Bismillah

In continuation of the post “Chill Out Like The Prophet: Tips For The Stressed Muslim Da'ee – Part I“, we analyze more ways of how to relax and de-stress, the 'sunnah' way.

Nap during the day:

lunapic-man-sleeping

A stressed out person will find it difficult to take a relaxing snooze during the day, but this was the sunnah of our Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] and his companions. Even if you have too much to do and just can not take out the time, force yourself to relax for half an hour by either curling up on the couch in your office or, if that will be too 'weird' for office staff to see, just lean back in your chair with your eyes closed. The Prophet was in the habit of napping regularly as part of his daily routine:

Narrated Thumama, Anas said, “Um Sulaim used to spread a leather sheet for the Prophet and he used to take a midday nap on that leather sheet at her home.” Anas added, “When the Prophet had slept, she would take some of his sweat and hair and collect it (the sweat) in a bottle and then mix it with Suk (a kind of perfume) while he was still sleeping.” [Sahih Muslim, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 298]

Narrated the uncle of 'Abbas bin Tamim, “I saw Allah's Apostle lying on his back in the mosque and putting one of his legs over the other.” [Sahih Muslim, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 302]

Narrated Anas bin Malik, “Whenever Allah's Apostle went to Quba, he used to visit Um Haram bint Milhan who would offer him meals; and she was the wife of 'Ubada bin As-samit. One day he went to her house and she offered him a meal, and after that he slept, and then woke up smiling.” [Sahih Muslim, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 299]

In the last narration above, the Prophet was apparently just relaxing in the mosque, not taking his midday nap. Allahu a'lam.

Ironically, some organizations have noticed the effect of “power naps” on their employees' productivity, and are facilitating 20-minute naps in “nap rooms” on office premises!

Relax with your head in your wife's lap, or have her comb your hair:

Narrated 'Aisha: “While in menses, I used to comb the hair of Allah's Apostle.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 294]

Narrated 'Aisha: “The Prophet used to lean on my lap and recite Qur'an while I was in menses.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 296]

When was the last time you did either of these things? (Tip: it would help to shampoo your hair and beard the day you intend to do this; if your has bid you farewell forever, well, the beard can be the next option?).

Narrated Aisha: “A necklace of mine was lost at Al-Baida' and we were on our way to Madinah. The Prophet made his camel kneel down, dismounted and laid his head on my lap and slept. Abu Bakr came to me, and hit me violently on the chest, and said, “You have detained the people because of a necklace.” I kept as motionless as a dead person, because of the position of Allah's Apostle (on my lap), although Abu Bakr had hurt me (with the slap). Then the Prophet woke up and it was the time for the morning (prayer). Water was sought, but in vain; so the following verse was revealed:–“O you who believe! When you intend to offer prayer..(5.6)”.”
Usaid bin Hudair said, “Allah has blessed the people for your sake, O the family of Abu Bakr. You are but a blessing for them.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 132]

Even during a journey which got delayed because of our mother A'ishah losing her necklace [notice the desire to adorn herself even while traveling], when water could not be found for ablution for the whole caravan, the Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] was relaxed enough to lie down with his head in his wife's lap.  Notice how he did not rebuke his wife even slightly for unintentionally causing a delay in everyone's travel. His best friend, on the other hand, lost his temper at his daughter due to the stress of the circumstances; it all ended well, though, because this situation became the cause of Allah revealing the verses of tayammum that became a source of ease for Muslims, for all time to come.

As interesting contemporary evidence of the comfort of a woman's [...ahem, wife's] lap for relaxing on, take a look at this article.

Share meals with friends:

Having meals with his neighbors, kin, friends and companions was a norm for Allah's Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم], so much so that usually he'd also take along, to a meal to which he was invited, the person who was with him when he received the invitation to it.

The cutest hadith (below) depicts him accepting an invitation to a neighbor's meal only on the condition that his wife also accompany him to it, because she was present when the invitation was extended:

Anas Bin Malik reported that Allah's Messenger had a neighbor who was Persian (by descent), and he was expert in the preparation of soup. He prepared (soup) for Allah's Messenger and then came to him to invite him (to that feast). He (Allah's Messenger) said: “Here is 'A'ishah also” (i.e. you should also invite her to the food). He said: “No.” Thereupon Allah's Messenger also said: “No” (i.e. I cannot join the feast). He returned inviting him and Allah's Messenger said: “She is also there”. He said: “No”. Thereupon Allah's Messenger also said: “No” (and declined his offer). He returned again, to invite him and Allah's Messenger again said: “She is also there”. He (the host) said:”Yes” the third time. Then he accepted his invitation, and both of them set out until they came to his house.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 5054]

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: “I said, “O Allah's Apostle! We have slaughtered a young sheep of ours and have ground one Sa' of barley. So, I invite you along with some persons.” So, the Prophet said in a loud voice, “O the people of the Trench! Jabir had prepared “Sur” so come along.” [Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 304]

Abu Hurairah reported that Allah's Messenger went out (of his house) one day or one night, and there he found Abu Bakr and 'Umar also. He said: “What has brought you out of your houses at this hour?” They said: “Allah's Messenger, it is hunger.” Thereupon he said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, what has brought you out has brought me out too; get up”.

They got up along with him, and (all of them) came to the house of an Ansari, but he was not at home. When his wife saw him, she said, “Most welcome,” and Allah's Messenger said to her: “Where is so and so?” She said, “He has gone to get some fresh water for us”.

When the Ansari came and he saw Allah's Messenger and his two Companions, he said: “Praise be to Allah, no one has more honorable guests today than I (have)”. He then went out and brought them a bunch of ripe dates, dry dates and fresh dates, and said: “Eat some of them”. He then took hold of his long knife (for slaughtering a goat or a sheep). Allah's Messenger said to him: “Beware of killing a milch animal”.

He then slaughtered a sheep for them; and after they had eaten of it and of the bunch, and drank, and when they had taken their fill, and had been fully satisfied with the drink, Allah's Messenger said to Abu Bakr and Umar: “By Him in whose hand is my life, you will certainly be questioned about this bounty on the Day of judgment. Hunger brought you out of your house, then you did not return until this bounty came to you”.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 5055]

Anas Bin Malik reported: “A tailor invited Allah's Messenger to a meal which he had prepared. I went along with Allah's Messenger to that feast. He presented to Allah's Messenger barley bread and soup containing pumpkin, and sliced pieces of meat. I saw Allah's Messenger going after the pumpkin round the dish, so I have always liked the pumpkin since that day.”

[Sahih Muslim Book 023, Number 5067]

The above ahadith make clear how asceticism – in its literal sense (not to be confused with 'Zuhd') – is not part of Islam, confirmed by these aspects of the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] (please see this for more on Zuhd). He not only enjoyed good company, but also enjoyed eating wholesome food, while, of course, maintaining the limits of abstaining from extravagantce in eating. This extravagance becomes a  fitnah in itself; however, occasionally treating one's self to favorite food and drink – be it cheesecake, brownies, steaks, kabab rolls, frappes or pina coladas –  is definitely not prohibited in Islam. Alhamdulillah for that!creamy-coffee

So, endeavor sometimes to invite some brothers/sisters over for a meal (make it a potluck if you wish, to distribute the cooking work), or go to a restaurant or coffee house for an enjoyable tête-à-tête. Do this at least once a month to release stress. At times like these, ensure that obedience to Allah is maintained during the outing.

The burned out, stressed, workaholic Muslim da'ee is not the desired picture we want to paint for ourselves; such a person misses out on the beautiful sunnah's our Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] practised, which not only made him the best role model for all believers, but which brought a lovely balance in his life  that beautifed his dealings with others. Taking time out from your stack -full of meetings, conventions, conferences, classes and things-to-do lists, in order to give the dues of others as well as those of your own body and soul, will enable you to perform even better at your duties, in a less amount of time and with less effort, insha'Allah.

So next time that 'irritating' neighborhood kid makes spit-bubbles at you, remove that scowl from your face and try being friendlier with him. Who knows, he just might be inspired by your sweet nature, over time, to join you on your trips to the weekly halaqah or Islamic Center.

19 Responses

  1. Farzana

    Salaams,

    I am really enjoying this series on chilling out. It’s not just applicable to da’ees but everyone. I think that as muslims we have forgotten how to chill out and are too worked up and angry all the time. Even the kids in some households are lucky to be taken out on the weekends, if ever at all.

    Jazakallah for writing this article.

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  2. technically_no

    “The above ahadith make clear how asceticism is not part of Islam”
    – Are you sure this is a correct statement to make? I request you redit the sentence to read/promote a less bold statement. For we have many examples of great zaahids from ummah.

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    • Yaseen

      yeah, I second this comment.

      I guess then it would depend on what you mean by “asceticism.”
      But an overall fresh article, mashaAllah.

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      • Sadaf Farooqi

        Bismillah

        Jazak Allahu khair for pointing this out. I meant “asceticism” in its literal sense; I didn’t know it was used as a synonym for the praiseworthy lifestyle of zuhd. When we studied Comparitive Religion, asceticism was used to describe the lifestyle “Rahbaaniyyah“, practised by the spiritual leaders of some other religions i.e. total renunciation of worldly pleasures, and celibacy. Monasticism, in other words.

        I have made the necessary changes in the post.

        Thank you, again, for pointing it out.

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  3. Heba Alshareef

    Sadaf, ukhty, May Allah SWT reward you for bringing a HUGE smile to my face, pointing me here, and posting this for all to benefit !!!
    I’m sooo needin’ to chill – and now I feel like I can put one leg over the over :)

    And yes the picture is very inticing – forget cappuccino though – do you all have white cafe mocha with whipping cream? A wonderful, wonderful blessing. Allahuma lakal hamd.

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    • Sadaf Farooqi

      Love you for the sake of Allah, ukhtee!
      No, haven’t even heard of that coffee – though Karachi has its fair share of coffee houses now. Subhan Allah, coffee’s nowadays are like a whole spectrum, aren’t they? Right now, I just barely know the difference between a latte, mochaccino, and cappuccino….have I spelled them all correctly? ;)
      Pakistani’s love their tea more. And teabags are still fighting to get some die-hard tea drinkers off their “karak doodh patti” (strongly brewed milk-tea).

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  4. abdullah

    Well,

    Pina Colada’s are HARAM since they are an alcoholic beverage, so it would not be a good idea to treat yourself to one every once and a while at all. I’ll assume you meant the non-alcoholic kind. Just don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, that drinking alcohol is a good relaxation technique, much less a Sunnah.

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    • ibnabeeomar

      seeing as there is a “non-alcoholic” kind, its probably best not to say “pina coladas are haram”

      i have had many a pina colada, all without alcohol – both homemade and at restaurants. chill out :)

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    • Sadaf Farooqi

      In most Muslim-majority areas, Pina Colada’s are made with pineapple juice and coconut milk/cream. Your comment was news to me. I had no idea that it was made with alcohol abroad.
      Thank you for the information! I will make the changes.

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  5. ummasiyaah

    i love this topic! it’s so good, mashallah! Jazakallah khair, Sister Sadaf for this, esp. now that it gives me an excuse to relax (but not get lazy) and also be able to inform other Muslims, inshallah, of the importance of just chilling out and relaxing. Although I’m not a working mother, I have experienced life as a working wife, and believe me, relaxing was just out of the question when I was working 45 hour weeks and trying to keep up with housework. Reading this has been so refreshing and it’s something that I look forward to doing more of, inshallah, esp. drinking that lovely whipped cream mocha thingy! :D

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  6. A Sister

    BarakAllahu Laki Sister Sadaf

    I felt a bit shy reading the shampoo part, was it necessary to state it?

    The article is pointing to an unacceptable picture, maybe you can make available the text sans the image.

    JazakAllahu Khair,

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    • Sadaf Farooqi

      Bismillah
      The shampoo was mentioned because it is easier to comb clean hair; there are no scruffy parts and painful tangles that can get accidentally pulled by the one combing the hair, causing pain to the person whose hair is being combed (I comb my children’s hair everyday, so I know). That was the purpose of mentoining the shampooing. :)
      Muslim men nowadays have to face a lot of automobile-generated grime and dust when they go out every day. The Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] was extremely clean in his personna and habitually wore a turban, so his hair was, I am sure, very clean always.
      As for the picture in the article linked to – you are SO right. I will try to do what I can to remove it, insha’Allah, and include just the text of the Japanese lap-pillow concept.
      Jazaakillahu khairan, sister!

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  7. Arif

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    This has got to be one of my most favorite articles so far – I felt myself relaxing as I read it :)

    Btw, for the Japanese article, please use this link (it’s basically the printable version of the original article)

    JazaakumAllahu Khayran

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  8. Juli

    Jazakillah khair sadaf for this article

    I am in dire need of it, a reminder to myself to reassess things and prioritize..especially need that reminder of giving right to body and soul and family….

    hugs
    juli

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  9. AbuZakariyya

    salam

    i came to know of this article when i was going for a “brothers only” iftaar with a sheikh. u can guess who pointed out the hadeeth about the soup to me :)

    jzk for the article btw

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