Family for most of the people is of a special value and plays the major role in human life since we spend a big fraction of our time in the family. Moreover it is the place where personality of a human derives from and the basic foundation for its development is formed. Consequently, family becomes the source of values and determines the base that eventually shapes our fate and destiny. Hence, it can both establish the basis for exaltation, greatness, development, and progress of a nation or, in opposite, can build the ground for corruption and destruction by promoting misguiding and misleading values among the people. It has the power to destroy the personality by forming negative and weak image of human being and can also restore the honor of people by promoting right divine values.
Although family is the smallest unit of a community, it is the most powerful, authoritative and directive unit in the fields of education, rearing guide and basic training.
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) showed the elevated status of a family and its undeniable significance to his close followers and other Muslims by both personal behavior and valuable guidance. This piece of writing is dedicated to one goal: to clarify the path for the Prophet’s followers and for those who want to build their lives according to Islamic teaching school. Here we try to explain ethical attitude of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) and show this leader of mankind as a family role model.
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H. & H.F.), a comprehensive role model
The Holy Qur'an has appointed the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) as a role model and has commanded Muslims to do as the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) in words and deeds: "In the Apostle of Allah there is certainly for you a good exemplar …"
Allah gave us an order to follow the Prophet’s example in our thoughts, speech and conduct in family issues and relations. That is a valuable, precious rule, because that is the way to define our due role and duties in family by comparing ourselves to this purest standard, that have has ever existed.
The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) inspired all Islamic community by His righteous, illustrative, instructive manners and actions, so that his example on physical and mental levels, in all possible matters, relations, contemplations, actions and reactions should be learned and followed.
The ethic of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) in family
God’s messenger (Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H. & H.F.)) perfectly implemented ethical principles in his family. Narrating 'Ayesha, the Prophet's wife, Sa'd bin Hesham stated: "I asked 'Ayesha what she thought about the Prophet’s ethic. She replied: 'Have you read Qur'an?' I answered: 'Yes'. She said that the Holy Qur'an was the ethic of the Prophet."
To show the exalted position of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) over all mankind we remind some of his ethical attitudes in family that were purest examples of his magnanimity.
1. Friendship with the wife
As the courteous Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) uttered, he was devoted to his wives and reckoned the existence of women as a light of divine beauty.
The following quotation from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) supports this statement: "I like three things of your world: first, women, second, fragrance, third, prayers, the light of my eyes."
In the Prophet’s discreet viewpoint, women, the light of divine beauty, symbolize the existence that deserves to be truly loved but not be considered only for sensual pleasures.
Ibn 'Arabi, in his book entitled Fusus al-Hikam (Pearls of Wisdom) mentioned that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) loved women because their existence made divine vision more tangible and brought integrity to what is considered right and truthful. So Allah can be seen behind the matters of the world. In other words, Allah can be realized and perceived through the material aspects of universe. Since, integrity is more visible in women; they are respected by the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.).
Since the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) knew women as the sign of divine beauty, he has endorsed many recommendations to safeguard their rights. Moreover, he encouraged his followers to be kind to them by his own good practice.
2. Companionship and empathy in the family
One of the manners practiced by the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) in his house was companionship and empathy with his family members. No matter what type of food was served, he would not refuse to eat it and he has never made a request for which his family got into trouble. The Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) ate all food made by his wives and he shared whatever God made lawful (halal) with his entire family and servants.
One of the most conspicuous manifestations of the Prophet’s empathy with his household is that in spite of massive responsibilities and huge amount of activities, he always devoted some time for his family.
3. The Prophet’s assistance in household chores.
Right managing of the life's everyday duties plays crucial role in our life. If an individual wants to be in charge of these responsibilities by himself, he cannot be a success. But in the family, where wife and husband want to design their own lives as a unity, their cooperation and unanimity of taste and judgment is required which it takes a lot of efforts and sacrifices. It could be lovely if our men would be inspired by the Prophet’s example and take lessons from his attitude. The Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) himself was a perfect role model in his actions. In this regard, Imam Ali (P.B.U.H.) narrated: "The Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) helped his family members in carrying out household chores. Impressively, while cooking he usually chopped meat by his hands."
4. Being well-mannered with the wife
The Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) treated his wives with impressive respect and kindness. He spoke to them nicely and greeted them with great amicability. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) said: "Be aware! Those who treat their wives in a cheerful manner are the best of you. And I am the best of you towards my wives."
5. Providing life expenditures
The common belief is that the responsibility of raising children and managing families' indoors activities are on the woman’s shoulders. On the other hand, it is customary that men are responsible for paying life expenditures. A man should regularly fulfill his duties of bearing family expenses without any reproach. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) said that one of the woman’s rights is to be nourished, fully clothed by her husband and he should overlook her mistakes.
Immaculate, pure, and beautiful appearances as well as observing physical cleanness play an essential role in couples’ relationship and attraction to each other. It is an important piece of advice for women to observe their virtues such as good look and tidiness. Filthy, grimy look and bad smell replace attraction with hatred. Consequentially, it is necessary for both men and women to be well garbed and take care of their appearances. Sanitation and hygiene should be observed, perfumes are recommended to be worn.
Moreover, not only was the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) best example in cleanliness, but he also encouraged his followers to adorn themselves with this great attribute. He enjoined everybody to be clean, neat and dapper as much as they can because cleanness of the body and soul are basic principles of Islam. It is important to take great care of our appearance because only pure, spotless people can enter Paradise.
Trying to be beautiful in the house is considered one of the most valuable responsibilities of couples. Keeping themselves gorgeous as much as they can for each other is also what the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) required from them.
7. Expressing love to each other in words
Expressing devotion practically and on the words, adoring and giving compliments and verbal appreciation to the wife is considered one of the most conspicuous causes of couples’ prosperity, trust between them, and warmth in relationship that brings satisfaction to both spouses.
In this case, it is believed that the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) expressed his love to their wives. He states that if the husband says to his wife that he loves her, it never gets out of her heart.
8. Forgiveness and kindness
One of the significant virtues making relations of a family high-spirited, fresh, invigorated, and strong is a highly valued ability to forgive and tolerate other’s mistakes. In Islamic culture forgiveness has been a sign of magnanimity and magnitude. Treating one’s households with kindness and forgiveness is the way to peace and happiness. It’s obvious that ignoring this advice not only destroys intimate, comfortable, warm environment in the family, but also replaces it with the atmosphere of worries, anxiety, pessimism, and anger. That is the reason why the Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) recommended spouses to overlook each other’s faults and forgive one another.
Reckoning the fact that some of the Prophet’s wives bothered him so much, he personally had the impeccable manners to treat them. The Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.F.) would show them his forgiveness by smiling.
- Ahzab (33), verse 21.
- Sayyed Mohammad Tabatabaei, “the Prophet’s traditions”, Qom, teachers’ community, 1419 AH, page 126.
- Mohammad Rey Shahry, Mizan al-Hikma, 6th ed., Jam'eye Modaresin Publications, 1378 S.Y., P. 135.
- Ibn Arab, Muhyiddin, Fusus al-Hikam, The explanation of Tajuddin Kharazmi produced by Ayatollah Hassan Hassanzadeh Amoli, Islamic Propagation office, 1379 S.Y., P. 1084.
- Tabarsi, Makarem al-Akhlaq, p. 26, Javad Mostafavi, Behesht-e-Khanevade, Qom, Qods publications, 1370 S.Y., p. 69.
- Hur 'Ameli, Wasael al-Shia', Vol.14, Beirut, Lebanon, 1985 A.D., p. 3.
- Hur 'Ameli, Wasael al-Shia', Vol.14, Beirut, Lebanon, 1985 A.D., P. 2.
- Javad Mostafavi, Behesht-e-Khanevade, Qom, Qods publications, 1370 S.Y., p. 67.
- Hur 'Ameli, Wasael al-Shia', Vol.14, Beirut, Lebanon, 1985 A.D., p. 10.
- Sayyed Alireza Fakheri, Akhlaq Khanevade, Tehran, Sayyed Alireza Fakheri, the Representative of Supreme Leader in Sepah, 1378 S.Y., p. 53.