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Balancing daily worship and family commitments

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I feel overwhelmed with my daily schedule of worship. I wake up about 60 minutes before Fajr time comes in, and perform makeup prayers (about 2 ½ days worth). Then, I do a lot of dua, and read fiqh. I also do an hour of makeup prayers at night, and recite Qur’an. This takes an hour and a half or so…My family is worried that I am doing too much, and question me about this. What do I tell them? Also, they keep asking me to help them, which sometimes gets me off my schedule, and gets me frustrated whenever that happens, even if through other reasons… like laziness…

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

1. Family:

Deal with them with love and wisdom. Smile, be nice, and be the best child they could ever want or expect. Then, they’ll let you get away with anything short of murder, and this excellence to parents will be a great source of baraka and success (tawfiq) in your life.

Allah says, “We have instructed man to honor his parents,” [Qur’an, 29:8]

Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ud said, “I asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) “Which action does Allah Almighty love the most?” He said, “The prayer at its time.” I said, “Then what?” He said, “Being good to parents.” I said, “Then what?” He said, “Jihad in the path of Allah.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Anyone who desires to expand their provision or to prolong the best of their life should maintain family relations.'” [Bukhari & Muslim]

And Allah knows best, and He alone gives success.

2. Schedule and Frustration

One should only take on as much worship as one can sustain. The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Take from works that which you are able to sustain, for Allah does not tire [of rewarding you] until you tire [of works].” The sunna is to do everything that is obligatory, and then to build one’s deen (outwardly and, most importantly, inwardly) in a systematic, gradual, sustainable manner.

Shaytan wants us to take on more and more, in a rush, until we cannot manage and simply slack off or, worse, leave practicing.

How do we know what to do?

Allah Most High said in the Qur’an, “O you who believe, fear Allah and be with the righteous.” One should keep company with the best believers one can find in one’s area, and have righteous scholars one seeks guidance and knowledge from.

How do I balance?

The scholars mention that a basic principal of life in Islam is that one must, “Give everyone who has a right their due right,” as the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said in a hadith related by Bukhari in his Sahih.

As such, you have a right over yourself to worship your Lord, and take the means to drawing closer to Him, and attaining unto His Love and Pleasure. But your family has a right over you, too, as do your immediate relatives, and others. So a believer seeks to balance these rights and duties with wisdom, seeking always to maximize the good, and to deal with everyone, everything, and every situation with excellence (ihsan).

(See: Chapters from Riyad al-Salihin, below.)

And Allah knows best.

Faraz Rabbani.
Walaikum assalam.

Two Chapters from Riyad al-Salihin by Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him)

Moderation in Worship & Perseverance in Actions

 

[Ustadha Ayesha Bewley’s translation]

14. Chapter: On Moderation in Worship

Allah says, “Ta Ha. We did not send down the Qur’an to you to make you miserable,” (20:1) and the Almighty says, “Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you.” (W2:184; H2:185)

142. ‘A’isha reported that that once the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) came when a woman was with her. He asked, “Who is this?” She replied, “So-and-so,” and told him about the amount she prayed. He said, “Stop! You must only do what you are able. By Allah, Allah does not grow weary [of giving rewards] as you grow weary, and the deen He likes best is the one in which there is constancy.” [Agreed upon]

143. Anas said, “Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to ask about how the Prophet worshipped. When they were told, it was as if they thought it was little and said, ‘Where are we in relation to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who has been forgiven his past and future wrong actions?'” He said, “One of them said, ‘I will pray all of every night.’ Another said, ‘I will fast all the time and not break the fast.’ The other said, “I will withdraw from women and never marry.’ The Messenger of Allah came to them and said, ‘Are you the ones who said such-and-such? By Allah, I am the one among you with the most fear and awareness of Allah, but I fast and break the fast, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever disdains my sunna is not with me.'” [Agreed upon]

144. Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Those who make things hard for themselves will be destroyed.” He said it three times. [Muslin]

145. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The deen is easy. Anyone who makes the deen too hard on himself will find it becomes too much for him. So aim for what is right, follow a middle path, accept the good news of the reward for right action, and seek help [to reach your goal by being constant in worshipping] in the morning, evening and some of the night.” [al-Bukhari]

In one variant of al-Bukhari, “so aim for what is right, follow a middle path, and head for the goal in the morning, evening and some of the night and you will reach the goal.”

146. Anas said, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) entered the mosque and there was a rope hanging between two pillars. He asked, ‘What is this rope?’ They replied, ‘The rope belongs to Zaynab. When she is tired, she hangs on to it.’ The Prophet said, ‘No ­ remove it. You should pray as long as you have the energy for it. When you are tired, you should sit down.'” [Agreed upon]

147. ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When one of you dozes off while he is praying, he should go and lie down until he is no longer sleepy. If someone prays when he is drowsy, he may not know whether he is asking for forgiveness or asking for something bad for himself.” [Agreed upon]

148. Abu ‘Abdullah Jabir ibn Samura said, “I used to pray the prayers with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his prayer was of medium length and his khutba was of medium length.” [Muslim]

149. Abu Juhayfa Wahb ibn ‘Abdullah said, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) joined Salman and Abu’d-Darda’ together in brotherhood. Salman visited Abu’d-Darda’ and saw Umm ad-Darda’ poorly dressed and said to her, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ She said, ‘Your brother Abu’d-Darda’ has no need of this world.’ Abu’d – Darda’ came and made some food for him. Salman said, ‘Eat.’ He said, ‘I am fasting.’ Salman said, ‘I will not eat unless you eat.'” He said, “He ate. In the night, Abu’d-Darda’ went to stand in prayer and Salman said to him, ‘Sleep!’ and he slept. Then he got up again and Salman said, ‘Sleep!’ At the end of the night, Salman said, ‘Now get up and we will pray.’ Salman said to him, ‘Your Lord has rights over you and your self has rights over you, so give those with rights their due.’ Abu’d-Darda’ came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and mentioned this to him and the Prophet said, ‘Salman spoke the truth.'” [al-Bukhari]

150. Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As said, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was informed that I had said, ‘By Allah, I will fast all day and pray all night for as long as I live. The Prophet asked, ‘Did you say that ?’ I said to him, ‘I did say it, may my father and mother be your ransom, Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘You will not be able to do it. So fast and break the fast, and pray and sleep. Fast three days of the month and since every good action is multiplied by ten that will be like fasting all the time.’ I said. ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Then fast one day and break the fast for two days.’ I said, “I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Then fast one day and break the fast the next. That is the fast of Da’ud, peace be upon him, and it is the fairest fast.’ (One variant has, ‘It is the best fast.’) I said, ‘I can do better than that.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘There is nothing better than that.’ Now I would my acceptance of the three days which the Prophet said over my family and my property.”

In one variant, “‘Have I not been informed that you fast all day and pray all night?’ I said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘Do not do it. Fast and break the fast, and sleep and pray. Your body has a right over you, your eye has a right over you, your wife has a right over you, and your visitor has a right over you. It is enough for you to fast three days out of every month. Every good action is multiplied by ten, so that is like fasting all the time.’ But I was austere then and made things hard for myself. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, I feel strong.’ He said, ‘Fast the fast of the Prophet of Allah, Da’ud, but do not do more than that.’ I said, ‘What is the fast of Da’ud?’ He said, ‘Half the time.'” When he was old, ‘Abdullah used to say, “Would that I had accepted the easement of the Messenger of Allah!”

In one variant, “‘Am I not told that you fast all the time and recite the Qur’an every night?’ I said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah, and I only desire good by that.’ He said, ‘Fast the fast of the Prophet of Allah, Da’ud. He was the person with the most acts of worship. Recite the Qur’an once a month.’ I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Then recite it in twenty days.’ I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Then recite it every ten days.’ I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Then recite it every seven days, but do not exceed that.’ I was austere and made things hard for myself and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me, ‘You do not know. You may live a long time.’ Then what the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had said to me came to pass and when I was old, I wished that I had accepted the easement of the Prophet of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

In one variant, “Your child has a right over you.”

In one variant, “Someone who fasts all the time has no fast” three times.

In one variant, “The fast which Allah Almighty loves best was the fast of Da’ud, and the prayer which Allah Almighty loves best is the prayer of Da’ud. He used to sleep half of the night and pray one third of it and then sleep a sixth. He used to fast one day and break the fast the next day. He did not flee when he met the enemy.”

He said in one variant, “My father married me to a woman of good lineage and he used to consult his daughter – in – law – i.e. his son’s wife – and ask her about her husband. She would say to him, ‘An excellent man! A man who has not slept with us in a bed nor removed the veil from us since we came to him!’ When that went on for a long time, he mentioned that to the Prophet said, ‘Send him to me.’ So I went to meet him after that and he said, ‘How often do you fast?’ I said, ‘Every day.’ He said, ‘How often do you complete the Qur’an?’ I said, ‘Every night.'” and he mentioned something similar to what is above. He used to recite a seventh of what he recited to one of his family reading it in the day so that it would be lessened for him at night. When he wanted to gain some strength, he would break the fast for some days, counting them, and then fast the same number later not wanting to abandon anything that he had told the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) he would do.

All these variants are sound and most are in the two Sahih Collections.

151. Abu Rib’i Hanzala ibn ar-Rabi’ al-Usaydi the scribe, one of the scribes of the Messenger of Allah, said, “Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, met me and said, ‘How are you, Hanzala?’ I said, ‘Hanzala is a hypocrite!’ I said, Glory be to Allah! What are you saying!’ I said, ‘We were with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who reminded us of the Garden and the Fire and it was as if we could see them with our eyes. When we leave the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) we attend to our wives, children and estates in a state of great heedlessness.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘By Allah, we have experienced the same as this!’ So Abu Bakr and I went to visit the Messenger of Allah and I said, ‘Hanzala is a hypocrite, Messenger of Allah!’ The Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Why is that?’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, when we are with you, you remind us of the Garden and Fire and it is as if we could see them with our eyes. When we leave your presence, we attend to our wives, children and estates in a state of great heedlessness.’ The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘By the One in whose hand my soul is, if you were to remain in the state you are in when you are in my presence and in the dhikr, the angels would shake hands with you on your bed and in the street, but, Hanzala, different times are not the same.’ three times.” [Muslim]

152. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Once while the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was speaking, a man remained standing, and he asked about him. They said, ‘It is Abu Isra’il who vowed to stand in the sun and not sit down nor seek shade nor speak and to fast.’ The Prophet said, ‘Command him to speak, to seek shade and to sit down but he should complete his fast.'” [al-Bukhari]
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15. Chapter: On perseverance in actions

Allah Almighty says, “Has the time not arrived for the hearts of those who believe to yield to the remembrance of Allah and to the Truth He has sent down and not to be like those who were given the Book before for whom the time seemed over long so that their hearts became hard?” (57:16) and the Almighty says, “Then We sent Our Messengers following in their footsteps and sent ‘Isa son of Maryam after them, giving him the Injil. We put compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. They invented monasticism ­ We did not prescribe it for them ­ purely out of desire for the pleasure of Allah, but even so they did not observe it as it should have been observed.” (57:27) The Almighty says, “Do not be like a woman who spoils the thread she has spun by unravelling it after it is strong.” (16:92) and the Almighty says, “And worship your Lord until what is Certain comes to you.” (15:99)

The hadiths regarding this include the hadith of ‘A’isha, “The deen He likes best is the one in which there is constancy,” which is in the previous chapter.

153. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If anyone sleeps through his hizb in the night, or through something else he normally does, and then recites between the Fajr prayer and the Dhuhr prayer, it is written for it as if he had recited it during the night.” [Muslim]

154. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As said, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me, “‘Abdullah, do not be like so-and-so who used to pray at night and then stopped doing it.'” [Agreed upon]

155. ‘A’isha said, “When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) missed the night prayers due to illness or some other reason, he would pray twelve rak’ats during the day.” [Muslim]

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