The Prophet, peace be upon him, always sought what is best. Many people try to put on a good show in public, saying only what is correct and what people would acknowledge as the right thing. We always speak of what is “politically correct”, referring to the need to say only what is socially acceptable. Thus, when a job is advertised, the advertisement must not include anything that may be perceived to be discriminatory. For example, the employers cannot say in the advertisement, “We are looking for a young man who has such and such qualifications.” The word “young” is taken as discriminating against old people and the word “man” discriminates against women. If the advertisement is to be published in a newspaper, the paper will reject it because it encourages discrimination. The employers will need to remove anything that suggests special preference. However, nothing can stop the employers choosing a young man for the post they have advertised. There are many other situations where certain values and standards must appear to be observed, and people make sure of doing so, yet they go ahead and do whatever they prefer.

The Prophet’s household never allowed such double standard. The Prophet never accepted anything wrong in his homes, not even in very private matters. He realized that if he kept quiet when something wrong was done in his home, the fact that he did not speak out against it meant that it is acceptable from the Islamic point of view. Indeed, his wives, daughters and servants reported many cases of what was done in his or their homes in his full knowledge. Although the Prophet did not say anything about them, scholars accepted these as perfectly permissible. Had they not been so, the Prophet would have indicated that. Scholars established the rule that says: “The lack of a statement concerning something that needs to be clarified is itself a clarification.” In other words, not saying anything for or against it means that it is acceptable. The Prophet realized this and was, therefore, keen to speak out against anything that was contrary to Islamic teachings or values. He made sure that nothing of the sort was done in his home by any member of his household. He would speak out against it, resorting to what is most suitable in every case.

He may give a kindly advice or he may reproach a person in strong terms, depending on the seriousness of the matter in hand. His aim was to make his home an image of the Qur’anic Verse that says in reference to it and its members: “God only wants to remove all that is loathsome from you, you members of the (Prophet’s) household, and to purify you fully.” (33: 33). This Qur’anic Verse gave every member of the Prophet’s household, including his wives, daughters, grandchildren and indeed his in-laws a very clear motive to try to live up to these two ideals: removing every loathsome thing, physical or mental, and seeking purity in its widest sense. The lives of his wives, even long after he departed this life was a clear example of the working of such a motive. They always aspired for what was best.

By: Adil Salahi