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Principles Of Marriage & Family Ethics (Women 2 )

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ Part1: The Duties of Women (Women 2 )

A tidy house is preferred to an untidy one in many ways.

Firstly, the tidiness helps the house look clean, attractive and beautiful, An arranged house, does not bore one, but would be a source of joy and happiness.

Secondly, the job of house-keeping would be easier in a well-ordered house, and the housewife, by knowing the exact location of the household contents, would not waste time to look for them. As a result the woman would not become tired with her job.

Thirdly, it attracts the man to his house and his wife. A well-ordered house is representative of the woman’s quality.

Fourthly, a tidy house is a source of pride for the whole family. Whoever visits it, appreciates it, and admire the woman's talent and good taste.

Having many luxurious items would not beautify a house, but the manner in which the household contents are arranged, would make it attractive. You must have seen wealthy people whose house, despite containing many luxurious items, is boring, and there are poor people whose houses, because of being orderly, are enjoyable to look at.

Therefore, arranging a house is one of the duties of housewives. Talented ladies with good taste know how to put their houses in order, but mentioning a few points here may prove useful.

Classifying your dishes: Do not pile them all on top of each other. Leave all the cutlery in one place and place the dishes somewhere else. Put all the dishes for guests separate from the dishes you use everyday. Do the same for every thing else. Every thing must be put in its proper place so that all the family members are able to find them, even in the dark.

Some ladies may believe that such a program suits the rich and the wealthy .But this is not correct, even poor people should arrange their belongings, including their dishes, beds, and clothes. For instance, the wife should keep her own clothes separate from her husband's and her children's. The winter clothes must be separate from summer ones. Dirty clothes must have their own place. The ornaments must be put in their proper locations. Teach your children to be tidy with their clothes, books, toys, etc. You can be certain that by being tidy, your children would learn and would follow you.

Untidy women blame their children for the house being in a state of mess, whereas it is the children who learn from their parents. If the parents are tidy, then the children would learn and children, by nature, are willing to be disciplined.

Keep all your money, important papers, documents, jewelry and certificates in a safe or a place out of the reach of children. It is not correct to punish a child for touching, destroying or losing any of the precious items that you have left within their reach. The parents are the guilty ones and they should know better.

"A man left some money with his wife and asked her to leave it in a safe place..., and then put it on the mantle piece and left the house. After a short while the man returned home and did not find the money he had left. He looked around the house anxiously, and saw his five-year old boy burning something in the garden. The mother of the boy angrily went up to him, lifted him up, and then threw him on the ground so hard that it killed the boy outright. She was quite scared while looking at her son's corpse when the man came out into the garden. He started hitting her, and then decided to go to the police. He got on his motorcycle, but on the way to the police station, he had an accident. He is now in the Intensive Care Unit'." 112

Who do you think, is guilty party in this incident? You can judge for yourself. Perhaps your know of a similar occurrence.

Medicines, paraffin, petrol, and poisonous substances should always be kept out of the reach of children. Children drink and eat anything which looks like water and food. Do not endanger their lives by being careless. There are many children who die as the result of their parents' carelessness.

"Two children, a brother and a sister, aged 6 and 4 years drank a solution of DDT. The four-year old girl died, and her brother survived. The children were on their own in their house. They drank the solution in order to quench their thirst. 'Their mother said in the hospital that the solution was made to kill the mice in her house '. "113

"Two children drank kerosene, mistakenly thinking that it was water."

"Another child swallowed ten of her mother's tablets."

"All these children were taken to hospital for treatment." 114

Finally, you are reminded that discipline is only useful up to a certain extent in that it should not deprive you from comfort. You should not be obsessed with tidiness, because obsession itself can cause problems:

"A man said: 'I am fed up with my wife's obsession with cleanliness and tidiness. Everyday when I return home at 4-30 pm, my wife makes me wash my hands and feet a few times. She wants me to put my clothes in their proper place. She doesn't even let me smoke in all the rooms. I have always lived freely, but during the four years of my marriage, I have been living in a prison. Why should one care for cleanliness and tidiness so much. This is an obsession and I hate obsession'." 115

A moderate behaviour is the best in all aspects of one's life. One should not be so chaotic that it becomes impossible to live a normal life, and also one should not overindulge in cleanliness to the extent that it becomes an obsession.

Another very important responsibility of a housewife is preparing food for her family. A good housewife is also a good cook who can prepare delicious food with little money, while a bad housewife cooks bad food with expensive ingredients. Delicious food is a means of attracting her husband towards her. A man whose wife cooks well, does not particularly enjoy eating out.

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The best of your women is one who perfumes herself, prepares food skillfully and would not overindulge in spending. Such a woman is one of the workforce of Allah and a person who works for Allah would never have to face either regret or defeat'." 116

It is not possible for me to write down recipes, but there are many good books on the subject which can be obtained and used to cook delicious foods.

But just a few points to remember:

The purpose of eating is not to fill one's stomach but that it also supplies the body with all the nourishment it needs to continue its function. The necessary nourishment for the body is contained in meat, fruits, vegetables and cereals and can be classified into six groups:

(a) Water,

(b) Minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, etc,

(c) Starchy substances (carbohydrates),

(d) Fats,

(e) Proteins, and

(f) Vitamins like, A, B, C, D, K.

The majority of one's weight is water. Water dissolves the solid food in order to prepare it for absorption by the intestines. Water also regulates the body's temperature.

The minerals are necessary for the growth of bones, teeth, and the regulation of muscle functions.

Carbohydrates create energy and heat.

Protein helps in the replacing of old or dead cells causing the growth of the body.

Vitamins are also important for the growth, strengthening the bones, regulating the chemical reactions in the body, and are vital in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Each of the above substances is vital for the body. Malnutrition causes many illnesses and can be fatal. The quality of the food is important and has a proportional relationship with one's life span, happiness or sadness, beauty or ugliness and healthy nerves or mental disorders.

We are what we eat. If one monitors his food and cares for his eating habits, he would become ill less frequently. It is not wise to eat just delicious food without pondering over its quality. Once one's health is impaired as a result of bad food, one would have to seek medical treatment by a doctor, but unfortunately the human body would never be restored to its original health.

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The stomach is the centre of all illnesses'."117

Since the choice of food is with the women, therefore, they are very much responsible for the family health. The smallest carelessness on her part, would expose the health of all the family members to many illnesses.

Therefore a housewife, besides being a good cook, should be able to identify the quality of the food.

Firstly: She should make a food which has all the nourishment necessary for a human body to function properly.

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The duty of a woman towards her husband is to turn the lights on in the house and to prepare good and suitable food'." 118

"A woman asked the Prophet (S) of Allah: 'What good (reward) is awaiting a woman who performs her duties in her husband's house?' The Prophet (S) stated: 'For every activity that she does concerning the household matters, Allah looks on her kindly, and whoever enjoys the grace of Allah would not be tormented'." 119

Secondly: The dietary needs of people are not the same. Age, size of the body and other possible factors determine the level of our nutritional requirements. For instance, a child, who is growing, need more calcium in comparison with a middle-aged person. The youth need more energy providing food because they have more activities.

One's job is also a factor in determining the type of food one should eat. For instance, a worker needs more fatty, sugary, and starchy food, because he is very active. . The weather is another factor. Our nutritional requirements differ from each other in the seasons of summer, and winter. Also an ill person would eat differently from a healthy one. A good cook should remember all these points.

Thirdly: It is a fact that when one reaches the age of forty and over, he is likely to get fat. Perhaps some people regard obesity as the sign of health, but they are mistaken. Obesity is an illness which could have very bad effects on the heart, blood pressure, kidneys, gall-bladder, liver, and may cause angina and diabetes.

Statistics coming from medical sources and insurance companies suggest firstly that thin people live longer than fat ones.

Beyond the age of forty, one becomes less active and thus needs less fat, sugar, and starch. The calories are not turned into energy as much as before and therefore contribute towards the fattening of the body. It is therefore better to reduce your consumption of these substances.

A woman who cares for her husband's health should put him on a special diet to stop him from getting fat. He should eat less sweets, fat, and cream, but more eggs, liver, poultry, red meat, fish and cheese. Dairy products are also useful. If permitted by the doctor, the overweight person should consume plenty of fruit, and vegetables.

If you are fed up with your husband, if you prefer to be a widow, or if you want to murder your husband without the risks of being prosecuted by the police -then you will not have to do much. Just put plenty of delicious and fattening foods before him. Encourage him to eat as much bread, rice and cakes as possible. Consequently you will get rid of him and not only will you become a widow but he would also thank you for feeding him with all these delicious foods.

You may suggest that such a program is possible for the wealthy people who can afford to buy any type of food they wish. You may think it impossible for those who are not so well off.

But one should not forget that all the nutritional values are hidden in the simple and natural foods. A woman who has learned about cooking would tell you that one could get all the nutritional requirements for the body from simple foodstuff such as fruits, cereals. Vegetables. and dairy products. One can cook a meal with these ingredients which is both hygienic, healthy, and cheap.

One of the inevitable tasks of every family is to entertain guests at one time or another. This is an enjoyable tradition as a result of which friendships become closer and people can forget their problems temporarily. Keeping company with friends and relatives is one of the healthiest pastimes.

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The sustenance of a guest is descended from the heavens. and upon eating it, the sins of the host are forgiven'." 120

"Imam Reza (a.s) stated: ' A generous person eats the food offered to him by others so that they eat his. But a miser would not eat the offered food by others lest they eat his'." 121

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Associating with friends causes kindness (amongst them)'." 122

"Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s) stated: ' Associating with friends matures one's mind and enlivens one's heart, be it even only slightly'." 123

In the turbulent sea of life, one's soul needs tranquility, and this peace of mind can be found when keeping company with one's friends.

People would forget their problems while present in a friendly gathering. Not only can friendships become stronger, but it would serve to boost one's morale.

Entertaining guests is a good custom and rarely one would deny its merits, but there are two difficulties with it that make some families reluctant to take part in this age-old tradition.

First: Luxury goods and vying with one another has made life difficult for many of us. Household goods which are meant to serve our comfort have turned into a means of showing off and ostentation. Thus people are tending to associate less frequently with each other. Although many who are willing to socialize, refuse to do so, because they have the wrong idea that they do not possess many luxurious items in their homes that it would be better to keep away from others and save themselves the embarrassment. This reflection destroys one's situation in the life after death as well as placing him in a difficult situation in this world.

Dear Madam! Do your friends come to your house in order to watch your luxury goods? If so, advise them to go to the stores and museums instead of coming to visit you. Associating with others is meant to increase one's friendship with them as well as having a pleasant time. It is not meant for showing off or filling one's stomach. Everyone is annoyed with 'luxurism' and rivalry of this kind. But they dare not dispose of this mistaken tradition.

If you were prepared to entertain your guests in a simple manner, you would see that they would follow you. This way you can associate with your friends simply and without going to too much trouble. Thus, the solution to this problem is easy .Instead of trying to match your belongings to those of others’; you should concentrate on strengthening the bonds of friendship with them through kindness.

Second: Another difficulty is about the hosting of one's guests. A housewife goes through the trouble of making food for a few guests over a period of a few hours. Sometimes a woman cannot prepare a delicious meal, after which the husband may become upset. Her husband may also show his displeasure towards her cooking. Therefore, some parties are accompanied with the anxiety of the host couple as a result of which people tend to avoid having a party.

Of course it is true that holding a party is not easy, but the main difficulty arises when the housewife does not have sufficient knowledge about how to look after her guests.

Hosting one's guests becomes easy if one is prepared to learn the necessary skills. Here two case studies are presented. You may follow whichever you prefer while entertaining your guests:

Case (a): The man informs his wife that on Friday night, ten of his friends are coming for dinner His wife who has had bitter experience with previous parties, suddenly becomes enraged and protests to her husband. After a detailed discussion and the husband's pleading, the reluctant wife agrees to arrange the dinner for his guests. They spend their days and nights in a certain air of restlessness, and excitement until Friday.

On Friday morning one of them goes for shopping. He remembers the necessary items to buy and after purchasing a few items, returns home.

The housewife starts her job after lunch. She suddenly confronts many problems. She has to do the cooking, washing, sweeping, dusting, arranging the guestroom, and so on. Also, she has to do all this and more on her own or at the most with only one person helping her. She begins to work with a great deal of worry. She looks for the knife to cut the onions, searches the house for salt, etc. She realizes that there is not any tomato in the house, so she sends somebody to buy it. She must then fry the chickens, cut the meat, soak the rice in water, clean the vegetables... etc.

She becomes touchy and nervous, and then shouts at the servant, curses her daughter, hits her son and then runs out of gas or kerosene. "Oh God! What shall I do?” she screams.

All of a sudden the door bell rings. The guests have arrived! They come in one after another. The poor husband, who is aware of wife's anxiety, welcomes the guests into the house and leads them to the sitting room. He then intends to serve them with tea, but he finds out that tea is not ready. He shouts at his daughter or son for not putting the kettle on the samovar.

Once the tea is made, he finds out that they do not have enough sugar. After having to buy some more sugar, he takes a few cups of tea to the guests. He looks at them but his mind is in the kitchen. He knows what is going on in that quarter. He cannot sit comfortably or talk to the guests peacefully. He is worried about the dinner. It is even worse if there are women among the guests in which case they keep asking where the woman of the house is. The man must answer that his wife is busy cooking and she will be with them soon.

The wife, occasionally goes to the guests but cannot stay and sit with them. She, while apologizing to them once again returns to her kitchen. It is not possible for her to prepare a really delicious meal under these conditions.

Once the meal is ready, she has to look for the dishes, make a drink, get the glasses, fill the salt and pepper shakers, etc.

The guests after eating their meal finally say 'good-bye' to their hosts and leave.

Conclusion: The meal was either too salty or salt less, burnt or less- cooked. Also some of the items may have been forgotten by the hostess, and therefore not placed before her guests.

It is now midnight and the wife is exhausted. She has not had a moment of rest since noon. Also she was unable to attend to the guests properly.

The husband has gone through a great deal of worry. He has spent a lot of money for the party, but the evening was not enjoyable and he may even blame his wife.

The couple, not only have not enjoyed the party, but may also have an argument over it, and may even decide not to hold any more parties.

The guests did not enjoy the party either, because they felt that they had caused a lot of trouble for their hosts and they probably wished that they had not come at all.

Undoubtedly, the readers would not enjoy such a situation and would not be prepared or willing to have this kind of experience.

Do you know what the source of this problem is? Well, the only real cause is the lack of experience and know-how of the housewife about how to entertain her guests. Otherwise, holding a party is not such a difficult task.

Now the second option:

Case (b): The man informs his wife that ten of their friends will be coming for dinner on Friday night. The wife responds by saying "Very well, what should we prepare for dinner that night?" The couple decides on this matter together and then writes down all the necessary items needed for the party. They recheck their needs again and by crossing out those items that they already have in their house, re-write the items that they would have to purchase. Then in good time they do their shopping.

On Thursday, a day before the party, they finish some of the work such as cutting onions, washing the potatoes, filling the salt and pepper shakers, preparing the table wares and so on.

The following morning, the woman of the house after eating breakfast, carries out some of her tasks like washing, cutting and frying the meat, chicken, and potatoes. After lunch she can take a rest after which she can finish the remainder of her work.

So she can finish all her cooking, tidying up and arranging the house without any rush or worries. There would be no need for arguments or any cause for confusion. She would have enough time to get herself ready and prepare a cup of tea when their guests arrive. She can then welcome the guests alongside her husband and sit and talk to them. She would just need to go to the kitchen to make sure everything was going smoothly.

She can ask her husband and the children to help her in setting the food in front of the guests. Therefore, everyone would be able to comfortably enjoy their delicious meal.

Conclusion: The guests have enjoyed the company of their hosts. They have talked and their friendship had become stronger. They have enjoyed the meal and have admired the housewife for her ability to entertain them. Finally, they have enjoyed an evening which they would remember for a long time to come.

The husband has been able to associate with the guests. He has had a good time with his friends and is happy with his wife for not letting him down. They become encouraged to invite their friends over and over again.

Finally, the woman who, through patience and know- how, has been able to entertain the guests normally and without any problem, is satisfied with herself. She feels happy with her husband and has proved herself to be a good hostess.

Now you can choose to follow either of the two examples.

Men are usually the supporters of the family. They work hard and spend their earnings on their wives and children. They regard this as their duty and do not ever show their displeasure in their hardship.

But men also expect their wives to economize and not to spend their money extravagantly. The women are expected to classify the necessities and spend on the priorities such as food, clothes, medicine, rent, electricity, telephone, gas and water bills. Placing such items as luxury goods on the list of one's priorities is regarded as squandering and wasteful. Men do not like their wives to misuse their money in buying unnecessary goods or lavishly spending.

If a man finds his wife trustworthy of caring for his money, if he is sure that his wife does not spend lavishly and if he is certain that his hard earned money is not wasted away he would then work harder and would not waste his money.

On the other hand, if the woman spends the money on her clothes and adornment, or if she spends on unnecessary items and they would have to borrow in order to live, or if the family, like an infidel enemy, plunders his wealth, then the man will become disheartened. He would lose interest in working and supporting his family. He would think it illogical to work and support the people who do not appreciate his efforts. He may even go astray and follow a corrupt path. It might shatter the foundations of the family.

Dear Madam! Although your husband's money and wealth is at your disposal, do not regard it as your own. The wealth is lawfully his and you are the trusted one. Therefore, taking any item into your possession, giving anything away, presenting or selling any of his belongings needs his permission. You are responsible for his wealth and as such you must protect it. If you shirk your responsibility, you would be questioned in the world Hereafter.

"The Prophet (a.s) of Allah stated: 'A woman is the protector and trustee of her husband's wealth and as such is responsible'." 124

"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The best of your women is one who perfumes herself, prepares delicious food and would not overindulge in spending. Such a woman is a representative of and one of the workforce of Allah, and a person who works for Allah would never be faced with regret or defeat'."125

"A woman asked the Prophet (S) of Allah: 'What are the rights of a husband over his wife?' The Prophet (S) stated: 'She must be obedient towards him, must not violate his orders and should not give away anything without his permission'." 126

"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The best of your women is one who spends less' 127

It is right that earning a family's living is an obligatory deed of the man, and that women are not Islamically (as per Islamic laws) responsible for this act. Women, however, should also have a job. In Islam, idleness is discredited and reproached.

"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'The Almighty Allah hates too much sleep and too much rest'." 128

"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) also stated: 'Too much sleep wastes and ruins both one's worldly life and the religion (the life in the world Hereafter)'."129

"Hadrat Zahra (a.s) also used to work at home."130

Anyone, in need or not, should have a job. He should not waste his life by not doing anything, but he should work and offer his share in building a better world.

If necessary, one should spend his earnings for his family and himself, but if not needed then he should donate his earnings from work to those who need his help. Idleness is tedious and, more often than not, causes mental and psychological disorders, as well as moral corruption.

The best job for married women is to take care of the house. Housekeeping, childcare, etc are the best and the easiest jobs that women can do.

A talented and hardworking housewife can turn her house into a heavenly place for her children and husband; and this is a valuable and worthwhile job.

"The Prophet (S) stated: 'A woman's Jihad is when she attends to her husband (and takes care of him well)'." 131

"Umm-e-Salamah asked the Prophet (S): 'How much reward is there for a woman's housework?' The Prophet (S) replied: 'Any woman who, in the way of improving the order of the house, takes something from somewhere and places it somewhere else, would enjoy the grace of Allah, and whoever attracts the blessings of Allah, would not be tormented by Allah's anger'.

Umm-e-Salamah said: 'O Rasul-Allah (Messenger (SA) of Allah)! May my parents be sacrificed for you, please state other rewards for women'. The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'When a woman becomes pregnant, Allah rewards her as much as He would to someone who goes for Jihad (holy war) with all his wealth and life. Then when she delivers her baby, a call would reach her stating 'all your sins are forgiven; start a new life again.' Each time she feeds her baby with her milk, Allah gives her reward equal to that of freeing a slave for each feeding'."132

Housewives, even not busy with their housework, should find something to do. They can read books, conduct research on something useful, and add to their knowledge and skills. They can write articles, and even books. They can engage in drawing, painting, tailoring, knitting, sewing, and so forth. As a result they can help their families economically as well as contributing to their society by making their achievements available to the public. Working prevents the development of many mental disorders.

"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ' Allah likes a pious person who is honestly engaged in doing a job'." 133

While some women work at home, there are others who prefer an outside job. This preference may be either for economical or other reasons. In this case, the best jobs are cultural occupations or nursing. Nurseries, primary and high schools are suitable places for women to train and teach female students. Hospitals are also suitable places where women can serve as nurses and doctors. Such jobs are agreeable to the female nature; and also, there would rarely, if at all, be the need for them to mix with or come across the men who are not mahram (near relatives with whom marriage is prohibited).

The following are recommendations to those ladies who intend to or who are working outside their homes.

Consult your husband before taking up a job. It is your husband's right to grant or refuse you permission to work. Starting to work without your husband's permission will be detrimental to the serenity and loving atmosphere of your family.

Men are also advised not to be adamantly negative with regard to their wives' working outside the house, unless the job concerned is considered unsuitable for them.

(b) Ladies should observe proper Islamic Hijab (veil) when not at home. They should go to work without any make up, and with plain clothes. They must avoid mixing with men who are not mahram as much as possible.

An office is a place to work in and is not for the purpose of showing off, or for rivalry. Prestige and dignity does not come with what you wear, but what you do, and how well you do it. Be and act as a dignified Muslim woman. Maintain your self-respect, and do not hurt your husband's feelings; save your adornments and your beautiful dresses for him at home.

(c) Ladies should be aware that although they are working outside the house, they are still expected by their husbands and children to attend to such activities as housekeeping, cooking, washing, and so forth. This can be done by cooperation within the family. An outside job should not pave the way for upsetting the whole family. Men are also advised to help their wives with regard to housekeeping. Husbands should not expect their wives to work both outside and inside the house on their own. Such an expectation is neither lawful nor fair. Men and women should share the housework.

(d) If a woman, who working outside has a child, then she should leave the child in a nursery or with someone trusted and kind. It is neither right nor wise to leave children at home on their own, since many children become fearful or helpless when they have to confront dangerous situations.

(e) If a woman feels that, in addition to the above works and responsibilities, she should under take another job, then she should definitely come to an understanding with her husband and take up a job with his permission and under his advice. If the husband does not agree, she should forget about this job. If the husband agrees for the wife's undertaking a job, she must try to select a job in which she comes in contact with minimum number of strange men. This is in the interest of both herself and the society. In any case, while outside her home, she must certainly observe Islamic Hijab and see that she remains simple and without any make-up.

The housework comprises of a great deal of work. If a housewife intends to carry out her job perfectly, she would not have enough time to do anything else. This is especially true if she has to take care of a few children as well. But most housewives do find some spare time.

Everyone spends his spare time in one way or another. Some women waste their time. They might just walk in the streets or find another woman to talk to. Most of the time their few hours of talking are not worth a penny. They would listen to repeated words which only prove to be time wasting and nerve breaking. Such idle chatting always results in one's moral degradation. The women who go through life in this way, are surely losers in this world and the next. How surprising it is that if anyone should lose some money, he would become very upset, but people do not give a thought about losing their precious moments of life.

A wise person would make the most out of his precious hours of life. What valuable achievements one can have!

Idleness is very harmful and is a cause of many mental disorders and anxieties. An idle person keeps thinking and finds ways of feeling sad. He would experience many types of worries after which his mind would become confused. A happy person is one who is busy doing something. An unlucky person is one who has excess idle time enough to think of the ups and downs of his life. Being busy is enjoyable, and idleness is a source of depression.

Is it not a pity that one should waste his precious life or spend some of its moments without getting anything in return?

Dear Madam! You can make the most out of your spare minutes or hours. You can do scientific tasks. You can buy the related books and with the help of your husband, increase your knowledge. Any course is possible; physics, chemistry, Qur'an, philosophy, history, geography, literature, psychology, etc. You would enjoy it and perhaps you could one day contribute to your society through your knowledge. You can write articles or even books after which your name will remain. You can earn money too.

Do not think that this is too ambitious for a housewife. Do not imagine that all the great women of history have been sitting idle. They, too, were housewives but the ones who did not waste their spare time.

Mrs. Dorothy Carnegie was a housewife who wrote a good book. She used to do the housework and also helped her husband (Dale Carnegie) in writing his famous book "How to Make Friends and Influence People". She writes in her book concerning principles of looking after the husband: "I have written this book during my child's two-hour sleep. I did a lot of my reading during the time my hair were getting dried in the hairdressing saloon."

There are many women who have been writing great books or have had many achievements in scientific fields.

If you are an enthusiastic person, you could be one of them.

If your husband is a researcher, then help him in his field. Is it not a pity for an educated woman to give up all her knowledge?

"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'There is not any better treasure other than knowledge'." 134

"Imam Baqir (a.s) stated: 'Whoever spends his day and night in seeking knowledge, would surely be enjoined by the blessings of Allah’''135

If you are not interested in reading or research then keep yourself busy with handicraft or artistic hobbies such as dress making, painting, knitting, flower decorations, etc.

You can learn such arts and practice them. These skills may help you mentally and financially. Islam has also proposed handicraft to women in their spare time. The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: "Spinning (and weaving) is a good pastime for women." 136

One of the important duties of women is caring for their children. This is not an easy task but one which is very sensitive and vital. It is the most sacred and most valuable responsibility which has been bestowed upon women by the order of creation. There are a few points which are briefly mentioned here with regard to this matter:

(1) Fruit of Marriage

Although a man and a woman get married for a few reasons such as sexual motive, love, etc, having a child is not one of the main reasons for marriage.

But it is not long before the true motive of natural creation becomes apparent itself and the love for having a child grows in their hearts. The existence of a child is the fruit of the marital tree and a natural desire of men and women. A marriage without a child is like a fruitless tree. A child would strengthen the bonds of love between a couple. It serves as a drive to the man's working life and encourages the parents to care for their family.

Marriage is sometimes initially founded on the basis of lust, love making and instantaneous sexual interests. Such a foundation is false and not lasting and is always prone to destruction. The factor with which this foundation becomes strong, is haying a child.

Lust and sexual drive soon subside. The only memory from days and nights of sexual desire would be the children, whose existence would be heart warming to the parents.

"Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: 'One's happiness is in haying pious children from whom one can seek help'.'' 137

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'A pious child is a sweet-smelling plant from among the plants of Paradise'.'' 138

"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: ' Add to the numbers of your children, because I, on the Day of Judgment, will feel honored about the greatness of your numbers over the other Ummahs'.'' 139

How ignorant are those who, with various excuses, refuse to have children, and thus fight the principle of creation!

(2) Educating a Child

The most sensitive responsibility of a mother is her duty to educate and train her children. Although both the parents should share this responsibility, it weighs more heavily on the shoulders of mothers.

This is because a mother is able to constantly protect and monitor her child. If mothers, through a correct program try to bring up their children, then a whole nation and even the world would undergo revolutionary changes.

Thus the progress or deterioration of a society is in the hands of women.

"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The Paradise is under the feet of mothers'." 140

Small children of today are the men and women of tomorrow. Whatever lessons they learn now, they will practice in future societies. If families improve, the society will progress, because societies are no more than a collection of families. Tomorrow's world will suffer with today's bad- tempered, stubborn, ignorant, cowardly, materialistic, nasty, careless, selfish and cruel children.

On the contrary, tomorrow's world will benefit from today's children who are honest, well mannered, generous, brave, just, trustworthy, etc.

Therefore, parents in general and mothers in particular are responsible towards their societies. They can serve their society by bringing up pious children. On the other hand, carelessness about their responsibility will be questioned on the Day of Judgment.

"Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: 'The right of your child is that you should know he is from you. Be it good or bad he is related to you. You are responsible for his upbringing, education and showing him the path to Allah and helping him to be obedient. You should treat him in such a way that if you behave well towards him, you will be sure of being rewarded and if you behave badly towards him, you will be sure of receiving punishment'.'' 141

Of course not all mothers are aware of the necessary skills of training a child and that is why they should set about learning them.

It is not within the scope of this book to present you with a detailed discussion on caring for one's child. Fortunately, there are many books, which have been written on this subject by learned writers and scholars. Women can buy these books and with the help of their own experience, they can educate their children and even become specialists in the field of child-rearing. She can then become helpful to other mothers for their duties regarding their children.

Here one point should be mentioned. Many people make mistake about the two phrases of 'education' and 'training', or think of them as having the same meaning. But one should know that teaching a child different subjects such as appropriate stories, poems, Qur'an, traditions of the Prophet (S), and the Imams (a.s) does not educate them. Such subjects are useful but a child should not only learn about honest persons, but he should be honest himself.

Thus, we must create such an atmosphere and living environment that the child would naturally become an honest and pious person. If a child grows up in an environment of honesty, truthfulness, bravery, discipline, cleanliness, kindness, love, freedom, justice, patience, trustworthiness, faithfulness, and sacrifice, then he learns all of that.

On the other hand, a child who grows up in a place of corruption, deception, anger, hate, hypocrisy, filth, and disloyalty, would inevitably be affected by them. Such a child may learn many stories about good and pious people, but to no avail. Dishonest parents cannot, by teaching Qur'an and Hadith, bring up honest children. Dirty mother and father actually teach their child to be dirty. A child pays more attention to his parent's deeds and not so much to their words.

Therefore, those of us who are seriously thinking of bringing up honest and good children should correct their own behaviour first. This is the only way to educate a child to be useful to himself and his society.

Another important duty of a housewife is feeding her children. Health or illness, beauty or ugliness, even good or bad temperedness, and cleverness of children are all related to the way they are fed.

Children have a different feeding pattern as compared with that of adults. They have different requirements at different ages and therefore mothers have to take this point into consideration when feeding their children.

"The best and the most nourishing food is milk. Milk contains all that is required for a healthy body. Thus for a baby there is nothing more suitable than the mother's milk. Since milk contains ingredients which are suitable for the baby's digestive system, therefore, there are not any problems in feeding a baby with mother's milk. Besides one does not need to boil it, pasteurize it, or sterilize it. One also need not to worry about its genuineness.

"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'There is no better and more copious food than mother's milk for a baby'." 142

"Dr A. H. Taba, the former Head of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the World Health Organization said: 'One of the important factors, which makes a child susceptible to many illnesses is by depriving him or her of mother's milk which is the only life insurance of any person.'' 143

Thus, mothers who feed their babies with their own milk must remember that all the necessary nutrition for their babies are contained within that milk.

But a nutritive milk is only possible if the mother is fed well, that is, the quality of her milk is related to the quality and quantity of her own food. The better her food, the better her milk would be. Mothers who feed their babies with their own milk can, through carelessness about their food, damage their own health as well as of their babies.

The fathers of small babies are also responsible to supply their wives with sufficient good quality food. Malnutrition is a serious problem for many people and one should not overlook it or else she must be prepared to pay for the treatment of illnesses caused by it.

You can obtain enough information on this subject from your doctor or related books. But as a general rule a nursing mother should consume all types of food from meat, fruit, dairy products to vegetables.

The important fact is that the mother's milk affects the baby's character and that is why "Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Do not choose foolish women to feed (your children) with their milk, because the milk makes their base qualities penetrated into the child'." 144

"Imam Baqir (a.s) stated: 'Choose noble women to feed (your children) with their milk, because the base qualities of milk are passed from the feeding woman to the child'." 145

You must feed your baby at definite intervals. Your child gets used to this regularity and helps him in being patient. It also helps him with regard to a healthy digestive system and stomach. On the other hand, if you feed the baby whenever he cries, then he will not learn to be disciplined. If he gets what he wants through crying, then he will pick up this attitude and use it even when he becomes an adult. He will not have the necessary patience when confronting hardships. He will either use force to achieve his own wishes or he will break down under difficulties.

Do not think that to discipline a child is an impossible task. You must just be patient and have a suitable program for training him according to your standards. The child nutritive experts say that a baby must be fed with milk once every three to four hours.

Hold your child in your arms while feeding. By embracing the child feels your love and it would even affect his/her future personality. Do not feed the baby while lying down, because it has been seen that some mothers have fallen asleep while feeding their babies and as a result some babies have suffocated because their mother's breasts prevented them breathing.

If you do not have any milk yourself, you can use cow's milk. But since cow's milk is much denser than mother's milk, you must add some water to it. You can also use pasteurized milk, which you should boil for twenty minutes or until it becomes safe for babies' consumption.

Do not feed the baby with hot or cold milk, but at the same temperature as the mother's milk.

After every feeding, you should boil the bottle and its nipple, and extra car must be taken during the hot seasons. Be careful not to use leftover or sour milk. It is better to measure the amount of milk for every feeding in order to make sure that your child is not getting too much or too little. In using powdered milk, you should consult a pediatrician. You must always use fresh powdered milk.

After the fourth month of the baby's birth you can start to feed him with fruit juice. From the age of six months, you can also start to feed him with solid foods and soups. You can feed him biscuits or sweet bread. Yogurt and cheese are also useful. You can gradually feed him with slight amounts of your own food.

Remember that your baby feels thirsty just as often as you do. Therefore, feed him with water as well, but do not try to make him drink tea or coffee. Fruits, vegetables, and soups are especially useful for growing infants.

Do not forget to be hygienic with regard to your baby's bedding, clothing, and nappies. Wash his face and hands often. Bathe him regularly, because infants are very susceptible towards dirt and germs and become ill easily.

You must vaccinate your children against such diseases as smallpox, chickenpox, whooping cough, infantile paralysis, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. Vaccines are fortunately readily available in medical and health centers.

You can have healthy children by observing these codes of hygiene and cleanliness.

  • 1.Wasa 'il al Shiah, vol 14, p 3.

  • 2.Ibid

  • 3.Ibid

  • 4.Ibid, p 23

  • 5.Ibid, p 5

  • 6.Ibid, p 6

  • 7.Ibid, p 23

  • 8.Ibid, p 17

  • 9.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 43, p 117

  • 10.Dar Aghushe Khushakhfi, p 142

  • 11.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 254

  • 12.Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 2, p 70

  • 13.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 552

  • 14.Ittela'at, 20th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri*, no. 13140. *By Solar Hijri is meant Solar Calendar based on Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (SA). Difference between the Gregorian calendar and Solar Hijri is 621 years.

  • 15.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532

  • 16.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235

  • 17.Ibid, vol 74, p 181

  • 18.Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551

  • 19.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 253

  • 20.Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551

  • 21.Ittela'at, 14th Urdibahisht, 1351 Solar Hijri, no 13787

  • 22.Ibid, 1st Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri, no 13652

  • 23.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 363

  • 24.Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 2, p 72

  • 25.Ittela'at, 13th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri, no 13689

  • 26.Bihar al-Anwar vol 71, p 389

  • 27.Ibid, vol 73, p 298

  • 28.Ittela'at, 15th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 29.Ibid, 3rd Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 30.Ibid, 3rd Shahriwar, l349 Solar Hijri

  • 31.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 71, p 377

  • 32.Ibid, vol 103, p 253

  • 33.Ibid, vol 103, p 253

  • 34.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 71, p 244

  • 35.Ibid, vol 76. p 367

  • 36.Mustadrak, vol 3, p 532

  • 37.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 217

  • 38.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 534

  • 39.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 239

  • 40.Shafi, vol 2, p 139

  • 41.Wasa'il al Shiah, vol 11, p 542

  • 42.Ittela'at, 7th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 43.Ibid,17th Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 44.Ibid, 8th Esfand, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 45.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 73, p 385

  • 46.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 104, p 38

  • 47.Ittela'at, 3rd Esfand, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 48.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 104, p 39

  • 49.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235.

  • 50.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 101

  • 51.Ittela'at, 13 Murdad, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 52.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247

  • 53.Ittela'at, 4th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri.

  • 54.Ibid, 7th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 55.Ibid, 29th Dey, 1348 Solar Hijri

  • 56.Ibid, 17th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 57.Ibid, 25th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 58.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 123

  • 59.Ibid, vol 74, p 5

  • 60.Ibid, vol 76, p 367

  • 61.Ibid, vol 75, p 194

  • 62.Ibid

  • 63.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 57, p 218

  • 64.Ittela'at, 27th Aban, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 65.Ittela'at, 9th Azar, 1348 Solar Hijri.

  • 66.Ibid, 12th Urdibahisht, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 67.Ibid, 13th Urdibahisht, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 68.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235

  • 69.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247

  • 70.Ibid, p 235

  • 71.Shafi, vol 2, p 138

  • 72.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 228

  • 73.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247

  • 74.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 75, p 71

  • 75.Ibid, vol 74, p 178

  • 76.Ittela'at, 17th Murdad, 1351 Solar Hijri.

  • 77.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235

  • 78.Ibid, p 248

  • 79.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532

  • 80.Shafi, vol 2, p 129

  • 81.Ittela'at, 25th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 82.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103. p 247

  • 83.Ittela'at, 4th Azar, 1348 Solar Hijri

  • 84.Ibid, 28th Mehr, 1348 Solar Hijri.

  • 85.Ibid, 8th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 86.Ibid, 17th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri

  • 87.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 75, p 186

  • 88.Ittela'at, 17th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri

  • 89.Asiyah was the wife of Pharaoh.

  • 90.Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 103, p 247

  • 91.Ibid, p 239.

  • 92.Ibid, vol 71, p 419

  • 93.Ittela'at, 3rd Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri.

  • 94.Ittela'at, 28th Farwardin, 1351 Solar Hijri

  • 95.Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 1, p 166

  • 96.Majma' al-Zawaid, vol 5, p 132

  • 97.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 79, p 300

  • 98.Shafi, vol 1, p 208

  • 99.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 175

  • 100.Ibid

  • 101.Shafi, vol p 208

  • 102.Ibid, p 215

  • 103.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 176

  • 104.Ibid

  • 105.Shafi, vol 2, p 124

  • 106.Ibid, vol 1, p 209

  • 107.Ibid, p 210

  • 108.Ibid, p 211

  • 109.Ibid

  • 110.Ibid

  • 111.Ibid, vol 2, p 123

  • 112.Ittela'at, 23rd Bahman, 1348 Solar Hijri

  • 113.Ibid, 26th Tir, 1351 Solar Hijri.

  • 114.Ibid,11th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri.

  • 115.Ibid, 3rd Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri

  • 116.Wasa'il al-Shiah, vol 14, p 15

  • 117.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 62, p 290

  • 118.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 551.

  • 119.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 251

  • 120.Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 16, p 557

  • 121.Ibid, p 520

  • 122.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 355

  • 123.Ibid, p 353

  • 124.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 550

  • al-Shiah, vol 14, p 15

  • 126.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 248

  • 127.Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532

  • 128.Usul al-Kafi, vol 5, p 84

  • 129.Ibid

  • 130.Ibid, p 86

  • 131.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247

  • 132.Ibid, p 251

  • 133.Usul al-Kafi, vol 5, p 113

  • 134.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 1 p 165

  • 135.Ibid, p 174.

  • 136.Ibid, vol 103, p 258.

  • 137.Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 96

  • 138.Ibid, p 97

  • 139.Ibid, p 96

  • 140.Majm'a al-Zawa'id, vol 8, p 138

  • 141.Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 6.

  • 142.Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 175

  • 143.Ittela'at, 15th Farvardin, 1353 Solar Hijri

  • 144.Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 188

  • 145.Ibid, p 189.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

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