The Muslim Household (Lecture Notes)

Hamza Yusuf is currently visiting the Emirates. He studied there in his youth, and has maintained ties with his friends there over the years. He has been invited back many times to share his knowledge and experience with the people in the place where his journey of seeking knowledge began.

Hamza Yusuf gave a lecture after Tarawiyyah prayers on July 30th, 2012 in Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was aired on Abu Dhabi Radio.

The subject he spoke on was the Muslim household, and his remarks were based on the verses in Sura al-Ahzab (33:32-35) which address the wives of the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, letting them know that they are not like other women because of the great honor of being married to the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him. The verses describe the wives as having seven characteristics, and Hamza Yusuf explained that every Muslim woman should model herself after them. They are as follows:

1) To have God-consciousness (taqwa), which entails adhering to the commandments of God and avoiding God’s prohibitions, inwardly and outwardly.

2) To not speak seductively, but rather to speak resolutely and forcefully with men who are not of the household in order to avoid being objects of desire for those whose hearts are diseased.

3) To stay home and not go out without good reason, as the house is the real abode of peace (dar al-Islam). It is the place where a believer can control his or her environment – hence thehadith, “What a blessed monastery is the house of a believer.”

4) To not ornament oneself with the ornaments of the Age of Ignorance (jahiliyyah) but to be modest in dress and movements when outside the home.

5) To establish the prayer and pay zakat. This is because prayer purifies the heart and zakat purifies wealth, and God has purchased from us our lives and our wealth.

6) To obey God and His Messenger, God’s peace and blessings be upon him. Even though prayer and zakat are part of obedience to God, they are mentioned before general obedience because those who pray and give zakat will find it easy to fulfill the rest of the obligations.

7) To remember God through recitation of the Qur’an and Prophetic practice.

After mentioning these seven characteristics, God reminds us that He is al-Latif; He knows the hidden matters of the house and of the heart. He is also al-Khabir; He knows the reality of everything.

The next verse describes the ten qualities that are necessary in order to have a purified household in this world as well as an eternal abode of bliss in the next world. They are as follows:

1)   Islam

2)   Faith (iman)

3)   Piety; reliance on God with humility (qunut)

4)   Truthfulness (sidq)

5)   Patience (sabr)

6)   Humility (khushu’)

7)   Charity (sadaqah)

8)   Fasting (siyam)

9)   Chastity (hifdh al-furuj)

10)  Much remembrance of God (dhikr)

In the midst of these verses, God reminds the household that the purpose of practicing these qualities is divine purification.

Hamza Yusuf concluded by suggesting that we all begin to try to inculcate these qualities during this blessed month.