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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

The Family in Al-Islam: Responsibilities of the Muslim Male: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from a December 15. 1985 lecture Imam W. Deen Muhammad delivered during Talim at Masjid Elijah Muhammad in Chicago.)

First lets look at the immediate family, the heirs, those who are from the loins of the father and from the mother. They all have rights before God. They are entitled to share equally that which the parents provide for them. The parents are supposed to provide shelter, or home, food, clothing and an education.

In our religion, parents are obligated to provide an education for their children If you are unable yourself to teach them or unable to pay or to find that kind of assistance for them to get an education, then the obligation is on the Muslim community to help that parent in such a situation. But that parent should never give up. Maybe the community can't even answer your need, but you should never give up. This obligation falls on the male parent.

The male parent should look for opportunities to get into some kind of employment that will enable him to take care of the needs of his children. He should never accept the kind of situation in his life where his children are needy and he is doing nothing but tolerating a situation like that. That's not Islamic.

YOU ARE NOT following Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when you take that kind of position, and have that kind of attitude.

It's on the male. That's the purpose of this talk today, to show us clearly the obligation that's on the male parent in a household: The father.

In this religion, brother, you can not escape it. There is no way for you to escape your responsibility. Don't say, "I can't find a job." You have to keep looking for a job. You have to look for a job every day and spend all day looking for it. Don't say you can't find a job yet you are laying around. Keep looking, because you are responsible for your wife's food, clothing and shelter. You are responsible for your children's food, clothing shelter and their education. If you can get it from the public school system, good. If it's free to you, good. But what about their Islamic education? They are not going to give them that. They don't provide that. If you can find some place to give your children that free, that's good.

BUT IF YOU CAN'T find it without paying for it you shouldn't rest until you find a way to earn enough money to pay for your child's Islamic education. I'd rather die trying than to give up while I'm still youthful. So let the men first accept their responsibilities.

Accept your responsibility to be the provider for your family. You are that. God made you that in His Qur'an and by the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him. He has made the man the provider.

If the woman will help you, good. If she will share some of her money with you, good. If she'll work sometime and help, good. If she'll take a full time job that's good if you really need that.

BUT YOU CAN never take the position as a Muslim that she owes you that. She does not owe you that. In this religion, you owe her to keep her from having to do that. And believe me, the more you leave your woman dependent upon outsiders they more you are going to leave your race dependent upon outsiders. If you want to get your race out of dependency on outsiders start right in your home and get your woman from being dependent on outsiders.

I've been to China, Communist China. God blessed me when I became your leader to see many things in this world in the short time I've been your leader — about 11 years or so.

He blessed me to go to Communist China and see what they believe to be the foundation of their economy. They say historically the foundation of the economy has been the family. And it starts with man and woman. A man with a woman tends to work harder and be more productive than a man without a woman. They don't mean a Western sissy with a woman. They mean a man with a woman. They aren't talking about somebody laying up in the house or hanging out on the corner and waiting for his wife to bring him food like he's a little baby. That's not a man. That's a sissy. That's worse than a sissy.

A cheap man will tolerate a situation like that in his life. You're supposed to go out and make an effort to find work. I use to be out of work. My father cut me off and wouldn't allow any assistance to come to me through my mother or anybody. He had that kind of power.

I HAD TO GO out on my own with no reputation in the job market; no record or anything. But I couldn't find any work. The times were bad. But I didn't go out like you all go out. You go out for two or three days and if you don't find any work you say there aren't any jobs.

I told my wife that as long as I am not working I've got to spend the time I would be working looking for a job. I said if I was working I would be punching a clock eight hours and I would go out early in the morning and be back here five or six o'clock. So I'll see you around five or six o'clock. I'm going out looking for a job. And I found a job, too. When I found a piece of a job that wasn't enough, I decided that there must be some way I could make more money than this. So I started washing windows. I went to a hotel on the North side (of Chicago) out on Bryn Mawr and asked them if they needed any windows washed. 1 saw the windows looking kind of bad. They said, "Yes, you do windows? I said. Yes. "So what do you charge? they asked. I first found out what the standard price for the window was. Then 1 went 50 cents under and they gave me the job. They thought I was going to come in there with all of my professional equipment. But 1 went in there knocking on apartment doors asking for permission to hang out of their window. I did the whole hotel.

If you make an effort. Allah will help you.

My wife, began to do things but not out of the house. I didn't want my wife going out of the house. A lot of us are old fashioned. We were Muslims in our nature before the religion came to us. My parents were from the South and didn't believe in sending the wife out to work for strangers. It's still in me. I don't want my wife working for somebody I don't know. And you know what happens in many of these jobs. If they (the women) don't go along with them, they fire them. Or make it hard for them on the job, right? You know that. So I don't want my wife in a situation like that.

I did my best. But she came up with something. She said, "My friends need a baby sitter". So she baby-sat for a couple of girl friends. Pretty soon her reputation got around and she had more babies than she could handle. She was bringing in money, too and that enabled us to make it. I didn't claim anything of what she had. Whatever she got for babysitting I didn't have any claim on it.

RENT. ALL THE utilities, all the bills, food, everything, I accepted it. If she wanted to do something with her money, that was her own free will to do it. It's up to her to do it.

That's what you have to do. You brothers have to do that. Some of you are afraid of marriage because you are afraid of obligation. If you want to improve your situation the best way is to marry. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said "Marriage is half your religion." Now you brothers who are not married, how do you feel living just half of your religion, if you are living that half?

What is the other half? He said the other half is service to Allah. He said half the religion is marriage and the other half is service to Allah. So you have to take care of your family and then serve Allah.

How are you going to serve Allah?

Do you think Allah wants you to feed Him?

Do you think Allah is waiting for you to send Him zakat? So how are you going to serve Allah? By serving the outer community. Get a business. Get a role in the outer community where you are a credit to more people than just your family. Half of it is your family and the other half is the total society. But doing it under God. So really, you're not even doing half. You are not married. And you don't have any constructive work for the benefit of the whole society. Do you think He meant the other side was doing this? (that is, nothing) No. indeed. Because you've got to do that at home. You can stay at home. Five times a day you are supposed to do this (pray) in your house.

AT YOUR HOUSE, do you know you are the Imam? The male head of the house is the imam of the house. He's suppose to accept the role of Imam of his house. That's the tradition of the Prophet, that the male member with the responsibility for his family, should lead the prayers of that house.

Now if you lead the prayers of that house that means that you're supposed to call the adhan. It's an obligation on every male in the household, who is the head of that household, to call the adhan five times a day, if he's there. If you are there for Fajr prayer, you should call adhan for Fajr prayer; if you are there for the noon prayer, you should call the adhan; for the Asr prayer, you should call the adhan; for the Mahgrib prayer, you should call the adhan; for the isha prayer, if you are there, you're supposed to call the adhan. You! Not your children, not your son. not your wife, but you.

The only way that your son does it is if you appoint him because he is 12-years old or more, and has a beautiful voice for adhan. But you're supposed to be there to say, "son, make the adhan."

The key to strengthening the community is strengthening the home. The key to strengthening the race is to strengthen the house-hold and it begins with the man's responsibility. The member of the family that's most responsible person is supposed to be the male member, the adult male member in that household; the husband, the father.

LET  US LOOK at something else in the family house. There was a time, Allah says in the Qur'an, when the Jewish people had no opportunity to establish their community life. They were persecuted and oppressed. To a great extent our religious life is persecuted and we are oppressed in America.

No matter what kind of nice talk they talk on television or in government quarters, these people quietly do not want to see the real Al-Islam established, especially among blacks. They don't want to see it established among whites and nobody else, but especially among blacks. They don't want to see it ever happen. There is a quiet conspiracy going on to undermine the true Islamic efforts in the African-American people. Believe me. Don't be so naive that you believe otherwise.

In a situation like this, we have to look to what the Qur'an has said of other people in the same situation. What did God recommend to the Jews when they were in that situation? He told them to make their home their synagogue. Make your homes your Qiblas. That was for the Jews. That doesn't mean that the Muslim should turn to his home in prayer. No!

It means make or see the sanctuary in you home now because you have no opportunity to observe it in the public. See it at your home. That's your sanctuary. And make it your place of teaching. This is your mosque. Lead your prayers there. Teach your religion there. Carry out your religious obligations from that place, and see it as your sacred place. We are in that situation. We have to make our homes that way.

WE HAVE TO stop looking at our homes now just as a place to live in or to go to sleep in. Let's look at our homes now as a place to establish our Islamic life. That's how we should look at our homes. And brothers, I repeat, you have to accept the responsibility to be the imam in that house.

I did it for a while and got discouraged but I decided that I'm not going to do it alone any more. I decided that I'd come out here and announce it to you all and we would all do it together, and not give up. How many brothers are going to join me in doing that? Praise be to Allah.

If we do that there's going to be a change in the home, a change in the family life. The home environment should change. You get up even if you don't have a job. And if you can do it before you go to the job then get up for Fajr prayer, call the adhan or appoint a son who can do it well. Have him call the adhan and you lead the prayers. If there is no one there to lead, you lead the air behind you. But make the adhan. Make sure everybody heard it. If they are sound sleepers go open the door so they can hear the adhan. Make the adhan. Don't curse anybody out because they didn't get up though. You are going to be under a lot of strain, a lot of burden. It's going to be hard for you. You are going to hate it, feel bad, but try to shut out the bad thoughts in your mind while you're carrying it out.

Sometimes you're looking for somebody to pick on, right? So as soon as one of the members doesn't come down, you are going to preach hell and brimstone. You are going to preach them into hell. Don't do that. All you're supposed to do is make the adhan and give them 15 or 20 minutes to come and then make the prayer. While you're waiting on them, you can do something else around the house. You can get ready or whatever you have to do. You can take care of some need you have or sit down and read the Qur'an or make extra Sun-nah or Nafl prayers, (optional prayers).

Do something constructive around the house. Maybe wash the front room down. They (family members) should make it down within 10 minutes. It doesn't take that long to get up, make ablution and be ready. Give them 15 or 20 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed and nobody has responded, make your iqama. Make it loud if they are sound sleepers. If they aren't sound sleepers, you don't have to holler like that.

MAKE THE IQAMA. Give them about two minutes. If you don't see anybody coming go on and make your prayer and do your day. The obligation is on you first Mr. man.