm down, say the problem and how you feel, think of all of the best (and realistic) ways to resolve the problem, then together choose the best plan and move forward. (If it doesn’t end up working, try the model again.) This model helps children learn long term, how to deal with differences between themselves as others. This is a very helpful model for adults as well to help them resolve their differences with adab. It also reduces tension in the household, when children learn how to properly resolve differences of opinion between themselves, rather than running to their parents because “so and so did X to me”.
  • Don’t always tattle. Also teach them how to give their siblings nasiha kindly. Sometimes children will come and “tattle” that for example “so and so left their toys on the ground” or “didn’t finish their cereal”. Teach them how they can rather be proactive about it by kindly advising the sibling “to pick up their toys” or “put their cereal in the fridge for later or check with everyone if someone else can finish it” etc… i.e. help the person his/herself to resolve the problem rather than running to a parent to complain. This is especially true for the children who are ages 7+, as they have the ability to help problem solve in the best way, and help their sibling, rather than always trying to turn them in to higher authority (i.e. their parents).

Abu Hurairah, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, (peace & blessings be upon him), said:

“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor.”


Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)
Associate Instructor – Islamic Parenting Course

Muslim Scholars On Spousal Abuse: “In Islamic law it is absolutely unlawful to abuse a wife, injure her, or insult her dignity.” – Allahcentric

Muslim Scholars On Spousal Abuse

Courtesy of Sidi Khuram’s exhaustive research at Allahcentric

Regarding the recent UAE Federal Supreme Court ruling stating that a husband can beat his wife and children so long as no marks are left (reminiscent of Guantanamo-style torture sessions), Shaykh Jihad Brown of the Tabah Foundation responds that spousal abuse is unlawful under Shari’ah:

“Jihad Hashim Brown — the head of research at Tabah Foundation, which specializes in the interpretation of Islamic law — couldn’t comment specifically on what the courts did and didn’t say because he hadn’t read the ruling.

However, he said he feels confident that the UAE court didn’t sanction injury or abuse. He said sharia law is complex and has been open to interpretation.

But he argued that in Islamic law it is “absolutely unlawful” to abuse a wife, injure her, or insult her dignity.

“When a situation in a marriage reaches the point where people feel like they need to hit someone, that is time for divorce. Anyone who would abuse, injure or even insult the dignity of their wife, this has now become a criminal offense which can be prosecuted in a court of law.”

(CNN: Court in UAE says beating wife, child OK if no marks are left)

What Other Muslim Scholars and Imams Say About Spousal Abuse:

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Removing the Silence on Domestic Violence

Imam Zaid Shakir: The Problem of Domestic Abuse (Muslim Men Against Domestic Abuse

Imam Khalid Latif: Real Men Don’t Hit Women

Fatwa Against Domestic Violence:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersGuidance issued the following fatwa:

“No, there is absolutely no place in Islam for abuse of one’s spouse–whether physical, spoken, or emotional. All abuse is haram.”

Related Reading:

The Shari’ah On Spousal Abuse

For you Hanafis out there, the following explains the implementation of Islamic law by the Ottoman Empire:  Ottoman Shari’ah Laws on Spousal Abuse – 16th Century Examples (Kufi tip to Sidi Yursil)

“Although several modern legal codes make reference to domestic violence, Islamic Law (Sharia) addresses it through the concept of darar (harm) that encompasses several types of abuse against a spouse. For example, darar can include the failure of a husband to provide obligatory support (nafaqa) for his wife, which includes food, shelter, and clothing … Darar also includes physical abuse against a spouse.  The laws concerning darar maintain that if a woman is harmed in her marriage, she can have it  annulled:

“The most important proof needed was the show that the husband had broken the marriage contract or that the marriage caused the woman harm) Sonbol 1996, 281. Physically assaulting a wife violates the marriage contract and is grounds for immediate divorce.

Ottoman law tends to treat cases of darar in accordance with the Sharia; this is reflected in a sixteenth-century fatwa from the Ottoman Seyhulislam (Sheykh of Islam) Ebu su’ud that reads: “Question: Zeyd hurts his wife Hind in many ways. If the qadi (judge) knows about it, is he able to separate Hind from Zeyd? Answer: He is able to prevent his hurting her by whatever means possible. (Imber 1997) [yk: note the Ottoman Shariat, interventionist policy reaffirmed in the 16th century]

Further evidence of Ottoman treatment of darar can be found in studied currently being undertaken using Sharia court records from the Ottoman period. For example Sharia court cases from Aleppo, Syria reflect the ability of women to seek retribution when subjected to abuse. The courts of Aleppo ruled against abusive husbands in several cases of domestic violence. In one court case from May 1687Fatima bt Hajj Ali filed a lawsuit against her husband testifying that he was abusing her, he had hit her with a stick on her body and on her mouth causing her to bleed. She claimed that he was constantly abusive. In her defense she brought along five witnesses. The court reprimanded the abusive husband, ordering that he be given tazir (discretionary corporal punishment).

Both Sonbol and Largueche problematize the connection between obedience and darar in the modern period as the patriarchal state commingles with the Shariah. These pioneering studies question the notion that modernization is a springboard for progress, as several areas of the law drastically limit the legal options afforded women in earlier periods.

Although in the rubric of Western Law, murdering a wife in a crime of passion has been placed in the same legal category as domestic violence, this is not the case in Islamic Law. There is no mention in the juridical texts of condoned or permissible murder of a wife. However, some modern laws, such as Jordan’s Penal Code (1960) contain clauses for “excuse for murder” or offer reduced sentences for men who murder a wife or female relative suspected of sexual misconduct. Authors such as Amira Sonbol and Lama Abu Odeh have argued that there is a legal connection between “excuse for murder” and “crimes of passion” in the European tradition through the focus on circumstance and the criminal intent of the murderer.  Modern legal reforms borrowed from French criminal codes freed the criminal of responsibility so long as the element of surprise was present (Sonbol 2003) In contrast, crimes of passion, prejudicially called “honor crime” in the context of the Islamic world, have mistakenly been associated with Sharia despite their stark connection with tribal law.”

ref:  Semerdjian, Elyse (2005). Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures: Family, law, and politics. pub: BRILL Academic Publishers

Muslim Organizations Combating Domestic Violence:

Additional Resources