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Prosperity or Ruin of a Family

By: Hujjat al-Islam Husain Ansariyan
So fear God as much as ye can; listen and obey; and spend in charity for
the benefit of your own souls. And those saved from the covetousness of
their own souls, -- they are the ones that achieve prosperity.[Holy
Quran: Tagabun: 64:16]

Prosperity or Ruin
Attaining prosperity or ruin is the result of one's acts, morals and beliefs. Good morals, righteous beliefs and good deeds will result in prosperity, while wrong belief, bad character and wicked deeds will result in one's life getting ruined. Prosperity implies happiness in this world and the Hereafter, while getting ruined implies a disastrous life here and loss in the Hereafter. The result of prosperity is God's Pleasure and Eternal Residence in Heaven, while the result of getting ruined is God's animosity and eternal torture. The Muslim families should remember these facts. A couple should try to gain what causes prosperity and avoid what causes their ruin by helping each other when they marry. Thus, they will have a healthy home environment for their children.
Profiting from faith, good deeds and good morality, the family should establish the basis of attaining God's Pleasure and an entrance ticket to God's Heaven. The subjects of prosperity and getting ruined, and the underlying causes have been extensively discussed in the Quran and Prophetic traditions. All people have been warned not to deprive themselves of their prosperity and ruin their lives. The families need to consider morality and watch out for bad deeds to gain prosperity. We shall leave the subjects of faith and actions to more detailed books.
Most families, especially the Iranian ones have faith in God and the Hereafter, Prophethood and Leadership of the Immaculate Imams, and perform their obligatory deeds such as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, and charity. They also avoid what has been forbidden, such as having forbidden foods or drinks, and committing immoral lustful acts, etc. Most problems that the families have to be more concerned with are abiding by moral issues, and avoiding wicked desires. We shall suffice to describe just two issues here.

Justice
Justice implies being just, serving others, wanting for others what we want for ourselves, and not wanting for others what we do not wish for ourselves. This issue must be considered by both the husband, the wife and the children in regards to each other. Based on Islam, each person is bound to be just to others, and consider the rights of the people in all cases. Imam Sadiq has narrated the Prophet (Pbuh) as saying:
The most just person is one who wants for others what he wants for himself, and dislikes for others what he dislikes for himself. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.25].
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Whoever aids the poor, and is just to others is a true believer. [Bihar al-Anwar v.72, p.25-28].
The Prophet (Pbuh) told the Commander of the Faithful that three things constitute faith:
Charity in times of poverty, being just to others, and bestowing knowledge to whoever needs it. [Ibid].
A man asked the Prophet:
Please teach me something to ease attaining Heaven for me.
The Prophet (Pbuh) replied:
Do not get angry, do not beg, and want for others whatever you want for yourself. [Ibid].
The Commander of the Faithful said:
Beware that God will increase the grandeur and majesty of those who are just to people. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.33].
How sweet will be the life of a family whose members are all concerned about each other and are just to one another. They do not wish for others what they do not like for themselves in all that they do. It should not be the case that the husband and the children do all the resting, and the wife does all the work, or the parents work hard, but the kids eat, drink and expect more. They should all be just to each other, and help in all the affairs of the house. This way they will become prosperous, and not get ruined.

Being Kind
It is important in Islam for the members of the family to be kind to each other, and treat each other with passion. This is a form of worship which is highly rewarding. The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Being kind to each other is good and blessed while non-compliance and improper deeds are wicked. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.51-2]
He also said:
Should I inform you about people who will be safe from the fire of Hell?
They answered yes. He said:
Whoever takes it easy in life, and is kind and complaisant in one's life. [Ibid]
Moses told God:
What is the reward of one who does not bother others, and treats everybody kindly?
God said:
O' Moses,The Fire of Hell shall tell him/her that you cannot enter. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) was asked:
What is the best thing for one.
He replied:
If all Muslims are safe from one's tongue and hands. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.53-54]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
No deed is better than faith, and kindness to others in the sight of God and his Prophet, and no deed is worse than atheism and treating others harshly. [Ibid]

Advice
Giving advice and wishing the best for people has a reward in this world and the Hereafter. Accepting advice is a cause of enlightenment of the heart, and awareness, too. Everyone should advise others as much as he/she can and wish them the best. The listener should take the advice and use it, too. One must not be too shy to advise, and not too haughty to accept advice. The Prophet (Pbuh) has considered shyness to be silly and haughtiness to be a satanic trait which prevent us from accepting advice. The head of the household should give advice to his wife and children every once in a while. He should remind them of their duties. Sometimes the wife should advise her husband, and at times the children should advise their parents. Each one is required to put haughtiness aside and accept the advice given. Imam Sadiq said:
Whoever notes that his brother is facing a loss- and can help him out but does not do so by warning him- has been disloyal to his friend. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.65]

Politeness
Being polite implies being respectful, talking properly, being a gentleman and respecting others. A husband, a wife, and the children should all be polite to each other. Being polite is a human value which is a source of one's respect; it improves one’s social status; increases the number of our friends. In addition, it causes one to obtain God’s Mercy and it is also a form of worship. The Commander of the Faithful said:
There is nothing better than politeness. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.67]
In some wise words he said:
As a sign of being polite, it is enough to dislike for others what you dislike for yourself. [Ibid]
In other saying he said:
The good thing about being polite is that it is like being a gentleman.

Protection of the Family from Accusations
As viewed by Islam, all the members of the family should behave and associate with others in such a way that the family does not get accused. Any accusation may destroy the foundations of the family, and make it hard to live. One may feel that it is proper to meet someone, but others may think different and misjudge. This may be gradually misinterpreted, and then the people will think different about one and his/her honor will be endangered in the society. Then the family will be harmed. One may then try to engage in a business deal, or a social affair like getting a wife for his son, or marrying off his daughter, and this undue accusation may hinder him. Imam Sadiq said:
My father admonished me by saying the following: O' my son. Anyone who associates with bad people will not remain healthy. Whoever engages in a bad affair, will be accused and whoever does not watch what he says will be sorry. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.90].
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Those who associate with the accused will be the most proper candidates for accusation. [Ibid].
The Commander of the Faithful said:
Whoever gets in a situation whereby he/she may be accused, should not blame those who make accusations against him/her.[Ibid]
Imam Sadiq has been narrated as saying the following:
Avoid going to places where you may get accused. And do not stand in public places with your mother, since not all people know that the person you are with is your mother.[Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.91].
Indeed someone who does not know, or is ignorant spreads the word around that you are flirting with a strange woman. He may warn people against associating with you to protect the honor of his family. The man of the house, the woman and the children should seriously avoid going to places where they may get accused. This may harm the honor of the family, and Islam is really strict in this regard.

Honoring One's Oath
Religiously speaking it is obligatory to honor one's oath. The wedding contract between a couple is a divine contract to which both the husband and wife must remain loyal. This is an oath between the husband and wife, and to each other's families. Any kind of oath that the parents give to their children, is to be honored, too. The Quran states:
And fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).[Holy Quran: Bani Isra'il: 17:34]
Honoring one's oath is a sure sign of a believer.
Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants;[Holy Quran: Mu-minun: 23:8]
Imam Sajjad has considered all religious decrees to be summarized in the following three things: Righteous words, acting justly, and honoring one's oath. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.92].
Imam Sadiq said:
No one's excuse shall be accepted in this world and the Hereafter regarding the following issues: Safeguarding what one has been entrusted with, whether it is from a good person or a bad one; honoring one's oath to a believer or a corrupt person; and treating one's parents; kindly whether they are good or bad. [Ibid].
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
One who does not respect his own oath and does not do what he has promised to do is irreligious.
Imam Reza said:
We are members of a Household who consider our oath as a debt just as the Prophet (Pbuh) said. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.7, p.97]

Consultation
A house should not be ruled by one who imposes whatever he/she wishes upon the family. There are many benefits in consultation, and the husband and wife will benefit if they consult with their elders who are more experienced, or consult with their grown-up children. Insist on consultation and respect the views of others. Do not think that you are the know it all. Allow everyone to participate in consultations, as this will help you a lot, and may at times help you out of disasters. The Quran has placed especial emphasis on consultation in verse 159 of Al-i-Imran, and verses 36-38 of Shura. Thus, consulting with others is a way of following the Quran, a way to solve one's problems and a guard against dangers. Imam Sadiq has said:
Consult with those who fear God about your life affairs. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.98].
He also said:
Three things are burdensome: Overestimating your deeds, forgetting your sins, and being stubborn.[Ibid]
The Commander of the Faithful said: Whoever is self-centered will be endangered [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, pp.98-99].
One who is being consulted with should be considerate and provide the best possible guidance. Giving wrong advice on purpose is considered to be a great sin. Imam Ali said: I hate whoever is not sincere when he/she is being consulted by the Muslims.[Ibid].

Humbleness
Humbleness- which is the sweet by-product of self-recognition and an individual’s mysticism- is an Islamic, humans and moral state. A person who considers himself to be a servant of God, and recognizes that God is the source of all the blessings he has; considers others to be superior to him, considers the people to be God's servants and knows that he is nothing in this vast universe, is deeply involved in humbleness.
A man who considers his wife to be God's servant, and considers God to be the owner of his children, considers himself to be their servants. He who considers his wife and children to be what God has entrusted him with will be humble towards them. When a woman is not haughty, does not overestimate her family’s status when she faces her husband, and does not overestimate her knowledge or degree, will then be humble towards her husband and children. Also, wise children are humble towards their parents. Humbleness will result in nobility and honor, and will maintain a home sweet. It will bring love and strengthen the family bonds. A haughty person should know that no one, even his wife and children like him or respect him. Imam Hassan Askari said:
Anyone who is humble towards his religious brethren in this world will be considered righteous by God, and is a true follower of Imam Ali. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.117].
Imam Sadiq has narrated his grandfathers as saying:
Signs of humbleness are to sit wherever there is room when you enter a family or public meeting, to greet anyone you visit, to avoid quarreling even if you are right, not to like to be admired for piety and righteousness. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, pp.118-119]
When the Commander of the Faithful was about to pass away, he said:
I advise you to be humble as this is the best form of worship.[Ibid]

Kindness to Younger Ones and Respecting the Elders
Islam has instructed all men and women to be kind with the younger ones and respect the elders. The house must be a place to act upon the instructions of God, the Prophet and the Imams. Then you can prosper. It is a sin to get angry with, ignore, not kiss or not honor a promise given to a younger one. It is also a sin to disrespect the elders, give them a mean look, not fulfill their needs, or express that you get bored with them. We have brought the younger ones into this world, and we are responsible for them until they settle down. We should take care of them kindly. We have been raised by the elders, so we should respect them since we owe them a lot. When the Commander of the Faithful was about to pass away, he said:
Be kind with the young members of the family, and honor and respect the elders. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.136]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Respect the elders as this is equal to respecting God. [Ibid].
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Whoever is not kind to the younger ones, or does not respect the elders is not from my nation. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.137]

Hospitality
Some families are really strict about accepting guests. This is either a sign of laziness or a sign of jealousy. Hospitality has been a way of the Prophets and the Imams, and is an example of divine and righteous men. Jealousy or laziness are not proper, in whatever form. The husband, the wife, and the children should all treat their guests warmly. This action which is according to the ethics of God's saints will please God and ease our affairs, bring God’s Mercy and Favor, and cast away any catastrophes from the members of the family. Hospitality is so encouraged in Islam that we believe the guest brings in his daily bread, and the host is the guest of his guests. It is highly praised to encourage hospitality. This will improve our morality, and the opposite is inhumane and despised by God. The sixth Imam said: There are ten characters that make up nobility. Try to attain them all. One is hospitality. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, p.458]
Imam Sadiq has said: Whenever guests enter your house, they bring God's forgiveness for you and your household, and when they leave, they take away your sins and those of your wife. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.72, pp.459-460].
Imam Baqir said: Feeding four Muslims is equivalent to freeing a slave from the descendants of Ismael. [Ibid].
Therefore being just, kind, wishing the best, politeness, staying away from accusations, honoring one's oath, humbleness, being kind to younger ones, and respecting the elders, and hospitality are all the basis of nobility and cause prosperity in this world and the Hereafter.

Cause of Getting Ruined
Families should avoid the following issues, each of which is described in many traditions and the Quranic verses: Not talking, separating, accusing the innocent, quarreling, finding faults, and gossiping, causing quarrels, deceit, wastefulness, haughtiness, jealousy, following sinners, being a burden and hostility. Families should avoid the above, since they are sins, some of which are great sins and will ruin the family and cause misfortune. In addition to the Quran, you can find a discussion of these issues in books like Kafi, v.2, Vasa'il, v.11, Shafi Fayz, Muhjat ul-Biyza, Jami al-Saadat Naraqi, and other moral or traditions books. These are beyond our scope.

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