Zikr-e-Habib: Ideal couple, household work, addresses, and kindness to women


This series, Zikr-e-Habib, explores Prophet Ahmad’sas life and sayings, shedding light on his noble character and the impact of his teachings on his followers and the world at large.

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
The residence of the Promised Messiahas

Ideal couple

Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismail Sahibra said:

“Never in my life have I ever seen or heard that the Promised Messiahas expressed displeasure towards Ummul Momineenra [Hazrat Amma Jan]. Rather, I always saw them in a state that is the epitome of an ideal couple.” (Sirat Hazrat Syeda Nusrat Jahan Begum Sahibara, p. 231)

Being gentle to wives

Hazrat Umme Nasir Sahibara (Bari Apa) said: 

“Once, Hazrat Amma Janra was unwell and the Promised Messiahas was looking after her. While Huzooras was standing and administering medicine, Hazrat Amma Janra got anxious and said, “Oh, I am going to pass away, what would happen to you? I think my life is about to end.” The Promised Messiahas gently whispered to her, “If you pass away, what is there for me to live for?” (Sirat Hazrat Amma Janra, p. 117)

In the context of consorting with wives in kindness, the Promised Messiahas said: 

“With the exception of indecency, you ought to bear with patience all the other improprieties and discourteous behaviour of your wives.”

Then, the Promised Messiahas said: 

“I find it utterly shameful for a man to be in a state of conflict with a woman. God has made us men, and in reality, this is a completion of His favour upon us. The gratitude that we owe for this is to treat women with kindness and tenderness.” 

On a certain occasion, the harsh nature and foul tongue of a certain friend were mentioned to the Promised Messiahas and a complaint was made to him that the individual in question treats his wife in a harsh manner. His Holiness was deeply grieved and said: “Our friends must not be as such.” The Promised Messiahas continued to discuss how men should live lovingly with their wives. In the end, he stated: 

“As for me, I once raised my voice to my wife. At the time, I felt that this louder-than-normal voice of mine was mixed with sentiments of grief. Even though I had said no hurtful or harsh words, I later sought forgiveness from God continuously for a very long time. I offered voluntary prayers with great humility and lowliness, and gave alms as well; for I felt that the sternness I had shown to my wife was due to some unconscious weakness in my obedience to God Almighty.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 2, pp. 178-79)

Performing household work

Dr Mir Muhammad Ismail Sahabra narrated to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra MA that “The Promised Messiahas never hesitated to perform any kind of household work. He used to spread charpoys himself. He would fix the floor. He used to make the beds. If it started raining suddenly, he would not bother the kids sleeping on the charpoys. The Promised Messiahas would hold the charpoy from one side and, with the help of another person, take them inside the verandah. In the given circumstances, if someone would jolt or yell at the children to wake them up quickly, the Promised Messiahas used to forbid and advise them that ‘Shaking or shouting in this way scares a child. Please wake them up gently.’” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, narration 559)

Relating from her husband, Master Ahmad Hussain Faridabadi Sahib, Sakina Begum Sahiba narrated to Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra in writing that “The Promised Messiahas would advise men that they should help their wives in performing household chores as it is a good deed. Huzooras used to say, ‘The Holy Prophetsa would always help his wives with the housework.’ And at the same time, the Promised Messiahas would add that ‘I do not get enough time to [help my wife in its entirety] because of my writing work.’” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 2, narration 1577)

Journey for women

Mentioning the guidance of the Promised Messiahas about shortening the prayers, Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra says: 

“Regarding [the journey] to the town of Nangal, the Promised Messiahas once gave permission to shorten the prayer. This instruction indicates that when a person leaves Qadian with the intention of a journey, even if they have just gone to Nangal, qasr [shortening of prayer] will be permissible for them. This does not mean that only going to Nangal for some work and returning [on the same day] make shortening prayers permissible for someone. On the other hand, it is also possible that travelling to Nangal was declared as a journey only for women […]. Only Allah knows the truth.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, pp. 551-52)

Addressing ladies

The wife of Maulvi Fazluddin Sahib (landlord) of Kharian, through Lajna Imaillah Qadian, narrated to Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra in writing that “I requested [the Promised Messiahas], ‘Hazrat! Men regularly get the opportunity to listen to your addresses. Please, give us some advice as well.’ The Promised Messiahas said, ‘Of course, I will give an address [to women].’ Then at night, the Promised Messiahas called for all the sisters. Several women had recently given birth and were going through postpartum. When they heard [about the Promised Messiah’sas address], they came with eager anticipation, riding on palanquins. I do not remember the whole speech, but what I recall is that the Promised Messiahas said, “[…] They [women] should attend [gatherings] with the intention that they are there to become good Muslims. And regarding prayers, they should take special care that there are some days in which a woman cannot perform prayers nor can they fast.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 2, narration 1394)

On 23 May 1908, some Hindu women came to the door of the Imam of the Age, the Promised Messiahas, and said that they had come to see his blessed countenance. The Promised Messiahas was informed. He very kindly and graciously granted them permission and they went into the house to see him. 

The Promised Messiahas was occupied with writing his book, Paigham-e-Sulh [A Message of Peace]. After a while, he said, “You have seen me. Now you may go.” 

However, they requested that they be addressed and said that this was the purpose of their visit. Due to their insistence and sincerity, the Promised Messiahas addressed them as follows (which he narrated on 24 May 1908 before Asr Prayer). The Promised Messiahas said: 

“The truth of the matter is that if a couple of things were not found in you, you would be a hundred times better than the Aryas, etc. The first among these is that you should worship God, who has created you and me, and is the True Provider, believing Him to be One without any partner. In this worship, no idol should be associated with Him – no other god or goddess, rock or mountain, snake or beast, mother Ganga or Jamna, tree or plant; and He should be worshipped as the One and Only God. What was the need to create these 330 million gods that you have made and why were they made? No one else in the entire world has these many gods.”

Upon hearing this much of his address, these ladies asked him, in their quest for truth, if he could please expound upon this matter. The Promised Messiahas said: 

“Look, beggars are of two kinds – one a transient beggar and the other a stubborn beggar. The attitude of a transient beggar is that he makes a plea once and then moves on to the next door. It is good if he gets something, otherwise, he moves on to the next door. Sometimes people even have to run after them to give them charity. Their job is just to make their call and move on.

“In contrast, the stubborn beggars plant themselves at one door and keep sitting there until their request is met. Such a beggar is surely granted his request in the end. This same is the condition of those who ask from God. Only those people get their request granted by God who stay exclusively at His door like the stubborn beggar. They are resolute and persist in begging relentlessly from Him alone. Those who are irresolute and impatient, who despair or become disgruntled, always remain deprived. 

“Besides sincerity and steadfastness, perfect faith and trust in the Being of God is also essential. It is against sincerity and fidelity to despair of God quickly and to take one’s petitions to others. To go from door to door to beg one idol and then carry one’s request for help to some other deity, rock, mountain, tree in the forest, or Ganga water, shows a lack of trust in the One God and a lack of full conviction that He is the One who fulfils all one’s needs. It is against the character of the stubborn beggar to give up quickly and turn to others for one’s needs, having become despaired of God. It is absolutely wrong to make one god after another and to seek fulfilment of one’s exigencies from each and go on abandoning them one after the other. One ought instead to adhere to the One and beg Him alone for all one’s needs. He provides for the needs of everyone. Patience, perseverance, and faith are the prerequisites.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, pp. 569-71)

Advice to women

Mai Amir Bibi aka Mai Kaku, sister of Mian Imamuddin Sahib Sekhwani, told Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra that the Promised Messiahas used to advise women to pray on a regular basis, learn the translation of the Holy Quran and fulfil the rights of their husbands. Whenever a woman pledged allegiance, the Promised Messiahas would ask if they could read the Holy Quran or not. If they did know how to read the Holy Quran, the Promised Messiahas would advise them to learn and read it. If they knew how to read the Holy Quran, the Promised Messiahas would instruct them to learn the translation as well, so that they could acquire knowledge of the commandments of the Holy Quran and be able to follow them.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, narration 849)

Kindness towards women

The Promised Messiahas said:

“People have committed errors as far as interacting and treating women and children is concerned, and they have gone astray from the right path. The Holy Quran states:

عَاشِرُوْهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ

‘Consort with them in kindness.’ [Surah an-Nisa, Ch.4: V.20]

“But today, people are acting in a manner that is opposed to this teaching. […] Study the pure life of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, so that you may see how kind he was. Even though the Holy Prophetsa had an awe-inspiring personality, if an old woman stopped him, he would stand there until the lady would permit him to leave. He would go to the market himself and bring his household items. […]

“On certain occasions, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even had a race with Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her. On one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa outran her, and on another occasion, he went easy so that Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, could outrun him, and so she overtook him. Similarly, it is also proven that on one occasion, a few Abyssinians came to show an entertaining spectacle. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, showed Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, their demonstration.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 3, pp. 295-97)

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