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The Reward of Supporting One’s Family

The Reward of Supporting One’s Family
It is a permanent part of the Muslim way of life that an honorable man must work hard to earn money and support his children until they grow up.

When a man fulfills his duty of supporting his family, God rewards him in multiples!

I was very surprised when I learned the Islamic rulings in this area.

I was asked a question: If I have some money, what is the best way to spend it: give it to those who fight for the sake of God, give it to the poor, or pay for my family’s needs? To answer this question, let us consider the following narrations:

Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“You spent one Dinar for the fight for the sake of God, one Dinar to liberate a slave, one Dinar to a poor person, and one Dinar to support your family. The most rewarded Dinar is the one that you spent on your family.” (Muslim)

Thawban, the Prophet’s servant, narrated that Prophet Muhammad said:

“The most rewarded expenditure is what a man spends to support his family, on his horse that he uses to fight in the way of God, and on his friends for the sake of God.”

The narrator commented: “Notice that the Prophet started with the family.” (Muslim)

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas narrated that the Prophet said:

“Everything you spend for the sake of God gets you a reward, even when you feed your wife with your hand.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri narrated that the Prophet said:

“If a man supports his family with the intention to get a reward from God, he will be rewarded the reward of charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

Al-Miqdad Ibn Ma`d Yakrib narrated that Prophet Muhammad said:

“When you feed yourself, it is a charity. When you feed your children, it is a charity. When you feed your wife, it is a charity. When you feed your servant, it is a charity.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

There are many similar hadiths. The above are just a few examples.

The above narrations are very interesting. Before I knew them, I was always thinking that what I spend to support my family is just ‘necessary expenditures.’

However, I never imagined that this money I spend would be put in my scale of good deeds in the hereafter! And when I learned that supporting one’s family is even better than supporting fighters for the sake of God and liberating slaves, I wondered why?

After some reflection, I realized that the Muslim home is the place where belief and morals are built. Therefore, the money that supports this place must be blessed. I realized that supporting my family is the best ‘investment’ I can ever think about!

It is a permanent part of the Muslim way of life that an honorable man must work hard to earn money and support his children until they grow up and be financially independent. Muslim men consider this an Islamic obligation that they must fulfill, regardless to the required time and effort.

Now, modern civilization preaches a culture that allows a man to tell his children, boys and girls, when they reach maturity: “You are on your own!” Some men in this modern world even find it too much to feed their wives!

Strong families that follow the good traditions result in a strong society that God blesses! This was how our Muslim nation was and this is how it should remain.

On the other hand, the supporter of the family should be appreciated and reassured by his wife. She should always be a source of support and joy, in words and actions. The wife who is not appreciative to her husband and is always ignoring him is pushing him towards disliking her and detaching himself from her.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked a woman who came to visit him:

“Do you have a husband?” She said:

“Yes.” He said: “How do you treat him?”

She said: “I do everything he wants except what I am not able to do!”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) told her this wise and short advice:

“Take care of him. He is either your paradise or your hellfire!” (Al-Mundhiri)

In another hadith, he said:

“A woman is not fulfilling God obligations until she fulfills her husband’s obligations.” (Al-Mundhiri)

I read another interesting hadith, which Mu`adh narrated, that is talking about some women who beat their husbands!! One of them was trying to prove her authority at home by force! I was smiling when I read the Prophet’s advice to her:

“A woman who believes in God is not allowed to invite guests that her husband hates! She is not allowed to go to some place if he does not like it! She is not allowed to consider her relatives or friends and ignore him! She is not allowed to forsake his bed! She is not allowed to beat him up! …”

I stopped here and wondered, ‘How dare this woman beat her husband up! Was this a man! Or maybe she was a musclewoman!’ Then, I continued reading the hadith:

“Even if she thinks that he is wrong, she should try to approach him in a friendly way. If he becomes friendly, then how beautiful! God will reward her and prove to him that her argument is true. If he insists not to be pleased, then she should know that God knows that she has no blame.” (Al-Albani)

It is impossible that a home never faces problems. But good morals and friendly dealings guarantee that problems will eventually be solved! There is a very true Arabic poem that says that problems on earth are never because there is not enough space for everybody, but they are because there is not enough patience for everybody!

This applies to men and women. I also concluded from experience that the couples who fail to solve their problems pass down complexes to their children and cause them major troubles in their future.

How wonderful to build the marital relationship on mutual love and respect! This has an excellent effect on the children and protects the family and its mission.

I will quote one hadith that some scholars mention on the same topic. However, it requires an explanation. Mu`adh ibn Jabal returned from a visit to Syria and visited the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet was startled to see Mu`adh prostrating to him when he came in! He told him:

“What is this?”

Mu`adh said:

“I was in Syria and saw people prostrating to their monks. So, I wanted to do the same with you!”

I myself saw some people prostrating to their kings. It is not a full prostration, like what we do in prayers, but it is a bowing that is similar to our bowing in prayers. It is still practiced in some countries like Japan and Middle Africa. Arabs do not know this type of greeting and when Mu`adh tried to make it a tradition in Madinah; the Prophet showed him that it is unacceptable in Islam. He said, according to some narrations:

“Do not do that. If I am to order anybody to bow to anybody, I would order a wife to bow to her husband.” (Ibn Majah)

It is clear that Prophet Muhammad is implying that he is not and will not order anybody to bow or prostrate to anybody, including women to their husbands. The rest of the hadith says:

“I make an oath by The One who holds my soul that a woman is not considered fulfilling to her duties towards God until she fulfills her duties towards her husband.” (Ad-Darimi)

My comment is that the husband and wife are equal human beings, in terms of rights and obligations. But if the man is truly beloved by his wife, she will treat him like a king! And if a man wants to be treated like a king, he should show true dedication, sincerity and love!

This is a part of a translated book written by Sheikh Al-Ghazali titled “Muslim Women between Backward Traditions and Modern Innovations”. The book was translated by Dr. Jasser Auda.


About Dr. Jasser Auda

Jasser Auda is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College South Africa, the Executive Director of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank based in London, and a Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at Carleton University in Canada. He is a Founding and Board Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, and General Secretary of Yaqazat Feker, a popular youth organization in Egypt. He has a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic law from University of Wales in the UK, and a PhD in systems analysis from University of Waterloo in Canada. Early in his life, he memorized the Quran and studied Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the halaqas of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He previously worked as: Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Ethics in Doha; professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alexandria University in Egypt, Islamic University of Novi Pazar in Sanjaq, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the American University of Sharjah. He lectured and trained on Islam, its law, spirituality and ethics in dozens of other universities and organizations around the world. He wrote 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which were translated to 25 languages.

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