Dangers in the Home
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
In the Name of Allaah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be to Allaah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides cannot be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Putting things right in the home is a great trust and huge responsibility which every Muslim man and woman should undertake as Allaah commands; they should run the affairs of their homes in accordance with the rules set out by Allaah. One of the ways of achieving this is by ridding the home of evil things. The following aims to highlight some evil things that actually happen in some homes and that have become tools of destruction for the nests in which the future generations of the Muslim ummah are being raised.
This brief paper highlights some of these evil things, explaining about some haraam things in order to warn about them. It is a gift to every seeker of truth who is looking for methods of change, so that he or she can implement the command of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): ?Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action], and if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out], and if he cannot, then with his heart [by feeling that it is wrong] ? and that is the weakest of faith.? (Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh, 1/69).
This discussion expands upon some forbidden or evil matters that have already been mentioned in brief in my book The Muslim Home ? 40 Recommendations.
I ask Allaah, the Most Generous, Lord of the Mighty Throne, to benefit my Muslim brothers through this book and the previous book. Allaah is the Guide to the Straight Path.
Evil things in the Home
Beware of allowing non-mahram relatives to enter upon the wife in the home when the husband is absent. Some homes are not free of the presence of relatives of the husband who are not mahram for the wife, who may be living in his home with him because of some social circumstances, such as his brothers who may be students or single. These relatives enter the home without anyone raising an eyebrow, because they are known in the neighbourhood as being relatives of the head of the household, his brothers or nephews or uncles. This relaxed attitude could generate a lot of evil which will earn the wrath of Allaah if it is not controlled and brought within the limits set by Allaah. The basic principle in this matter is the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), ?Beware of entering upon women.? A man from among the Ansaar said, ?O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about the brother-in-law?? He said, ?The brother-in-law is death!? (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, 9/330).
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: ?What is referred to in this hadeeth is the husband?s relatives apart from his father and his sons, because those are mahrams for his wife and can be alone with her, so they are not described as death. What is referred to here is his brother, nephew, uncle and cousin, and others who she would be permitted to marry if she were not already married. Usually people take the matter lightly with regard to these relatives, so a brother may be alone with his brother?s wife. Thus he is likened to death, when he should be prevented from being alone with her more than a stranger should.? (Fath al-Baari, 9/331).
The phrase ?the brother-in-law is death? has a number of meanings, such as:
That being alone with the brother-in-law may lead to spiritual destruction if she commits sin;
Or it may lead to death if she commits the immoral act (zina or adultery) and the punishment of stoning is carried out on her;
Or it may lead to the woman being destroyed if her husband leaves her because his jealousy leads him to divorce her;
Or it may mean, beware of being alone with a non-mahram woman just as you would beware of death;
Or it may mean that being alone with a non-mahram woman is as bad as death.
It was said that it means, let the brother-in-law die rather than be alone with a non-mahram woman,
All of this stems from the concern of Islam to preserve families and households, and to prevent the tools of destruction reaching them in the first place. Having learned what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, what do you think now of those husbands who tell their wives, ?If my brother comes and I am not here, let him into the sitting room?, or a wife who tells a guest, ?Go into the sitting room? when there is no one else present in the house?
To those who raise the issue of trust as an excuse, saying ?I trust my wife, and I trust my brother, or my cousin?, we say: your trust is all well and good, and you should not be suspicious when you have no cause to do so, but you should know that the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), ?No man is alone with a non-mahram woman, but the Shaytaan is the third one present with them? (reported by al-Tirmidhi, 1171) includes the most pious of people as well as the most corrupt. Islam does not exempt anyone from such rulings.
Whilst writing these few lines, we heard about a problematic situation in which, to cut a long story short, a man married a woman and brought her to live in his family home, where she lived happily with him. Then his younger brother began to enter upon her when her husband was absent, and talk to her in a romantic manner, which resulted in two things: firstly, she began to dislike her husband intensely, and secondly, she fell in love with his brother. But she was not able to divorce her husband, nor was she able to do what she wanted with the other man. This is the grievous penalty. This story illustrates one level of corruption, beyond which there are many more which culminate in the immoral action (zinaa/adultery) and the birth of illegitimate children.
Segregating men and women in family visits.
Man is naturally gregarious and sociable; he needs friends and friendships entail visiting one another.
When there are visits between families, we should block the path of evil by not mixing. One of the indications that mixing is haraam is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
?? And when you ask his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts?? [al-Ahzaab 33:53]
If we were to look for the evil results of mixing during family visits, we would find many objectionable things, such as:
1. In most cases the hijab of women in these mixed gatherings is non-existent or is not proper, so a woman may display her beauty before someone in front of whom it is not permissible for her to uncover herself. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ?And tell the believing women? not to reveal their adornment?? [al-Noor 24:31]. It may happen that a woman adorns herself for strangers in a mixed gathering in a way that she never does for her husband.
2. When men see women in one gathering, this is a cause of corruption in the religion and morals, and provokes desires in a forbidden manner.
3. The spouses may argue and ignore one another in an alarming fashion, when one looks at or winks at another man’s wife, or laughs and jokes with her, and she with him. After a couple returns home, the settling of scores begins:
Man: Why did you laugh at what so and so said, when he did not say anything funny?
Woman: And why did you wink at so and so?
Man: When he spoke, you understood him quickly, but you do not understand what I say at all!
Thus they trade accusations and the matter ends in enmity and even divorce.
4. Some men and woman may regret their luck in marriage, when a man compares his wife to his friend?s wife, or a woman compares her husband to her friend?s husband. A man may say to himself: ?So and so talks and answers questions? she is well-educated and my wife is ignorant, she has no education?? and a woman may say to herself, ?So and so is so lucky! Her husband is smart and eloquent, and my husband is so boring and speaks without thinking.? This spoils the marital relationship or leads to bad treatment.
5. Some people may show off to one another by pretending to have things that they don?t really have. So a man may issue instructions to his wife in front of other men and pretend that he has a strong personality, but when he is alone with her at home he is like a tame pussycat. A woman may borrow gold and wear it so that the other people may see that she has such and such. But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ?The one who shows off with something that does not belong to him is like one who wears a garment of falsehood.? (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 9/317)
6. These late-night mixed gatherings result in wasted time, sins of the tongue, and leaving small children home alone (so that they do not disturb the evening with their cries!)
7. These late-night mixed gatherings may even develop to the extent of involving many kinds of major sins, such as drinking wine and gambling, especially among the so-called ?upper classes?. One of the major sins that occur during these gatherings is following the kuffaar and imitating them in fashions and various customs. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ?Whoever imitates a people is one of them.? (Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 2/50; Saheeh al-Jaami?, 2828, 6025).
Beware of the dangers of having (male) drivers and (female) servants in the home.
Striving to ward off evil is a religious duty, and closing the doors of evil and fitnah (temptation) is one of the priorities of sharee?ah. A lot of fitnah and sin has come to us through servants and drivers, but many people do not pay attention to this, and if they do notice it, they do not take it seriously. A person may be stung repeatedly from the same place, but he does not feel the pain, or he may hear of a disaster that happened near his own home, but he does not learn from it. This stems from weak faith and the failure to feel that Allaah is near, failings that affect the hearts of many people in the modern age. We will briefly explain the bad effects of having servants and drivers in the home, so that it will be a reminder to the one who has the eyes to see or who wants to follow the right path in his own home.
Having female servants in the home presents men, especially young ones, with fitnah and temptation, through their adornment and being alone with them. We hear so many stories, one after another, of some youth being led astray, and the reason for this is that the servant entered upon a young man, or a young man took advantage of the fact that no one else was home and entered upon the servant. Some young men have told their families frankly about what happened, and the families did not respond; in other cases the family may have discovered something, but their response was bereft of any sense of honour or jealousy. ?O Yoosuf! Turn away from this! (O woman!) Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful.? [Yoosuf 12:29 ? interpretation of the meaning]. So the fire remains close to the fuel, and the situation is left as it is, with no changes being made. It has also happened that servants have taught misbehaviour to the daughters of the household.
– The lady of the house neglects her duties and forgets her responsibilities, and becomes accustomed to being lazy, then when the servants travels things are very hard indeed for her.
– The children receive a bad upbringing, represented by the following examples:
The children learn the beliefs of kufr from kaafir servants, Christians and Buddhists. There have been children who make the sign of the cross on their heads and two sides of their chests, as they have seen a Christian woman doing when she prays, and she tells them, ?This is something sweet from Christ.? Or a child may see a servant praying to a statue of Buddha, or another celebrating her people?s festivals and conveying to our children her feelings of joy, so they get used to taking part in festivals of kufr.
The children are deprived of their mother?s love and care, which is an essential part of their upbringing and psychological stability. A servant cannot make up this lack for a child who is not hers.
The child?s Arabic will be corrupted because it is mixed with foreign words, so he grows up lacking something, which will have an adverse effect on his education in school.
Some heads of households feel the financial strain of paying salaries for drivers and servants. Then there are the family disputes that arise over who should pay these salaries, especially in cases where the wife is employed. If the wife would stay at home instead of working outside the home, she would spare herself a lot of trouble. The fact of the matter is that in many cases we create trouble for ourselves, then we demand a solution, and often the solution we come up with is far from decisive.
Getting used to having servants has created dependency and negative character traits.
Some women may include having a servant as a condition in their marriage contract; others may plan on bringing their family?s servant with them when they get married. Thus our daughters have lost the ability to deal independently with anything in the home, no matter how small it is.
– When women brought servants into their homes, they started to have a lot of free time and did not know what to do with it. So some women began to sleep a lot, and some are never home because they are always going to gatherings where they gossip and backbite and waste their time. The result will be regret on the Day of Resurrection.
– Harm comes to the members of the family in different ways, for example:
1- Witchcraft and magic, which can cause the separation of husband and wife, or cause physical harm.
2- Harm to the possessions of family members because of theft.
3- Damage to the family?s reputation. How many decent homes have been turned into dens of immorality and corruption in the absence of their owners. You must surely have heard of female servants who receive men when the homeowners are absent.
– The freedom of men (those who fear Allaah) within their own homes is restricted, as is also the case for those who try to call their families to put things in order.
– Women end up being alone with drivers who are strangers (non-mahrams) to them, in the house or car, and women do not refrain from going out wearing adornments and perfume in front of the drivers. They act as if he is one of their mahrams or even closer, and because they go out with them so often and talk to them so much, the psychological barrier is broken down and so forbidden things are done. The frequency of such incidents in our society demonstrates to those who have the eyes to see just how serious the matter is.
– Bringing servants and drivers from all sorts of kaafir nations clearly goes against the Prophet?s specific orders that kaafirs should not be allowed into the Arabian Peninsula. There is absolutely no need to do this, as it is possible to bring Muslims in if there is a need for workers. Added to this is the fact that employing kaafirs strengthens the economies of kaafir nations, as the employees transfer their salaries to their homelands, even though Muslims should have priority in this matter. By mixing so much with these kaafirs, Muslims can no longer see the difference, which gradually destroys the concept of al-walaa wa?l-baraa? (loyalty and allegiance vs. enmity and disavowal) in their minds. Added to this is the ugly role played by some agency owners who have no fear of Allaah, who will tell you that there are no Muslim employees. Or they may engage in deceit and trickery, so that after a driver or servant who is described as a Muslim in official papers has arrived, the head of the household discovers that this is a lie, or the new employee may be playing a role that started in his country of origin, where the agency taught him a few Islamic words so that he can pose as a Muslim in front of the family that employs him.
– Family breakup resulting from the householder?s affair with a female servant. Look at what really happens and think how many divorces have happened because of servants, and how many servants have become pregnant with illegitimate children.
Then ask the people working in hospital maternity departments, or find out about police reports detailing the problems caused by illegitimate children born as a result of the temptation posed by female servants. Then try to understand the extent of the spread of venereal diseases which have been brought into our society because of that. Now you will understand the vicious circle we are in because of bringing female servants into our homes.
Think about the misconceptions that these servants and drivers have about the Islamic religion when they see the behaviour of those who claim to be Muslim. Ask yourself, what kind of obstacles are we placing in front of them? How are we preventing them from discovering the way of Allaah by what we do to them? How could they possibly enter a religion when this is the state of those who claim to belong to it?
Because of these matters and others, some scholars think that it is not permissible to bring female servants into the home in the manner in which this is done nowadays, and that it is obligatory to put a stop to fitnah and close the door to evil. (See the fatwa of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-?Uthaymeen on this issue).
In order to comply with the command of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning), ?? and when you give your word, say the truth?? [al-An?aam 6:152], we should point out the following:
Firstly: we do not deny the fact that some servants and drivers are sincere Muslims, possibly more sincere than the members of the household. We have heard of a servant who keeps a Mus-haf (copy of the Qur?aan) on the shelf in the kitchen so that she can read it whenever she finishes her work, and a driver who prays Fajr in the mosque before his employer does.
Secondly: we are not ignoring the real needs that people sometimes have for essential reasons, such as needing the help of servants in a large house, or when a family has a lot of children, or when someone is chronically ill or has disabilities, or when there is hard work that the wife cannot do on her own. But what we Muslims should ask is: who is applying Islamic conditions and taking care of religious precautions when bringing servants and drivers into the home? How many of those who bring drivers into the home (let?s get real!) can guarantee that the driver will not be alone with one of his womenfolk, or that the man will not be alone with a female servant? He should also tell the female servant to observe hijaab, and he should not deliberately look at her adornment. If he comes home and no one is there but the servant, he should not enter. He should not accept any servants except those who are sincerely Muslim? and so on.
For this reason, everyone who has one of these servants or drivers in his home should make sure that this person is there for a legitimate need and that the Islamic conditions are being properly fulfilled. The story of Yoosuf (upon whom be peace) contains a lesson for us with regard to this matter. It clearly indicates the fitnah that exists when there are servants and drivers in the house, and that evil may be initiated by members of the household even though the servants are people who fear Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
?And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: ?Come on, O you.? He said, ?I seek refue in Allaah (or Allaah forbid)!??? [Yoosuf 12:23]
We suggest to those who complain that things are too difficult in their homes without servants that they could do the following:
– Buy ready-made food from the market; use paper plates; use laundry services; have the house cleaned by workers who are supervised by the man; ask relatives to help care for the children when necessary, such as when the wife is recovering from childbirth.
– If that is not enough, they could seek the help of a temporary servant, under proper Islamic conditions, and when there is no longer any need she may be dismissed. There are, however, risks attached to this solution.
– It is better if the servant is paid hourly, so that she can do her job then leave the house. Whatever the case, things should be done only as they are needed.
– We have discussed this matter at length because the problem is so widespread in our society. It may be different in other countries. Before closing this discussion we should mention some matters that have to do with taqwa or fear of Allaah:
1- Everyone who has sources of fitnah in his home, whether from servants or from anything else, should fear Allaah and remove them from his home.
2- Everyone who thinks that he is going to impose Islamic conditions when bringing a servant to his home should fear Allaah and realize that many of these conditions will become less stringent as time goes by.
3- Everyone who has a kaafir servant in the Arabian Peninsula should present Islam to him or her in the best possible way. If he or she becomes Muslim, all well and good, otherwise the servant should be sent back to wherever he or she came from.
Finally, we will end this discussion on servants and drivers with a story that contains an important lesson about the dangers of having servants in the home, and about referring to the Qur?aan and Sunnah, and rejecting every ruling that contradicts the sharee?ah, and consulting people of knowledge, and purifying the Islamic society through application of the punishments prescribed by Allaah.
Abu Hurayrah and Zayd ibn Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with them) said: ?We were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when a man stood up and said, ?I urge you by Allaah to judge between us according to the Book of Allaah.? His opposite number, who was more knowledgeable, stood up and said, ?Judge between us according to the Book of Allaah and give me permission to speak.? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ?Speak.? He said, ?This son of mine was employed as a servant by this man, and committed zina (adultery) with his wife. I gave him one hundred sheep and a servant in compensation [for the damage to his honour], then I consulted some of those who have knowledge, and they told me that my son should be flogged one hundred times and exiled for a year [because he was unmarried], and that the woman should be stoned [because she was married and she consented to the act].? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ?By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I will judge between you according to the Book of Allaah. Take back the hundred sheep and the servant. Your son is to be flogged one hundred times and exiled for one year. O Unays, go to this man’s wife tomorrow and if she confesses, then stone her.? [Unays] went to her the next day and she confessed, so he stoned her.? (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 12/136).
Note: one of the things that upsets every Muslim who cares about the rulings of Islam is what happens in some homes, where cleaners and maintenance workers enter upon women when they are wearing nightdresses and house-dresses. Does these women think that these people are not men in front of whom Allaah has commanded them to observe hijaab?
Another evil thing that happens in some homes is where non-mahram men teach adolescent girls, or some women teach adolescent boys without wearing hijaab.
Expelling effeminate men from our homes.
Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported, in his chapter on expelling men who imitate women from our homes, the hadeeth of Ibn ?Abbaas, who said: ?The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men, and said, ?Expel them from your homes.? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expelled so and so [a man]. And ?Umar expelled so and so [a woman].? (Reported by al-Bukhaari in Kitaab al-Libaas, chapter 62, al-Fath, 10/333).
Then al-Bukhaari quoted the hadeeth of Umm Salamah, which he reported under the title ?What is forbidden of men who imitate women entering upon women?:
?From Umm Salamah, who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was in her house, where there was also an effeminate man who told her brother ?Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Umayyah: ?If Allaah wills that you conquer al-Taa?if tomorrow, I will show you the daughter of Ghaylaan; she has four folds of fat in front and eight behind.? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ?This person should not enter upon you.?? (Reported by al-Bukhaari, chapter 113, al-Fath, 9/333).
The definition of ?effeminate man? (mukhannath): this is a man who may resemble women physically, or by imitating their movements and speech, and so on. If it is physical, i.e., this is the way that he is made, then there is no blame on him, but he must try as much as he can to change this resemblance. If he is imitating women deliberately, then he is described as mukhannath (effeminate) whether he commits the evil deed (is a homosexual) or not.
The effeminate man referred to here ? who was like a servant ? used to enter the houses of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) because he was considered to be ?an old male servant who lacked vigour? [cf. al-Noor 24:31].
When the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) realized that this person could describe women very precisely and that he was describing a woman as having four folds of fat in front and eight behind (four on each side), he ordered that he should be thrown out and not allowed to enter his wives? apartments, because of the mischief that he could cause, such as possibly describing the women he saw to strangers, or having a bad influence on the members of the household, such as leading women to imitate men, or men to imitate women by walking in a coquettish manner or speaking softly, or worse mischief than that.
So how about the situation nowadays, when we see many of these servants imitating the opposite sex, especially the kaafirs who are living in Muslim homes and who we know for sure are having a bad influence on Muslim boys and girls. There is even a group known as ?the third sex?, who wear make up and dress in women?s clothes. What a disaster for the nation which is supposed to be the ummah of jihaad!
If you want to know more about how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) opposed this ?third sex? and how his Companions fought with their sense of honour against such things, think about this hadeeth:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that an effeminate man who had dyed his hands with henna (as women do) was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it was said, ?O Messenger of Allaah! This man is imitating women.? So he banished him to al-Baqee? (as a punishment, sending him to an isolated place, and to protect others). It was said, ?Why do you not kill him?? He said, ?I have been forbidden to kill those who pray.? (Reported by Abu Dawood, 4928, and others. See Saheeh al-Jaami?, 2502).
Advice: Beware of the dangers of the small screen.
Hardly any home nowadays is free of some device that includes a screen [TV and computers], and very few of these machines are used for wholesome or beneficial purposes. Mostly they are used for harmful and destructive things, especially VCRs used for watching movies. With the arrival of satellite dishes which bring shows directly into Muslim homes and the widespread sale and exchange of movies, the matter of controlling these devices has become nearly impossible.
There follows a list of some of the harmful and corrupting effects that result from watching TV etc. After thinking about them, let everyone who wants to earn the pleasure of Allaah and avoid His wrath do what he can to change the situation:
Impact on our faith (?aqeedah):
? Showing the symbols of the kuffaar and their false religious signs, such as the cross, Buddha, their temples, gods and goddesses of love, good, evil, light, distress and rain. There are also missionary movies that call on people to venerate the religion of Christianity and become Christians.
? Giving the impression that some created beings could compete with Allaah in creating and giving life and death, such as some scenes which show people bringing the dead back to life by using a cross or magic wand.