Each year, Ramadan comes with a mix of increased ibadat efforts, more chores, and renewed faith and vigor from the believer to become a better servant to Allah. The holy month has an indescribable aura to it and alhamdullilah we can all feel the change in the air.
With hardship comes ease so in this mix—which is not limited to my spelled out list—the hardship is sometimes the fulfillment of chores that accompany Ramadan. From grocery shopping to cooking iftar dinners to cleaning the place and caring for the children, a team effort is really needed to accomplish all these challenging tasks while battling hunger and low energy levels for the sake of Allah.
While we can order our children to pitch in, we have to admit that it’s often harder to get our Muslim husbands to be on the same wavelength even though Islam and the Sunnah say that it’s maroof for every member of the family to help.
For those who don’t know, women carry the house chore workload out of good manners and thoughtfulness. It’s also appropriate to note that distinguished imams who agreed that a woman doesn’t have to be a dedicated servant to her husband are Imam Abu Hanifa, Iman Malik, and Imam Shafi’i.
Aisha radi allahu anhu, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wassalam was asked, “What did the Prophet peace upon him use to do in his house?” She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was the time for prayer he would go for it.” (Bukhari)
Aisha is reported to have also said, “He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” (Adab Al-Mufrad graded sahih by Al-Albani)
In the source Ahmad, she said, “He milked his goat.”
Alhamdullilah, my husband does his own laundry and iron his own work shirts. Very rarely that his clothes end up with my clothes and the baby’s. He helps a lot with the toddler and the cleanliness of the house too masha’Allah. Now, because we aren’t a perfect couple, we’re still working on other things for him to pitch in. And honestly there is not really a shortage of things to do in a house. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
Our Rasool sallallahu aleihi wassalam was very active in his home masha’Allah. So how can you encourage your husbands to help out during Ramadan knowing this? How can you make them follow this blessed path?
Before the month starts, organize a family meeting if you have children and other relatives staying with you. Spell out what the chores will be during the first week of Ramadan. Ask how everyone can pitch in to help. Have lists ready. Also ask the family what are their food wishes; what do they want to eat and how the whole family can work together to make that happen.
If you don’t have children or relatives, go about the meeting with a little more intimacy and tact such as discuss your goals for the coming Ramadan over a nice meal, during a calm walk at the park or any other nice outing where good vibes are in the air.
In your lists, make sure you spell out what you think your husbands can do to help you be less stressed and lethargic and most importantly happier. It can be grocery shopping, loading the dish washer, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, waking up the children for suhoor while you warm up the food for your husbands and the rest of the family. Make sure you have a clear idea of what each member of the family can help with. They can exchange their tasks but plead so that things get done with a higher success rate.
Be assertive but watch your tone when you’re asking for help from your husbands and other family members. No one likes a bossy woman who talks down on others. They will boycott you and things will be even messier than before you had the idea to try to get everyone on the same wavelength. If your husband messes up-because he’s not going to get everything right- right away, make dua, breath in and let it go. Thank him for his help no matter how small it is. If he is the kind that doesn’t respond well to compliments, show him your gratitude instead of mouthing words. Your gratitude can be implied with many things, i.e. a hug, a kiss, a smile, etc. Finally, be flexible and willing to listen as well.
Meet weekly with your husbands and family members to re-assess progress and plan the next week’s wave of chores insha’Allah. Stay positive and focused. Ask Allah to make you all team players too. Ameen. Reward your families for helping with gifts if you can or with their favorite dishes. And most of all, reward your husbands for reviving this neglected Sunnah insha’Allah.
Jazakh’Allah khair for reading,
Bio: Papatia Feauxzar is the Love & Relationship Editor of Hayati Magazine. Feauxzar is also a Muslim Publisher and an American author of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son. You can visit her website at www.djarabikitabs.com.
Originally published May 2017 in Khadija Magazine's Ramadan Issue 2 here.