Your beautiful afternoon and evening
So now that you have your mornings beautifully organized let’s look at how we can have a good afternoon and evening the Islamic way.
Have a fruitful afternoon
If you fetch your young kids before Dhuhr prayer, a good idea is to set a quiet ‘after school’ rhythm for them. Take out calming books or set up some water play activities while you pray in as much quietude as possible with young kids around.
Qaylula is the nap or rest (even without sleep) taken midday or when the sun is at its peak. This can be taken even before Dhuhr prayer unless the salaah is held early (in the beginning of its time) in which case it may be done afterwards. This power nap has been proven to promote learning and increase performance. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps.” (al-Tabaraani) Encourage your little ones to nap with you else, put on some nasheeds or audio books to keep them entertained.
Afternoons are for fun
Afternoons are for relaxation and fun. If you have older kids to fetch from school, try to connect with them while taking the drive home. Enquire about the ups and downs of their day. Ask about homework and projects.
This is a good time to play with little kids as we are encouraged to do. In fact playing with our kids is considered nafl ‘ibadah. If we look through hadith, we will find many accounts of the Prophet (peace be upon him) acting playfully and sharing moments of light-heartedness with small kids. He did this despite having the most important task on his hands. Playing with our kids strengthens bonds and reduces the stress of the day. “I will say, I may not always feel up to playing with my 4-year- old but once I get into it, I find it rather therapeutic,” admits Umm ‘Umayr.
After ‘Asr prayer, which is usually the time most fathers come home – try to take a family walk out in nature. Being out in nature has a magical way to shift our energies to a more positive and refreshing one.
Just enjoy the end-of-the day bustle that usually prevails this time and reflect on how Allah has made a time in the day for everything – this time being one where His creation prepares itself for the night ahead. Point out to your children how the birds flock together in trees to take rest and how flowers close their petals on another day only to open them again the next day. This happens all through the Power and Wisdom of Allah. Try getting homework and other major responsibilities out of the way so that at least there is some time let for an enriching family activity.
If it’s summer, why not take your dinner outdoors and enjoy a lovely evening meal in the mild coolness as evening arrives. Try to adopt as much of the other sunna’s of eating at meal times such as beginning in the name of Allah and praising Allah after eating, eating with the right hand, not finding fault with food and licking the fingers clean.
Remember, here too is an opportunity to connect as a family so talk about daily happenings or quiz your kids on Islamic knowledge. It’s so easy to get caught up in life’s daily stresses. Children are there to remind us not to take life too seriously!
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was known to be humorous at times so follow his example and share some jokes with your kids as you enjoy your meal. If you have little ones just take care to be indoors before Mahrib sets in as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“When night falls, keep your children indoors, for the devils are out and about at this time. When an hour of the night goes by, you can let them go.”(Bukhari).
End your day beautifully
Set a lovely evening rhythm by playing Qur’an recitation just before Mahrib sets in. With little ones, this time is usually one that is considered somewhat stressful as kids and parent’s energy and patience levels reach its limits. With Quran in the background, an aura of tranquility can prevail.
If you are able to, try to perform Maghrib prayer as a family and do some Qur’an recitation collectively as well.
After kids have bathed, snuggle with them closely and read them good bed time stories. Stories from the Prophets’ lives can be quite captivating. You will find that kids tend to be more open to sharing of themselves at this time. They also seem to ask a lot of questions at this time– try to indulge them for a while – you can never underestimate the value of connecting with your kids even if it’s just a few extra minutes.
When the kids are asleep and a sense of quietnsess prevails, once again make your ‘Ishai prayer with much devotion and close up your evening’s ‘ibadah with some dhikr. Just sitting still with your eyes closed remembering Allah within yourself can be spiritually nourishing and therapeutic for the soul.
Just the two of you
It’s very easy to let technology become the third person in your marriage so this is an ideal time to spend some time catching up with your husband instead of sauntering off to switch on something. Have a snack together, share a can of something together taking care to sip from the same spot hubby has. This was the sunnah of our prophet (peace be upon him) and it brings love between a couple. Listen to a lecture or unwind together with some nasheeds.
Before you sleep, take yourself into account. This can be a very effective exercise in taking stock of your life. If you are guilty of backbiting, lying or any other sin, make some istighfar and affirm not to repeat the same again. Cleanse your heart by forgiving anyone who has wronged you. This little act earned a companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) Jannah. Say your du’as before sleeping and sleep with the intention to revive your body to worship Allah another day. Then thank Allah for the beautiful day He has blessed you with.
First published: March 2016