Continuing from last week today I would like to talk about the reward that is on offer for doing every day chores. I know that most of the men amongst us thinks that this is a woman’s job to do all the cooking and cleaning, but we will see today how much reward Allah SWT has placed in this.
Reward of everyday chores
The Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) has said; “Homemaking (Allah-willing) raises the station of a woman to the level of those who make Jihad “ (Kanz)
Jihad means striving the utmost in Allah’s Path. Such a striving has many forms. Outwardly, this refers to the defense of the oppressed. Allah, Most Merciful, has revealed in the Holy Quran:
“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors” (Quran 2:190).
“If it were not because Allah repels some men by means of others, cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques where Allah’s name is mentioned frequently would have been demolished” (Quran 22:40).
“Why should you not fight for Allah’s sake and of the oppressed men and of the women and the children who are crying: Our Lord! Lead us out of this town whose people are oppressors! Grant us a patron from Your Presence and grant us a defender from Your Presence” (Quran 4:75).
Efforts to restrain the nafs (the vain desires of the lower soul) has been called the greatest Jihad. The Holy Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) explained this mode of striving when returning from an expedition: “We are returning from the lesser Jihad (against our outward enemies), to the greater Jihad (against the nafs -the vain desires of the lower soul))”
Just as the foremost role of man within the context of his family is that of a provider, that of a woman in normal circumstances is the nurturing and management of domestic affairs. Despite this division of responsibilities being consistent with nature and optimal for maintaining the structure of a harmonious and organised society, Allah in His infinite mercy has blessed men and women with rewards for carrying out their respective primary roles.
Although this exceedingly great reward is a tremendous favour, the wife is at liberty to forego it and is fully entitled to ask the husband to arrange for domestic help. The wife’s maintenance is not in lieu of any household services. Thus according to Shariah, housework or attending on the husband and children cannot be imposed on the wife as her religious obligation. On the other hand, remedial disciplinary recourse exists within the legal framework of Islam against husbands who deliberately abandon their primary responsibilities to the detriment of their wives.
Sharing domestic work with the wife.
The Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) has said; “Helping wives (in their domestic work) earns (men) the reward of charity.” (Kanz)
Narrated Al-Aswad (radhiallaho anho): I asked A’isha (radhiallaho anha), “What did the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) do at home? ” She said, “He used to work for his family and when he heard the call for the prayer, he would go out.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
This demonstrates the great inducement to care for women by sharing their domestic chores.
Paradise welcomes the wife
Anas (radhiallaho anho) reported Allah’s messenger as saying, “When a woman observes the five times of prayer, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of paradise she wishes (in other words nothing will prevent her from entering paradise).” (Mishtat)
Thus if women are mindful of the compulsory injunctions of religion, there is no need for them to toil hard in performing strenuous acts of worship. By doing just the above they merit the same lofty ranks as awarded to men who perform demanding forms of worship. This is indeed one of the innumerable favours of Allah.