Motivation to do household chores for Muslimah homemakers in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
In this age of women empowerment; career oriented women, financially independent women, entrepreneurial women, professional women; the modest homemaking sister may feel a little humbled. She may feel intimidated and this may result in losing interest in her household duties. She may feel lack of self worth and self-confidence. But dear fellow muslim sister, don’t be disheartened, you are doing the best job in the world and you will be rewarded in the Akhirah in sha Allah. You may not be earning a few dollars or pounds or dinars, but dear sister, you are earning yourselves palaces in Jannah in sha Allah.
This article is for those sisters who sometimes dread the daily chores(like me). Not all of us love cleaning, cooking, organizing and washing day in and out. Not all of us are good at it. In fact, some of us do hate it. But like it or not, we all have to do it. It can get depressing sometimes and now and then, we all are in need of some motivation to continue.
1. The most important duty a wife or mother is entrusted with is cooking. Cooking can be tedious at times but it can also be fun and interesting. Change your approach. Keep trying something new. Let these hadith be your motivation:
This hadith : Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
A man asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): “Which act in Islam is the best?” He (ﷺ) replied, “To give food, and to greet everyone, whether you know or you do not.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Narrated Abu Musa:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Free the captives, feed the hungry and pay a visit to the sick.” (Bukhari)
Think about the ajr. Cook with the intention of pleasing Allah. Don’t do it, because you have to do it but try to think of all the ajr we will get in preparing and providing healthy meals for our family. We are responsible for the health of all our family members. The outside food is full of unhealthy stuff and if consumed regularly it will damage health of our family.
Tips to make cooking easy:
1. Try something new occasionally to avoid monotony and ward off boredom.
2. Mix things up.
3. Try to make healthy food so that you feel good about it.
4. Maintain a colorful, beautiful journal or a blog full of your recipes and pictures of your dishes so that you enjoy the process more.
5. Plan the menu of a week in advance. Planning will give you more control and the make the job easier.
6. Do meal prepping before hand, prepare and store spice mixes and pastes to save time.
7. Watch cooking shows like Master Chef. They inspire you to cook more often and better food.
8. Though there are several youtube videos and channels, blogs and websites teaching cooking and showing different recipes,I suggest the newbies to learn from their mothers. Mothers are the best teachers. And without knowing the basics, its futile to attempt complicated and difficult dishes.
First of all, we must be thankful that we now have washing machines which have reduced our burden to such a great extent. There are still some ladies who are hand washing all the family members clothes everyday. I personally find no problem in doing the laundry, drying them and folding it. Because all you have to do is just throw the clothes in the washer, click some buttons and take them out when done.
Tips to make laundry easy:
1. Ask your family members to thoroughly check the pockets of their clothes before keeping them in laundry basket to make your job easier.
2. Keep separate baskets or separate sections in the basket for whites and colors.
3. Keep underwear and socks separately as they are washed separately.
I find folding clothes very relaxing but sometimes we may be pressed for time. Do it at the end of the day while chatting with family.
Washing the dishes:
This is one chore that honestly, I hate the most. It is extremely tedious and you can never say, you are done with it. There will always be a dirty dish left somewhere in the fridge or you will have a dirty one within 5 minutes of finishing all the dishes. Dishwashing never ends. It’s better to buy a dishwasher. Or get a maid. Saving up money and buying a dishwasher is the best option.
Tips for those who can’t afford either :
1. Tackle dirty dishes immediately. Never let them pile up.
2. Don’t use too many dishes. Try to reduce the number of dishes you use.
3. Rinse quickly any that are not too dirty.
4. If you have a double sink, fill one with hot water and dishwashing liquid and soak all the dirty dishes in it. Fill the other sink with cold water. After scrubbing the dishes in hot water sink, move them to the other sink and rinse them all together in the end. This will save you a lot of time and effort.
Cleaning and organizing:
There are several motivators for these chores:
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty.”
A clean home is a beautiful home. A clean and organized kitchen is easier to work in. A clean and organized home is peaceful to live in. It makes mind calm and relaxed.
Tips to make cleaning easy:
1. Try minimalism. That way you will have less stuff to deal with. The less stuff there is, the less effort and time it will take to clean and maintain it.
`Abdullah bin `Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.” (Bukhari)
Own only what is absolutely essential, and only as much as you can handle without getting crazy. Do regular decluttering to get rid of stuff you no longer need.
2. Many of us love shopping and keep buying things. Then we soon realize that most of these things neither have a place nor purpose in our homes. And we don’t give it away thinking that may be someday these things will come in use. Till that time, these items keep gathering dust, taking up precious space in our homes, and adding to the clutter. It is wastage of our time and effort every time we clean it although we never use it. And soon, we will forget that we even have it.
If you are an obsessive shopper, at least keep giving away the stuff you no longer use to prevent chaos in your home.
“And waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)”
Follow this rule : When you buy one item, donate one item. This way you will gain both ajr and peace of mind.
3. Don’t get fooled by sales and discounts.
We often end up buying stuff we don’t need if its on sale. We think we are being smart and are saving money but instead we are only wasting money because we are being fooled into buying something, we would never buy if the product was not on sale.
“And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskîn (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift .
Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatîn (devils), and the Shaitân (Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord”
4. Buy only what you need, whether it’s on sale or not.
Be careful with grocery shopping in bulk. Food items have expiry dates, they rot, they get infested and your fridge can only hold so much. Don’t buy something in bulk you don’t consume regularly only to throw it away in trash and not feeling guilty because you didn’t technically waste money. No. You are wasting food and that’s wrong.
And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)”
5. Do a thorough check of your fridge at least once in a week to avoid food wastage.
Similarly, do a complete check of your entire kitchen cabinets to see what dry foods you have.
6. Most of the nuts, dried fruits, spices can be stored in fridge and freezer. Keep only small quantity in your cabinets and store the rest in them.
7. Invest in an easy to carry and light vacuum to make cleaning easy.
Vacuuming collects the dust efficiently and throws it outside the home. Sweeping or using a traditional broom only circulates the dust inside from one corner to the other. Vacuum at least once a week to keep your home dustless.
8. Clean as you go. Have a cleaning routine. Make it easy and fun.
Make a list of daily, weekly and monthly activities and stick to your plan. Be consistent but don’t go overboard. Relax when you feel overwhelmed. Enlist help of all family members. They are plenty of planners, tools and apps available online.
9. Make sure your home is at least as clean as your husband wants.
Umm Salamah (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her, she will enter Jannah.”
Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “ A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them.”
When you get too tired of the chores, do this dhikr before going to bed, as suggested by Prophet Muhammad(P.B.U.H) : Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhumdulillah : 33 times, Allah Akbar : 34 times. (Bukhari) https://www.sunnah.com/bukhari/57/22
Homemaking is hard work and yet highly under appreciated. Sometimes it may happen that you have spent all day cleaning, yet your husband doesn’t notice or doesn’t appreciate it. Don’t get disheartened at such times. Know for sure, that whether anyone sees or not Allah is definitely seeing. Whether anyone appreciates or not, Allah will definitely appreciate. Do it for the sake of Allah and reap the rewards on the Day of Judgment in sha Allah.
What are your motivators when you feel burnt out? Do let me know in the comments.