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My Dear Ramadan Stay-at-Home Mom, I Salute You

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

I know how much pain it causes you to stay behind at home, taking care of your children while everybody else is enjoying their ṣalāt and tarāwīḥ at the masjid. I know how embarrassing it is for you to come to the masjid with a great hope to be welcomed; you and your little child only to receive the angry looks upon hearing the first cry of your child. I know how much you yearn to go back to the old days before you got married or before you had children, to enjoy a peaceful hour of ‘ibādah at the masjid and to have no worries about anything else in the world, let alone a child under your care. I know that all of this is not even close to how you feel about yourself and Ramadan, or about your self-worth in this blessed month of Ramadan while trying to enjoy your ‘ibādah and fulfill your spousal and parental role all at the same time. For all of this and more, my dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom, I salute you, and may Allah reward you.

Let me share with you few things hopefully it will cheer you up during your stay at home experience in this month of Ramadan.

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1.  You are not alone in this.

Even the female companions of Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) felt the same way. They were watching men going to the masjid, attending Jumu‘ah and ṣalāt with the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), listening to the beautiful reminders about this world and the hereafter and doing so many other great deeds. As they were confined to their houses and to the care of their families, they felt underachieving and as if they were left out. How could they even match men in reward when they could not do so much? The answer came from the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself.

Asmā’ bint’l-Sakan al-Anṣāriyyah, on behalf of the women in Madīnah, came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) while he was surrounded by his companions and asked boldly:  “O Messenger of Allah! The men have taken all your time…” and she complained that men are entitled to the reward of the congregational prayers, Fridays, fighting with him and other works of good deeds while women were confined to their houses and taking care of their children. She asked if women share men in the reward for what they are doing. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, “Go back to the women who sent you and let them know that treating their husbands kindly and taking care of them is equivalent to that all you mentioned.” Reported by al-Bazzar and al-Ṭabarāni

This ḥadīth has always been used to highlight the status of husbands over their wives. Unfortunately, rarely was it used to the advantage of women. This ḥadīth gives women the privilege of earning the reward for participating in a myriad of devotional acts such as ṣalāt, fasting, Ḥajj among many other good deeds only by taking care of one single thing, the familial duty. Taking care of the house chores and being kind to the husband are not that easy either, but it’s what most women usually and normally do. They are kind by nature, and sacrifice their lives for their family. They are being rewarded immensely for what they naturally do. This is why spousal duty was made the most dangerous for women to neglect, because it was the most rewarding.

2.  Don’t be sad about praying at home

One of the biggest misconceptions about ṣalāt at the masjid is that it is considered a privilege and is only granted to men. Well, it’s not a privilege. It’s a responsibility that men are required to observe at all times unless there is an excuse for them not attend.

When a blind man, Ibn Umm Maktoom, asked the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to excuse him from attending congregational ṣalāt at the masjid, he had no one to lead him to the masjid. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)asked him if he was able to hear the adhān, and upon replying in the affirmative, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to him, “I have no excuse for you.” Reported by Muslim and Aḥmad. And in the ḥadīth of Abu Hurayrah in Bukhāri and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) threatened to smoke men out of their houses for not attending ‘ishā’and fajr ṣalāt in the masjid.

Therefore, for men it is a duty to attend the masjid and not a privilege. Their reward starts higher at the masjid and is reduced elsewhere while for women it’s the opposite.

3.  You can still come to the masjid

As long as they maintain the proper dress code and etiquette for going to the masjid, women can still come and attend ṣalāt at the masjid. So don’t take me wrong when I say it’s better for them to pray at home, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has granted them this right in the ḥadīth:

“Do not ban the female slaves of Allah (i.e. women) from attending the houses of Allah (i.e. masjids).” reported by Bukhāri and Muslim.

However, women were given a privilege many men wish they had, which is to get the reward for praying at the masjid while still doing it at home. The Messenger of Allah said, “A woman’s ṣalāt at home is better for her than at the masjid.” Reported by Aḥmad, Abu Dāwūd and al-Tirmidhi.

The question is, why? Is it because women are unworthy of coming and attending ṣalāt in the house of Allah? Is it because they are inferior to men? The answer is absolutely no! It is simply a beautiful gesture from the Messenger of Allah in consideration to women’s hectic circumstances at home.

Imagine this: to get the 27 degrees reward for congregational prayer, a mother of three young children is required to attend the masjid regularly? How feasible could that be? Not that easy for sure. As a matter of fact, it would be frustrating and perhaps a reason for women to feel guilty and trapped in their own circumstances. Well, rest assured my dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom, your reward has been secured for you while doing what you usually do with no extra effort on your part. Men, on the other hand, are required to make the effort and the trip to the masjid to attend the congregational prayer. As for you, all you need to do is just make your wuḍū’ at home, and pray your ṣalāt on time and enjoy your stay at home.

4.  Why should women come to the masjid?

Why would women even want to attend the masjid? There are so many legitimate reasons for that, but enough for them is the right Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) granted them. However, here in the West, there aren’t that many outlets for women to learn their dīn and learn how to practice it in private or public life, and for many, the masjid is the only outlet there. In addition to that, the masjid has become a community center in which families get together and enjoy being in a safe haven. The question for Muslims in the West is not “should women come to the masjid?” but “how can we make the best accommodation for them?”

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

You might ask, “what if I want to come to the masjid to attend tarāwīḥ?” What’s wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with it unless it leads to neglecting more important duties and family priorities. This issue of women coming to the masjid for tarāwīḥ represents a very important community dilemma: are masjids well prepared to receive that many sisters and children?

Many masjids and Islamic centers in America were designed based on how masjids are built in traditional Muslim countries. In these countries, women were not expected to attend the masjid – not necessarily because they were discouraged from attending, although in some countries it is the case, but also because women had many other outlets besides the masjid from which they could learn the practice of their dīn and enjoy spiritual experience.  Therefore, the women’s section was always underserved and sometimes completely overlooked.

The Islamic centers in America and the West were designed and planned when the community was predominantly an immigrant community, and women were also expected to follow the same traditional role. In many cases, community leaders didn’t even think about it as an issue, but with the rise of the new generation and their struggle to fit youth programs within the structure of the masjid, women needed better service at these masjids. Many new masjids today are being designed and built with this need in the minds of the designers and, contrary to traditional masjids, are viewed as family-friendly masjids.

Masjids with traditional designs were not prepared to receive many women and children. They don’t have the space, the childcare service, and in many cases the proper women organization for these kinds of events, not to mention the parking spaces. Therefore, if some centers were hostile to women and children from a fiqh point of view, others simply just don’t have the proper facility to offer even a mediocre service let alone a professional one for them.

5.  Your period is for your recreation

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

Don’t you sometimes want to take a break from so many things in life, such as waking up early for fajr, so you can take that extra time you deserve for rest? Well, you work so hard and you deserve that break. When you are asked to stop fasting and praying during this time and required to stay at home instead of coming to the masjid, it does not mean you are less righteous. The ḥadīth women are “naqisatu ‘aqlin wa dīn” refers to women’s reason and practice of devotional acts as being less comparing to men (and this is not the place to debate the meaning of this ḥadīth). The ḥadīth speaks about “less” in what women do, not less in who they are or what they become during that time of the month.  It’s about quantity not quality.

When the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) explained his words, he counted what women usually stop doing during their period, not what they stop becoming, because they never stop becoming devotional or righteous because of what they have no control over (i.e. their period).

Obviously if you stop practicing particular devotional duties during your period for few days it does not make you less righteous, it only makes you less “doing.” After all, even women such as Khadījah, Fāṭimah and ‘Ā’ishah were menstruating women, and still they were by far of the most righteous, among women and men, of all time.

Therefore, when your period starts it is more righteous and more devotional to stop great devotional acts such as ṣalāt, fasting, reciting the Qur’an and attending the masjid. Sounds like a paradox, but it is what it is. It’s all about obeying Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His Messenger Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). However, you can still do lots of other good deeds, including reading tafsīr and the translation of the Qur’an.

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

If you decided to come to the masjid with your children, unless the masjid provides childcare service, please make sure your children stay under your supervision and make sure to respect your masjid’s regulations. The ḥadīth that bans children from attending the masjid is very weak, but being considerate to others is still essential too. Here are few suggestions you may want to consider:

1.  Try to get a group of sisters together to take turns babysitting their children in the masjid.  A couple of sisters can stay with the children while  the others pray, and after two or four rakʿahs they switch until the end of the ṣalāt.

2.  If the masjid does not have enough room, you could babysit at the house of one the participating families. In this case, you stay at home one night while others pray and then rotate so that everybody gets a chance to host the children and enjoy praying.

3.  Young parents?!  The husband and wife can help each other in the same manner – it is part of being kind to one another. I have also seen some young fathers get together in one house and do their tarāwīḥ in jama‘ah at home with their young babies around and their wives pray that night at the masjid. It’s your priority to pray at the masjid, but part of your good manners is to consider your wife’s need too.

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

If you decided to pray at home, here are few tips for you:

1.  Pray with your children if you can, and lead them even if they were boys younger than ten.

2.  Do not follow any live broadcast of ṣalātul tarāwīḥ of the Internet or TV.  Pray on your own.

3.  Even though it’s permissible to hold the muḥaf and recite from the Qur’an directly, it is still better for you to recite from memory.

4.  If you don’t know much of the Qur’an, you can still repeat the same sūrah over and over again until the recitation is long enough for you.

5.  It is permissible to dim the lights around the house in order to get more focus and concentration.

6.  Pray it in the best way you can, and may Allah reward you for your good intention.

 

My dear Ramadan stay-at-home mom,

Thank you for your patience.

Yaser Birjas
4th of Ramadan 1433
July 24, 2012

Ramadan 2012 Posts

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Sh. Yaser Birjas is originally from Palestine. He received his Bachelors degree from Islamic University of Madinah in 1996 in Fiqh & Usool, graduating as the class valedictorian. After graduating, he went on to work as a youth counselor and relief program aide in war-torn Bosnia. Thereafter, he immigrated to the U.S. and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He is also an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, where he teaches popular seminars such as Fiqh of Love, The Code Evolved, and Heavenly Hues.

73 Comments

73 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Babar Khan

    July 27, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Barakullah feek ustaad. I emailed it home and read it, this article comes at a great time. i didnt even know the author until the end. May Allah continue to bless you and your family with good in this life and the next. Ameen.

  2. Avatar

    Faith Barrow-Waheed

    July 27, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Barakallah for writing this article. I’m not married and don’t have any children, so I still get the chance to go to Taraweeh on regular basis without having other responsibilities at home.

    One thing that I think may be helpful is switching roles every once in a while. Maybe one night out of the week during Ramadan, a father can stay home with the children while a mother goes to Taraweeh prayers. It would allow her to spend time with the rest of the community and enjoy the prayer and fellowship with other Muslims without worrying about her children crying or getting restless. While stay at home moms primary responsibility may be the home, I’m sure they still want to come to the masjid and be with the community.

    • Avatar

      Abu Sufian

      July 30, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      Men should be attending the congregational prayers so this is not a good option to switch with their wives. It’s not like we’re talking about diaper duties or the like.

      • Avatar

        umm ahmad

        July 31, 2012 at 3:34 AM

        Even the prophet peace be upon him prayed taraweeh at home occasionally, so as not to burden his ummah with this sunnah prayer. why can’t a man be doing the same once in a while?

      • Avatar

        Mahdi Hassan

        August 1, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        One can always pray Isha and leave.

      • Avatar

        Faith Barrow-Waheed

        August 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        Yes, men should make the fard salat in congregation. However, Taraweeh salat is not fard. Seriously, a man cannot make Taraweeh at home once a week or even let his wife attend Taraweeh once a week while attending to the children? I have seen couples where the man does attend Taraweeh most nights but sometimes attends to the children so that his wife can pray Taraweeh in peace.

        • Avatar

          Heather

          August 4, 2012 at 6:23 AM

          The distinction between fard and sunnah prayers is what is key here.

      • Avatar

        Umm Reham

        August 15, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        We live very close to the Masjid so me and my husband decided that he will go pray isha and pray 4 rakahs of taraweeh and will come back and then I will go and pray the last 4. During the last ten nights, he is praying the whole taraweeh and I go with my sister and my mother to the masjid for qiyaam ul layal while he does his worship at home( since we have an year old daughter at home). Allhumdulilah it has worked for us wonderfully. Allhumdulilah for such an understanding and kind husband.

      • Avatar

        tired muslimah

        June 23, 2016 at 2:45 PM

        Taraweeh is not obligatory sooo the husband and wife can switch.

  3. Avatar

    Jessi

    July 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Thank you so much, Sheikh. Your message to us touches the heart and is also greatly needed.

    This is beautiful and I cannot express enough how I appreciate being spoken to in such a respectful, intelligent way.

    Jazak Allah khairan and may you and your family experience a blessed Ramadan in which you are given forgiveness from your Lord and are emancipated from the fire of Hell, ameen.

  4. Avatar

    Umm Ibraheem Ashmin

    July 27, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Jazza kallahu khayran wa barakallahu feeki for such a GREAT and I mean A GREAT ARTICLE!!

  5. Avatar

    Umm armaraa

    July 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Jazakallah khair for considering us stay at home moms and giving us a boost .

  6. Avatar

    Madz

    July 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    JZK for this! I feel less guilty and more proud of my duties!

  7. Avatar

    Angie Ellaboudy

    July 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Barak Allahu fik, beautiful article and reminder.

    Um Sumayyah

  8. Avatar

    Hibz

    July 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    JAZAAAKUM ALLAH KHAYRUN; Very Much Needed & Heartfelt Article Alhamduilah

  9. Avatar

    Bariah

    July 27, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    how beautiful. Jazak Allah Khayran from stay home, homeschoolng mom of three.

  10. Avatar

    Alia H.

    July 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    In point #5. Did you really meant to say this ”
    It’s about quantity not quality.”?
    I thought its other way. Jazakumullah kheiran for the awesome article! May Allah(swt) enable us all moms to make most of our time and oppurtunities while maintaining our duties (Ameen)

    • Avatar

      Ali Fiaz

      July 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      I believe the shaykh is referring the hadith as he is explaining what it implies.

    • Avatar

      Heather

      August 4, 2012 at 6:15 AM

      I think he meant women do less quantity, not less quality of worship. What we do 3 weeks out of the month is equal to a man’s 4 weeks. :)

  11. Avatar

    A Muslim Sister

    July 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    That was an awesome article Shaikh Birjas. You made me more proud of my role as a Mom. May Allah protect you and preserve you.

  12. Avatar

    Hafsa

    July 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    As salam alaikum,
    Having faced this issue with all my 3 kids, I decided to do something about it. Alhamdulillah, Allah has been very kind to me. I worked with my masjid board to set up childcare programs during Tarawih salah. We made attractive and engaging activities for the kids related to Islam and they love coming to childcare. This way, Inshallah, a few mothers, whose kids are 3 and above can also pray peacefully.

  13. Avatar

    Tiger

    July 27, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Surprised that this is written by a man. What on earth is a -stay-at-home mom. For your kind information, women are supposed to stay at home.

    P.S. Why don’t muslimmatters scholars cover their heads?

  14. Avatar

    Aiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    July 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    >The question is, why? Is it because women are unworthy of coming and attending ṣalāt
    in the house of Allah? Is it because they are inferior to men? The
    answer is absolutely no! It is simply a beautiful gesture from the
    Messenger of Allah in consideration to women’s hectic circumstances at
    home.

    It was keeping women’s safety in mind.

    However, women were given a privilege many men wish they had, which is to get the reward for praying at the masjid while still doing it at home. The Messenger of Allah said, “A woman’s ṣalāt at home is better for her than at the masjid.” Reported by Aḥmad, Abu Dāwūd and al-Tirmidhi.

    Better for her, not better than men’s.

  15. Avatar

    Tiger

    July 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    know how much pain it causes you to stay behind at home, taking care of your children while everybody else is enjoying their ṣalāt and tarāwīḥ at the masjid.

    How about, I know how much fun you have playing with your children while men have to go to the masjid on empty stomachs, and pray taraweeh till their legs hurt.

    The whole article is nonsensical, aimed at pleasing women.

    • Avatar

      Hassen Morad

      July 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      masha’Allah ya Shaykh Tiger, what beautiful akhlaaq!

    • Avatar

      Maheen

      July 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      When reading this garbage folks, please remember to say, “I am fasting, I am fasting.”

      • Avatar

        Maheen

        July 27, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        the garbage is not the article but Tiger’s comment, just to clarify.

        • Avatar

          asima

          July 31, 2012 at 4:51 AM

          Jazakallah for the article…the article makes it v.v.clear about the different aspects and rulings on women praying at home…and indeed the article might be a relaxing one to many like me…often in masjids i have seen women praying very distracted with the kids around and at the same time it distracts the others who have come only to pray…so what i advice those who go to masjid is keep in mind to points..”the lady shud be ale to concentrate in her prayers with the kid with her at the mosque, and at the same time she should not create a nuisance for the others who have come only to pray.’ Otherwise its advisable for her to pray at home after she is done with all household priorities, feed kids and let them their way and then pray woth full khushooh which is more important than the place u pray…

          • Avatar

            Amal Barbari

            August 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM

            Mashaallah, may Allah swt truly reward the author of this piece. It speaks volumes to someone like myself choosing for the first time in my life to stay home during ramadhan as I have 5 small children; and although I know I can go if I want to, I wouldn’t be able to focus fully worrying their whereabouts.
            Further, this is not an ode to moms who don’t work. The author is shedding some light on the misconceptions about those moms who choose to stay at home during ramadhan.

    • Avatar

      Shom

      July 15, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      To tiger
      Are u out of your mind?

  16. Avatar

    TARANNUM

    July 27, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    ASA,
    This was much needed. The acnowledgement that we work hard is very important. May Allah protect you and your family always. Its definately a 5 star
    JAK

  17. Avatar

    UmMuhammad

    July 27, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Jazak Allaahu khairun for your advice and touching on this imp topic

  18. Avatar

    bariah

    July 28, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    I just want to say one more thing, that this article’s tone is a wonderful reminder about how women should be addressed and instructed. If you say the same things to a woman with a harsh or commanding tone, she is going to hate on you. There is so much wisdom in the sunnah and I am so glad Sheikh Birjas is addressing the ladies in this way, which is probably why I have recieved this article in so many emails, over the last 24 hours :D

  19. Avatar

    Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    July 28, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Here is my position. I do not agree with the author when he says that women are told to pray at home because of their hectic schedule. Two reasons why.

    1. Men’s schedule can be and often is more hectic.

    2. It is keeping women’s safety in mind.

    Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW)
    said, “Do not prevent your women from attending the masjid, even though
    their houses are better for them” [Sunan Abu Dawood]

    HOWEVER

    Hazrat Aisha (RA) has been reported to have said, “If the Messenger of
    Allah (SAW) was alive to see what women are doing now, he would surely
    have prevented them from entering the masjid
    for prayer just as women of
    Banu Israel were prevented” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

    “It is disliked for women to attend congregational
    prayers in the masjid even for Eid and Juma prayers, and even for old
    women attending night prayers, according to the more reliable position
    in Hanafi School, due to the corruption of time.” [Imam al-Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 1/566]

    When even during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) there was corruption, then what about now.

    I am sorry but the author has got the base wrong.

    • Avatar

      Judiyy

      July 28, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Corruption? Women in the west don’t have outlets like they do in Muslim countries, as he said. Men do not have schedules that are any more hectic, allow. Gender does not define your daily schedule. Most men can’t even watch kids for 5 minutes let alone a whole day. Your claim doesn’t make sense, as he explained all your refutations in his article already. I live far away from a Masjid and I know every-time I go to the Masjid it’s a huge Imaan boost, since my family is non Muslim, and I’m not really around the Muslim community too often. And yes, it’s hectic for women to try to attend the Masjid all the time as he said, because she may cook, clean, (not because she has to, this isn’t required upon women) take care of kids, her husband etc. etc. etc.

    • Avatar

      Judiyy

      July 28, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      You are basically saying women don’t work as hard as men, I’m sure many would disagree.

      • Avatar

        Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

        July 28, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        And where did I talk about work?

        • Avatar

          Judiyy

          July 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

          By saying women’s schedules aren’t as hectic.

          • Avatar

            Aiiiiiiiiiiii

            July 30, 2012 at 2:13 PM

            The author sounds like men don’t work hard. That is all. Sorry about the confusion.

            Best Regards.

    • Avatar

      Nuraini

      August 3, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      If men’s schedules are more hectic it is immaterial – unless the man is a stay at home husband.

      The things in typical men’s schedules that occupy their time do not tie them to the home – the women’s often do. How else are you going to deal with the household and child matters, if not actually in the house? That’s the issue that was recognised and addressed as described in the article. It is not just the time issue, but the location – and thus ability to be mobile – where you are bound to in the course of doing your duties.

    • Avatar

      UmmIbraheem

      August 6, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      We should have better akhlaaq than this when disagreeing with the leaders of our community and other Muslims, sister. It is not just some random-internet author who wrote the article, but a learned shaykh/imam.
      Also, it would seem that you were arguing about something you agree with the author on :)
      wAllahu ‘Alam if you are a mother/father or not, but as a mother of three kids (about to have four) I was offended by you saying that women don’t have a hectic schedule (sorry if I misunderstood). It varies from household to household, but mothers — not matter where they live or if they have help — work 24/7. They even work at night when they have to wake up with their children :)

  20. Avatar

    Reina

    July 28, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Jazaak Allaahu khayran, Wonderful and helpful article.

  21. Avatar

    Perspective

    July 29, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    I don’t see any need for the title of this article to specifically reference “stay-at-home” moms rather than simply ALL moms. The author may be shocked to hear this – but working mothers face the exact same situations in terms of taraweeh/periods/praying at home etc (gasp!). The use of semantics like this to push specific agendas regarding women needs to stop.

    • Avatar

      Dr/mom

      July 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      I believe the dear sheikh was referring to moms who stay home during Ramadan’s taraweeh prayers and jummah. I don’t believe he was pushing any agenda. Sounded like a playful spin on the term stay at home in order to shed light on the issue of women staying at home for prayers.

      • Avatar

        Perspective

        July 29, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        Thank you for the clarification. If it truly is a playful spin on the term, than that’s all fine. Although I still find it hard to believe that there’s absolutely no alternate agenda. I make this comment only after reading another article on MM by the sheikh advising young women to significantly downplay their academic accomplishments and professional goals in order to get married, because men want a “traditional” wife. The article essentially told women to present themselves as appealing homemakers rather than educated and accomplished individuals. The article could very well have encouraged men to not be intimated by educated women, explaining that employment and family are no longer mutually exclusive for women. However it took a completely different route. After reading it, I can’t help but see remnants of that attitude in this article as well.

        • Avatar

          Layla

          July 31, 2012 at 5:42 AM

          I absolutely agree, no doubt the role of the mother is very important, that does not mean we undermine every woman who has great academic potential and can balance the two spheres in her life. Sadly, in our Muslim community today the constricting attitude is the most common one.

          • Avatar

            saud

            August 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM

            At the risk of oversimplifying this issue, the general principle in this life is you cannot have your cake and eat it. If a woman chooses to leave her children to the care of others, be it her parents or a creche, the children will lose something in their development. There are no two ways about it. This life is about sacrifice. Looking after kids 24/7 is difficult.. who said it wasn’t. I’m sure it can get tedious as well… but hey, why do you think the child loves the mother three times before the Dad?

    • Avatar

      Hira

      July 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM

      I thought the same thing! Find me a nanny watch my kids at 12 am!the term SAHM is thr too often! Dnt get it.

  22. Avatar

    Umm Ibraheem

    July 29, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    We have to also consider if it’s safe for a woman to go to Taraweeh prayers without a male accompanying her. Here in Uk, prayers finish past midnight and I forgone wouldn’t want to get in the car alone and drive at that time. So the idea of husband and wife taking turns going for taraweeh may be impractical.

    • Avatar

      Umm Ibraheem

      July 29, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      for one

    • Avatar

      Perspective

      July 31, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      In most developed parts of the world (UK included), its perfectly safe for a woman to drive herself from point A to point B, even at midnight. In fact, women do it literally all the time. Unfortunately for many Muslim women, this level of mobility has never been experienced, and is therefore often unnecessarily feared. As women, we shouldn’t limit ourselves so easily…I’m sure you’ll find that others impose enough limitations as is. Just something to keep in mind before automatically rejecting the suggestion of taking turns with your husband for taraweeh.

    • Avatar

      Faith Barrow-Waheed

      August 3, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      I live in the US and have lived in some pretty dangerous neighborhoods. Travelling alone at night was never an issue. I made sure I was always aware of my surroundings, never carried things like purses at night, never walked down poorly lit streets at night by myself. Of course, these tips (with the exception of the purse one), also apply to men who travel at night. I’ve actually caught mass transit in a big city by myself at night and been just fine. Driving, as Perspective mentioned, makes things even safer. I’ve driven at night by myself and been just fine. We really shouldn’t restrict ourselves with these barriers. What about sisters who aren’t married and live alone? Should they never attend Taraweeh prayers because they don’t have a brother to travel with them?

  23. Avatar

    Hira

    July 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Why did u call the article “stay at home mom” ..when I ws SAHM I cod atleast sleep aft taraweeh. I work n I have two kids…u cod have jus said moms..

  24. Avatar

    ummmanar

    July 30, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    as slam alikum
    Jazakallhu kiran shiek yesser for the wonerful post

  25. Avatar

    Haseeb Hamid

    July 31, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    JazakAllahu khair for the beautiful post.

  26. Avatar

    um talhah

    August 1, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    as salam alaikum,
    a very beautifully written, heart-felt and heart-touching article. and ma sha Allah the article tackles the topic from every angle.
    barikAllahu feek.
    may Allah reward the shaikh, (his wife with their 3 kids :)), the entire mm team and whoever else was involved in bringing this beneficial piece to us.

  27. Avatar

    Suzanne

    August 1, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Beautifully written article full of information and inspiration. Jezaak allahu Khairun

  28. Avatar

    sykha

    August 1, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Very inspiring and touching. God bless… Jzk

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  32. Avatar

    Umm Esa

    August 6, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    JazakAllahu khayran Shaykh Yaser Birjas for your words. It is very encouraging to hear this coming out of an imam/leader. May Allah increase you in knowledge and patience, and allow you to guide the ummah to the best ways, pleasing to Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him).

  33. Avatar

    Umm Esa

    August 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    When you are a stay at home mom, you are expected to watch your kids 24/7. It becomes extremely troubling and burdensome. This article provides fresh breeze to disheartened mothers.

    If you are a working mother, then hopefully, you and your husband have already chosen an egalitarian lifestyle; therefore, duties at home, and caretaking of kids have been divided evenly. You can take turns. There is no need to worry about this article. Just take it as a grain of salt.

    As for single parents, whether father or mother, there needs to be a different article written on taking care of the needs.

  34. Avatar

    Aliya

    August 7, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    I knew from the first paragraph this was written by a man. Putting the woman who conform to the traditional patriarchy on a pedestal and explaining her why she should be pleased with her position is an old tactic. “Mmmm… you need to be glued to your children 24/7 so if you can’t solve this little problem just stay at home. But hey, don’t be sad – I salute you!”.

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  36. Avatar

    Ejaz Naqvi, MD

    August 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I truly think the code of conduct expected of a Muslim woman is misunderstood. If all would read the Quran in its original language, I think it would help.

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  40. Avatar

    UmmZenab

    August 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    Asalamualaikum.

    Very nice article. I really benefited from it. JazakAllaah br. Yasir Birjas.

    I use to feel left out a great deal when my daughter was born. i couldn’t listen to lectures or read the books of tafseer as i used to before she as born or even pray with the same amount of effort as I could before. Normally by salah time I’d be tired and not able to pray as long as I wanted. but as time went by I alhumdulillah, realized that bieng a mom is a great blessing and I don’t think I’d want to trade it for anything in the world. Allaah has blessed me and others like me with kids and made us mothers and that is a responsiblity on us by Allaah. we will be answereable to Allaah for our roles as mothers on the day of Judgement without a doubt so if I have to make a choice between something that I’m held accountable for and doing something that’s optional such as praying taraweeh in the masjid I think preference should be given to my main job shouldn’t it? Of course if I was ever able to go to the masjid without comprimising my main job and duty i’d love to go. infact i’d take my baby along with me so she can get the feel for the masjid enviornment as well. But I don’t feel left out anymore at all.

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting | Hadiths 9-12

 وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: “كان رسول الله ﷺ إذا دخل العشرُ أحيَى الليل، وأيقظ أهلهُ، وشدَّ المئزر” متفقٌ عليه().

 

ʿAʾishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

When the ten nights would begin, the Messenger of Allāh r would keep the night alive; he would also awaken his family and tighten his wrapper.

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Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“When the ten nights would begin”

What is meant is the last ten nights

“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ would keep the night alive”

He would keep stay up at night and engage in various forms of worship such as ṣalāt, dhikr, and meditation/reflection. Or he kept himself alive by remaining awake, since sleep is death’s sibling. The metaphor refers to the night because when someone who is sleeping is woken-up and brought back to life, their night can be said to have been given life through them.

“He would also awaken his family”

He did so to draw their attention towards the time of goodness, so they may expose themselves to the gusts of goodness. A narration in Tirmidhī states, “When the last ten days of Ramaḍān would enter, the Messenger of Allāh r would not fail to wake up anyone who was capable of staying up in his household”. He would lead them towards the avenues of goodness, and help them attain it.

“And tighten his wrapper”

Al-Khaṭṭābī explains: “The meaning is likely to be earnestness in acts of worship. Just as one would say ‘I have tightened my wrapper for this matter’ i.e I have buckled down to it/rolled up my sleeves for it. It is also said that it may be a metaphor for buckling down and withdrawing from women. It is also said that it may have a literal meaning and a figurative meaning at the same time, i.e that he literally tighten his waist wrapper (izār) and also withdrew from women and buckled down for worship. However, the first explanation is more plausible because in another narration the following wording is found “He would tighten his wrapper and withdraw from women”. This leads us to conclude that the expression tightening his wrapper relates to earnestness in worship only.

– باب فضل السحور وتأخيره ما لم يخشَ طلوع الفجر

Chapter on the virtues of saḥūr, and of delaying it as long as one does fear the rising of dawn

 

 عن أنسٍ، رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله : “تسحروا؛ فإن في السحور بركةً” متفقٌ عليه .

Anas (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh said, “Eat suḥūr [or practice saḥūr] (predawn meal) because surely, there is baraka in suḥūr.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Saḥūr is the meal which is taken prior to the rise of dawn. Suḥūr on the other hand, is the act of partaking food at that time. This will have relevance in the ensuing commentary of the ḥadīth.

“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘Eat suḥūr [or practice saḥūr] (predawn meal)’ ”

This is considered mandūb i.e praiseworthy. The Sunna itself is fulfilled by having a little food even if it is only a sip of water. It is mentioned in a ḥadīth of ʿAbdullāh bin-Surāqa, traced back to the Nabī r: ‘Practice suḥūr, even if only with a sip of water’. It is narrated by Ibn-ʿAsākir[2]. The Sunna is likewise fulfilled by having a considerable quantity of food.

“Because surely, there is baraka in suḥūr [or saḥūr].”

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar explains: ‘The use of both spellings is found in authentic narrations. If suḥūr is meant i.e the act of eating at that time, then by baraka is meant the reward and merit. If saḥūr is meant i.e the food which is eaten at that time, then by baraka is meant the fact that it strengthens one for fasting and makes one energetic for it. It also reduces the difficult involved in it’.

It is also said that the baraka lies in the fact of being awake at that time and engaging in duʿāʾ.
It is however more appropriate to say that the Baraka is attained through various avenues, namely: adherence to the Sunna, acting differently than the ahlul-kitāb (Christians and Jews), strengthening oneself for worship through it, its being a cause for one to engage in dhikr and duʿāʾ at a time when acceptance is highly likely, and it also allows for one who has forgotten to make the intention for fasting before sleeping to do so[3].

This ḥadīth was also narrated by Aḥmad, Al-Tirmidhī, Al-Nasāʾī, and Ibn-Māja all through Anas. Al-Nasāʾī has already narrated it through Abū-Hurayra and Ibn-Masʿūd. Aḥmad has also narrated it through Ibn-Masʿūd. This has all been mentioned in Al-Jāmiʿul-Ṣaghīr.

 وعن زيد بن ثابتٍ، رضي الله عنه، قال: تسحرنا مع رسول الله ثم قمنا إلى الصلاة. قيل: كم كان بينهما؟ قال: قدر خمسين آية. متفقٌ عليه

Zaid bin Thābit (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

We took suḥūr (predawn meal) with the Messenger of Allāh r and then we stood up for ṣalāt (prayer). It was asked: ‘How long was the gap between the two?’ He replied: ‘The time required for the recitation of fifty verses.’

[Al-Bukhārī and Muslim].

Zaid bin-Thābit was from the Anṣār of Madīna, and he was 11 years old when the Nabī r emigrated from Makka to Madīna. His father passed away when he was 6 years old, and the Nabī r considered him too young to participate in the battle of Badr (~13 years old). He however allowed him to participate in Uḥud. It is also said that he in fact did not participate in Uḥud but rather in Khandaq and the following expeditions with Rasūlullāh r. He used to write revelation for the Nabī r and he was one of the three people who compiled the Qurʾān by gathering its various verses and chapters and verifying their authenticity. The effort to compile the Qurʾān after the demise of the Nabī r was ordered by Abū-Bakr and ʿUmar.
ʿUmar and ʿUthmān would both designate him as imām in Madīna when they traveled for Ḥajj. Ibn Abī-Dāwūd explains: ‘Zaid bin-Thābit was the most knowledgeable of the rules of inheritance among the Ṣaḥābah, and he was among those firmly grounded in knowledge.
A total of 92 ḥadīth from Rasūlullāh r have been narrated by him, 10 of which are found in the collections of Bukhārī or Muslim. He passed away in Madīna in the year 54 A.H.

“We took suḥūr (predawn meal) with the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ”

One can notice a subtle indication of etiquette in the choice of words, rather than saying ‘Us and Rasūlullāh took suḥūr’ he used wording which emphasizes the fact that they followed his example r.

“And then we stood up for ṣalāt (prayer)”

The morning ṣalāt i.e ṣubḥ.

“It was asked: ‘How long was the gap between the two?’ He replied: ‘The time required for the recitation of fifty verses.’ ”

Anas is the one who asked the question. Imām Aḥmad also narrated a ḥadīth where Qatāda asks Anas the same question.
The verses referred to are of moderate length. They were neither long nor short, and were read neither fast nor slow. The ʿArab had the habit of estimating time through physical actions, such as saying ‘As long as it takes to milk a goat’. Zaid however chose to estimate the time through the action of reading the Qurʾān to indicate that it was a time fit for worship through recitation of the Qurʾān. Ibn Abī-Jamra explains: ‘The ḥadīth is an indication of the fact that the vast majority of their time was immersed in ʿibāda (worship)’.

The ḥadīth also indicates that suḥūr was done as late as possible, as it is more befitting for the intent behind it. Also because it was the Nabī r’s habit to look for that which was most gentle for his Umma and apply it. If he did not take suḥūr that would prove difficult for some of them, just as taking suḥūr in the middle of the night would be difficult for those overtaken by sleep. That could lead to leaving suḥūr altogether or in it being a tiresome process.

 وعن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله r قال: “فَصْلُ ما بين صيامنا وصيام أهل الكتاب أكلةُ السحر” رواه مسلم .

ʿAmr bin Al-ʿĀṣ (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘The difference between our observance of fasting and that of the people of the scriptures (ahlul-kitāb) is suḥūr (predawn meal)’

[Narrated by Muslim].

ʿAmr bin Al-ʿĀṣ accepted Islām in the year of Khaybar, i.e the beginning of the 7th year A.H. Him, Khālid Ibnul-Walīd and ʿUthmān bin-Ṭalḥa came to the Nabī and accepted Islām together. He was made the commander of the 17th expedition, called sariyatu dhātil-salāsil and which had 300 men. It was then reinforced through another regiment in which were Abū-Bakr and ʿUmar, and whose commander was Abū-ʿUbayda bin-Jarrāh. The Nabī r told the latter ‘Do not be at odds with eachother’. ʿAmr used to lead the ṣalāt of the combined regiments until they returned to Madīna (notwithstanding the illustrious personalities who joined them). He was designated as an ambassador to Omān where he remained until the death of the Nabī r. Abū-Bakr t then sent him as governor to Shām and he was present in the various conquests of its territory. He then governed Palestine for ʿUmar t for some time after which he was sent with a regiment to Egypt, which he conquered. He remained its governor until the death of ʿUmar. ʿUthmān left him in his position for another 4 years, and he then removed him. ʿAmr then settled away in Palestine from which he would occasionally visit Madīna. Muʿāwiya t eventually designated him governor of Egypt, where he remained as governor until his death and was buried there. He passed away on the eve of ʿIdul-Fiṭr the year 43 A.H at the age of 70 years. His son ʿAbdullāh led his funeral prayer. He was among the heroes and intellectuals of the ʿArab, and was known to be a leader with a great vision.
When the time of his death dawned upon him he said: ‘O Allāh you have ordered me and I was not compliant, you prohibited me and I did not refrain, I am not strong so I seek assistance, neither am I free of blame so I apologize, and I am not arrogant but rather I am repentant; there is no deity except You’. He kept repeating these words until he passed away.

“The difference between our observance of fasting and that of the people of the scriptures (ahlul-kitāb)”

The ahlul-kitāb are the Jews and Christians. They were given revealed scriptures, hence the name ahlul-kitāb.

“Is suḥūr (predawn meal)”

This is an unequivocal statement to the fact that taking suḥūr is a special trait for us, and that Allāh has made it a favor and distinction for this Umma. This favor and distinction were not granted to the previous nations.

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting. Hadiths 7-8

– وعنه، رضي الله عنه، أن رسول الله ﷺ، قال: “إذا جاء رمضانُ، فُتحتْ أبواب الجنة، وغُلقت أبواب النار، وصُفدت() الشياطين” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of the fire of hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”

Narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened”

The most apparent meaning is that this is a literal opening of the doors of paradise for a person who passes away during Ramaḍān, or for a person who performs good actions which are accepted. It is also said that the meaning is figurative, meaning that performing good actions in Ramaḍān will lead to the gates of paradise being opened in the hereafter. Another figurative meaning may also be the abundance of mercy and forgiveness, as can be inferred by a narration of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim “The doors of mercy are opened”.

“The gates of the fire of hell are closed”

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The same observation can be made about this statement as has just been said regarding the gates of paradise.

It is also said that this is a metaphor to express the fact that the egos of the fasting persons are pure from the impurities of shameful actions, and they are liberated from the things which lead to sinful acts by means of their tamed based desires.
Al-Ṭībī explains: ‘The benefit of this is two-fold: the angels are clearly made aware that the action of those fasting is highly revered in front of Allāh. The fact that the truthful Nabī is the one informing about this matter also serves to increase the eagerness of the Muslim individual’.

“And the devils are chained”

This statement can also be considered to be in a literal sense. It may also figuratively mean that they are prevented from causing excessive nuisance to the believers and from provoking them. That makes them seem as they are chained. It may also mean that the Muslims refrain from involving themselves in the acts of disobedience which the devils annoy them with.

– باب الجود وفعل المعروف والإكثار من الخير في شهر رمضان

والزيادة من ذلك في العشر الأواخر منه

Chapter on generosity, performing good actions, increasing in goodness during Ramaḍān and augmenting in that during its last 10 days

1/1222- وعن ابن عباس، رضي الله عنهما، قال: كان رسول الله ﷺ، أجود الناس، وكان أجود() ما يكونُ في رمضان حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ، وكان جبريلُ يلقاهُ في كل ليلةٍ من رمضان فيدارسهُ القرآن، فلرسولُ الله ﷺ، حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ أجودُ بالخير من الريح المرسلة” متفقٌ عليه().

Ibn ʿAbbās (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was the most generous of men; and he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him. Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him. As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was more generous with goodness than the free wind.

What is meant by good actions in the title are obligatory and recommended actions alike. Increasing such actions in Ramaḍān is mandūb (i.e commendable) as the reward will be multiplied on virtue of the distinction of this time. This particularity in Ramaḍān is because it is the best of the months, so it is commendable to keep it alive with such actions and see their reward multiplied as a result.

The last ten days start on the eve of the 21st day of fasting, and they end on the last day whether the month ends in 29 days or 30 days.

Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was the most generous of men”

He was the man endowed with the most generosity. Indeed it is a fact that that which has been narrated of his generosity has not been narrated regarding anyone else.

“And he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him.”

His state of generosity in Ramaḍān was superior to that outside of Ramaḍān, but he was nevertheless the most generous man in an absolute sense.

“Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him”

It is said that the wisdom in reviewing the Qurʾān is that it renews the pledge of having a content ego. Contentment in turns breeds generosity. Ramaḍān is also the season of goodness because Allāh’s bounties on his servants are increased therein. It was the habit of Nabī to give preference to follow the example of the sunna of Allāh (i.e his customary practice) in dealing with His servants. The combination of what has been mentioned i.e the time, the one who came down (Jibrīl), what he descended with (the Qurʾān) and the learning were all obtained through the hand of generosity. And Allāh knows best.

“As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was more generous with goodness than the free wind”

He was, in the speed of his generosity faster than the wind. The free wind indicates the wind which continuously blows with mercy. His generosity was all-encompassing in its benefit just as the free wind fully encompasses anything it blows on.

A narration of Imām-Aḥmad includes the following wording at the end of this ḥadīth: “He was never asked anything except that he gave it”[1].

Imām Al-Nawawī explains:

“This ḥadīth contains many fine lessons: encouragement towards generosity at all times, and increasing it during Ramaḍān as well as when meeting righteous people (analogy with the meeting of Jibrīl). It also indicates the virtue of visiting the pious and noble folk, and to do so repeatedly as long as the person being visited does not mind. It also points to the laudable nature of abundantly reading Qurʾān during Ramaḍān and the fact that it is superior to all forms of remembrance of Allāh [dhikr/adhkār]. Indeed, if dhikr was superior or equivalent to it then they would have done it (the Nabī and Jibrīl). Some commentators have said that these were tajwīd sessions. This is however objectionable as memorization of the Nabī was a given, and anything beyond memorization could be achieved through a few sessions. It is therefore clear that the intent in Jibrīl’s coming was an increase in the amount of recitation.

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