By Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri
As the morning sun climbed high into the sky, Prophet Muhammad salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam headed to the home of one of his wives, particularly the wife whose turn it was to spend the day with him.
He entered the house with the greeting of peace, brushed his teeth [with teeth cleaning twig (miswak)], and then offered the four-unit late morning prayer. It was an optional prayer, but one that he offered nearly every day.
Sometimes he offered six or eight units of prayer instead of the usual four. He looked to see if there was food ready. If there was, he would eat a little. This was especially true if he had not eaten anything earlier in the morning.
Sometimes, he was fasting, but if there was food at his wife’s home at that time of day, he would choose to break his fast and share in it, especially if it was a gift. For instance, on one occasion when he came to `Aisha’s house in the late morning, she said to him, “We’ve been given a gift – someone visited us – and I put some aside for you.”
He asked, “What is it?”
She told him it was haysh, a dish made from dates and cottage cheese. He asked her to bring it to him and ate it.
Then he said, “I started off this day fasting.”
It was at this time of day that he once spoke about a well-known and meritorious way to engage in the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. It was on a day when he was staying at the house of his wife Jaweria radhiAllahu ‘anha. He had been at her house much earlier in the morning to find her seated on her prayer rug engaged in Allah’s remembrance. When he returned in the late morning, he found her to be in exactly the same position. He asked her, “Have you been like this since I left you?”
She replied, “Yes.”
He said, “I have since then uttered four phrases, three times each, that if they were weighed against all you have said today, it would weigh equally: ‘Glory and praise be to Allah as often as the number of His creations, to the extent that He pleases, to the weight of his throne, and to the amount of ink it would require to write out His words’.” [Ahmad]
The Arabic version of the du`a can be read here.
With His Companions
This is the time of the morning when the Prophet’s closest companions would visit him at home if they were facing some difficulty they wanted to discuss with him. For instance, once the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam was resting in bed wearing a nondescript housecoat belonging to `Aisha radhiAllahu ‘anha that did not cover his lower legs. Abu Bakr radhiAllahu ‘anhu came to visit at this time and sought permission to enter.
The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam bade him come into the house while he was in this state of dress. Abu Bakr then spoke to him about his problem and departed. After he left, `Umar paid a visit and the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam received him in the same way. After he left, `Uthman radhiAllahu ‘anha came along and sought permission to speak with him. The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam first sat up and arranged his housecoat so that it covered his legs and then bade him enter. `Uthman then spoke to him about his problem and departed.
`Aisha radhiAllahu ‘anha noticed the difference in the way he received her father and `Umar, and the way he received `Uthman. She asked him, “When Abu Bakr came, you did not arrange your clothes and compose yourself. Nor did you do so with `Umar. But when `Uthman came, you sat up and arranged your clothes. Why is that?”
He replied, “Should I not feel shy before a man the angels are shy of? `Uthman is a very shy man. I was concerned that if I received him in the state I was in, he would have left without speaking to me about his problem.” [Muslim]
With His Household
Usually, the Prophet alAllahu `alayhi wa sallam was left alone at home at this time of day. `Aisha radhiAllahu ‘anha tells us how he was at this time,
“He was the gentlest and most generous of people when he was home alone with his family. He was a man like any of your men, but he was ready with a smile and easy with his laughter. He was a normal man, but one who helped his family out with the housework. He would mend his own sandals and stitch his own clothes and milk his sheep. He took care of his own needs and work in the house like any one of you would work.” [Authenticated by al Albani]
The Prophet’s life was very family-oriented. Prophet Muhammad’s homes were modest one-room houses. They did not demand the kind of upkeep that required his helping out with the housework. Nevertheless, he was conscientious in doing so. He wanted to share in their daily activities to be an equal partner in the household and an integral part of their lives. The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam prioritized marital life. This was an aspect of the Message he came with. He was not only the best of men in public, he was also the best of men when it came to his family.
The Prophet’s home life was full of love, affection, and mercy. His attitude at home was relaxed and familiar. He was easygoing and playful. On one occasion, Sawdah came to visit `Aisha in her home, which was adjacent to hers. The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam sat down between the two of them with one of his legs extended into the entrance of Sawdah’s house. Aisha had made wheat stew and told Sawdah to have some. Sawdah refused, saying, “I don’t like that food and will not eat it.”
`Aisha said, “You will eat it, or I will smear it on your face.”
She still refused, so `Aisha took a bit of the food in her hand and smeared it on her face. The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam laughed and moved his foot out of the entrance to Sawdah’s house to give Sawdah more room to maneuver and defend herself. He said, “Smear it on her face too.”
She took some out of the bowl, reached over and smeared it on `Aisha’s face. Then all three of them broke into laughter and they could be heard from the mosque. Then they heard `Umar from within the mosque calling out to his son `Abdullah.
Quick, the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Clean your faces. I think `Umar is coming.”
Just then, `Umar came to the door, just like the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam expected. `Umar called out, “Peace be upon you. Can I come in?” The Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam replied, “Come in. Come in.”
This playfulness was normal at the Prophet’s home. It was part of his practical example of how a Muslim’s life should be. He taught his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum,
“Religion has room for recreation.”
A short time before the noon prayer, the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam took a siesta. He always took this nap at one of his wives’ homes, except for the occasions he went to visit his relative Umm Sulaym radhiAllahu ‘anha.
On those occasions, he would take his siesta at her house. He would sometimes take his nap there even when he found her outside the home, and she discovered him sleeping upon her return.
Originally published at onislam.net