Hello everyone! As I am sure you all understand, I write from the perspective of a white, American female convert to Islam. That is a pretty specific niche, so to broaden my scope a little bit, I have asked my husband to share some of his thoughts with me on what it means to be a Muslim man. I hope you all enjoy hearing from him! On a side note, I am really wanting to get more guest posts happening on this site, especially from other converts. I already have a few people in mind that I would like to reach out to, but if you know anyone or if you yourself think you would be a good fit to write a guest post for this blog, please do get in touch!
Salaam alaikum, Djamel here!
There are a lot of cultural misconceptions about what it means to be “manly;” you have to be tough, muscled, preferably with a nice beard, and most importantly you can never have feelings. You are the king of the house and you best get your way.
These kinds of attitudes are an issue not only in places like the United States and England but even in Muslim countries like Algeria, where I grew up. To be a real man here you have to drive this car, to wear this brand of t-shirt, to buy your wife this many grams of gold…
But this is all surface level, and not necessarily what Islam teaches us about being a real man.
Today I want to talk about just one part of Islam’s teachings on how a real man should act, one that is very important to me: how a man treats his family.
There seem to be many misconceptions about what Islam teaches about how a man treats his family, from inside and outside of the community. Many think that because the man is the “head” of the family, this means that he can be the ruler of the house, expecting everything to be done his way, all the time, because he says so.
But that is not the case. In one hadith the Prophet (pbuh) likens a man as the head of a family to a shepherd taking care of his flock. I don’t know about you, but what I think of when I think of a shepherd and his sheep is care, gentleness, and love.
Aisha (ra) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.”
Sunan At-Tirmidhi 3895
It is true that it is a man’s Islamic duty to work and support the family from his money, but his role is also much greater than this. Like a shepherd, it is also his job to guide and protect them, and treat them with love and gentleness.
This is the attitude you should have not only with your own wife and children, but also with your mother and father as they start to get older.
This is one part of my life where I myself try extra hard to follow the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) and his way of treating his family. For both my wife and my mother, I always try to treat them with respect, even if we argue (especially with your wife, you have to learn to forgive and forget very fast!).
When I am at home in Algeria, I always try to help my mom out in whatever ways I can, and I do the same at home every day with my wife.
Aisha (ra) was asked, “What did the Prophet (pbuh) 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.”
As I am trying to think of what else I want to say my wife is reminding me of some of the things I do that she really appreciates: cutting pomegranates for her, cooking for her, bringing her a surprise when I come home (it can be something as simple as a nice pastry to have with tea!), hugging her all the time, letting her scroll through all the cat pictures in my Facebook feed, and taking all the white meat off of the chicken for her.
I won’t ever say that I am a perfect husband or son, because no one can be, but this is one place where I focus a lot of energy on living Islam fully. I hope inshAllah one day when we have kids, I will be able to practice this even better, and bring them up with the same love and respect for family that I was brought up with!
Something else that it is very important to work hard at, is balancing your time between your parents, especially your mom, and your wife. I have found that sometimes it can be very hard to do this, especially when they speak two different languages. Alhamdulillah my mom and my wife get along really well and don’t have any issues, but it is my job to make sure I am balancing my time with each of them and that they both feel that I love them and listen to them, in order to stop any problems from coming up.
There is so much more that I could talk about with regards to family, but I think I have to leave it at these few important points…
Hello again! I hope you all enjoyed hearing my husband’s views of some of the important family duties of men in Islam. I am sorry if the writing is a bit awkward at points, my husband is not a native English speaker, so I tried to correct the grammar as much as I could in a few spots! As always I would love to hear your thoughts on what it means to be a “real” man in Islam, and what kinds of stereotypes you find yourself combating in regards to Muslim men. See you next week, God willing!