The recreational side of the Prophet's dealing with his wives
First, his approval of looking at permissible entertainments: This was
illustrated in the two following examples:
A- The Prophet permitted his family to look at permissible entertainments on the Day of `Eid:
This is confirmed by the Hadith which `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: "...It was the day of `Eid, and the Black people were playing with Daraq and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in affirmative. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! O Banu Arfidah,” until I got tired. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave."
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar said: "The Hadith is a proof on the permissibility of looking at permissible entertainments. The Hadith is also a proof on the good manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with his family and his kind treatment toward them."
B- Examples of permissible entertainment: The Prophet permitted his family to look at permissible entertainments in other than the Day of `Eid:
This was confirmed by the Hadith of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who narrated: “When the delegation of Ethiopia came to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), they were playing in the masjid (displaying their skill with spears). The Prophet (peace be upon him) was screening me with his Rida’ (garment covering the upper part of the body) while I was looking at the Ethiopians who were playing in the courtyard of the Masjid. (I continued watching) until I was satisfied. So you may deduct from this event how a little girl (who has not reached the age of puberty) who is eager to enjoy amusement should be treated in this respect."
In another narration, she said: “Once I saw Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) at the door of my house while some Ethiopians were playing in the Masjid (displaying their skill with spears).”
In another narration, she said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting when we heard clamor and voices of children. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stood up and saw an Ethiopian young girl was dancing and boys were around her. Thereupon, he said: O `A'ishah, come and see. So, I came and placed my chin on the Prophet's shoulder so I could see her from the area between his shoulder and head. He said to me: Are not satisfied, Are not satisfied? She said: I kept on saying: no, so I can see my status to him. `Umar showed up. The narrator said: The people Arfada . She said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: I could see that the devils of human and jinn fled when they saw `Umar. She said: Then, I went back.”
In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said on that day: “So that the Jews would know that we have a room for entertainment in our religion because I was sent with pure and easy religion.”
There is another Hadith shows some words which the people of Abyssinia used to say in their entertainments. It was reported in the Hadith of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that some Abyssinians came before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and spoke of words that he did not understand. Anas said: O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), what did they say? He said: They say: Muhammad is a good servant.
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar deducted from the narration of: "when the delegation of Abyssinia came to the Messenger Allah (peace be upon him)" that the mentioned accident took place after the conquest of Khaybar and after the arrival of Ja`far ibn Abu Talib to Madinah. It is well-known that the conquest of Khaybar was in the month of Maharram (the first month of the Islamic Calendar) in the seventh year after Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah). I depended on the above-mentioned Hadith in proving that the Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted his family to look at permissible entertainments in other than the Day of `Eid.
The first example was the looking of `A'ishah at the Sudanese who were playing on the Day of `Eid. The second example was a proof that `A'ishah looked at the Abyssinians while playing with their spears but with no indication that the accident took place on the Day of `Eid; do the two narrations refer to one story?
This is possible. However, I suggest they are two different stories. The mentioned “play” took place twice: once on the Day of `Eid by the Sudanese and the second time at the arrival of Ja`far after the conquest of Khaybar depending on the narration of Ibn Hibban which reads: "When the delegation of Abyssinia came." It seems to me that it was the delegation which came with Ja`far ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) because of his saying: "They stood up to play." The proof is the narration of Anas that the Abyssinians were dancing and speaking with ambiguous words that he did not understand.
This shows that they were visitors of Madinah and not inhabitants.
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Second, from the examples to the recreational side is the Prophet's approval to
his family to hear permissible singing of slave girls on the Day `Eid:
The proof to that is the Hadith of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) entered upon me [on the Day of `Eid-ul-Fitr or `Eid-ul-Adha] while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar concerning the Day of Bu`ath. [She said: And they were not professional singers.] He lied on the bed and turned away his face. Abu Bakr came in and rebuked me. He said: "Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him)! " The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to him and said: "[O Abu Bakr! Let them. There is an `Eid for every nation and this is our `Eid]. " When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I waved the two girls to go away and they left.”
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar (may Allah be merciful with him) said: "This Hadith contains many useful references: Gentleness — when treating women, gaining their intimacy, showing happiness in Muslim festivals — is one of the mottos of our religion, the permissibility of giving more expenditure for children during the days of `Eid to make them happy, and taking rest from the acts of worship by entertaining oneself.
The Hadith also contains a proof to the permissibility of listening to the voice of slave girls while singing even if they are not in your possession because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not object to Abu Bakr when he heard their singing, but objected to his objection itself. The two slave girls kept on singing until `A'ishah waved to them to leave. It is well-known that it is permissible to listen to them if sedition will not prevail.”
The meaning of his saying: "They were not singers" i.e., they do not know how to sing like the professional singers. This is a good reference (of her) to exclude professional singings that arouse feelings and emotions. If this kind of non-professional singing contains poetry that describes the beauties of women, wine, and other prohibited matters, there is an agreement (among scholars) to its prohibition.
Imam Al Muhallab ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Sufrah: "The people of Madinah used to see no harm in singing (before the prohibition of singing), however the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr did not see that therefore, Abu Bakr objected to the two singers who were in the house of `A'ishah because he did not see them before in the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave concession to (permissible) singing during the days of `Eid and during the banquets of announcing marriage.”
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Third, his approval to women to accompany other women and have (permissible) fun
Form these examples, the Hadith of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “I used to play with (female dolls) in the presence of the Prophet, (peace be upon him) and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) entered (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves , but the Prophet (peace be upon him) would call them to join and play with me.”
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar said:
“The Hadith is a proof to the permissibility of buying dolls to girls and playing with them; this was excluded from the general prohibition of buying statues. This is also the view of `Iyad who reported the view of the majority of scholars in this regard.”
It is good to denote that Imam Al Bukhari (may Allah be merciful with him) mentioned this Hadith under the title: "Chapter on showing leniency to people"
Ibn Mas`ud said: "Associate with people without affecting your religion." Then he said: and be funny with your family.
This is a delicate deduction from the Hadith and he wanted to say: This Hadith signifies the permissibility of being funny with one's family. (Being funny means: saying nice words and having sense of humor).
It is worth mentioning that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to play with dolls and used to shape them in funny forms. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also used to be funny with her and share her laughter. The proof to that is the Hadith of `A'ishah who said: When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) arrived after the expedition to Tabuk or Khaybar (the narrator is doubtful), the draught raised an end of a curtain which was hung in front of her store-room (in Sahwatiha), revealing some dolls which belonged to her. He asked: What is this? She replied: My dolls. Among them he saw a horse with wings made of rags (Riqa`), and asked: What is this I see among them? She replied: A horse. He asked: What is this that it has on it? She replied: Two wings. He asked: A horse with two wings? She replied: Have you not heard that Solomon had horses with wings? She said: Thereupon the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) laughed so heartily that I could see his molar teeth.
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Fourth, Physical exercise:
One of the manifestations of the Prophet's kind treatment with his family in the recreational side is: physical exercise with his wives.
For example, racing:
The proof is the Hadith of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she was with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on a journey while she was a young girl. She said: I was not fleshy, then he said to his Companions: (proceed) and so they did.
Then he said to me: (Come so I can race you). I outstripped him on my feet. After a while, when I came out with him on a journey, he said to his Companions: (proceed). Then he said: (Come so I can race you). I forgot what had happened before and I became fleshy. She said: O Messenger of Allah, how can I race you and I became fleshy? He said: (you will do that). So, I raced him, but he beat me. He laughed and said: (this time for the previous time (in which you had beaten me)).
The Hadith signifies the kind treatment of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with his family. It also indicates the permissibility of physical sport to one's wife if these exercises are disciplined by Shari`ah rulings because they activate one's organs, relieve oneself, exhort to activism, and remove boredom and ponderosity.
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Fifth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take his wives during his travels
and used to have chat with them:
Examples of the recreational side: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take his wives with him in his travels, walk with them at night, and chat with them.
The proof to that is what `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that “Whenever Allah's Messenger intended to go on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives. At that time, the lot fell on `A'ishah and Hafsah and the prophet (peace be upon him) used to chat with `A'ishah at night. Hafsah said: would you ride my camel tonight and I ride yours so that you can see (different views) and I can see (different views too). She said: Yes, sure. She rode, then the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the camel of `A'ishah which carried Hafsah greeted her (and chatted with her) until they stopped; at that time `A'ishah missed him..."
Benefits gained from this Hadith:
A person should take his wife (or wives) in his travels and choose the proper circumstances to facilitate her (or their) journey with him. Many husbands, who live in the Islamic communities, have lost this Prophetic etiquette these days. Man got used to live during his travels as well as his residence alone and women used to live their life separately away from their husbands very often. This action has many bad consequences on the Muslim families and will lead to breaking the relationship and to separation.
A Muslim should follow the Prophetic guidance in this regard because taking his family on journeys, walking with them at night, and chatting with them have great effects in increasing harmony, intimacy, and understanding in between.
From the Jurisprudential rulings deducted from this Hadith are:
The permissibility of drawing lots when distributing something among partners. This view was adopted by the majority, but the Maliki school of Fiqh disagreed to that because they had another view concerning this Hadith. Al-Qurtuby (may Allah be merciful with him) said: This should be different according to the type of women. The permissibility of drawing lots is permissible when their types are the same in order not to give preference to one of them without reason.
They justified their view by saying: Some women may be useful in travel than others, so if lots went to those who are not useful in travel, it will be harmful to men and vice-versa, some women may be more useful for the house than others.
I said: This disagreement is strong in regard to the one who is married than two women such as marrying four women. As for those who married two women, he may take one wife at a time on journey. As for those who are married to one woman, they are not concerned with this disagreement.
It should be mentioned here that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was extremely pitiful for his family in travel.
From the manifestations of his pity, mercy, and tender is that he used to prepare a soft place for them to sit on during the journey, and he used to put his knees for them to mount on. The proof is the Hadith that was reported from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “…Then we set out for Madinah (returning from Khaybar) I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) covering her with a cloak while she was behind him. Then he would sit beside his camel and let Safiya put her feet on his knees to ride (the camel)…”
From the manifestations of his pity for his family in travel that he (peace be upon him) commanded the one who drove camels to go easy with them. The proof to that was reported in the Hadith of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was on a journey and took with him a Jewish boy, who was called Anjashah, and was driving camels [and he had a nice voice]. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "O Anjashah, go easy with flasks."
The meaning is: Be gentle with (flasks) i.e., women.
Al Khattaby (may Allah be merciful with him) said: Anjashah was black and he was driving camels violently, therefore, he commanded him to be gentle. It was said: He had a nice voice and used to sing while driving camels, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked that women would listen to him singing because sweet voices move emotions. Therefore, he likened their weak determinations and of being susceptible to flasks which are fragile. Ibn Battal hold the first meaning, whereas Abu `Ubaydah Al Harawy and Al Qady `Ayyad hold the second view and Al Qurtuby permitted both things. He said: He likened them with flasks because of being susceptible and persistence, so he got feared for them because of quick-marching: falling, feeling pain from the frequent movement, and the disturbance resulting from the speed or feared for them to be affected by sedition if they listen to the anthem.
Combining between these views is good and reasonable.
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his approval of amusement, fun, and smiling at his wives:
From the examples of the recreational side: the Prophet's approval of amusement and smiling at his wives:
This was approved by the Hadith of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “One day Sawdah visited us. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sat between me and her: one of his feet was in my lap while the other was in her lap. So, I made Harirah (soup cooked from flour, fat and water) and I said: eat. However, she refused. I said: You eat or I shall taint your face, but she refused. Thereupon, I took a piece of it and tainted her face with. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) lifted his leg from her lap so that she could take revenge of me. She took a piece from the plate and tainted my face with while the Messenger Allah (peace be upon him) was laughing…”
It is well-known that Sawdah had a good relationship with `A'ishah because she was of her party. The proof is the Hadith which `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the wives of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) were divided into two groups. One group consisted of `A’ishah, Hafsah, Safiyyah and Saudah; and the other group consisted of Um Salamah and the other wives of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). She was the one who denoted the day which she used to spend with the Messenger of Allah to `A'ishah, so it is not strange that they joke with one another like this in the presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he was laughing at their situations.
From the examples of his sense of humor and smiling at them is the Hadith which `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came back from a funeral in Baqi` and found me having a headache, saying "O my head". Thereupon, he said: "It is me `A'ishah who is complaining of headache." Then he said: "What will happen if you die before me, then I stood up, washed you, shroud you, offer Salah on you, and buried you?" She said: I think if I die, you will go back home to spend the night with one of your wives. She said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) smiled then the pain because of which he died started.
No doubt that nice joking and sense of humor lead to removing barriers, amusing oneself, and inculcating the seeds of friendship between spouses.
Seventh, the Prophet's listening to witticism and social news:
From the features of the Prophet's kindness in dealing with his wives in the recreational side is listening to witticism from his wives:
The proof to that is the Hadith which `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that “Eleven women gathered and pledged to describe their husbands truly…"
Eight, The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take them with him to banquets and did not eat nice food without them:
From the manifestations of the Prophet's good treatment to his wives is: he used to take his wives with him to banquets so that they could share food with him, especially if the food is good.
The proof is the Hadith which Anas reported that a Persian neighbor to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was known for the good soup he prepared. [His soup smelled good]. He made [some food] and came to invite the Prophet (peace be upon him).
He said: And this is for `Aishah too?
He said: No.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Then the answer is no.
Then, he repeated the invitation again. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: and this is for `A'ishah too?
He said: No.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Then the answer is no.
Then, he repeated the invitation again. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: and this is for `A'ishah?
He said: Yes. (in the third time).
They stood up Yatadafa`an (following the steps of one another) until they came to his house.
Imam an-Nawawy (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked to eat food without her and this etiquette indicates his kind treatment, fulfilling the rights of marriage, and one of the etiquettes of companionship.
Benefits taken from this Hadith: The Permissibility of seeking tasty soups, good colored-food, and eating of the sustenance that Allah (Glory be to Him) has granted to His Servants. Allah (May He be Exalted) says: "They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." [Surat Al A`raf: 23].
This Hadith signifies the prominent picture of his good morals toward his family, his great mercy, and showing emotion for them. Would the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) leave his family to sit at a banquet full of delicious food at his Persian neighbor? The Prophet's morals prevented him from doing this.
As for the indication that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) went with the Messenger of Allah not wearing veil and sat before the Persian or families mixed together as is done these days with the Muslim families (where religion has become of no significance for them in their lives), it is not accepted and there is no reference in the Hadith to this.