Being an ethical person requires that one care about others. The care and compassion one has for others inspires and drives many other types of action, such as giving time and money to support those in need. This particular post will focus on care in the family, and future posts may deal with individual, community and global perspectives on this subject.
Care may manifest itself in many forms, and it may take place in complex socio-cultural environments. It may also be misunderstood. For example, a person might think that an important part of being a caring person would be to give away as much wealth as possible in charity. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, provided important context when making this decision - in particular that one must consider the needs of others, in this case one's family and the impact such a decision would have on them, before going ahead.
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I said, “Oh Allah’s Messenger, I have wealth and no one to inherit from me except my one daughter. Shall I give two-thirds of my property in charity?” He replied: “No.” I said: “Shall I give half in charity?” He replied: “No.” I said: “Shall I give a third of it in charity?” He replied: “You may give a third in charity, which is still a lot. To leave your heirs rich is better than to leave them poor and begging from people.” Narrated in al Bukhari and Muslim.In other situations the Prophet (may Allah honour his mention and protect him from all evil) had to counter social and cultural norms that would harm. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) interacted with the historical and cultural landscape that influenced those around him. At that time, members of Jewish community would not eat with a woman while she was menstruating. The Prophet (may Allah honour his mention and protect him from all evil) rejected this and said that one should do everything one normally does with women, with the exception of intercourse (reported in Muslim).
To demonstrate the care he had, and to set the example, peace and blessings be upon him, for his family and his wives he would groom himself before entering a home; today we groom ourselves when going out but the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is that we ought to beautiful ourselves for our loved ones. This demonstrates the care we have for them. Other times, when leaving the home to go to prayer the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would kiss his wife – as reported by his wife Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her).