By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
“Mummy!” One of my kids screams from the living room. I quickly drop what I was doing in the kitchen and head over to see what the problem is. As usual, her dinner is scattered all over the recently-cleaned floor, and there is water everywhere. I sigh. With the chores left to be done before bedtime, this is not exactly what I want to see right now.
I sometimes find myself getting worked up at having a lot to do along with the stress of a full day’s work. If you catch yourself in a similar situation, remember the following points and they will help you snap out of it, Insha’Allah:
Every good act is an act of worship
Acts of worship (ibadah) are not limited to the daily prayers, fasting, hajj, or zakah (obligatory charity). Every good thing a Muslim does, whether little or big, with the right intention, is an act of worship. Cleaning, cooking, taking out the trash, and so on, are all acts of ibadah as long as we have the right intention. For instance, cooking feeds the family and helps the kids grow; it also gives them the strength to perform obligatory acts of worship. Cleaning and doing the laundry keeps us neat and healthy, and we all know that cleanliness is a part of faith.
Everything is solely for Allah’s sake
When we wanted to start a family, we made the intention to get married to fulfill half our deen (religion) and worship Allah. We need to remember that everything good that we do in our homes is a continuation of this worship that we have promised Him. Once we keep this in mind, it becomes easier to carry out the tasks without becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. I want to worship Allah by raising healthy, righteous children, and every step I take towards achieving this is a step that is guaranteed to earn His pleasure.
Your family has a right over you
Ibn Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible. A woman is the shepherd of the house of her husband and she is responsible. Each one of you is a shepherd, and each is responsible for his flock.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad; sound)
Every obligation on the part of a Muslim is a duty that he or she must fulfill. As we are obligated to perform the five daily prayers with rewards for adherence and punishment for neglect, we are also obligated to take care of our homes. Every time we dust the furniture, prepare meals, or do laundry, we should remind ourselves that it will Insha’Allah earn us rewards.
Doing chores is a part of Sunnah
It is known that Prophet Muhammed (sa) worked around the house. (Bukhari) He was mended his own clothes. A hadith tells us the story of his daughter Fatimah (rah) who was exhausted with the work in her home and asked the Prophet (sa) to give her a servant. He told her to recite Subhan Allah thirty-three times, Alhamdulillah thirty-three times, and Allahu Akbar thirty-four times as a form of relief from her stress. (Bukhari) I believe that if we recite this whenever we feel overwhelmed with chores, we will also be granted ease from Allah.
Succeed to plan; plan to succeed
If household chores are becoming stressful by the day, it is advisable to look at better ways to plan them so that they don’t wear you out. For example, urgent chores such as cleaning spills can be giving priority and be attended to as soon as possible, while chores like cleaning the refrigerator that are not as urgent can be scheduled to certain times of the day, week, or month. Meal preparation can be started early so as to prevent rushing when the family is hungry.
The way we look at chores around the home has a great impact on the physical and psychological health of our family. No matter how mundane the task is, a person who takes delight in worshipping Allah through service to his or her family will ultimately find it easier to happily take care of their needs.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2015