12 tips on building an Islamic home
By: Umm Afraz
“And Allah has made for you in your homes a place of rest…” [An-Nahl:80]
Is my home Islamic?
This may seem like an unusual question and our automatic response may be “Why, of course my home is an Islamic Home!! My family is Muslim and that makes our home a Muslim one!”
Well even if our homes aren’t as Islamic as they should be, here is a short checklist to help us along the way:
A good spouse
There are several ahadeeth that highlight the importance of choosing a righteous and pious spouse. The wisdom of this is obvious: a pious spouse is more likely to bring happiness and contentment to the other spouse and the couple together will be more able to build a righteous family and home life. This is the foundation of the home.
A relationship based on guidance
This begins with each spouse fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of their roles and treating each other with kindness and compassion. It then goes beyond this to include guidance in other spiritual matters such as striving to strengthen imaan; paying attention to worship and correcting it when needed; encouraging the reading of Qur’an, praying at night, giving charity, and reading books on Islam; helping to choose pious friends; enjoining goodness and forbidding evil. Iman is something that may increase or decrease so it is necessary to continually focus on increasing our own and that of our spouse.
A place for remembrance of Allah
Remembrance can be in many forms: with the heart, with the tongue, through prayer, recitation of Qur’an, memorizing adhkaar and using them, discussing Islamic issues, or reading Islamic material. These are things that should occur on a consistent basis so that the angels will come to the home and bring Allah’s blessings.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, said: “The example of a home in which Allah is remembered and the example of a home in which Allah is not remembered, is like comparing the living and the dead.” [Muslim].
A place of worship
This means that salah is established within the home at its required time and that members of the family pray in congregation when several are present. The family may also designate a specific area for prayer and maintain its uniqueness and cleanliness. For women, it is better to pray each prayer within the home. For men, it is recommended to pray voluntary prayers at home after having prayed obligatory prayers in the masjid.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, said: “The voluntary prayer in the home is better than the voluntary prayer with the people. It is like the obligatory prayer of the man in congregation being better than praying the obligatory by himself.” [Sahih al-Jaami].
This is to ensure that homes are made places of worship just as the masajids.
Surat Al-Baqarah and Ayatul Kursi
The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, said: “Recite Surah Al-Baqarah in your houses, for the Satan does not enter a house in which Sura Al-Baqarah is recited.” [Sahih al-Jaami]. He also said: “When you go to your bed, recite Ayatul Kursi: ‘Allah! There is no god but Him, the Ever-Living, the One Who Sustains and Protects all that exists’, to the end, for then there will remain over you a guardian from Allah, and Satan will not come near you until morning.” [sahih al-Bukhari].
Teaching and learning
This is primarily the responsibility of the head of the household who must ensure that he is guiding his family to the correct path, enjoining them to do good, and forbidding them from evil. Attaining knowledge is incumbent upon all members of the family and is the basis upon which Emaan will flourish, A study circle should be established in the home that covers the various areas in Islam and from which all family members will benefit. Children should especially be encouraged to participate since this will establish a pattern for them that will be carried throughout their lifetimes.
An Islamic library
This may include such things as books, cassette tapes, and CDs. It is important to choose accurate and reliable material that will benefit the members of the family. There should be a variety of materials to cover all age levels and language needs of those in the home. Arabic material is definitely a must since everyone in the family should either know or be learning to read the language of the Qur’an. Books should cover a variety of topics, be properly organized, and be easily accessible. Audiotapes and CDs may include Qur’an recitation, lectures, khutbahs, tapes for children containing supplications, reminders of Islamic manners, and nasheeds (religious songs with no musical instruments). Family members should encourage one another to use these materials on a regular basis, and should be shared with other Muslim families who may be in need of them.
Being like Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said; “When Allah wills some good towards the people of a household. He introduces kindness among them.” [Ahmad, Sahih al-Jami]. He also said: “Allah loves kindness and rewards it in such a way the He docs not reward for harshness or for anything else.” [Muslim].
There are many examples of the Prophet’s kindness and good treatment toward his family that we should try to emulate. He was affectionate and playful with his wives and children and would help with household chores to case the burden for his wives. Following his example will bring tranquility to the home and help to truly make it an abode of rest.
Being mindful of rulings
Such as guarding the secrets of the home, seeking permission to enter, not looking into other people’s homes, not allowing children to enter the parent’s bedroom during certain times of the day, and not staying alone overnight. This last one is interesting to consider since some husbands travel for their business or work. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, actually discouraged this.
Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) forbade being alone and said that a man should not stay overnight alone or travel alone [Ahmad].
Not only will he be alone, but his wife and children are likely to be left alone in the home without any protection or companionship.
The company of the righteous and knowledgeable
“My Lord! Forgive me, and my parents, and him who enters my home as a believer, and all the believing men and women.” [71:28].
Righteous people who enter your home will bring many benefits due to their presence and conversations with them. They are more likely to discuss useful topics and may be excellent sources of information and knowledge. We should always make du’a that Allah will bless us with righteous friends since they can have such positive effects on us.
The Prophet, (sallallahu alayhe wasallam) said: “Keep company with a believer only, and let your food be eaten only by the righteous.” [abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi].
Television (except possibly for educational programs) and unlawful music are not allowed in the house; pictures on the wall do not contain animate beings; there are no statues or anything that resembles statues; dogs are not present in the house; smoking is not allowed; decorations are kept simple to avoid excessiveness; the telephone is used for beneficial purposes and not harmful ones (such as gossiping or back biting); when people come to visit, the men and women sit separately. The effects of these evils on the sanctity of the home should be obvious.
For example, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: “Angels do not enter a house which has either a dog or a picture in it.” [sahih al-Bukhari].
Location and layout
It is best for the home to be close to a mosque so that it will be easier for men to attend the prayers in congregation and for all family members to visit the mosque for lectures, study groups, and social gatherings. It is also advisable to find an area where other Muslims live to obtain the benefits of community. One should definitely be careful about close neighbors and avoid those who are obviously immoral. When choosing a house, consideration should be made regarding the availability of separate sitting areas for men and women. The house should be spacious and fulfill safety and health requirements.
May Allah, Glory Be to Him, Guide us in His Straight Path and make it easy for us. Aameen! Allahumma Aameen!