Could you explain the hadith “There are three things that are essential for happiness: a righteous wife, a spacious home, and a sound means of transportation.” ( Musnad, 1:168)? Could you give some detailed information on home?
Submitted by on Fri, 02/07/2010 - 20:56
Dear Brother / Sister,
Regarding this issue, the Prophet (pbuh) has a hadith as the following:
There are three things that are essential for happiness: a righteous wife, a spacious home, and a sound means of transportation” (Musnad, 1:168)
Not all the people have the opportunity to afford a spacious house or a detached house with a garden. It is not a sin to dwell in a small home within the bounds of financial possibilities. However, for those who can afford a spacious house, it would be much better. To comply with the needs of our religion, it is best to dwell in a spacious detached house.
In the prayer, if the means of transportation is not uttered like a horse or camel but the word transportation is used, it will make the description a lot wider. This might also be understood as a car today.
Spaciousness of the house may be considered figuratively. For example, the idiom “much ash in their hearth” indicates that the mentioned person is hospitable and generous. A spacious house may be regarded as stimulation for hospitality in the same way. Besides, it might be a stimulation for having a plenty of children.
1.(401) – Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “I built a house by myself when I was with Allah’s Messenger ( peace and blessings be upon him). This house served as a shelter from the rain and shade under the sun. And I did not receive any help from God’s creatures in its construction.”
2.(402)- In another narration: “ I have not even put a brick on another brick since the death of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him).”, he says. Bukhari, Istizan (Asking for permission), 53; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 13 ( 4162).
3.(403)- Qays ibn Abi Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: "We went to visit Khabbab Ibn al-Arat (may God be pleased with him) after he had been cauterized seven times. He said, 'Our Companions who came before us have gone and this world did not cause the loss. We have been struck by an affliction for which we find no place to put it down except the earth. If it were no that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade us to pray for death, we would pray for it.'.Then we came to him another time while he was building a wall and his and he said:
'The Muslim is rewarded for everything on which he spends money except for what he spends on dust.' ( Bukhari, Marda, 19; Da’awat, 30, Riqaq, 7; Tamanni, 6 – Muslim, Zikr, 12; (2681) – Nasai, Janaiz, 2, ( 4:3-4)
Khabbab Ibn al-Arat is one of those who converted into Islam first. He is originally from Tamim and he settled in Mecca as a kind of refugee. Being a stranger and without a person to protect him, he became exposed to the roughest kinds of torture. Tortures of cautery and lapidation left wounds on his body, which were to last lifelong.
In the narration, Khabbab ( may Allah be pleased with him) commemorates those who were exposed to tortures and troubles in the previous period and who died without reaching the period of victory and abundance: “ They did not receive any worldly payment in return for their service; but we attained the period of victory and abundance that victory brought. It is as if we are rewarded in the world for our service.”, he means.
One of the people whom Khabbab refers to is Mus’ab Ibn Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him). Although he was wealthy before Islam, when he converted into Islam, his family disinherited him and he was incapacitated from all sorts of financial support. Despite great financial shortage, he kept on serving for Islam and when he died as a martyr at the battle of Uhud, people could not find a shroud. Pulling his garment over his face left the feet open; he was buried with his feet covered with bushes.
Regarding the issue of abomination of building, scholars submitted different views. They are in an agreement on the matter that it is makrooh (abominable) to construct a building more than necessary and just for effect. On the contrary, they agree that it is not makrooh if the building is constructed to meet indispensable needs. However, although some scholars state that the money spent on the building does not bring a sin or thawab (reward for good deeds), there are some scholars who state it is thawab. The second view should be the principle.
4.(404)- Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came out, and on seeing a high-domed building, he said: What is it? His companions replied to him: It belongs to so and so, one of the Ansar. He said nothing but kept the matter in mind. When its owner came and gave him a greeting among the people, he turned away from him. When he had done this several times, the man realized that he was the cause of the anger and the rebuff. So he complained about it to his companions, saying: I swear by Allah that I cannot understand the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him). They said: He went out and saw your domed building.
So the man returned to it and demolished it, leveling it to the ground. One day the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came out and did not see it. He asked: What has happened to the domed building?
They replied: Its owner complained to us about your rebuff, and when we informed him about it, he demolished it. He said: “Every building is a misfortune for its owner, except what cannot, except what cannot, meaning except that which is essential.” (Abu Dawud, Good Behaviors, Book 41, 5218).
6.(406)- Abdullah ibn 'Amr ( may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went by while I was repairing a hut I owned. He said, 'What is this?' I replied, 'I am mending my hut, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' He said, 'The death is too swift for that.'
In another narration, he said “I foresee that the arrival of God’s command (death) is swifter than this (being demolished)”. Abu Dawud, Good Behaviors, 169, (5235), (5236); Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 25, (2336); Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 13, (4160).
7.(407)- Dukayn ibn Sa'id al-Muzani (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “We came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked him for some corn. He said: Go, Umar, and give them what they want. He ascended with us a room upstairs, took a key from his apartment and opened it.” Abu Dawud, Good Behaviors, 170, (5238)
8.(408)- Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “ If you have conflict on construction of roads, make them seven spans’ breadth.” ( Bukhari, Mazalim, 29; Muslim, Musakat, 243, ( 1613); Tirmidhi, Ahkam, 20, (1355); Abu Dawud, Aqdiyyah, 31, (3633), Ibn Majah, Ahkam, 16, (2338).
This narration is important in terms of the Prophet’s caring for the matter of city planning. As we will see in the next issues, he cared for municipal matters as well.
Scholars, explaining a narration about the construction of roads, state that the breadth of a road is not limited to this number as in the hadith. It is stated that this number is about the main road which every people use and secondary roads and private roads could be constructed according to needs of people and main roads could be wider.
1) DWELLING AND CULTURE
One of the important points of the matter of training and education is dwelling. Dwelling, in which people spend more than half of their life time, is important not only in a single respect but a plenty of respects. In the Qur’an, a relation is made between both the power and might of past nations and their commitment of injustice and disorder, and their dwelling; the conditions of their dwelling are mentioned so that people will take lessons from them.
This verse tells us that the power that Sheba tribe obtained could be seen on their dwelling :
“Indeed, there was a sign (a meaningful lesson) for the people of Sheba to take from their abode –two (lovely, vast expanses of) gardens, on the right and on the left." (the Qur’an, Saba, 34:15)
Likewise, in the narration of the power of Thamud tribe, it is stated that they built homes and cities by “hewing rocks in the valley ( to make their dwellings)” (the Qur’an, al-Fajr, 89:8-9). In the following verse, it is stated that wrong-doing result in the destruction of civilizations and turning dwellings into ruins; people are expected to consider these ruins:
“Those then are their houses, all lying in utter ruins because they were lost in wrongdoing. Surely in this is a sign (an important lesson) for a people seeking knowledge.” (the Qur’an, an-Naml, 27:52)
In the verse below, beside the splendor of dwellings illustrated with the advanced level that a materialistic civilization reaches, it is also pointed out that people would be exposed to a cultural change and would be spoiled due to this splendor :
“And were it not that all people would become one community (around unbelief), We might well have provided for everyone who disbelieves in the All-Merciful roofs of silver for their houses, and (silver) stairways on which to go up, And (silver) doors for their houses, and (silver) couches on which to recline. And also adornments of gold (and other jewelry). Yet all this is nothing but a (fleeting) enjoyment of the present, worldly life.” (the Qur’an, az-Zukhruf, 43:33-35)
The relation between human and dwelling mentioned in these verses has become an area of investigation as a separate branch of science. The researchers of this new discipline which we call the Sociology of Place and Space claim that as the researches progress, they will reach laws which are objective, particular to practical sciences and valid everywhere.
Depending on the researches carried out and the progress made so far, they can already describe the dwelling as “a manifestation of culture in a certain civilization” and “ a seal put on the earth by a society”. According to them, on this seal, people can read about “ the spiritual state of that particular society, financial status and problems and troubles that society becomes exposed to”.
The following idiom in Turkish language “(cleanliness of) a lion can be understood from the place he sleeps”, is given an identity for it which is scientific and far-reaching like saying “an individual.. a society.. and even a civilization is understood from their dwellings”; they mention about the differentiation between the culture of a society and their dwelling in an agreement with the impossibility of separation of one from the other. As a result, it has been suggested that the dwelling in which an individual lives should suitable for his culture, otherwise the dweller adjusts it to his lifestyle by making some repairs on the dwelling or it adjusts people to its way by making some changes on people’s emotions, opinions, conception and behavior (that is, in their culture). The certainty of this matter made the experts of this subject say : “We think we make our dwellings but in fact it is our dwellings that make us.”
In a collateral way to those who claim that religion, law, politics etc., which is called superstructure are to change depending on the economical conditions, which is called infrastructure, the same idea has sometimes been stated as “ Exposing the dwelling and lodgment to a consistent change can only be made by changing the structure of a family and society”. It has been thus pointed out that due to a change which might occur in cultural, technical and economical life as a result of a serious discipline, dwelling may change itself.
There is no doubt that these statements describe a fact which is very difficult to deny. If we were compare the dwellings of primitive people to those of a nation which has reached a high level of technique, we would find proofs which confirm these statements.
So, in this case, what is the place of dwelling which is not only a shelter for people to protect from any conditions of weather and to provide security but is also home for cultural and spiritual values, in the Sunnah (customs of the Prophet)?
Since discipline, on the one hand, is the transfer the culture of a community to individuals and, on the other hand, is helping people to ensure their happiness both in this world and in the hereafter, how did Muhammad (peace be upon him), who introduced himself as a teacher, a mentor and a guide who shows the ways for happiness in the hereafter, regard dwelling, which plays one of the most important roles in human life, and how did he consider a dwelling to be suitable for the system he brought? Learning them is useful maybe necessary for our topic. As a matter of fact, in a number of books which were seriously written on systematical discipline and morality, we may encounter parts that are related to the matter of dwelling. In these parts, with the agreement of authors, dwelling is considered to be one of the essential needs of man.
For example, Kınalızade describes a dwelling as a place and shelter which helps people to preserve the five essentials (mother, father, children, servant and food) which they need to ensure the continuity of the generation and he states that this may be made of stone, wool, leather etc. In Ahlak-i Hamide it is stated that human’s provision of place to shelter his essential requisites in order to retrieve them when need arises is one of the qualifications which distinguish him from animals.
Kari says when people start a construction, they should intend to protect themselves from weather conditions as well as to perform prayers inside it. Although in some of these books, we may find detailed information - on structural techniques – which ranges from materials to be used in the construction to methods of construction to be followed, issues like planning, positioning the building according to other buildings, conditions of sanitation etc are not found at the same frequency and sufficiency. For example, it reads that the building should be spacious but not tall; however, not sufficient information is provided. Nevertheless, a dwelling as a place for training and education has great importance in especially its planning and appropriateness for human needs. Moreover, a single-handed consideration on dwelling would be ultimately insufficient approach to the issue.
On the other hand, in the Qur’an and sunnah, a large amount of detailed information on the disciplinary respect of the dwelling is present; and the relation of the dwelling to other buildings is also pointed out therein. We may find information on dwelling especially in the sunnah. In narrations repeated frequently, the Prophet (peace be upon him) describes the dwelling as one of the three essentials for personal happiness: “There are three things that are essential for happiness: a righteous wife, a suitable home, and a sound means of transportation.”. The quality of being “ suitable” mentioned herein is an absolute expression. As we are going to tell you about soon, even though some features of a dwelling like being spacious, having good neighbours, being close to a mosque and so on have been counted as the conditions of a dwelling to be suitable, it is open to any other additions and other desired features according to changing contidions and developing concepts of every period.
In summary, we are herein going to analyze the instructions which the Prophet (peace be upon him) suggested about dwelling. The matters to be examined are going to be under two subtitles.
1. Dwelling in micro-plan
In this part, after dealing with dwelling alone and stating the features and parts of it that are described in the sunnah, we are going to tell you about the outlines of an ideal dwelling plan according Islam and dwelling policy of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
2. Dwelling in macro-plan
In this part, examining the dwelling as a part of a city as a whole, we are going to deal with the relation of a dwelling to other buildings which are a sort of outer expansion of a dwelling and which are complementary elements.
1. DWELLING IN MICRO-PLAN
From the point of view of training and education, we encounter primarily the qualifications which a dwelling needs to have as a separate unit. In other words, what are the qualifications of a dwelling that will make the dwellers content? What should its breadth, number of rooms, furnishing, decor etc be like? Are the any measures that the Sunnah suggests on this matter, if so what are they? In this case, we are herein going to try explain this issue and we are going to deal with breadth (spaciousness) which the first and most important of all.
In the sunnah, the spaciousness of a dwelling is an inevitable and indispensable qualification. In various hadiths which describe the features of a “suitable dwelling”, spaciousness has always been stated as the first condition. By this statement, the plentitude of rooms (to utilize) in number has been separately mentioned.
There are a number of annotations and narrations which affirm that the spaciousness of the dwelling has been insistently pointed out in the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replies Uqba Ibn Amir who asks how the salvation will be as: “Watch your language, expand the space of your house, cry for your sins ( repent).”. This meaning is stated in the narration of Thawban : “ Happy are those who watch their language, who expand the space of their house and who cry for their sins”. There is another narration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) prays : “ O my Lord! Forgive my sins, expand my house and bless my sustenance.”
In some narrations, the spaciousness of a house is considered to be the luck of the house while its narrowness is deemed to be unfortunate and narrowness has been stated as one of the three things which cause people misery: “ There are three things which cause misery for people: ‘an ill-mannered wife, a bad dwelling and a bad means of transportation’”. We may find evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant narrowness by a dwelling being bad, in Hakim’s decree :
“Badness of a dwelling is its narrowness ( that is), rooms ( to utilize) being few in number.” In a quotation referring to Tabarani by Ibn Hajar, it was stated that this narrowness meant not parts being few in number but narrowness of the space.
In some narrations, after Hejira, due to complaints of women about the narrowness of their houses, we see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) deals with this issue seriously. Firstly, he placed the Immigrants into the houses of people in Medina and after that, he parcelled out places for them to build houses. Giving most of the names of the people who were given a place to build a house and also information on the exact place of these parcels, as-Samhudi adds that a majority of these parcels mentioned were situated around Masjid Nabawi.
Although it is stated that the main feature of a “bad dwelling” is narrowness, in some narrations, bad neigbours and being too distant to hear the adhan have been also pointed out. Gurani also adds to these “having a bad air”.
Some other narrations show us that the sunnah suggests people should like their dwellings and reorganize a dwelling which the dwellers does not like into a pleasant form and if this is not possible, they should abandon it. According to the narration of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), a person (who considers his new dwelling to be unlucky for him) – that is a woman in Mutawwa’s narration - goes to the Prophet and asks : “ O, Allah’s Messenger! We used to live in a house where we used to be large in number and rich; and we moved to a different house where we became reduced in number and poor. (what do you suggest?) and the Prophet replies : Regard that place to be unfortunate and abandon it”. Hattabi indicates that the suggestion to abandon that place has not been given because of that place being unfortunate itself but people’s considering that place to bring them bad luck.
In the same way, He replies to a person (from Yemen) who complains that the plague takes place where they live : “Give up turning back there, because infection of that disease causes a massacre”. Likewise, to Halid Ibn Walid who complains about the narrowness of his house, he suggests: “Raise your building above and pray to Allah for spaciousness.”
Although with these narrations, it s understood that the house should be spacious and should have many rooms, we do not encounter an exact measure or number on the breadth of the place on which the house is built and the number of rooms. We might explain this with the unfixed volume of a family because families may be large in number of members and it may only consist of a wife and husband. Consequently, providing a certain number for the house would be wrong according to the sunnah.
After giving some general information on the matter how a dwelling should be made, depending on certain statements (from hadiths and from the verses of the Qur’an), a question like “is it possible to make a basic plan for the parts of this house?” may arise. This is essentially a matter which has been dealt in the Qur’an. The information on the minimum measures of the house of Muslim family and a plan for a normal house has been provided therein. Adding details from the sunnah to this information from the Qur’an, a plan that is suitable for Islamic discipline and Islamic view on worldly life can be easily obtained.
As stated before, the size of a dwelling depends on the number of members of the family in the first place. The type of the family depicted in the Qur’an is a type of family of which the bounds are certain and which is called the core family in today’s sociology, which consists of parents, children (and a servant). All the other relatives should have their own houses and their own ways of living. We understand it from this verse:
“There is no blame on the blind, nor any blame on the lame, nor any blame on the sick (for eating only to satisfy their need without causing any harm and waste, in the house of any healthy, well-off person), and neither on yourselves, that (in case of need and without prior invitation) you eat in your spouse's and children's houses, or your fathers' houses, or your mothers' houses, or your brothers' houses, or your sisters' houses, or your paternal uncles' houses, or your paternal aunts' houses, or your maternal uncles' houses, or your maternal aunts' houses, or in the houses for which you are responsible, or in the houses of any of your close friends (who should be happy to see you feeling free to eat at their home). There is no blame on you if you eat together or separately. “ (the Qur’an, an-Nur, 24:61)
Although at the end of the verse, it is stated that it is permissible to stay together, what is the most appropriate is to separate.
We understand from the following verse that there should be at least two rooms in a house where there are children or a servant and it is necessary to use separate rooms at certain times (which is left for having a rest) in a day:
“O you who believe! Let (even) those whom your right hands possess (as slaves), as well as those of you (your children) who have not yet reached puberty, ask for your permission (before they come into your private room) at three times (of the day) – before the Morning Prayer, and when you lay aside your garments in the middle of the day for rest, and after the Night Prayer. These are your three times of privacy. Beyond these occasions, there is no blame on you nor on them if they come in without permission – they are bound to move about you, some of you attending on others. Thus, God makes clear for you (the instructions in) the Revelations. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. And when your children reach puberty, let them ask you for permission (whenever they want to enter your private room), even as those (who have already reached the same age) before them ask for it.” (the Qur’an, an-Nur, 24:58-59)
Explaining the reason why these verse were sent, Ibn Abbas states that at that time people did not use curtains in their houses and while a man was having a sexual intercourse with his wife, a servant or children in the house came up and for this reason, these verses command people to use curtains. Ibn Kathir notes that Ibn Abbas deplores because people do not comply with what the verse suggests them although the verse is totally clear.
In this case, the house of a Muslim should have at least two separate parts which are connected by a door. These parts certainly need to be separated with a wooden door or a fabric curtain.
On the other hand, the sunnah suggests that children should have separate beds beginning from seven years of age. This separation is indefinite in the hadith. Even though it is understood that children can stay in the same room until they reach puberty, separating their rooms after puberty, especially separating rooms of boys and girls seems appropriate for their discipline. It also seems that there is no clarity which may hinder us from getting this meaning out of the hadith.
In this case the minimum number of rooms should be three:
1. Parents’ room
2. Room for girls
3. Room for boys
According to the sunnah, a Muslim should consider the possibility of guests. The Prophet (peace be upon him) encourages people to have guests in their houses and offer them food, service, etc with statements like “Those who believe in Allah and in the Resurrection Day, should entreat their guests.”, “ Everything has its own alms and the alms of a house is a banquet.”. The Prophet also states, “A guest has his right to stay in a house for one day and night”, confirming that the length of time for a guest to stay in a house is three days.
A hadith which confirms that it is necessary to consider the guest factor no matter what happens while planning the house also deals with the number of beds in a house:
“In a house, people should have three beds: one for the husband, one for the wife and one for a guest and the fourth belongs to the devil.”
As can be understood, the real purpose herein is not stating the number of beds there should be in a house. As a matter of fact, children’s beds are not mentioned. The hadith says yes to a question and hesitation like ‘can the wife and husband have separate beds (even rooms?’) and it reminds a bed (and a room) for possible guests. The expression “the fourth bed belongs to the devil” as the sharihs states, refers to extravagant furnishing just for effect and to boast of. As a matter of fact, when Ibn Zubayr sees three beds next to his wife, he says “One belongs to me and the other to my wife and the third to the devil. Take it out.” And he does not even mention the bed for a guest.
In practice, our last proof which confirms that the first Muslims considered this matter while planning a house is a sentence from Shi’ratu’l Islam: One of the sunnah about dwelling is a room for banquet (guest room) because in a hadith, it has been stated “ Everything has its own alms, and the alms for a house is a banquet”.
Apart from these, the Qur’an commands people to take care of their aging parents, which needs to be taken into consideration while building a dwelling.
In this case, there is no limit put on the maximum number of rooms in a Muslim house, which should include at least two rooms; and this has been an option for Muslims according to their needs and financial conditions; however, it is recommended that both the place and the number of rooms should be sufficient, in other words, it should bring flexibility for needs.
Another factor that should be included in the plan of a house is the courtyard. As will be seen when we talk about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house plan, the courtyard is an indispensable part of a house. In a plenty of narrations which tell about the conditions of a house, the courtyard is mentioned. This case made Muslim regard courtyard as a part of the house and it resulted in building houses with yards even in the cities recently. However, today’s conditions make people forget about the concept of the courtyard and yard especially in big cities.
PLAN OF THE PROPHET’S HOUSE
The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house consisted of nine cells surrounded by a courtyard which was about 100 spans per edge. Two of these cells were made during the construction of Masjid Nabawi and the others were made afterwards when need arose. This type of dwelling consisted of separate rooms of which the doors opened to the courtyard that surrounded the dwelling resembles the types of house still used as a dwelling in cities of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabian Peninsula. Narrations inform that these separate rooms of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house are square shaped of 10x10 spans and 7 or 8 spans of height. According to the relevant narrations about Aisha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) room, her door was made of prickly juminus or ur’ur (which grows in India and resembles ebony and plane tree). The door is one-winged and is directed to the direction of Damascus. Some narrations note that the afternoon sun fell on this room.
Kattani gives an exaggerated depiction and prediction about the plan and extension of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) dwelling. Since they do not depend on proofs, we deem it inappropriate to mention it here.
In the books that were written later, the measure of the height of a room in a building given as “in the sunnah, this is the sufficient measure and it is six spans” might be taken from here. About the “sufficient measure” on the spaciousness of a room, it is said “it depends on the number of people who live in”.
c. THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE HOUSE
As is understood, the necessary spaciousness and the number of rooms in a house differs according to need that are possible to change. However, a building is made for once and it is fixed. In this case, should people plan a house by considering the maximum extension that the family is possible to reach in future? Nevertheless, children will grow up and marry and leave the house and they will all result in the reduction of the size of the family. We can find several narrations in the sunnah in any case and from them we conclude that the house should have a flexible plan.
Some of the mentioned annotations inform us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) put up a tent called “khidr” in a corner in his house for the girls who reached the age of puberty to stay in. In addition, it is stated that he used to sit in front of the tent when he wanted them to marry and said “this person wants to marry that person (calling the names of the boy and the girl)”. If the person inside remained quiet, he would let them marry; if she did not, she used to knock on the tent; and the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to understand that she did not want and he would not give permission for the marriage.
From some other annotations, we can understand that the Prophet (peace be upon him ) used to have a straw mat and he used to lay it (to sit on) during the day and at night, he used to make it a curtain (in the house to separate rooms). According to the narration of Zayd Ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him), it is reported that this separation with a straw mat used to be made in the masjid (mosque). However, it does not mean that it might not be done in the house. It is reported as follows, in the narration of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in Musnad:
“We used to have a straw mat. We used to lay it during the day and separate our rooms at night.”
There are a number of clear narrations which prove that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to put up a tent in the rooms and separate them. According to the narration of Ruzayna (may Allah be pleased with her), one of the freed slave of the Prophet, “In Aisha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) room, there was a tent made of branches of date tree and which was used to be hidden in (when need arose)”. Considering clear narrations about the presence of dust and cobwebs inside it, we understand that this tent was not used often.
To summarize, considering various narrations, it is understood that the Prophet sought possibilities to expand the house by resorting to precautions like drawing curtains in the rooms on the purpose of privacy etc, putting up small-sized tents and the house itself was in a state to enable such attempts.
We should finally state this point that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house was within a plan which enabled each wife of his to own a room. Moreover, as we stated previously for some other reasons, children of the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not stay with him. He had children in Medina only from Mariyah, his Egyptian wife. She did not use to stay in one of the rooms next to masjid like his other wives; she used to stay somewhere else. As a matter of fact, we also mentioned before that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to often visit his child staying in the house of his wet-nurse (may Allah be pleased with her).
On the issue of the fixed components of a house like toilet, bathing cubicle, it is understood that even though some of these components have been present in a house since ancient times, some others were added to houses as a need of Islamic culture and discipline; and it justifies those who support the idea that “considering a dwelling as a seal on the representation of a culture, each constructive component in a house contributes to the pleasure, belief and habits in dwellers’ culture” according to the sociology of place and space. If we exclude the components of the houses in Jahiliyyah Period like ovens used jointly by one of the neighbors, kitchen which sometimes no smoke came out from the chimney for two months – due to financial problems, mashrubah, which was generally on the top floor of houses and which was entered through a ladder and which was only a detached room, sahwa, which was built inside the house in order to place goods in and covered with a curtain and - which also means a shelf, a hollow on a wall that was used to place goods in it, a hole to let the light and air through (kawwa), a fixed cell which, considering the descriptions, was built inside the house to place goods in it and of which the top was covered and which is similar to a sofa, etc, mahda which was small-sized and built in a bigger room, hifsh, which women in Jahiliyya period used to stay in for a year as a sign of mourning for the loss of their husbands and which was narrow and of which the ceiling was too low, parts of a house like toilet, bathing cubicle, guest room and a room in which to perform prayers have generally been included in the plans of Muslim houses as a necessity of the Islamic culture. In the books on morality,“ in terms of the sunnah on building”: a toilet, a place to make wudu and ghusl (bathing cubicle), a place for banquet (guest room – yet it would be good to call banquet room-), are included; the fact that in the hadiths, the statement “ everything has its own alms and the alms of a house is a banquet” is used almost with the same wording is sufficient to state the generality of this plan.
Let us have a look at the important components which Islam brought :
TOILET: We learn form narrations of Bukhari, Muslim and other books of the sunnah that in Arabic communities before Islam, toilet was not included in the plan of a house as it was not included in the European houses and palaces. Those who needed to urinate and defecate used to go out of the town. At first, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his wife used to carry on this tradition. However, narrations show that women, making use of the darkness of the night used to go every evening to “particular places” called Manasi outside of Medina to defecate and the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go out so distant from town “that nobody could see him” and he even went away to a place called Mughammis which was two third parasangs’ distance to Mecca (on the road to Taif). This situation continued until the command of covering (tasattur) was received; only after that were toilets built. We understand from a narration Samhudi noted that a toilet was between Aisha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) cell and Fatima’s ( may Allah be pleased with her) cell.
A religious duty did not only change the plans of buildings with addition of a toilet but it also affected the direction of a toilet. Hadiths from the Prophet (peace be upon him) stating, “While defecating, neither face nor turn your back to the Qibla”, defined the directions of the toilets in Muslims’ houses. The Prophet sent Sahl Ibn Hanif as a messenger to Mecca in order to let the people of Mecca know about this decision. Narrations show that Muslims who went to Egypt and Damascus complied with this order even in the toilets which were made in the past and were directed to Mecca. Scholars discussed depending on annotations in the sunnah about the matters that this prohibition is also valid for open places like meadows but it is not valid for covered places, that the back part of the body can be turned while the front cannot, and this prohibition is also valid for the Jerusalem direction (that is, for both Qiblas). Apart from these, features like keeping water handy in toilets, building it in a way that it will be easy to provide water in have originated from the related orders in the sunnah.
BATHROOM : Bathroom is also an important component like toilet. As we have just stated, even if it was included in some houses before Islam, it became an indispensable component of a house after Islam. It is necessary for both taking ablution (wudu) and full ablution (ghusl). Narrations about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) taking a bath in a basin during his illness, Aisha’s (may Allah be pleased with her) taking full ablution with the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the same place and in order to show his sister who asked her the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) way of full ablution, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used a little water while taking ablution, her taking a bath behind a curtain with a little water, proves the presence of a particular place to take ablution in her cell. Likewise, in the hadith narrated from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her): “ The Prophet (peace be upon him) returned from a journey. I had drawn a curtain (on which there were some symbols of winged horses) (over the sahwa) in the house while he was away. He ordered me to pull it down. I pulled it down. I and the Prophet ( peace be upon him) had a bath taking water from the same bucket.”, Kirmani dwells on the possibility of this sahwa which a curtain drawn over in the narration to be a bathing cubicle because of Aisha’s beginning to mention about ablution for no reason while she was mentioning about the curtain. Depictions about sahwa which we are going to talk about later, strengthen this possibility. In this case, we can conclude that there was a bathing cubicle in Aisha’s cell.
Another point which supports it is about the basin which we have just mentioned and in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) took a bath while he was ill: It is stated in the narration that the basin belonged to Hafsa. The Prophet (peace be upon him) who stayed in Aisha’s room could not take a bath in the bathing cubicle because of his illness; he took a bath in Hafsa’s basin since it was more convenient.
e. A NARROW HOUSE AND CHILDREN
A bad dwelling, which is considered to be one of the main factors which cause complaints and troubles in the worldly life in the hadith, is harmful for each dweller at any age but it damages the children the most. Showing the importance of a dwelling on children’s discipline and healthy development, it is said “ The main place in a lodgment should be for children. A lodgement should be built considering the needs of the children”. Today’s researchers found that the ratio of child death is higher in inappropriate houses than in appropriate ones. Among survivors, the ratio of those who commit infant crimes and are sent to the court and who are sent to hospital due to various psychological and physical damages is also a lot higher.
Besides, the effect of such narrow houses on the development of a child’s personality is eminent. We stated with examples while we were examining the relationship of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with children that the Prophet (peace be upon him) avoided any interference with children other than showing great affection to them and he never resorted to beating a child. However, in a narrow dwelling, a suitable environment is set for children’s exposure to being scolded, warned and beaten due to their satisfying their curiosity with examining things by touching them, having fun, jumping around, making noise, etc.
The modesty of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house and his suggestion of modesty to Muslims, his looking down on worldly appealing adornments might be evaluated from the point of disciplining a child. As is today, adornment components which appeal to children like appealing pictures, baubles, colorful and bright table cloths increase the possibility of a child to touch and harm them as their numbers increase. And if they are kept within children’s reach and placed -due to narrowness and wrong planning of the house – in the area of daily wandering, this kind of house will cause great discomfort for a family with children. For this reason, we cannot but appreciate our houses in old times. Compared to today’s armchairs, tables which are ready to shatter and appeal to children with various adornments over them, the sofas, cushions which are secure in every way and suitable for the child factor and adornments kept (on shelves or on walls) away from children’s reach are helpful for parents in disciplining children. Although spacious and good-planned dwellings can reduce relatively the damage of these new conditions, in narrow houses – which are the majority due to economical and social conditions -, it is not possible.
Let us listen to the negative effect of narrowness on children’s psychological development and discipline from researches : “ If the number of people per room increases from 2 to 2,5, the child becomes a person who gets easily angry and who makes smashing and breaking a habit”. This statement conforms to another research group’s assumption : “If the extension of a house is too narrow which leaves eight or ten square meters per person, the relationship between parents and children becomes ultimately tense and parents cannot help but yell at and scold the children”. Talking about these researches, we need to state that in crowded and narrow dwellings, children are in danger of performing behavioral disorders. Psychological development of the child becomes blocked in the end and the delay occurring as a result can be never fixed unless conditions improve. Some sorts of psychological disorders which occur in children caused by sleeping in the same room with parents is now a widely known fact.
Problems caused by narrow dwellings do not only affect the dwellers but they also cause negative results and social discomfort in the community. Take a look at this passage regarding the issue:
Economical and Social Results of Bad Dwellings and Endeavors to Recover Them:
“Events regarding this issue display a desperate situation which is impossible to ignore in humane and moral respects and which lead people to rebel. A bad dwelling, on the one hand, increases social inequality, which is the main reason and, on the other hand, it is the sole reason for the damage and destruction of the individuals and the families.(…)”
“When bad dwellings become together as groups, they bring into existence, havens which make it possible for people cast out of society to come together. Thus, recovery of people becomes far more difficult. On the other hand, families which cannot afford to live in any better place become prone to deterioration. This case does not result only in psychological problems but they also cost a lot to governments. It is even said that a shanty house is a “luxury element”. Department of Social Services attempted to estimate in number the costs of sickness and delivery to hospitals for families who live in shanty houses. The cost the government pays is really too much. And it is sometimes so expensive that it costs far cheaper to build perfectly furnished houses for these families. In this assessment, neither the possibility of infection to neighbors, nor labor productivity or the pains that the families are to bear and deterioration have been taken into consideration.
For example, slums in Cleveland, USA, are a heavy burden. Although only ten percent of the population live there, 26 percent of social services like police security, fire department and 36 percent of costs for the whole city are spent there. This ratio is the same as other cities in the USA.”
In recent researches, it is seen that western people who understood that narrowness of dwelling causes deterioration of the child, changed the concept of dwelling in parallel with their economical conditions, and reached the decision to allocate one room for each dweller. We learn from the news in the newspaper Le Monde that in France, in 1976, a principle decision was made aiming at a legal obligation for kitchens to be at least 12 m² in dwellings which were to build from then on, on the purpose of providing the best atmosphere for the relationship of a mother who spent most of her time in the kitchen in a day with her children.
Another issue legalized considering the needs of the children is about the width outside the lodgment. According to this precaution that aims to recover – at least reduce – the damage and deterioration caused by the courtyard factor which we stated as a “component of a dwelling” while we were examining the Islamic way of dwelling and which is ignored in mass buildings which we call modern “block constructions”, 0,75 – 1,000 m² space must be left empty per lodgment –legally for now – in mass constructions in France.
Considering that in France, which gives importance to these precautions, the number of children is low due to the low rate of child birth, winters are rather calm and relatively short and there are usually little or big parks and playgrounds etc in quarters in every city, nursing houses, kindergartens and the pavements are quite broad, we might see that our country has to increase such precautions and include different numbers against the number of children, length of winter and other impossibilities. In Istanbul, children are not able to live their youth in places which lack gardens and parks and pavements are narrow, and is crowded regarding the population. It is some kind of coincidence that these unlucky children can healthily develop.
This case can be deemed the same for all big cities. In a place like Erzurum, the situation of children who have to stay inside for eight months because of the climate needs to be considered while building a new dwelling.
There are also some narrations about the furnishing in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house. As in their adornment, modesty is the first principle in furnishing as well. Stating that he himself examined the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his visit due to Ila event, Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) provides us with some precious information. According to what he narrated, in this visit he only saw a pillow which the Prophet (peace be upon him) put his head on and which was filled with filament, and a straw mat which did not cover his whole body and which was made of date leaves and some raw leather hanging over him and leaves which are used to adorn the leather. Seeing that the straw mat left some scars on bare parts of the Prophet’s body, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) started to cry due to what he saw. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him why he cried:
“How can I not cry? This mat left scars on your body and there is nothing more to be seen in this room. While those Khusraws and Kaisers are living in abundance in rivers, food (on golden thrones, silky and satin beds), you, The Messenger of Allah, (are living in scarcity), we have to make a good bed for you?. “ And the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied as follows (in a narration):
“ I am not fond of this world at all. I consider myself in this world as a traveler who lies in the shade of a tree and then leaves.”
Thus, after stating that modesty is important according to the Prophet (peace be upon him), we can begin to mention about the main furnishing.
SOFT FURNISHINGS: As a soft furnishing in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house, a straw mat made of date leaves as we stated above is usually mentioned. As stated before, this mat, which is laid to sit on during the day, is used as a curtain to separate the house at night.
Although Arabs knew carpets, it is understood that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Muslims generally did not use them. Besides, some of Honored Companions considered it to be abominable to use carpets because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not use carpets. However, this following narration shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not use it due to financial problems and he considered it to be permissible : Jabir narrates : “When I got married, the Prophet asked me :”Did you buy some carpets?” and I replied : “what to do with carpets?”. He said: “ Know that in the near future, people will be using carpets.”
It is stated that this permission is only for carpets laid on the floor and putting carpets on the wall just for adornment is not considered to be permissible. We see in the explanation of Muslim that the Prophet (peace be upon him), said to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) who hung a carpet over a door, “ Allah did not order us to dress up stones and earth”, and made her pull it down.
In one of Bukhari’s explanation, Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) who was invited by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) hesitated seeing a wall covered with a cloth. Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “ Women defeated us in this matter (we could not make them obey our words). Abu Ayyub replied : “Even if I could be afraid of others (placing in their homes such an unacceptable thing), I would have not expected this from you.” And he returned.
Depending on other narrations, Ibn Hajar states that this invitation was made due to Ibn Umar’s son’s wedding. Abdullah Ibn Yazid also refused to go in and began to cry when he saw the cloth covering the wall as an adornment. When he was asked the reason, he said : “ How can I not cry? I remember the Prophet (peace be upon him) say “ The world will win over you…you will go outside with a dress and turn back home with another dress on you. You will cover your houses like the Kaaba is covered”.
In summary, Ibn Hajar, who provides various narrations on this matter, states that the issue of placing a carpet etc on the wall is “the old conflict” and he adds that Shafi’is consider it to be makrooh. Hanafis, though, does not advice exaggeration in such adornment.
BEDSTEAD: One of the furniture in the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a bedstead. Narrations show that a puppy which Hasan, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) grandson, used to play with sometimes went under this bedstead and even died there. Underneath this bedstead which sometimes goods like basin, documents were placed and small pets could go was usually empty.
Suheyli gives this information: “The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) bedstead was made of wood attached together with filament.” It was sold in the time of Bani Umayya. A man bought it for 4000 dirhams.
We learn from Abu Rifa’a (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a chair with iron legs and from Ali’s (may Allah be pleased with him) narration that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) daughter Fatima’s hands became calloused and wounded due to using a hand mill.
BED: It has been stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) who forbade people to have more beds in their houses than necessary had one bed of his own and the covering of this bed was leather and it was filled with date tree filaments. The same has been stated for his pillow. This bed which may be deemed to be quite hard in this state represents the modesty and ascetism of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
If the suggestions in the books of discipline on the matter of making children’s beds hard were not taken from these narrations, they must have been taken from the words of doctors. We have not encountered any narrations attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding the issue.
CURTAIN: It is clear that curtains were commonly used in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) cells for the reason that they are means of especially covering. Considering the attribution of the word as-Sijf used in the sentence “he drew the curtain of the room open” from Bukhari to a type of curtain which is divided into two in the middle, we can assume that the Prophet (peace be upon him) might have used a two-winged curtain (which is more useful).
BASIN: Some narrations atate that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a basin made of date timber and he used this at night and placed it under his bedstead. Even though some scholars mentioned about the contradiction of these two hadiths depending on hadiths like “do not keep urine in the house because angels do not enter the house where urine is kept” and “urine is not to be kept in a basin in the house”, the real meaning of this prohibition as Suyuti stated might be its being kept for a long time. Moreover, there are narrations which state that the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted a basin (in order to urinate) during his illness and while he was ill again, he took a bath in a basin. In this case, as a component which provides flexibility in the house, basin must have played an important role among all the other things in the house.
LAMP: According to this sentence stated in a narration about tahajjud (night prayer) “ At that time, there was no lamp in houses” reported by Aisha ( may Allah be pleased with her) lamp was not used in Medina in the beginning. Besides, some narrations mention that this was first brought by Tamim ad-Dari who converted from Christianity. In any case, lamp might have begun to be used in the houses during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time. We understand from the explanation in al-Adabu’l Mufrad by Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) noticed a mouse took the wick that was left still burning to the attic and he prevented a possible fire to break out. In Hakim’s assumption, we encounter the explanation that this wick was taken back and left near the Prophet (peace be upon him) and it caused a dirham-size burn. It is probably right after this event that the Prophet (peace be upon him) firmly suggested to put out lamps before going to bed.
Another function sought in a house is its provision of privacy for the dwellers. The Sunnah paid great importance to this issue as well. A house with respect to the sunnah is not only a shelter to protect from cold and warmth but it is also a place for maintaining privacy that is natural for man. For this reason, the house was called “forbidden” and it was forbidden to enter herein without the permission of the owner.
According to the statements about the Sunnah, violating privacy is not only done with entering but also with gazing at. For this reason, it is said “no body should gaze at one’s house without permission; whoever gazes, it is as if he has entered it” and this action is mentioned within the meaning of “unacceptable actions”.
As asking for permission is imposed because of eyes, it will be necessary to pay attention not to even glance at the house without the permission yet to be given. For this reason, when knocking on the door, it has been ordered not to face the door but look sideways. It is stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) acted so. The decree “Someone who was caught gazing at a house and whose eye was taken out due to gazing have no right to demand if he applies for a diyah (blood money).” confirms the severity and importance of this matter.
Showing the comb in his hand to a man who gazed through his window at his house, The Prophet ( peace be upon him) said: “ if I had known you had been gazing at inside, I would have struck this comb into your eye.” According to Ibn Abbas’ narration, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) caught Hakem Ibn Abi’l Asi ( may Allah be pleased with him) gazing at inside, he said to him “You will not live in Medina as long as I am alive” and he sent him on exile to Taif.
The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) statement “ if a person goes to a house whose door is left open (or does not have a curtain in the entrance) and looks inside, it is not his fault but the fault of the owner of the house.” shows that not only should the passers-by or the visitors to the house but also everyone be careful on the matter of violating privacy. Every family should take necessary precautions to maintain privacy and they need to be careful about the curtains or door etc, which contributes to this maintenance. Otherwise, it will be the dwellers of the house to blame on the issue of violation of privacy.
This hadith calls for Muslims to carefully install the components of privacy while planning a house. Doors and windows need to be placed in the most appropriate plan for this purpose. The empty place (hall) generally left behind the entrance doors might have been planned for this reason. In this case, ignoring this feature in some new planning should be considered as a incompleteness.
As we stated when we examined the possible plan for a dwelling, privacy that has been ordered to be maintained not only against the people who are in the family but also against all the members of the family except for the wife and the female slave affects the plan of the house. According to the narration by Jabir : “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said : ‘ A person should ask for permission from his children, mother no matter how old she is, from his brothers and sisters and from his father.’”; each of these people should be placed in a state which they are to ask for permission from one another – at least at three times of the day as the Qur’an suggested – if they live together.
We can respond to a possible objection to the hadith above as “ this is about the people who live in separate houses” with this hadith: “ Ata’ Ibn Yasar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked ‘ O, The Messenger of Allah! Should I ask for permission when I enter my mother’s room?’ He said: ‘ Yes’ and the man again : ‘ What if I live with her in the same house?’, The Prophet said : ‘ Ask for permission’. But the man objected : ‘ I am serving her’. Then the Prophet said to the man ( angrily) : ‘Ask for her permission. Would you enjoy seeing her naked?’. When the man answered :’No!’, the Prophet said : ‘ So, you should ask for her permission whenever you go into her room’”.
Especially in this last narration, it is stated that people need separate rooms in the house where they spend most of their lifetimes in order to act freely.
A Muslim family should not stay in narrow dwellings except for scarcity. Members of the family, who have reached the age of puberty – even those who are approaching the age of puberty – and parents should have separate rooms of their own, this is the exact type of dwelling that the sunnah desires people to have.
We should repeat here that sociologists today insistently point out the disadvantages of narrow dwellings. They are disadvantageous in many aspects. In brief, in narrow dwellings and in neighborhoods consisting of these dwellings, it has been found out that some social values are lost in time and are replaced with newer ones which contradict society, and as a result of the change of the conception and behavior, new attitudes occur. For this reason, those who dwell in narrow and inappropriate places called slum or shanty house, are deemed as “abnormal” and as “the loss of the society”. Researches found out the fact that those who have dwelt in such places for a long time cannot become accustomed to the new situation when they move to appropriate dwellings and to become adjusted to newer and normal life conditions, “they need to be monitored all the time and re-disciplined”. In such developed countries as Netherlands, Belgium, England, USA and France, which are dealing with this issue intensively, “these socially spoiled people” are made obliged to stay in mediocre lodgments, which have been particularly built, for a certain time (10-12 months) before they are given normal homes, with the consideration to reeducate them and reintroduce them to the society.
“The sterility of the civilized” ( la stérilité du civilisé), in other words, reduction in the birth rates, which is displayed as the reason for the civilizations to collapse in the statement of Spengler, who became famous with his work titled The Decline of the Western Civilization ( Le Declin de L’Occident), being related to the conditions of dwelling on a large scale by sociologists seems interesting. It is reported that the conclusion from various researches has been made as “as a result of losing control of behavior, in narrow and inappropriate dwellings, birth becomes a physiological case and increases while this rate increases normally among families who live in appropriate dwellings and in the middle type of dwellings between these two, this rate decreases.”
h. ADORNMENT (DECOR)
Another point which has been particularly dealt with in the sunnah is the decor of the dwelling. The Prophet (pbuh) displayed sensitivity to each thing in the house and to the suggestive components that were manifest on things. If he came across the presence of components or shapes, which contradicted Islamic culture and represented other cultures, both in his own house and in the houses of Honored Companions, he used to express his dislike either verbally or actually or with his mood.
In Bukhari’s explanation from the narration of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to deform the cross-shape on anything in the house.
The prohibition is not only limited with things which included cross-shapes but also with illustrations imitating Allah’s ability to create. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated the prohibition from keeping such illustrations at home with severe expressions like:
“No angel enters a place where there is illustration.”
“It is illustrators who will be exposed to the severest punishment.”
“Those who make illustrations in the world will be told “ Blow a spirit to your illustration” in the Doom’s day but they will not be able to blow”.
In one of the narrations regarding this issue, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates an event: “The Prophet (pace be upon him) returned from a journey. In his absence, I had drawn a curtain on which there were illustrations (of winged-horses). He ordered me to pull it down and I did.”. In another version of this hadith, she says “ I had drawn a curtain on which there were illustrations, over the sahwa (cell on the wall). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw it, he pulled it down and said : “Those who will be exposed to the severest punishment on the Doom’s Day are those who imitate Allah’s creatures.”. Then I made one or two pillows out of this curtain.”. In another report, she says: “ I made two cushions and they were in the house and the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to sit on them.”
Based on this hadith, scholars gave permission for illustrations that have no shadow to be made on things like carpets, beds, etc, which are used in disapproved situations like sitting on them or treading on them. Stating that this view belongs to the majority of the scholars, which are the members of Honored Companions and the Ensuants (Tabiin), Nawawi mentions the names of Thawri, Malik, Abu Hanifa and Shafi’i regarding the issue. In an explanation of Nasai, Gabriel, who arrived at the house of the Prophet, did not want to enter his house and said: “ How can I enter? You have a covering which includes illustrations on it. Decapitate the bodies in the illustrations or make it a rug to tread on. We, angels, do not enter a house where there are illustrations.”
After the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived at the house of his daughter, Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her), as stated in the narration of Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), to pay a visit and as stated in the narration of Safina Abu Abdurrahman, due to the invitation to dinner, returned without entering the house because of an elaborated curtain on the door.
In Abdurrazzaq’s explanation, by the time he arrived at the house that he was invited for dinner, he saw it was adorned with various colors and standing at the door, he counted the colors and saying “If only it had been of one color”, he returned without entering the house. As will be confirmed by the examples below, the Prophet (peace be upon him) suggested simplicity in adorning the house with his this kind of behavior.
Scholars have made this judgment from those narrations: “In order to enter a house where there is forbidden stuff and attend an invitation there, it is best to remove those forbidden things; but, if it is not possible, it is best not to enter or attend”. However, it is clear that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “If only it had been of one color” in the last example, and he replied to Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), who asked the reason why he returned, “ What am I supposed to do with the world and elaboration?” and likewise he said “because it reminds me of the world”, “because the illustrations distract my attention while I am praying”, “because whenever I get in the house, I remember the world” and in some versions of the related hadith including his order to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) to pull down the curtain that we mentioned above; and they all show the Prophet’s sensitivity about the causes that may hinder the religion that he is trying to acknowledge people about, from being well established.
He just wanted that people should turn to the Qur’an with all their efforts and that they should try to comprehend its truth and live with it. Moreover, just for this reason, he forbade to write anything other than the Qur’an and prohibited visiting graveyards, which was considered to be a kind of worshipping of Jahiliyya. On the other hand, due to the inconsistency in human nature as he stated “The human heart is between the two fingers of Allah; He plays with it however He wants”, he was afraid of reoccurrence of the old deviations of denial despite belief and good deeds. For this reason, the Prophet (peace be upon him) advanced in his fastidiousness on those issues and he did not want to leave an open door. One of the most meaningful examples of his consideration of the situation people were in is this sentence that he said to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in order to state the reason why he did not attempt to replace the Kaaba, which had been placed on a wrong base, to its right base: “Your people are close to Jahiliyya Age. For this reason, I fear this (construction I might do) may cause hatred in their hearts”.
In this case, the Prophet (peace be upon him), who took the moods of people who were ”close to Jahiliyya Age” into consideration, struggled hard against anything that might be a sign of polytheism. Maybe idols or icons, or a style of vowing that belonged to that particular time or a style of greeting etc, were all forbidden.
Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence formulizing prohibitions as regards to discipline as “Placing the worshipping living things in a way that displays respect is forbidden, treading on them is acceptable”, defines the disciplinary respect of this prohibition which comes with the sunnah. Illustrations of trees are excluded from this prohibition. However, narrations also inform that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had the trees that people canonized at that time destroyed.
Control of the Houses
Narrations about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) having the whole Mecca checked and “having the idolatries destroyed, having high tombs flattened and having the illustrations covered”, shows how serious his fastidiousness had become. In some of these narrations, the fact that a man from Medina, who was employed for this issue, objected by saying “O the Apostle of Allah! I do not want to enter the houses of my people” and that Ali was sent instead of him shows that the state even had the houses checked to monitor whether the prohibition the state imposed regarding this issue was applied or not.
To summarize what we have told, the adornment and elaborative components in the house are also considered as a means of suggestion. The house should not include components which are against the life philosophy of a Muslim.
Eventually, we should note this: Illustrating on the wall and clothing is forbidden due to two reasons according to Dahlawi: 1. To prevent unnecessary spending and boasting,
2. Not letting any inclination to idolatry.
I. SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE
Because of the fact that parents are primarily responsible for the discipline of the child , one of the main functions of the house is to provide the child with the best atmosphere in children’s spiritual discipline in the first place. For this reason, in the very course of its construction, the house is desired to be clean from the material and spiritual dirt and it is said “Avoid using haram bricks in your buildings because this is the very reason for its possible destruction”. In the narration by Wahb Ibn Munabbih with the note “I read it in the Torah”, it is stated “The result of a building made (by force) with the strength of the weak is to be destroyed; the end of haram money is to become poor.” And such advice is often to be found in the related chapters of our books on morality.
There is no doubt that building a house will rightfully earned money (or paying its rental fee with rightful earning) does not conclude the matter. It is necessary to restrain from any kinds of forbidden things, and to comply with the obligatory deeds in order to render the house a place for good training and education; in other words, it is necessary to practice Islam actively. For this reason, forbidden toys, silk beds (carpets, pillows, curtains etc.), golden or silver plates or trays etc are forbidden in the house.
Another important point is that houses should not be regarded only as places to sleep, to eat or drink or to have a rest or places for security; such an atmosphere should not be made actively dominant. The Prophet (peace be upon him) states it with his word: “Do not turn your house into tombs”. What hinders houses from turning into tombs is worshipping and invocations committed in the house: like reciting the Qur’an, performing prayers, meditation and controlling the soul. For this reason, a number of narrations reported from various resources order people to perform prayers at home:
“Do not turn your houses into tombs. Recite the Qur’an. Satan cannot enter a house where the Qur’an is recited.”
“If a person recites the Qur’an in his house, the house expands for the dwellers and the angels stay there; devils escape and goodness increases. As for a house where the Qur’an is not recited, it becomes narrow for the dwellers, angels leave it and devils invade it and goodness reduces.”
“Perform your supererogatory prayers in your house, do not turn them into tombs.”
“The prayer performed in the house is the light; therefore, enlighten your houses (with prayer)”
“When you perform your prayer in a mosque, leave a share for your houses too, because God bestows a particular favor on the house due to this prayer.”
“The most precious prayer after the obligatory prayer is the one which you perform in your houses.”
Moreover, it is understood from some narrations that as a result of these encouragements, special prayer rooms were built in houses. We understand from a narration reported by Bukhari that this application began in the period of Mecca and (perhaps for the first time) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) built a prayer room in a corner in his courtyard. In Medina, we find that people went to the Prophet with various excuses in order to take his permission to let them build prayer rooms in their houses. The Prophet (peace be upon him) showed that he regarded their demands normal by going to houses on invitation and performing the prayer in the place where they wanted to build a prayer room. The final part of a long narration by Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) strengthens the possibility that this prayer room could be a specific cell. In the hadith, Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) asks what he should do in case of sedition. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says : “Get into the place where your people and relatives stay”. Ibn Mas’ud asks : “What if it comes to there?”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says : “ then go into your house (in which you stay with your family)”. Ibn Mas’ud asks: “ What if it comes there, too?”. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him)replies : “Then go into your prayer room”. Likewise, in another narration, it is mentioned about a prayer room in the house of Zainab Bintu Jahsh (may Allah be pleased with her) before she married the Prophet (peace be upon him).
To summarize, after the stimulation given to build prayer rooms in the house, some Muslims included this in their dwellings in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and scholars also concluded that it was permissible.
The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) insistent suggestions on practicing the religion at home like removing the forbidden stuff from the house, reciting the Qur’an, performing the prayers and even building prayer rooms in the houses are for the education of the children to be raised in the house because, by doing so, they will be able to hear the religious issues with their own ears from the elders, to see with their own eyes and to practice them.
J. POLICY OF DWELLING
Narrations about the dwelling show us the presence of a policy of dwelling that was suggested by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and which was observed by the following Caliphs carefully. In other words, we find out that the government kept good track of constructions of dwelling for the sake of continuality of some cultural values due to the firm relation of dwelling with culture and interfered immediately with the illegal types of construction as soon as they occurred and had them demolished. One can conclude from the following examples we are to provide that individuals and families are not totally free regarding the issue of construction of a dwelling and the idea that the right of the government to intervene had always been reserved settled well in the conscience of people. We will examine the examples that lead us to this assumption within the frame of areas where interference was made.
1. PROHIBITION OF UNNECESSARY CONSTRUCTION
We should state that although expansion in dwelling is recommended, people are advised not to spend extravagantly on building and not to build unnecessary constructions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says “All the money should be spend for the sake of Allah; there is no benefit in what is spent on building.” There are such prohibiting statements in other narrations as “Each extra building that a person makes is a burden on his back”, “Do not build a house in which you are not going to dwell in”, “Whoever builds houses more than necessary will be forced to carry them on his back on the Doomsday”,”When Allah wants evil for a person, He makes them spend his money on building.”, etc.
As it can be understood from Bukhari’s naming a chapter as “ chapter of hadiths about building” in order to list the hadiths regarding the issue, some Muslim scholars who acted upon the hadiths we presented above, have come to an agreement on the abomination of constructing extra buildings and regarded “the money to be spent on construction as abominable”. Ibrahim Naha’i, one of those who considered it as abominable, indicated his point of view with a moderate statement: ‘building houses that are necessary does not bring benefit or sin’.
However, it has been also stated that this prohibition is only for making extra buildings and building to boast and to show off; not for the ones built to dwell in and to take shelter from cold and warmth. Essentially, the Prophet (pbuh) himself stated “Whoever is to build a house without committing injustice and exceeding the divine bounds, he will be granted with “thawab of neighbourhood” as long as the creatures of God make use of it.”
We cannot regard the hadith of Abdullah Ibn Amr as strong which those who regard spending extra money and effort on building as abominable present as evidence. Although this narration shows the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying to Abdullah Ibn Amr who was repairing his house with mud that “I foresee death to come quicker than the demolishing of this house”, regarded this occupation to be abominable, we find from Habbatu’bnu Khalid and Sawa’ Ibn Khalid (may Allah be pleased with them)’s narration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself repaired his house as well. Moreover, it is recorded that Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) warned people when he was in the pulpit, saying “ O people! Repair your houses”. In this case, judging only by the reflection of some hadiths and making the judgment as “ According to Sunnah, it is wrong to invest money in building” will be far from reality.
After stating that those who see no harm in construction present these verses from the Qur’an
“"And remember and be mindful that He established you securely on the earth so that you build castles on its plains and hew out dwellings in the mountains." (the Qur’an, al-A’raf, 7:74) and “Say: "Who is there to make unlawful the beautiful things (obtained from plants, animals and minerals) that God has brought forth for His servants, and the pure, wholesome things from among the means of sustenance?"” (the Qur’an, al-A’raf, 7:32)
and the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the hadith “When Allah bestows a blessing upon a person, He likes seeing the reflection of that blessing on this person” as proofs, (addressing to himself), Samarkandi says: “What is best is to spend not on worldly things but for the hereafter. However, these are not forbidden :
1. Not to earn money out of forbidden ways
2. Not to do injustice against a Muslim or those who are not Muslim due to construction
3. Not to quit an obligatory deed for Allah (because of construction).”
Al-Hakimut-Tirmidhi, noting Umar’s (may Allah be pleased with him) interference on building, says: “If the building is the necessary size, they can build it, expecting thawab from Allah because the need for a building is like the need for food, clothing and a means of transportation”.
It is best to describe the dislike about building as stated in the hadiths with extravagance. We can find Muslims’ view on this issue in these words that Muhammed Ibnu’s Sammak bravely yelled at the face of Harun ar-Rashid when he built a tall palace:
“You raised the earth, and quit the religion. If this has been made with your money, you should know that you are one of those who are extravagant. Allah does not like extravagant people. But if this is made with the money of somebody else, then you are an oppressor. Allah does not like oppressors.”
The instruction of prohibition from spending extravagantly on building is stated as follows in Akhlaq al-Alaiyya: “Restrain from extravagance in the height of the buildings, adornment and embellishing the roof. It is clear in the hadiths that if a person raises a building more than six spans, angels say : “Where are you going, O the cursed?”
Extravagance and spending more than necessary is not acceptable. Especially, the habit of repairing and becoming addicted to redecorating because of boredom of the same appearance is a hard trouble and a bad manner.”
2. A HOUSE FOR EACH PERSON
It would be wrong for one to conclude from the examples above that the Prophet (peace be upon him) disapproved that each person should have a normal house. On the contrary, the essence of the policy as regards to this issue is based on making each family has a “spacious” house. Various narrations like charging the state with the duty to make each appointed civil servant obtain a house and like his disapproval of any Muslim selling his house or real estate unless he invests this money on a house or real estate again, by saying: “Unless replaced with the new one, this money will not be of any good for them” are undeniable proofs that the Prophet (peace be upon him) followed a policy “ a normal house for each Muslim”.
3. THE HEIGHT OF THE BUILDINGS
The Prophet never agreed with the idea of making tall buildings. As narrations will show, one of the aspects he disapproves about dwelling is the height of the building. Moreover, he moved to the ground floor of the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him), in which he stayed for seven months as a guest when he arrived in Medina; and for the request of Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to move upstairs after a while, he replied: “ The ground floor is more comfortable”, “ It is best for us to stay downstairs for those whom we are in touch (The Honored Companions)”. However, because of Abu Ayyub’s (may Allah be pleased with him) insistence saying, “I am not going to walk over the floor under which you stay”, he went (unwillingly) and lived upstairs to make his host pleased and Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) stayed downstairs.
Furthermore, the ceiling of the first mosque built under the supervision and with the participation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the ceilings of the rooms for his family are as low as hands’ reach.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated in various ways his dislike and disapproval of raising the buildings tall and described this as “one of the signs of the Doomsday”. In the well-known hadith of Jibril, after replying the question about when the Doomsday would come, saying “I do not know”, he added that one of the signs of that day was “When cowboys compete each other to raise their buildings”. Likewise, in another narration, he said the Doomsday would come “when buildings became taler and thinner”. In addition, stating that people would make their houses resemble colourful, embroidered and striped clothes, he indicated his disapproval of external adornment of a house, which is also regarded as extravagance.
The Prophet (peace be upon him), who did not recommend people to make tall buildings, provided an approximate number in this narration:
“If a person raises his building more than seven (ten in another narration) spans, he will be yelled “ O Allah’s enemy, where do you (desire to) go?”
Ibnu’l Arabi deduces the meaning of warning against constructing tall and large buildings from this verse : اَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ رَبُّكَ بِعَادٍ اِرَمَ ذَاتِ الْعِمَادِ (Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the (tribe of) ‘Ād) (the Qur’an, al-Fajr, 89:6)
Although the reasons for prohibition of constructing tall buildings are not defined in the hadith, they are defined as extravagance, boasting, looking at other people’s private lives by scholars of Islamic jurisprudence. In addition, it is possible to find different reasons from the revelation of the hadith. In this term, one of the disadvantages that is especially found out today is the psychological and social disorders that buildings that exceed the proportion by human measures cause in people. Today, in big cities which are described as “ infernal machine”, “devil city”, this situation is also recorded as one of the reasons for lunacy and psychological states similar to this, which are increasing rapidly. Tall buildings do not only tread on human spirit with their grandeur but they also reduce the interest of those who dwell in them in nature and affect human relationships, leading them to a negative state.
Considering the disturbance of the life in apartments and conditions that make it impossible to choose neighbors, in big cities, it is understood how people are left in loneliness despite the crowd. Sociologists state, “as long as relations remain superficial, individuals will be solitary in the crowd no matter how these relations increase”, “what clears off solitude is not only to see and to listen but also to be seen and to be listened to”. We can find the same thing in different words from Farabi (d.950), an Islamic philosopher. He deems the ideal city which he means by al-Madinatu’l Fadila” as the place for people to gather in order to help each other to supply the necessary things which lead to happiness. ”A city which does not imply the sense of society and helpfulness and which leads people to solitude is not the ideal city. For him, an ideal city is like a healthy, complete and perfect body in every aspect, in which the organs help each other to carry out the purpose.”
We should note this finally that it seems that to raise a building due to needs and to get rid of narrowness is acceptable because the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied Khalid Bin Walid who was complaining about the narrowness of his house as : “ Raise your building toward the sky and ask God for expansion”.
Some narrations show that the sunnah did not only give a number of recommendations and advice on dwelling but it also interfered if the qualifications for a building were not complied with.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came out, and on seeing a high-domed building, he said: What is it? His companions replied to him: It belongs to so and so, one of the Ansar. He said nothing but kept the matter in mind. When its owner came and gave him a greeting among the people, he turned away from him. When he had done this several times, the man realized that he was the cause of the anger and the rebuff. So he complained about it to his companions, saying: I swear by Allah that I cannot understand the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him). They said: He went out and saw your domed building.So the man returned to it and demolished it, leveling it to the ground. One day the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came out and did not see it. He asked: What has happened to the domed building? They replied: Its owner complained to us about your rebuff, and when we informed him about it, he demolished it. He said: “Every building is a misfortune for its owner, except what cannot, except what cannot, meaning except that which is essential.”. Likewise, a similar reaction was shown against the tall building that his uncle Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) had made. Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) offered as much money for charity as the building was worth in return for the building not to be demolished. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not accept this. Even though, Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) insistently kept on his proposal, the Prophet (peace be upon him) never accepted this deal and told him to demolish it. And the building was demolished.
The hadith about the demolishing of the house of Suwaylimu’l Yahudi is worth mentioning as a different example of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) interference with the dwelling. According to Ibn Hisham’s record, hypocrites (munafiqs) were gathering in the house of Jewish Suwaylim, trying to hinder people from participating in the expedition during the preparations for Tabuk expedition. Sending a group administered by Talha Bin Ubaydullah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded them to demolish Suwaylim’s house. Talha (may Allah be pleased with him) carried out the command.
Here we see the reason for the interference to be a negative action against the government and we will later provide similar examples after the Prophet (peace be upon him).
An example of interference that can be found in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life is about temples. The event of Masjid Dirar, the memory of which was made eternal in the Qur’an, should concern our issue. According to the information from our sources, while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was on an expedition in Tabuk, a group of ten people among the hypocrites in Medina were thinking of building a masjid in order to come together because they could not unite due to the successful policy that the Prophet (peace be upon him ) followed against them. When Muslims returned from the expedition and arrived at Zi-Awan near Medina, they sent a man to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “O the Prophet! We have built a masjid for the patients, for those who are in need and for the rainy and dark nights and we want you to lead a prayer there (and do the opening)”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied : “You go now, I have not yet finished my journey and I have something to do now. When we arrive in Medina, we will come if Allah wills…”
However, a revelation from Allah that arrived after a while informed the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the real purpose of the hypocrites:
“Some among the hypocrites – who have adopted a mosque out of dissension and unbelief, in order to cause division among the believers, and use as an outpost to collaborate with him who before made war on God and His Messenger – will certainly swear: "We mean nothing but good (in building this mosque)," whereas God bears witness that they are surely liars.Do not stand in that mosque to do the Prayer. The building (systems, plans, and lifestyles) which the hypocrites have founded will never cease to be doubt and disquiet in their hearts (that are crushed by fear and anxieties), unless their hearts are cut into pieces (and they themselves die).” (the Qur’an, at-Taubah, 9:107-110)
Due to this revelation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent some men to demolish this building which was made “out of dissension and in order to cause division among the Muslims” and which would never cease to be doubt and disquiet in their hearts as long as they stayed alive”.
Narrations state that the place of Masjid Dirar was made a dump and the Prophet (peace be upon him) never used the road that led there. Comparing the command to build the Taif Masjid over the place where the temple of Taif used to be to this sunnah, the reaction against the undesirable building is understood.
Narrations show that in parallel with these examples found in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) sunnah, specific dwellings and even public buildings were interfered on similar purposes in the following ages by Caliphs. According to the narrations of Mulayh Bin Awf as-Sulami, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was informed that Sa’d Bin Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) had a carved door made for his house and a hut made of rush for his pavilion. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) sent Muhammad Ibn Maslama (may Allah be pleased with him) ordering him to burn down the mentioned door and the hut. In an explanation by Al-Hakimu’t Tirmidhi, being informed that Abud-Darda added a toilet to his house in Humus, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) sent him in exile as a punishment, saying “O Uwaymir! Persian and Greek buildings could have been an example for you on adorning the world. Allah destroyed them (for their extravagance). As soon as you receive my letter, leave Humus and go to Damascus”.
When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) heard that the Amir of Humus built a special room for relaxing called illiya on top of his house, he wrote a letter to him right away and ordered him to “collect woods and burn it down”. When he heard that Kharijatu’bnu Huzafa (may Allah be pleased with him) made a similar thing in Egypt, he wrote to Amr Ibnu’l-As, the governor of Egypt, saying “Kharija wants to gaze at the privacy of his neighbours; when you receive my letter, demolish it.”
Form the narration of Tamimu’d-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him), we learn that people made tall buildings in the time of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). The instruction of “Do not raise your buildings” by Umar ( may Allah be pleased with him) to governors that Abdullahu’r-Rumi mentioned might be after the act of constructing tall buildings. Perhaps, as a result of Umar’s (may Allah be pleased with him) care for this, another example that indicates Umar’s care for dwelling about the house that Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas, who lived in Kufa, needed to dwell in, is about adornment. the following is mentioned in an explanation by Abdurrazzaq: being informed that a woman from Basra, called Hadra adorned her house drawing coverings over the inner walls of the house, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) wrote to Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him), the governor of Basra, ordering him to tear these curtains of adornment. Likewise, if he was to be invited by a Persian farmer, he first asked whether there were illustrations in their house and if he learnt that there were, he would refuse the invitation.
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) also interfered houses which negatively affected public morality. In this term, he had some people burn the house of Ruwayshudu’s- Thaqafi, which was a kind of place where alcoholic drinks were produced and sold. Sa’d Ibn Ibrahim noted that he saw the house as ember.
In summary, these examples both from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) show that any kind of building is under supervision and control of the state – with respect to either height and expansion or adornment and purpose of utility. This case seems to be more carefully applied especially in the first periods. Suyuti notes that when a group of Rafizis gathered to perform prayers together and insulted the Honored Companions and did not perform the Friday prayer, and began corresponding with Qaramita, Caliph Muqtadir Billah applied to scholars about the matter of demolishing the Narasa masjid and received the fatwa that it was like “Masjid Dirar”; he demolished it and made that place a graveyard.
Suyuti, who gave a fatwa on the issue of demolishing the undesirable buildings which sheltered those who were engaged in harmful activities against society and who showed bad examples of bad manners with their way of living and behavior, brough out a separate work on this important issue called Raf’u Manari’d-Din and Hadmu Binai’l Mufsidin.
5. THE CONCEPT OF DWELLING
Considering the points we presented in order to describe the policy of dwelling of the Prophet (peace be upon him), it may be concluded that each Muslim desires to have such a concept of dwelling.
1. A dwelling is one of the main principles for worldly happiness (and spiritual as a result).
2. A good dwelling depends on its spaciousness, neighbors, being close to social facilities, being well-air-conditioned, being close to cultural and economical facilities like mosques, schools, markets.
3. The spaciousness of a dwelling is measured with the number of rooms and the spaciousness of the rooms depending on the number of dwellers.
4. A dwelling should be simple and should not include components of adornment which represent a foreign culture and which cause controversial suggestions against belief and morality.
5. A dwelling should not include extravagant spending on furnishing and adornment.
6. A dwelling should not be tall-built
7. Each dwelling should include components like toilet, bathroom and kitchen.
8. The government can interfere with illegally built dwellings.
We can understand that every Muslim should have such a concept of dwelling from the presence and inclusion of these qualifications with some little differences in the books of training and education.
6. DWELLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH TO ISLAMIC RULES
After explaining the qualifications that a dwelling should include and the concept of dwelling which each Muslim should comply with, it would be useful to present the description of the scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence on the dwelling that the husband is obliged to provide for his wife. This type of dwelling might be called licit or legal dwelling. We will herein examine the conditions that scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence regard that a dwelling should have in order to provide a normal Islamic life, and the minimum qualifications that are necessary for a dwelling. As you can see, the child factor has not been mentioned. The obligatory conditions that should be provided for a woman which is supposed to have no children, on marriage are in question. So, what happens when the children are born? This is unclear in books on Islamic Jurisprudence. Here is the exact description extracted from the doctoral dissertation titled “ Islam Hukukunda Karı-Koca Nafaka Mükellefiyeti” by Dr. Ruhi Ozcan:
A. The conditions sought in a legitimate dwelling:
1. It should be suitable to let the wife to do her religious and worldly tasks.
2. It should be among good neighbors who can manage to hinder the husband from a possible commitment of an injustice to his wife.
3. It should provide the wife with the security of life and property.
4. It should be suitable to let the husband have sexual intercourse with his wife.
5. Water should be also provided by the husband in the dwelling along with all other needs. The presence of a water tank or well or a fountain in the dwelling does not prevent the legitimacy of this spot.
6. Even though the husband’s relatives cannot stay in the dwelling unless the wife permits it, she cannot hinder any sort of female slaves of the husband and children that were born from different women and are too little to understand sexual relationship from staying. On the other hand, the wife cannot let any relatives of hers or children she had from somebody else stay in the dwelling unless the husband permits it. The case of whether the property of the dwelling belongs to the husband or not does not affect this decree.
B. If the dwelling is isolated and spacious and has high walls, which all may cause the wife to think of evilness because of solitude, the husband should provide a companion for her.
C. The obligation to provide the wife with a companion varies from wife to wife and place to place. For example, if the wife is a person who is afraid of spending the night alone in a room, the husband should provide a companion even if the dwelling is not spacious. Likewise, if the wife is young-aged and afraid of staying alone, then it is obligatory to provide her with a companion.
D. If the area of the dwelling is small and among good neighbours and if the wife is not afraid of staying alone, then it is not necessary to provide her with a companion.
1. The Prophet’s (pbuh) mentioning about inauspiciousness although he refused inauspiciousness in some hadiths has been a cause for argument among scholars. (see Muslim, Salam 110-114 (4:1745-46, 2223-2224). Hattabi and some others concluded that it was forbidden to attribute inauspiciousness to these three things (Maalim 4, 236). According to them, the reason why they are considered to be inauspicious might be discontent of the owners. In this case, divorcing and selling should be the solution. According to some others, the inauspiciousness of a woman is her being infertile or her bad language; and the inauspiciousness of a means of transportation (an animal) is being bad-tempered and not enabling the rider on it to make jihad, etc.
2. The spaciousness of a dwelling, according to the sociologists of today, depends not only on the number of the people who dwell in but also on the economical condition of the dwellers. For example, a normal spaciousness of a dwelling for a single person in France is 14m² whereas it is 36m² in the USA. Likewise, the spaciousness for two people is determined as 67m², for three people 90m² and for four people 103m² in the USA. ( Famille et Habitation, 1:108) For the number of rooms, the following is stated, “a room for parents, separate rooms for each person who also lives in the house – according to the fiscal condition of the family. The number and spaciousness of other parts (living room, toilet etc.) depends on the number of people who dwell in that house.” ( Famille et Habitation, 1:109).
3. On the issue of narrowness of a dwelling, two measures is given: 1. Spaciousness: 8-10m² per person is enough whereas 12-14 m² is dangerous and may cause pathological accidents.2. Density: 2 and a half people per room is enough whereas 2 people can be dangerous. ( Famille et Habitation, 1:121) We considered it suitable to provide standard lodgement chart which was determined according to the number of people in the family in France, in another source in accordance with the importance of this issue. ( J.E. Havel, Habitat et Logement, Puf, Paris, 1974, p 34).
4. Explaining the hadiths which express violence and easiness on this issue, Ayni states: “He forbade all the illustrations even if it was an embroidery in the beginning because the people had just converted from idolatry. However, when this prohibition became a habit, illustrations (not hung in higher spots) which were made sure people would not be affected by were considered acceptable” (Ayni, 22:74)
5. We are reporting this explanation by Ibn Hajar from Qurtubi’s explanation of the hadith “People’s becoming kinder and obtaining pavilions in the city will result in a change in the religion”, since we find it interesting: The purpose of the hadith is to tell that peasants invaded public affairs. They became rulers of the country by force. Their property thus became abundant and their excitement of belief turned to competence in constructing high buildings and boasting of them. This period of time we are living in witnesses this situation.” The late Prof. Hamdi Ragib Atademir stated that the expression “tatawulu’l Bunyan” mentioned for a reason in the hadith of Jibril referred to today’s democracy system and its negative side. Mubarakfuri interprets the same hadith as : “This hadith refers to peasants or similar people in need becoming rich with worldly property and boasting due to buildings they make as a result.”
(See Prof. Dr. İbrahim, Canan, Kütüb-ü Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi)
Questions on Islam
- Did all of the prophets come from the same lineage?
- Could you describe the statement “Order your family and community to establish the Prayer” (the Qur’an, Ta-Ha, 20:132)?
- The duration of suhur (a meal taken before fajr in the month of Ramadan) and the time of the morning prayer
- The duration of Suhur and the time of the Morning Prayer
- What does Satans eating and drinking mean?
- The Grave of a Prophet
- With what (food) is iftar fasting broken with?
- How did the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon himself) protect himself from the customs of the Era of Ignorance?*
- What are the lessons we should take from the parable of Moses (peace be upon him) and Pharaoh?
- What is perfect fast like?