The teaching of Islam, which was revealed to the Holy Prophet(sa), provides us with guidance regarding every matter. If every one of us, were to act upon this teaching, a beautiful society could be formed. There are countless commandments in the Holy Qur’an. However, Allah the Almighty says, ‘Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model’. Thus, true success can only be achieved, if we put this model before us in every big and small matter.
In view of this, I will now say something regarding the responsibilities of men in various capacities. A man has responsibilities as the guardian of the household and as a husband. He has responsibilities as a father as well as a son. If every man came to understand these responsibilities and tried to fulfil them, it could become a means of peace in the wider society and of the establishment of love and harmony.
Some men, thinking that they have unbridled authority as the head of the house, are engaged in domestic violence and cruelty to children. So, if one wants to carry on treating his wife and children like ignorant people, then there is no benefit in coming into the Bai’at [Oath of Initiation] of the Promised Messiah(as). The Holy Prophet(sa), as the guardian of his family, made his family appreciate first and foremost, the importance of establishing tauheed [Oneness of God]. However, he did so with love and affection, not by force. Thus, Hazrat Aisha(ra) relates that the Holy Prophet(sa) would wake up during the night to offer nafl [voluntary] prayers and he would wake us up with a light sprinkling of water, so that we may offer nawafil and fulfil the responsibilities which are due to Allah. Then, the Holy Prophet(sa) helped with tasks, which were part of the duties of the wives. Hazrat Aisha(ra) relates that he would stitch his own clothes, mend his shoes and repair the household items such as the water bucket etc. Thus, many husbands, keeping these examples in mind, will have to re-evaluate their behaviour at home. Remember the Hadith, “The one from among you is the highest regarding morals and manners who is better in his treatment of his wives.’ Thus, good treatment of wives is the very sign of the greatness of one’s standard of faith.
Regarding the responsibilities of a husband and good treatment of wives, the Promised Messiah(as) states, “Except for indecency, all weaknesses and petulant behaviour of women should be tolerated. I find it absolutely shameful that a man should fight a woman. ….”. Once, the Promised Messiah(as) said that our members [of the Jama’at] should not be harsh and ill-tempered with their wives. The Promised Messiah(as) said, “Once raised my voice against my wife and I immediately refrained from uttering any hurtful and harsh word. I recited a lot of Istighfar [seeking forgiveness] and offered voluntary prayers with great ferventness and gave some charity...”
Thus, those who are unkind to their wives, their faith is in danger. They should be very concerned as the person who is not at the highest standard of faith, can stumble at any time. Admonishing such men, the Promised Messiah(as) says, “If a man is not pious, how then can the wife be pious?” The Promised Messiah(as) further said, “Verily, if a man becomes pious, the wife can also become pious.”
Here I have observed that women are more religious. They complain at times that our husband is not inclined towards religion. They are neglectful of prayers, watch inappropriate and immoral programmes on TV and are negligence in their duties to the upbringing of children. They scold and physically abuse children. In these countries, such issues are brought to the police and give our community a bad name. Furthermore, such people incur worldly punishment as well as the displeasure of Allah the Almighty.
Thus, if you wish to have a peaceful home, if you wish to bring up the future generations and keep them attached to religion, then men need to be attentive towards their conditions. Thus, this is the standard. All your efforts of preaching and gaining the religious knowledge are futile, if you are not good with your family. When men do not take their responsibilities seriously, homes are shattered and the lives of children are devastated. Men must not force Purdah on women and women should bear in mind that they need to cover their head and body according to the requirements of modesty. This is the command of Allah the Almighty and so they should be mindful of this. The Promised Messiah (as), explaining this, says, “The relationship between a husband and wife should be like two true and sincere friends. … If his relationship with his wife is not good, how can he be at peace with God? The Holy Prophet (sa) has said, “‘The best among you is he who is best towards his wife.’’
Further, husband’s need to understand their responsibilities as fathers. Father’s should also play their role in the child’s training and upbringing. In particular, when boys reach seven or eight years old, they become needful of their father’s attention. Men and fathers must establish their good examples. Where fathers should show respect and regard to their children, they develop good morals. A father’s good relationship with his children gives them a sense of protection. Thus, to instil in children a sense of security, it is imperative that fathers spend some time in leisure activities with their children and pray for them. The Promised Messiah (as) says, “I pray for my children and require them to follow a broad set of rules of behaviour (what are our teachings, what are its rules, what are its regulations, we draw attention towards them) and no more. Beyond this I put my full trust in Allah Almighty in the confidence that the seed of good fortune inherent in each of them will flower at its proper time.” The Promised Messiah further states, ‘The trial of one’s children is a great trial. If one’s children are virtuous, then what should one worry about. The Promised Messiah (as) further states, ‘Behave in a manner that is an excellent example for children and for this it is essential that one should reform oneself.’
Islam also stresses that the ‘you [children] also have responsibilities. When you reach adolescence, you have certain responsibilities towards your parents which you have to fulfil. Once the Holy Prophet (sa) said to a companion who wanted to go for Jihad that if your parents are alive, you should serve them, this is Jihad for you”. Thus, one can gauge the importance of serving one’s parents from this. Hazrat Abu Saeed Al-Siyaadi narrates “We were in the presence of the Holy Prophet (sa) when a man from the Bani Salama appeared and enquired ‘O Messenger of Allah! Is there any virtue that I can perform after my parents have passed away?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) stated: “Indeed! You should pray for them and beg for their forgiveness. You should fulfil those promises they made with people. You should show kindness and compassion to all of their relations and friends. Then on another occasion the Holy Prophet (sa) stated: “Whosoever wished to live a long life and for their income to be blessed should show kindness and compassion to their parents and show respect to their kinsfolk.”
Thus, children should not only make demands from their parents, rather, when they reach adolescence they have certain responsibilities and rights that they owe towards their parents. Especially after marriage, one should be more mindful of these responsibilities. If an individual uses wisdom and fulfils the rights of his wife as well as his parents, have a respectful attitude towards his mother and father in law then there will never be any sort of dispute in the home, the likes of which are sometimes seen.
In any case, man should fulfil the various responsibilities that are placed upon him. Always set an example at home whereby it creates an atmosphere of love and affection. A man is a husband, as well as a father and a son. Therefore, one should understand their responsibilities according to their various capacities. May Allah enable everyone to achieve this.