Approaches to fostering an Islamic environment in the home
Guiding family members towards a truly Islamic life is from the principle responsibilities of a believer. Yet, it is expected and quite normal for different members of a given family to vary in their approach to life and religion; some may easily see the light while others require a little more encouragement. Women have a pivotal role in this regard and can make a profound contribution towards supporting family members to get in touch with their faith.
Allah Almighty states:
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا قُوْۤا اَنْفُسَكُمْ وَ اَهْلِیْكُمْ نَارًا وَّ قُوْدُهَا النَّاسُ وَ الْحِجَارَةُ
O believers! Save yourselves and your families from the Fire; the fuel of which are humans and stones
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 28, Surah Al-Tahreem, Verse 6)
Commenting on this verse, the author of Khaza’in-ul-Irfan writes that you can save your families from the Fire, ‘By obeying Allah Almighty and His Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, worshipping Him, refraining from sins, encouraging good behaviour among family members, discouraging sinful practices, and teaching them knowledge and etiquettes. (Ihtiram-e-Muslim, p. 7)
Our sisters should give special consideration to these directions. It is your duty to promote good and discourage sins in your families in order to foster an Islamic environment in the home. We all know that this is far from a simple endeavour because our loved ones are not always receptive or willing to listen. A common reason for this is poor communication skills and harshness on our part which causes them to withdraw rather than engage. The human psyche is as such; we naturally incline towards gentleness while becoming defensive when someone is harsh, as the Quran reminds us:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْۚ-وَ لَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِیْظَ الْقَلْبِ لَا نْفَضُّوْا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ۪-
So, what a great mercy it is from Allah that, O Beloved, you became soft-hearted towards them. And if you had been harsh and hard-hearted, they would have therefore certainly been anxious in your surrounding;
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-Imraan, Verse 159)
In the same vein, we learn from the perfect example of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم that gentleness is a means of goodness for us and our family members. In this regard, our honourable mother, Sayyidah ‘Aaishah Siddiqah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا recalls that the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said to her: ‘O ‘Aaishah! Adopt gentleness! When Allah Almighty wills goodness for any household, he grants them gentleness.’ (Musnad Imam Ahmad, vol. 9, pp. 345-405, Ahadees 24481-24788)
Moreover, to foster an Islamic environment in the home, continue to beseech Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, be patient in the face of adversity, and observe the rights of others over you, regardless of their conduct towards you. This considerate behaviour will gradually اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه make your voice and advice heard, eventually leading to a positive, Islamic environment in the home.