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Abdullah Hasan | The Five Languages of Love

Love is a quality that all human beings desire to inculcate within themselves. Whether we are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. we all desire to love and to be loved. Married or single, every adult has an emotional love tank. When we feel loved by people significant to us, life is beautiful. When our love tank is empty, we struggle emotionally. Many problems in relationships among adults stem from an empty love tank. When we feel loved by our spouse, for example, the world looks bright. But if our love tank is empty, the world begins to look rather dark. No material success or gain can fill the spiritual love that is drawn from the love of Allāh and emulating the Sunnah of the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a marriage.

People are different; men and women are different. What makes one person feel loved will not necessarily make another person feel loved. By nature, we tend to express love to others in a way we wish to they would express love to us. When our spouse does not respond positively to our expressions of love, we get frustrated. The problem is not the sincerity of our love or that we do not love our spouse; the problem is that we are speaking the wrong love language. If we speak our own language but nor our mate’s, we will invariably fail to communicate our emotions and feelings properly.

In the marriage context (in particular) people express their love for their spouse, for example, through complementing their spouse – through words of affirmation. Others confirm their love through acts of devotions or services to their spouses. Others show their love through spending time with their spouses – giving them their undivided attention. Others express their love for their spouses through buying gifts. And others demonstrate their love through sexual intimacy and physical touch.

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Everyone has a primary and secondary love language. Some people, for example, desire words of affirmation from their spouse more than anything else and that is their main method of receiving and expressing love. This does not mean they do not require quality time and the physical touch; however, this is what makes them click and shine. The inability of a person not understanding their spouse’s love languages can be devastating to a marriage. It is like a person speaking to you in Chinese while you do not know how to even say hello in that language! If you speak the same language you will be able to communicate, express and demonstrate your feelings and needs to that person directly and noticeably.

The five ‘love languages’ have been introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his New York Times best seller ‘The Five Love Languages’, which has sold over 5 million copies in America and has been translated in over 37 languages. In this book, he elucidates how people express and receive love. After contemplation and studying couples, he says, he realized that people universally fall in these five love languages. He explains how people can identify their primary love language and how best to express that in the various contexts.

Below are some reflections from the Sunnah on how the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) demonstrated his love to his wives based around the five love languages presented by the author. Of course the love languages are not limited to the five mentioned by the author. There are more than five but these are the fundamental and the most basic ones, which all races and people understand. There also are within these five love languages various dialects.

Before we continue, I would like to insert a disclaimer. Some people may be wondering why we as Muslims should refer to or even read books from non-Muslims. The reply is simple and obvious. We benefit and take good from wherever it comes from. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is reported to have said, “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer; wherever he finds it he has the right to take it.” (Ibn Mājah). This ḥadīth is weakened by some scholars; however, the meaning is sound and can be used at this instance. In addition, this topic is a human concern and is not just limited to Muslims. We learn these from human experiences and empirical evidences. The proceeding thoughts are a summary of some of the ways the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) expressed his love for his wives. It is hoped that this will be a reminder for some and learning for others.

1. Words of Affirmation – Express Your Feelings Verbally:

The words we use to express our appreciation and love for our spouse is of paramount importance in our endeavor to a blissful marriage. It is using words to affirm the other person. Sometimes complementing your spouse on how well she looks, or saying thank you after he has taken the garbage out, or complimenting the wife’s cooking (even though this particular dish is not to your taste buds. It is allowed in Islam!), helps to achieve that goal. It could be a written word – by writing a letter, or e-mail, text, Facebook, Twitter. There are many ways this can be accomplished. For some people, and I have observed this primarily in women, this is the best thing a husband can do for his wife.

If your spouse’s primary love language is words of affirmation, your spoken praise and appreciation will fall like rain parched soil. Before long, you will see new life sprouting in your marriage as your spouse responds to your words of love.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was once asked by ‘Amr b. al-‘Āṣ, “O Messenger of Allāh, who do you love most?” The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied “‘Ā’ishah.” ‘Amr then asked, “And amongst the men,” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Her Father.” (Bukhāri)

He showed his love even in her absence. SubhanAllāh! Note how the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “her father,” and related the answer back to his beloved even though he was asked about whom he loved most among the men.

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would praise his wife in front of other people. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that value of ‘Ā’ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) among women was the same value of tharīd (bread soaked in soup) compared to other foods. (Muslim).

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) declare his love for his wife openly. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said about Khadījah (may Allāh be pleased with her) “I have been given her love.” (Muslim). And many other such narrations.

He was softly spoken. He would not censure his wives nor would did he ever raise his voice or his hands ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Kind words penetrates and leaves an unforgettable mark that transcends anything else. This is why the wives of the Prophet all said that they would not want to spend their time with anyone else except the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Prophet’s love for ‘Ā’ishah was so well known that even after his death the salaf who took  aḥadīth from ‘Ā’ishah would say: “‘Ā’ishah al-iddīqah bint al-ṣiddīq, abibat al-abib narrated to me that…” Anas b. Mālik stated, “The first love we knew of in Islam, was the love of Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and ‘Ā’ishah.”

It also important to, occasionally, tell your spouse that you love them. Many people, for some reason or another, find it difficult to say ‘I love you’. Not because they do not love their spouse but perhaps it is the way they have been brought up or that they are following the status quo – that it is not manly to express your love for your wife. On the contrary, in Islam, this is the basis of chivalry and manhood as taught by the beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

2. Acts of Service – Show Your Love Through Actions:

Ever heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”? Using words to express your love for your spouse is not the only way; we should prove that we love our spouse through our actions as well as speech.

One of the ways of showing your spouse love is beautifying yourself for them. Ibn ‘Abbās would always brush his hair and make sure his appearance is pleasing before entering his home, he would say, “Just as I would like my wife to beautiful for me, I like to look beautiful for her.” (Tirmidhi). One can take part in beautifying their spouse; they can brush their spouse’s hair, and apply perfume on them just as ‘Ā’ishah used to do for Allāh’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). ‘Ā’ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported: “When the messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was in the mosque he put his head in to my place and I combed his hair.” (Muslim)

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was described by his wife that ‘he was in the service of his family’ (Bukhāri). In other narrations, they explained that he used to help in the house. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would sew his own clothes, sweep the floor, repair his shoes, service himself (without asking his wives), etc.

Acts of service can be for instance taking the garbage out, cleaning the dishes, ironing the clothes for your spouse. Helping the wife in the kitchen once in a while. I have to emphasize the word ‘help’. It does not mean he becomes the cook and she helps! Unless the responsibilities have changed. And there is nothing wrong in the husband cooking for the family once in a while, is there?

One of the most important things is that one is clean so that their spouse is not repulsed by them, the Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily Allāh is pure and loves the pure, is clean and loves the clean, is beneficent and loves the beneficent, is generous and loves the generous.”  In another narration, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) described purity as being a part of faith.

If acts of service is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing will speak more deeply to him or her emotionally than simple acts of service.

3. Receiving Gifts:

‘In every society throughout human history, gift giving has been perceived as an expression of love. Giving gifts is universal, because there is something inside the human psyche that says if you love someone, you will give to him or her. What many people do not understand is that for some people, receiving gifts is their primary love language. It is the thing that makes them feel loved most deeply. If you are married to someone whose primary love language is gift giving, you will make your spouse  feel loved and treasured by giving  gifts on birthdays, holidays (Eids), anniversaries, and “no occasion” days. The gifts need not be expensive or elaborate; it’s the thought that counts. Even something as simple as a homemade card or a few cheerful flowers will communicate your love to your spouse. Little things mean a lot to many people.’

‘Ā’ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “The people were waiting for ‘Ā’ishah’s (may Allāh be pleased with her) day to give their gifts, wanting by this to please the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).” (Muslim)

4. Quality Time – Give Your Undivided Attention:

It is extremely important that a couple enjoy quality time with one another, especially after having children. This time can be used to learn more about one another’s likes and dislikes, or the time can be spent engaging in activities and hobbies that the couple enjoy together.

The passion in most marriages dies out after a few years due to the lack of quality time alone. Some may make the excuse that they do not find enough time, but this quality time can be even only an hour; you can go out to drink coffee together (alone), or you can go for a walk in the park. We must understand that this element of privacy is essential in order to have a healthy, lively relationship.

This is also an important reminder to Islamic workers (du‘āt and scholars). Much of their time is spent outside teaching, giving da‘wah, organizing events etc. Some brothers find it extremely difficult to find the right amount of time to give to their wives due to the great number of commitments they have outside. That is important and needed, but if your spouse is not receiving adequate time every week, then the marriage may start to show some rifts. This has unfortunately happen to many brothers I know to the point that one wife said to her husband, “May I check your diary so I can book some appointments with you?”

Therefore, it is very important to set aside some time for the family. This could be by including family time in your weekly diary.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would allocate time and days to each one of his wives adequately and fairly.

5. Intimacy – Physical Touch:

Intimacy strengthens the bond and connection between married couples. It is a means by which husband and wife can satisfy their desires. Intimacy is also the means by which one can show their spouse love and affection. This increases the happiness, comfort and security within the marriage. Being intimate does not just refer to sexual intercourse; it also includes kissing, embracing, touching. Both spouses have the duty to be sexually available to one another, and both husband and wife have the right upon their spouse to have their conjugal rights and desires fulfilled.

It is from the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to passionately kiss ones wife. ‘Ā’ishah narrates that the Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would kiss one of his wives and then leave for prayer without performing wuḍū’. ‘Urwa b. Zubayr (her nephew) says, “I asked ‘Ā’ishah, ‘It must have been you?’ (Upon hearing this) ‘Ā’ishah smiled.”  (Tirmidhi, Abu Dāwūd, Nisā’i)

When any of the wives of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were on their menses, he would make them wrap around their lower body and he would fondle them. The wife of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) Maymunah said, “The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would be intimate with his wives above the izār (waist wrapper) when they were menstruating.” (Bukhāri).

When ‘Ā’ishah was asked, “What was the first thing the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do when he entered his house?” She said that the first thing he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do was use the miswak; the ‘ulemā’ commented on this and said that it was so he could kiss her. (Bukhāri)

The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would take off his upper garment when he got into bed with one of his wives so that she can feel his skin and thereby feels some sort of intimacy.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim reported that the Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) forbade from engaging in sexual intercourse before foreplay. (Tibb al-Nabawi)  In a ḥadīth, the Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal, but let there first be a messenger between you.” “And what is that messenger?” they asked, and he replied: “Kisses and words.”  (Daylami)

Jābir ibn ‘Abdullāh narrates: “I was in the company of the messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a battle. The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to me, ‘Did you marry?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, ‘A virgin or a non-virgin?’ I said, ‘A non-virgin.’ The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, ‘Why not a virgin so that you may play with her and she can play with you?’”  (Bukhāri)

In order to obtain optimal results, each spouse should know what pleases their partner, and this can only be known through communication.

Entertaining One Another:

The Messenger of Allāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged his followers to play with their wives and entertain them. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Every game a person plays is futile except for archery, training one’s horse and playing with one’s wife.”  (Tirmidhi, Ibn Mājah, Aḥmad)

In illustration of this practice, ‘Ā’ishah records that on more than one occasion she and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) raced and sometimes she won and sometimes he won. Most men nowadays consider it far beneath their dignity to play any sort of game with their wives, and their marriages are the duller and poorer due to this.

Gentleness and Kindness:

If we want to know what gentleness is, then we must look at what Allāh said about him in the Qur’ān: “And we have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind.”  (21:107).

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once advised ‘Ā’ishah, “There is not gentleness in anything, except that it becomes more beautiful, and there is not harshness in anything except that it makes it ugly.” Allāh says to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the Qur’ān: “It is part of the Mercy of Allāh that you did deal gently with them if you had been severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you.”  (3:159).

‘Ā’ishah narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never raised his hand to any of his wives or servants. If we look at his marriages we see that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was gentle with all his wives in both speech and action. When a member of his family or a servant of his would call on him, he would reply saying: “Labbayka! (at your service).”

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded the men to fear Allāh regarding women, and to treat them with kindness because they were only made lawful to them through the words of Allāh (i.e. the marriage contract). He said, “And enjoin on one another goodness towards women; verily they are married to you: you have no power over them at all unless they come in for a flagrantly filthy action; but if they are devoted to you, then seek no way against them. And verily, you have rights over your women, and they have rights over you.” (Tirmidhi).

Finally, a person’s primary love language may be words of affirmation; it does not, however, mean that a spouse only focuses on this. What it means is that he or she should give more importance and priority to this aspect but at the same time he should not neglect other aspects. The spouses should have a comprehensive outlook and prioritize the languages to suit the needs of their spouse. If someone is able to fulfill all of the basic love languages then that is better.

So what is your love language?

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Sh. Abdullah Hasan graduated with an Imam Diploma, BA and Ijaza Aliyah in Islamic Studies [Theology & Islamic Law, taught completely in Arabic] from a European Islamic seminary. He holds a diploma in Arabic from Zarqa Private University (Jordan), studied at the faculty of fiqh wa usuluhu (Jurisprudence and its principles) at the same university while receiving training in various disciplines privately with some of the leading Scholars of Jordan and the Middle East. He studied Chaplaincy at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE). He is a Licensed Islamic Professional Counsellor (LIPC), specialising in youth and marriage therapy. In addition, he is a specialist in Zakat and Islamic philanthropic studies.He served, as an Imam, several Muslim communities in the UK.Sh. Abdullah Hasan has enormous interest and passion in the field of community and people development. He has over 10 years of management, leadership and training experience within the third sector. He is the founder of British Imams and Scholars Contributions & Achievement Awards (BISCA), which is a national platform to celebrate, support & nurture positive leadership within the community. The Founder of British Institutes, Mosques & Association Awards (BIMA), which is national platform celebrating the achievements of mosques and Islamic institutions. He also founded Imams Against Domestic Abuse (IADA), an international coalition of leaders to end domestic abuse, and is a member of the National Council of Imams & Rabbis, UK.,

Gender Relations

Loving Muslim Marriage Episode 10#: Do Angels Curse the Wife Who Refuses Sex?

It is often heard that the Prophet said that if a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses him, that the angels will curse her until the morning. There are a lot of ways that people understand this, but what is the right way of understanding this Hadith?

Join us with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jandga to talk about this commonly mistranslated, misunderstood narration.

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Gender Relations

Loving Muslim Marriage Episode 9#: Islamic Validation of the Female Orgasm

There is a cultural misconception that pious Muslim women are somehow disassociated from sex, that sex is a Muslim man’s right, but a Muslim woman’s obligation. Where does Islam actually stand on the sexual rights of women in marriage?

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#Life

Muslim Adulting 101: Tips And Tricks For Every Young (And Not So Young) Muslim Adult

Social media is rife with complaints about how young Muslim men and women today aren’t ready for marriage, aren’t responsible enough for marriage, and are barely capable of keeping themselves alive without frantically calling their mothers or Googling how to make avocado toast. Having once been such a person (I got married at 18 and was incapable of making more than scrambled eggs), and having had around a decade’s worth of practise at adulting (I am now fully capable of making several egg dishes, though I have yet to achieve a round roti), it dawned upon me to help out the current generation of hapless almost-adults by providing a list of useful survival tips – not just for marriage preparation, but for life preparation.

I learned roughly half these things in the year before marriage, and the rest during first year of marriage. I do not claim to be an expert. I was married at 18, had a kid at 19, and was adulting at a semi proficient level by 20… although yes, I still frantically text my mother even now. I learned most of this while living in Egypt (with occasional stints in the village) and in Kuwait (as a broke non-Kuwaiti, not as a spoiled Khaleeji). You learn a lot of things the hard way, like how to toast bread on the stove when you can’t afford a toaster.)

Know How to Feed Yourself

Whether male or female, you should know how to make at least 3 breakfast items (toast and frozen items don’t count) – depending on your culture, there will be many different options to choose from, but they should be basic and easy, e.g. scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fool mudammas, za3tar and laban, etc.

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The same applies for lunch and dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you need to know the basics. Get up and go learn from your mom or dad or Pinterest or a YouTuber – as long as you just learn to do it instead of daydreaming about your spouse cooking for you. IT’S CALLED SURVIVAL SKILLS. (I learned from Canadian Living, before Pinterest was a thing. My mother still hasn’t forgiven me.)

Always, always, always remember: eat halal and tayyib food. I mean this completely seriously, and not just in a zabihah vs non-zabihah way (although, yes, zabihah is extra halal and you should definitely eat zabihah only). The simplest of foods, if you have the intention to eat that which is beneficial, will provide incredible satisfaction. 

 

Cleaning supplies

Cleanliness and Household Basics

Know how to clean your own bathroom. That means scrubbing the toilet at least once a week, the bathtub a few times a month, and generally sanitizing all surfaces. Flylady.com has some great tips

There is nothing nastier than leaving a mess in your bathroom and doing nothing to clean it. (And no, gender stereotypes about men leaving messes on toilet seats will not be tolerated. Fiqh of Taharah, people!)

Know how to clean your kitchen. When you do something in the kitchen, clean up after yourself as quickly as possible. Give your kitchen a deep-clean about twice a month. Clean your fridge, your microwave, under your toaster, and the top of your stove, which will accumulate a nasty layer of stickiness if you don’t wipe it down immediately after frying samosas. 

Learn how to operate a vacuum, how to sweep effectively, and how to mop. 

Never underestimate the importance of Tupperware. And by ‘Tupperware,’ I don’t mean the brand name – I mean washing out and using every yogurt tub, jam jar, and pasta bottle you use. You will indeed understand the wisdom of your foremothers. Make du’a for them when you reach this point of enlightenment. 

Do your own laundry. Know the difference between hot water wash (and what items to use it for), and cold water/delicates. DON’T MIX A RED ITEM WITH WHITE. (Yes, I ruined my own delicates and my infant’s brand new onesies. Ugh.) When something says “dry clean only”… for the love of your wallet, dry clean only. (As a general rule, avoid buying dry clean only items.)

Learn how to iron. I hate ironing, I avoid doing it as much as possible, I still don’t always have the hang of ironing men’s shirts (although I can starch a ghutrah like no one’s business), but LEARN THE BASICS OF IRONING and how not to burn your brand-new abayah.

Men: this still applies to you. Learn to iron your own clothes. Also learn to iron women’s clothing. (Especially hijabs and abayas.) My grandfather ironed my grandmother’s clothes every day, and she always looked like she’d just stepped out of a Desi granny fashion mag.

Learn how to sew a basic stitch in case of emergencies. I’m not asking you to embroider a tapestry or tailor make a suit, but knowing how to thread a needle and mend a tear or rip is super duper handy. (I failed every sewing class my mother put me in, and my current pile of torn clothing is at her house, but yes, I can technically mend a tear.)

Most importantly, remember that as a member of a family unit – or any unit, including living with roommates – you must actively seek to be interdependent rather than selfishly and self-centeredly independent. Just as the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spent his day serving his family, so too should we strive to be contributing positively to our households, being considerate of others, and even going out of our way to serve them. Service to those around us is neither humiliating nor offensive; rather, it is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet.

If you are not doing these things in your/ your parents’ home, you do not deserve to have a marital home.

Hisham ibn ‘Urwa said that his father said,

“I asked ‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, ‘What did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do in his house?’ She replied, ‘He mended his sandals and worked as any man works in his house.'” 

Hisham said,

“I asked ‘A’isha, ‘What did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do in his house?’ She replied, ‘He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.”

(Al Adab al Mufrad)

 

Manage Your Money

Know how to make a budget, and how to stick to it. Be aware of bills, how and when to pay them. Learn how to avoid debt under all circumstances.

Yes, this means being frugal.

Yes, this means couponing.

Yes, this means not spending $5 every day at Starbucks if you can’t afford it (and avoiding doing so every day even if you can afford it).
Yes, this means buying things on clearance.

Yes, this means putting aside money for sadaqah, and udhiyah and zakah if you required to distribute it according to your savings.

Most importantly, this means knowing how to organize and prioritize your expenses, how to cut down on the big bills and costs, and how to incorporate self-care without blowing out your wallet. 

If you weren’t raised by frugal Desi parents who taught you every budgeting trick there is, then go read a book, listen to a podcast or look up online how best to budget. Don’t just budget for your immediate needs – anticipate future expenses, create a savings account (for school, Hajj, wedding), and always have something stashed away for emergencies. In this economy, you need to scrimp as much as possible.

Pro tip: Do not discount barakah as a major factor in your day to day living expenses. If you insist on only pursuing halaal rizq, if you make a point of avoiding interest-bearing student loans and mortgages, you will have barakah in your wealth. You will discover that a meager grocery shopping trip will leave you with food that lasts you for twice as long as you expected. You will learn that giving in sadaqah on a regular basis, no matter how minuscule the amount, will result in blessings in every aspect of your life. You will be happier, live better, and succeed in your daily living. In a culture where making money is considered the single most important aspect of one’s life, it is necessary to reorient ourselves as Muslims. Allah is ar-Razzaaq, and not a single penny will come our way unless He decrees; not an ounce of our wealth will benefit us unless we seek that rizq in a manner that is pleasing to Him. 

Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ  said:

“Verily Allah the Exalted is pure (tayyib). He does not accept but that which is pure. Allah commands the believers with what He commanded the Messengers. Allah the Almighty has said: “O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and act righteously”. And Allah the Almighty also said: “O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided you with. Then he (the Prophet) mentioned (the case of) the man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who stretches out his hands to the sky (saying): “O Lord! O Lord!” (while) his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he is nourished with unlawful things, so how can he be answered?” [Muslim]

 

Hospitality

Learn how to be a good host/hostess. Almost every Muslim culture is known for its generosity towards guests, and for good reason: the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) repeatedly emphasized the rights of guests over their hosts, and of the rewards of hospitality. 

Abu Shuraih reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest and recompense him.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is his recompense?” The Prophet said, “It is for a day and a night, as good hospitality is for three days and after that it is charity.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Being a good host and hostess means knowing the adab (etiquettes) of having guests over, no matter how unexpected or informal. Offer everyone from the delivery person to the snootiest masjid aunty water or other drinks when they come in, seat them in the best place in the house, know how to turn half a package of Oreos and cheese sticks into a presentable snack tray, and so on. 

As well, if guests come to your home bringing a dish, make sure not to return that dish empty-handed! Always include something with it, whether homemade or even just a small package of treats. 

Growing up, I always saw my parents being extremely generous hosts, even when completely unprepared, and they trained my brothers and I without even realizing it. Having frozen samosas or a stash of “guests only” treats in your pantry is incredibly useful when you find yourself with a crowd of unexpected visitors in your living room. It’s a shame that so many people today have neglected the art of hospitality, when it has always been a traditional hallmark of Muslims.

Beautiful Scents

Good scents are from the Sunnah, and it is a habit that one should make regular for the household. There’s nothing quite like walking in through the door and inhaling beautiful incense.

(Unless you or others in your home are allergic to perfumes and strong scents, in which case, never mind.) 

Whether it’s bukhoor, agar bhatti, Yankee candles, or even scented diffuser oils, make it a habit to have your home (and yourself!) smelling beautiful. Your friends and family will always appreciate it! 

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was known for his love of good scents, as in the hadith “Beloved to me of this world is […] perfume...” (Nasa’i). Repeatedly, Muslims have been encouraged to cleanse themselves regularly, to use good scents, and to avoid offensive odours. (It should go without saying that one should always ensure to bathe daily, wear fresh clothing, and not to douse themselves in cheap cologne in an attempt to mask the reek of fried onions or stale sweat.)

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported:

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever eats onions, garlic, or leeks should not approach our mosque, for the angels are offended by whatever offends the children of Adam.” (Muslim)

Muslim-Specific Adulting Pro Tips

Be the person who wakes everyone up for Fajr (or sets enough alarms that eventually, *someone* will wake up). In Ramadan, be the person who helps with suhoor and iftaar, instead of being a lazy bum who drags their butt out of bed to stuff their faces and then crawls back into bed until Fajr. 

Be the person who reminds the rest of the household to fulfill the sunan of Jumu’ah – doing ghusl, wearing the best clothes, reading Surah al-Kahf etc.

Call the adhaan for every salah and encourage everyone at home to pray together; do dhikr often, especially the daily adhkaar; remind yourself and your loved ones to recite Qur’an often in the home, and have it playing regularly on audio instead of playing background music. 

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do not turn your houses into graveyards. Verily, Satan flees from the house in which Surat al-Baqarah is recited.” (Muslim)

Keep standard Sunnah foods in hand and well in stock: honey, dates, black seed and black seed oil, olive oil. Make it a habit to ruqya-fy honey & oils (i.e. recite ayaat used for ruqya over your water, honey, olive and black seed oils. It is a means of protection and benefit, regardless of whether you have ayn or sihr issues; it is beneficial even for physical ailments. Pro tip: buy big jars/bottles and recite over them.)

And that, folks, is a 101 to Basic Muslim-y Adulting. If you aren’t married yet, this will at least prepare you for some basic survival as you establish your own home; if you are married but don’t know or do these things… well… hopefully it’s not too late for you yet. I cannot emphasize enough that this entire checklist applies equally to men and women; the vast majority of these points can be found as sunan from the life of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

May Allah make us all of those who uphold their responsibilities with Ihsaan, and establish households based on the best of Islamic values and ethics, ameen.

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